An EDI video outlines the importance of early years development. Image, EDI Offord Centre video

An EDI video outlines the importance of early years development. Image, EDI Offord Centre video

Comox Valley district adds to arsenal of school assessment tools

Latest assessment interviews Grade 11 students on a number of topics

School District is adding to its tools in terms of assessing how students and the district, itself, are doing.

Assistant superintendent Geoff Manning outlined the district’s current and new assessment programs for trustees at the December board of education meeting.

“For the past many years, you may have heard of EDI,” he told the board.

The early development instrument (EDI) has been used to assess young children entering the school system.

It is a questionnaire for kindergarten teachers and asks them to assess children’s “vulnerability” according to key areas such as physical health and well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive development, and communications and general knowledge.

“We’ve been running that questionnaire for many, many years now,” he said.

The data help determine which children might be “at risk” of falling behind in the school system, especially during their early years.

More recently, the district added another tool, the MDI, which looks at the middle years for development. It is set up for students from grades 4 to 8 who receive a questionnaire.

It asks them about their social-emotional development, their connectedness, their school experiences, their physical health and well-being and use of after-school time.

All schools are conducting the MDI assessment this year with Grade 5 students, Manning said.

Added to the mix is a new tool for older students.

“Brand new is the youth development instrument that we’re doing for the first time,” he said. “It targets Grade 11 students.”

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The YDI looks at their social and emotional learning, social well-being, learning environment and engagement, physical and mental well-being and “an area that’s called Navigating the World.”

Again, the students are asked questions around these topics.

“It’s going to be happening in the new year, both the MDI and the YDI,” Manning said.

The information will give the school district results on a school-wide basis to assess how are kids are doing and see how they feel about their school and the education they are receiving. The information can potentially point to gaps for the district to address.

“We’re really excited to be doing this for the first time,” Manning said. “We’ll be covered right from K right through Grade 11.”

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School District 71