ADLC is always examining its education program and its service to school partners to try and provide better service to those who access distance education through ADLC. Here are some changes that have taken place and will be taking place in the school year ahead.

Student Assignment Submissions

What has been ADLC’s practice?

ADLC historically has provided no specific requirements for time or pace of assignment submission, aside from requiring all assignments be submitted and assessed before undertaking final exams.

What changed this school year?

This year we introduced two structures to promote regular student submission: a 90 day non-submitted, in which students must submit an assignment within 90 days of starting a course and a 60 day stall, in which students who have submitted an assignment must submit a subsequent assignment within 60 days.

What is happening next school year (2018-19)?

These time frames introduced this year were made longer than reasonable in order to help implement these structures. Our Administration will be looking at bringing these time frames down to a more realistic set of expectations. A recommendation of 30 day non-submitter and 30 day stall has been brought forward for the new school year.

Why the change?

Research indicates students require some level of structure to help them regulate their learning. In addition, we have noticed a significant number of students bulk submitting entire courses and foregoing the instructional interaction needed to promote effective learning. By setting up a structure essentially requiring monthly submissions for courses, we hope to improve student success in courses by keeping them incrementally moving forward and to improve teacher interventions by ensuring they are able to catch student challenges before they continue to subsequent assessments.

What does this mean for school facilitators?

This structure also ensures schools are aware when students have not started or have stalled in their learning. If a student is withdrawn for non-submission, the school Super User can re-register the student in our Student Information System (SIS) since no work has been submitted that would need to be carried forward. If a student stalls, this requires what SIS calls a “reinstatement” so the student can go back into the same course they were in and recover their work completed to that time; right now reinstatements are processed by our staff but we expect in 2018-19 that school Super Users will also be able to process reinstatements in SIS.

Student Registration Period

What has been ADLC’s practice?

ADLC has historically allowed for open registrations (students can enter a course at any time) and has permitted students one full calendar year from the time of enrollment, with an option to extend for an additional calendar year.

What changed this school year?

There were no changes to this practice this year, except that Grade 1-9 Student Instruction (SI) registrations were closed on May 1 as ADLC data indicated dramatically lower completion rates for students in these grades after May.

What is happening next school year (2018-19)?

ADLC will continue with open registrations (students can enter courses any time) but all courses will have a June 30, 2019 end date. Schools will have the option, if they are able to support their students over the summer months, to extend their students enrolment through July & August. In August, all enrollments for the 2018-19 school year will be closed. ADLC Administration still needs to determine dates to close enrollments (it will make little sense to register a student on June 25 for a June 30 end date) and the window for summer extensions.

Why the change?

ADLC is a co-registration partner with local schools, who retain the legislated duty to oversee a student’s overall education program. Both the local school and ADLC are interdependent for the success of their shared students. In consultation with many school partners, having a common end date that aligns with the school calendar was seen as a structure that would be more understandable to students (you must complete your school education program by the end of the school year) and more manageable by school partners (who can now facilitate all students to a common end date). The flexibility to work into the summer is retained, but only if school supports (eg: local facilitation, exam writing facilities) are in place.

What does this mean for school facilitators?

Aside from the obvious change in facilitation structure, school based facilitators would not see much difference until the end of the school year. Once the date for registration closure is set, schools will need to determine if they want students registered in courses before that date and, if schools want to extend students into the summer, schools will need to determine if they will be able to provide the supports needed for that student. Students who are withdrawn at the end of the school year will be able to be reinstated (see above) into the same course to finish the work they started in the previous school year, but that would only be allowable once as the two year limit on courses will still be in place.

Student Assessment

What has been ADLC’s practice?

Students have been assessed by teams of teachers made up of lead teachers, who oversee the assessment design and overall course content for all students, and markers, who undertake assignment assessment for a portion of the lead teacher’s class list.

What changed this school year?

The Elementary/Junior High and a selection of high school courses went to a one-teacher model in which the lead teacher designs instruction, delivers it (responding to student questions and challenges) and assesses all students in the course.

What is happening next school year (2018-19)?

This one-teacher, single point of contact, is being implemented school wide in all courses.

Why the change?

Research suggests that building deep, meaningful relationships with students at a distance is a factor that can lead to their success. Additionally, the Alberta Teaching Quality Standard (TQS) has expectations for teachers in all dimensions of education. Students who have participated in these one-teacher courses have anecdotally reported greater satisfaction with their experience and greater clarity in understanding their ADLC teacher’s role in their education.

What does this mean for school facilitators?

Like students, school based facilitators will have a single point of contact to discuss, in several dimensions, their students’ progress in a course. Keeping in mind that ADLC teachers will now have capped class lists (the number of students on a class list being influenced by the 2002 Alberta Commission on Learning report) so it is possible in some courses that students in the school may be distributed between a few sections, or classroom teachers if you will, at ADLC. To this point, school based facilitators have echoed student comments on satisfaction and clarity around their points of contact within ADLC.

Student Print Assignments

What has been ADLC’s practice?

Students have submitted print assignments. The print assignments were marked and mailed back to students directly.

What changed this school year?

Nothing. This year, we did have a wide ranging scanning pilot to get more and more schools and students using this process which has gone relatively smooth.

What is happening next school year (2018-19)?

Print assignments that are received at ADLC in Barrhead will be scanned to teachers. These digital versions will be assessed and sent, in digital form, back to students.

Why the change?

ADLC is closing campuses in Lethbridge, Calgary and Edmonton effective the end of summer 2018. This means Barrhead will be the only campus receiving print assessments. Our teachers will be located anywhere from Barrhead, to St. Paul to Calgary to Medicine Hat and the option of having individual pieces of mail scattering province wide is an invitation to lose student items. Digitizing print assignments also speeds up the process to get these assessments to and from teachers.

What does this mean for school facilitators?

School facilitators will not see any difference for submission, but obviously receiving digitally assessed materials in Moodle will be a change for some schools, students and parents. Some students and parents specifically want printed materials back to them and so schools may need to work with parents to print assessed material for them.  Other than that, student results will still appear in SIS so facilitators will see their results in the same way.

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