Over reading break, I was able to meet with an administrator at School District 20 Kootenay-Columbia to discuss Freshgrade and online portfolios and how they are making their way into our education system. We had a great conversation on if she believes that online portfolios will become the new report cards and she believes they will as SD 20 has already been converting to using online portfolios. However, they don’t use Freshgrade they use another platform called My Blueprint. This is another online portfolio that she has said they’ve had some push back from teachers but overall, it has been working really well. From an administrators point of view online portfolios are great because it shows growth rather than 3 check-in points over the course of the year. We also discussed the change in grading and assessment. She informed me that there are now no letter grades from K-9 which I think is a great transition away from students being focused on grades rather than comprehension. We then took a look at the new grading scale that is being used in Vancouver and how the new titles to represent 1, 2, 3 and 4 are not fully meeting, etc. rather using language like beginning, developing, etc. which allows students to not focus on the “grade” they recieve. This plays into using Freshgrade and seeing continuous progress over the year. I also wanted to bring up the question on if parents don’t have access to technology how would they could access their children’s grades. She then told me how they have had 4 parents that don’t have technology at home, one had a phone and could access them through the app, two used the computers from the local library and one came into the school to view their child’s grades. Another benefit of Freshgrade is that all information is protected within our country, so parents and students don’t need to worry about having their information being accessed.
Overall, being able to talk to an administrator about the change in assessment moving to online was extremely beneficial to hear her thoughts on where we were moving with it. She says by the time we are in schools, online portfolios will be in full use. This is why it is so great to be learning this tool right now and become comfortable with it.