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Say Goodbye to Marks and Grades...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

By Tim Lougheed, Learning 2030 In-Camera Blogger

Image © WGSI/Carrie Warner

As we get ready to make our way to the theatre downstairs, I thumb-through the Learning 2030 Communiqué – the three-page road-map to 2030 set to be revealed as TV cameras roll as summit participants can present their recommendations.
Among them:

  • in order for high schools to be most useful, students should meet “in fluid groupings dictated by the needs of their projects” effectively eliminating Grades 9 through 12 
  • portfolio work could replace letter-grades as the primary criteria for evaluation
  • teachers would be re-cast as “learning coaches,” helping students delve deep into their own interests rather than imparting knowledge
  • each school would be an autonomous unit, allowed to explore teaching and learning methods that fit best within a school’s local context

Where do we go from here?

We’re minutes away from showcasing the fruits of these rebels, revolutionaries and rebooters’ labour, but before these extraordinary folks trade the summit room for the green room, it’s time to reflect on it all here:
“With the right group of people, just amazing things are possible,” says one participant, a view echoed by others, who are now committed to writing about their experience, or at the very least, sharing it in formal presentations to their colleagues at home.
And for those already accustomed to clearing a high bar for educational quality, the summit revealed new frontiers.

Image © WGSI/Carrie Warner

Taking it to the streets (and schools)

“I’ve learned to recognize and challenge your own preconceptions, even when they’re very deeply held,” says another participant. “I’m taking away a stronger commitment to my dream, which is using education as a force for social change.”
At the same time, there remain enough differences of opinion on specific proposals, such as the use of technology or the way in which students might be assessed, to show how the task of altering systems of learning will continue to be a challenging undertaking.


Since many of the summit participants have direct experience ushering-in significant changes to their own educational circumstances, they are only too aware of how difficult the institutional inertia might be.

Some of them therefore envision a stealthier approach to the whole enterprise…

A covert op for radical change

“I now have a clearer picture of what radical change could be,” concludes one such observer. “It looks like a traditional school from the outside, the bricks and mortar and organization, but it’s radical on the inside.”
Although it quickly became clear during the Summit proceedings that it would be neither practical nor even possible to make predictions about the world of 2030, a key theme dominated many discussions: the growing extent of networking among students, teachers, and educational authorities.
“There are little pieces of the jigsaw puzzle all over the world, and it’s very difficult to work with all the people who can bring them together,” says a Learning 2030 participant, who adds that the volume and depth of such interactions are likely to grow in the future.

Image © WGSI/Sam Saechao

Check out the summit, virtually

As the Learning 2030 delegates make their way down stairs and elevators to the aptly-named Mike Lazaridis Theatre of Ideas , their words and actions will be chronicled live by the crew here from TVO.
As the studio lights come up and the cameras roll, here’s a look at how you can have a look back at the events of the last five days:

Video of Learning 2030 summit Opening, daily discussions, and Closing Ceremony

Video archive of TVOntario’s The Agenda, LIVE from Learning 2030

Text recaps from the behind-closed-door in-camera sessions of Learning 2030

Learning 2030 Communiqué