Developing a Customized Holistic Assessment

This June, the beginnings of a collaborative process to create a customized and personalized assessment which will be used in Mi’kmaw schools took place in Membertou. A committee comprised of Elders, Mi’kmaw language teachers, directors, speech and language specialists, literacy specialists and classroom teachers spent two days working on phase one – the initial stages of the assessment design. 

In the past, the focus of assessment has been around western ways of knowing. This assessment is intended as an “Early Years Mi’kmaw Language Assessment” which is reflective of Mi’kmaw views and perspective. It will help to create a more realistic picture of the child by involving parental input, elder input, and school input. It will help to identify their strengths in an authentic way. 

The group will be developing classroom materials such as apps and stories, a training portal to help educators prepare for the assessment, a caregiver portal to share information with parents and a teacher portal for the educators. They will also be developing some supplemental learning activities which can be used by parents at home. 

Over the course of the first two days, there was discussion around challenges with assessing Mi’kmaw language and which grades to focus on. They also discussed different ways of engaging elders, caregivers and parents. Finally, they focussed on the support needed for schools to implement this type of assessment. The second day was spent developing the initial stages of the assessment and providing feedback about possible questions and the pictures used in the assessment. 

The committee will meet twice over the summer and again in the fall to continue their work on this first phase of the assessment. Phase two, which is the actual development of materials, will begin following the completion of the initial planning stage.