Holistic Assessment Approach: Moving Education Assessment Forward


Educators have long been frustrated with the limitations that come with “off-the-shelf” assessments.  That is why the bv02 Education Team created the Holistic Assessment Approach, which provides educators with the opportunity to develop their own assessment that is reflective of the local contexts and cultures of their students and classrooms.

The Help Me Tell My Story assessment is built on this new Holistic Assessment Approach to measures the oral language development for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children in Saskatchewan.

Here is a short video that includes educators’ perspectives on why this assessment approach is so unique, and why it is being described as “Moving Assessment Forward” in education.

The experts in the video discuss what makes this new, Holistic Assessment Approach so unique and innovative, and in upcoming posts I will describe these principles in more detail.

Here is a quick overview of some of the unique elements:

1. Multiple Perspectives

This holistic assessment ensures a more comprehensive view of a child’s oral language development by gathering data from multiple perspectives (child, parent, teacher and Elder) and across multiple places of learning (home, school, community and land).

2. Locally, Culturally Relevant

The assessment is rooted in a First Nation and Métis perspective on learning, specifically the Holistic Lifelong Learning Models developed by hundreds of First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations across Canada.  This foundation ensures the assessment reflects the local contexts and cultures in Saskatchewan and supports a culturally-appropriate implementation.

3. Developed in Collaboration

This assessment been collectively developed and delivered by teachers, principals, assessment experts, education administrators, mobile technology developers and external consultants.  A collaborative approach supports a sense of ownership over the assessment and its implementation.

4. Foster Community Involvement

This assessment involves the parents and the community throughout the entire process.  The assessment provides interactive and engaging online data portals that allow parents to visualize the information about their child.

4. Immediate Access to Results

The assessment is delivered using a mobile tablet that allows information to be accessed immediately by all education partners.  Intuitive and interactive web tools are also available to engage, inform and support decision-making in the school, home and community.

6. Focus on Creating Change

The innovative tools provide teachers and parents with a direct link between the assessment results and a series of learning activities to support student achievement.


Overall, this Holistic Assessment Approach helps support turning ‘data into action’.  The approach ensures educators and parents have confidence in both the instrument, and consequently, the results, which support the potent for change in learning outcomes.



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