Academic Insights: Academic Support helping students prepare for final term and end-of-year assessments

Peer to Peer Academic Support members

It has been an exciting return to spring at TCS with sports tryouts; full-school chapel, impromptu Frisbee and football hangouts on the terraces, the anticipation of school-wide community events like TCS’s birthday, and the anticipation of an in-person Speech Day.

With spring term well underway, so too are the thoughts of culminating tasks for courses and end-of-year assessments in the Senior School. Some students have already started working through summative projects and tasks for various credits and many students are anticipating their first round of final assessments which commence during the Focus Cycle (May 24th-June 3rd) and continue through the Exam Period (June 6th-15th). Given the disruption in student learning and compassionate grading and assessment over the past two years, the thought of summative assessments may generate concern for some students. TCS faculty are well-positioned to respond to the needs of students given the impacts of the pandemic, and proactive planning for supporting students in preparing for end-of-year assessments has begun.

Dr. Nihara Krause, a clinical psychologist writing for the Oxford Education Blog, acknowledges that “assessment must continue to be flexible, representative of student ability and inclusive” (February 8, 2022). Our teachers will continue to design final summatives and exams that include a range of assessment modes. In some classes, students may have a formal written exam, and in others presentations, discussions, interviews, personal reflections, oral responses, and the like. In May, teachers will “pin” end-of-year summative information for each course as a note in Edsby.

While students are always encouraged to work closely with their teachers in preparation for final assessments, advisors also offer valuable support and encouragement to students. During advisor group meetings on Tuesday, April 26th, advisors will be introducing students to a helpful planning tool developed by Academic Support: Final Summative & Assessments Calendar 2022. Students are encouraged to utilize these resources to scaffold organization and back-planning for the final weeks of the school year. There are many tips that can make the end of the year and culminating tasks feel smoother – and advisors will be reviewing these Tips for June Final Assessment Prep! in group meetings.

Teachers will support students in their individual classes and learning support and review sessions will be scheduled methodically in each course prior to a final summative task or exam. Through the remaining weeks of May, targeted sessions will be available to students to provide collaborative peer and faculty-supported opportunities to prepare for end-of-year assessments. Our goal is to foster student autonomy and wellbeing as we encourage student investment in “finishing their courses well.” Grade 9 & 10 students will attend a session on May 12th focused on “Study Notes and Organization” with a follow-up seminar covering “Balance and Study Skills” on May 26th.

Through the student leadership of Danie Green, Aiya Hyslop-Healy, Isolde Ardies, Frederique Savard, Chloe Kim, Harry Wang, and Yixin Xiang, more than 50 TCS students have volunteered to provide subject and study support to their peers in Grades 9 through 12 this year. Price Academic Support Centre faculty will be working closely with the Peer to Peer Academic Support team to provide drop-in sessions throughout May to support Grade 11 and 12 students in their end-of-year assessment preparation. Peer Study Sessions will also be launched for students in all grades through May as additional support for collaborative study.

If you have any questions or would like to know how to help your child in preparation for end-of-year assessments, please do not hesitate to contact the Director of Academic Support, Ally O’Grady (aogrady@tcs.on.ca, 905-885-3217 ext. 1255).

- By Ms. Ally O’Grady, director of academic support