New BC Curriculum and Communicating Student Learning in an Age of Assessment for Learning


  • Hong Fu University of Victoria
  • Tim Hopper University of Victoria
  • Kathy Sanford University of Victoria



Assessment for Learning, Communicating Student Learning, Grading, Reporting, Digital Portfolios


The purpose of this paper is to provide an in-depth analysis and review of effective and meaningful practices in reporting and communicating student learning in K-12 within the framework of assessment for learning. The timeliness of this topic is derived from the launch of the new curriculum in British Columbia (B.C.), which promotes innovations in both assessment and reporting. To accomplish this goal, research in assessment, grading and reporting student learning from the last two decades is explored to provide information on ways to report and communicate student learning within the changing demands of the new curriculum. Our review of research suggests the need for policy change with respect to developing new systems that are anchored in competency, mastery-oriented and evidence-based learning. There is great potential to change and expand assessment, reporting and communication processes at all levels which are supported by the increased availability of digital technologies, ongoing and personalized assessment, and emerging innovative practices we have noted in B.C. To conclude we recommend digital portfolio practices as they offer a promising direction for creating new processes that complement existing systems in communicating student learning and support competency-based curriculum.

Keywords: Assessment for Learning; Communicating Student Learning; Grading; Reporting; Digital Portfolios

L’objectif de cet article est d’offrir une analyse et une critique approfondies des pratiques efficaces et significatives portant sur l’établissement de rapports et la communication de l’apprentissage par les élèves de la maternelle à la douzième dans le cadre de l’évaluation au service de l’apprentissage. Le caractère opportun de cette question découle du lancement du nouveau programme d’études de la Colombie-Britannique (C.-B.) qui favorise l’innovation tant dans le domaine de l’évaluation que celui du reportage. Ainsi, nous nous sommes penchés sur la recherche portant sur l’évaluation, l’attribution de notes et le reportage de l’apprentissage des élèves au cours des vingt dernières années afin d’être en mesure de rendre compte des résultats d’apprentissage et de les communiquer dans le contexte de l’évolution des exigences du nouveau programmes d’études. Notre examen de la recherche fait ressortir le besoin d’un changement de politiques quant aux nouveaux systèmes en cours de développement et reposant sur la compétence, la maitrise, et l’apprentissage fondé sur des données probantes. Le potentiel pour changer et étendre les processus d’évaluation, de reportage et de communication est grand à tous les niveaux qui sont appuyés par la disponibilité croissante de technologies numériques, de l’évaluation continue et personnalisée et de pratiques novatrices émergeantes que nous avons notées en C.-B. En guise de conclusion, nous recommandons des pratiques numériques de portefeuille car elles offrent une orientation prometteuse pour la création de nouveaux processus qui complètent les systèmes existants visant la communication de l’apprentissage des élèves et qui appuient un programme d’études basé sur les compétences.

Mots clés: évaluation au service de l’apprentissage; communication des résultats d’apprentissage; attribution de notes; portefeuilles numériques

Author Biographies

Hong Fu, University of Victoria

Dr. Hong Fu is currently a Research Associate and Instructor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Victoria. She completed her doctoral degree in the University of Victoria in 2015 with research interests and experience in teacher identity, teaching and learning theories, digital portfolio and technology, and preparing teacher candidates to teach English language learners. She is also involved in Education Leadership programs for school teachers and administrators outside Canada.

Tim Hopper, University of Victoria

Dr. Tim Hopper is an Associate Professor and program leader for the BEd Secondary Curriculum programs. He received his Masters and PhD from the University of Alberta. Dr. Hopper’s scholarly work focuses on teacher education in physical education. His research explores the use of complexity thinking as a theoretical frame. He is currently involved in two SSHRC funded research grants entitled (1) Electronic-portfolio development in three professional programs, and (2) Youth Civic Engagement: Real Life Learning through Virtual Games Environments. Dr. Hopper has taught at all levels of the school curriculum both in Canada and the UK. Tim maintains strong links with local schools through a teacher education approach known as school integrated teacher education (SITE).

Kathy Sanford, University of Victoria

Kathy Sanford is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. Her research interests include teacher education, ePortfolios as alternative forms of learning and assessment, nonformal and informal adult education, gender pedagogy, and multiliteracies. She is currently working on research focused on learning in professional programs, ePortfolio development in three professional programs to support students' learning and growth, video games and youth civic engagement, and museum/library education, all of which focus on ways in which learners learn and develop meaningfully for a complex 21st century world.