Happy New Year everyone,
Here’s a blog post I wrote on the project’s website. Take some time to explore the new website.
This is a guest post by Jarrett Laughlin, an educational consultant and project manager who has been involved in the Help Me Tell My Story assessment from its beginning. He takes a look at the foundation of the assessment and what makes it unique, as well as the future of the assessment.
The Help Me Tell My Story assessment all started in 2010, when the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education identified the need to develop something different that will better improve our understanding of success for First Nations and Métis children.
This lead to a pilot project, developed by a team of educators, community members, school divisions, First Nation and Métis learning experts and technical teams, that created a unique way to deliver the assessments: on an iPad, with a turtle puppet as the assessor.
The innovative and holistic assessment approach was built from a First Nations and Métis learning perspective. This perspective endorses a community-based approach that includes everyone who influences a child’s early learning: educators, caregivers, Elders and the community. By including all of these perspectives in the assessment, it provides a more balanced understanding of what constitutes success. It also ensures the assessments lead to more relevant and effective interventions that support early childhood language development.
The first phase of the Early Language Learning assessment was piloted in October 2011 to over 325 kindergarten and pre-kindergarten children, within seven schools, and across four school divisions in Saskatchewan. The second phase of the assessment is currently underway, and it involves over 900 students across 19 schools, including eight First Nations schools.
Depending on the success of the second phase of the assessment, there are plans for the Help Me Tell My Story assessment to be made available to all schools in Saskatchewan for the 2013-2014 school year. This rollout would make the entire assessment available to all early learners and their communities, supporting an effective and targeted approach to early language development across the province.
To follow the progress of the assessments and the program as a whole, make sure to read the upcoming blog posts. We’ll be posting updates about the assessment process, results and the future of the program to keep everyone informed. If you’re curious about how you can bring the assessment to your school, school division or province, make sure to get in touch with the Help Me Tell My Story team.
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