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AQED’s position – Evaluation by the holder of a teaching licence

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Over the past few weeks, the Direction de l’enseignement à la maison (DEM) has been sending a document regarding the requirements for evaluation by the holder of a teaching licence to families who have stated they were choosing this option. On first reading, this document seems very demanding, both for the family and for the holder of a teaching licence (referred to in the text below as “the teacher” for brevity’s sake) who will be doing the evaluation. Here are some explanations and a statement of AQED’s position on this subject.

The first point we would like to make is that we do not have the same interpretation of the purpose of the evaluation as the DEM. Considering that the regulation stipulates that the choice of evaluation method must enable the parent to “track their child’s learning progress”, our position is that the evaluation, its objective and its result must be discussed between the parent and the teacher. For example, the parent may want a record of the level of knowledge and skills at the time of the assessment, or the parent may want the teacher to comment on the child’s progress since the beginning of the year. Therefore, to us, the DEM’s requirements appear to constitute interference.

Concerning the presence of the child, there are no specific details on this subject, apart from the fact that the child must be present. It is therefore possible to interpret this requirement in several ways: the child could take exams at the teacher’s request, the child could present a portfolio to the teacher, the child could have a discussion with the teacher, the child could wave to the camera while the parent discusses with the teacher, etc. 

The tools used for evaluation are selected by the teacher. The teacher may therefore choose tools that only allow for a descriptive and qualitative evaluation, such as an interview with the parents and the child, a portfolio, a review of traces of learning, etc.

The evaluation methods are intended “to evaluate a child’s learning with regard to the expected outcomes established in the programs of study targeted by the cycle of education that the child would be in if attending school,” and the result of the evaluation must specify “the child’s level of competency development with regard to the expected outcomes of the programs of study for each competency and subject being evaluated, based on the level of instruction in which the child would be enrolled if attending school.”

A child in the school system may be in a different grade from that usually attended by children their age. We therefore consider that these sections refer to the level declared by the parent-educators in the learning project at the beginning of the year.

Further, the reference to competencies, subjects assessed, and programs of study is consistent with DEM’s interpretation of the regulation to require parent-educators to replicate the school model, which we believe is inappropriate (see our message on this subject).

That being said, the teacher, by virtue of their licence, has the ability to make links between the Québec Education Program (QEP) and the child’s educational experience. Thus, the teacher will have to make a statement on the “expected outcomes of the programs of study”, i.e. the end-of-cycle outcomes. Since the cycles have a duration of 2 years (except for the 2nd cycle of secondary school), the result may therefore consist of saying whether the child has achieved the end-of-cycle outcomes or whether they are in the process of achieving them.

Finally, the requirement to provide comments should be at the discretion of the teacher and in accordance with the professional liberty afforded by their licence, which is granted by the Ministry of Education itself.

In addition, the insert in the DEM document stating that parents will be required to sign a consent form for the release of personal information in order for the DEM to contact the teacher seems to us to be inappropriate. We have therefore advised the DEM that it is likely that many families will refuse to sign such a form. We have also advised them that an evaluation by a teacher in a homeschooling context is a private service, paid for by the family, and that a meeting in the presence of the teacher implies they would have to be paid, and that it is inconceivable that families should be required to pay a professional to answer questions posed by the DEM.

We have made available to members an example of a template that can be modified by the teacher to facilitate their work and help meet the DEM’s requirements. 

As was the case last year, AQED will make available a list of teachers who can perform evaluations of their children starting in April. Please note, however, that each teacher decides on the terms and type of evaluation and that AQED cannot be held responsible for the content and/or consequences of this evaluation, as our role is limited to putting teachers and interested families in touch with each other.

If you have any questions, you can contact AQED support.

In the next few days, the Board of Directors will organize a Zoom meeting to answer questions about the evaluation, so keep an eye on AQED’s members-only Facebook group!