2018 Symposium Highlights

Submitted by Damian Cooper, Founding member and Past-President of CAfLN

Saturday May 5th, 2018 saw CAfLN members from across Canada gather in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to share stories, experiences and challenges.  Once again, Lori Jeschke, Director of Education in Prairie Spirit School Division in Saskatchewan, facilitated the event with style, warmth and enthusiasm.

Lori began by asking us to arrange ourselves across the room, from the West coast to the East coast, without saying a word!  Our members did an admirable job, even ensuring a space where we missed members from New Brunswick and Quebec.  But how amazing it was to be meeting in Nova Scotia and having members attend from 8 different provinces!

We then brought the ends of the line together and formed an "Inside, Outside Circle" to respond, in different pairings, to a series of Tweets that had been posted about Friday's conference sessions.  Brilliant activity!  Thanks, Lori.

And then it was time to roll up our sleeves and get serious about AfL.  Lori asked for 7 volunteers to form a circle, who were then joined by Justin Green, CAfLN Resources Chair and assessment leader from Nanaimo, British Columbia.  Justin has lately been at the cutting edge of changing assessment and reporting practices, in response to the paradigm-shifting new BC curriculum.  Justin makes extensive use of the Fresh Grade e-portfolio platform to capture video evidence of children as they demonstrate their learning.  In this session, he played video clips of children in grade 3 explaining their mathematical problem-solving.  Justin had provided each child with video-taped feedback.

In the Fishbowl activity, the volunteers engaged with Justin in a series of Q. & A. formats to explore this work, and to consider its application in other contexts.  Not only did the recorded material provide an amazing example of the spirit of AfL in action, the “How Do You Know” protocol (available to members in the regional toolkit), that Lori took these eight educators through, provided an exemplar of how to work with teachers in your school to dig deeply into changing assessment practice.  Everyone in the room had plenty of tremendous material to take back to their own school or workplace.

The final activity was an opportunity for table groups to share AfL artifacts as a stimulus for conversations about successes and challenges in their ongoing assessment journeys, wherever they live and work across the country.

As Lorna Earl, founding member and our current president, continues to remind us, the Symposium is the heart and soul of why we established the Canadian Assessment for Learning Network seven years ago.  Please plan to join us in Delta, BC on May 2-4, 2019 for the 6th Annual CAfLN Conference and Symposium.