What Does It All Mean?
by Marie Fester
Are you satisfactory or are you excellent? Does your mid-semester assessment reflect your work or how your teacher is feeling while they go through a list of names assigning some lovely adjectives to their students?
Clearly enough, people have been thinking that the old way of assessing student progress was lacking in substance. Designed to help students know whether they’re on the right track at week 7 for the rest of the semester, John Abbott now has new terms for the mid-semester assessment.
They are intended to clarify what a student needs to continue or stop doing through comments from the teacher, encouraging students and teachers to work together, identifying on-campus resources that are available to students, and reminding us that the school wants us to succeed. The school also hopes that through this system, students will take ownership of their successes and failures in school.
There are four categories, each with a letter grade. For starters, don’t think that a ‘B’ is necessarily better than a ‘C’. The letters are more like a list than actual letter grades.
‘A’ is for achievement and consistency. You are an acceptable student, truly accomplished, and making great attempt at working. Disclaimer: You are not guaranteed to pass the course. In fact, if you don’t continue working/performing at a satisfactory level, YOU SHALL NOT PASS. Also note that if you work harder, you will do better.
‘B’ is for benefit, as in you could benefit from working harder. You have the potential to succeed, but you might not given the path you are on right now. You may get an invitation from a teacher to discuss what you have to do to pass the course.
‘C’ is for comment. As in [insert teacher’s comment here]. Your teacher’s critique of your work is meant to give positive or negative feedback on your work so that you know how they think you are doing, in their words and not the MSA’s terms.
‘D’ is for duty. As in you are out in the labour force doing an internship, dutifully working at your boss’s mercy for an assessment at some point. Eventually. One day. Maybe. Your mark is being determined perhaps in collaboration by a teacher and supervisor.
Should you feel the need, a “Description of the Terms Used on the Mid-Semester Assessment Module” is available in the college documents section of Omnivox. The MSA is of great use for us students to plan the last 8 weeks of our semester. After all, a passing grade is probably (hopefully, definitely, maybe) only a little bit of initiative away. Your teachers have office hours, their departments have tutoring or help services, and the Academic Success Center provides a wide array of workshops and programs. So let’s get on it! As the mid-semester assessment would say, “I would like you to know that…we all have the potential to succeed”!