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Iris | Learner Profiles

Pedagogical Considerations
September, 2015

Iris Learner Profiles | Table of Contents


Learner Profiles...........................................................................1
Conditions for Success ............................................................................. 2
Current Learning ....................................................................................... 3
Priority Learning Cycles ...................................................................................4

English Language Learning ...................................................................... 8


First Nations, Metis or Inuit Learners ........................................................ 8
Specialized Assessments ......................................................................... 9
Key Understandings.................................................................................. 9
Supports and Services ............................................................................ 10
School History ......................................................................................... 10
Self Undertandings, Goals and Strategies .............................................. 11

Superintendent
Jeannie Everett, Superintendent of Learning

Contributors |
Dianne Roulson, Director

Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Learner Profiles
Within the learner profile, teachers document continually evolving understandings about
each student: the knowledge and skills each learner is developing in relation to the
Program of Studies and/or individualized programming, the conditions under which they
are most successful in learning, the strategies that are effective in scaffolding those
successes and other factors that shape a students particular approach to learning.
Gathered through daily classroom interactions, elements of the student learning plan,
conversations with students and their families, and the interpretation of specialized
assessment reports, learner profile data is key to informing teachers decisions about
assessment and instruction.
As the learner profile is the teachers thinking and working space, ideas may be
recorded differently than they would in a permanent record. Teachers may enter
insights they have gained about a learner, ideas they want to pursue or thoughts
about possible connections between one learning context and another.
Learner profiles are a gathering point for all teachers who work with a student. Working
together, teachers can build common understanding of what the student knows and
can do in a variety of contexts. Multiple perspectives offer new insights about the
conditions, strategies, and supports that contribute to the students success in learning.
Held up alongside the student learning plan, the learner profile may lead to insights
into a students learning priorities and ongoing possibilities for assessment and
instruction. As students transition from grade to grade or from school to school, learning
plans and learner profiles provide the receiving teachers with background information
about the student.
The key components of a learner profile are:

Conditions for Success and related strategies


Current learning
o

Priority Learning Cycles

English Language Learning data


First Nations, Metis and Inuit Learner Data
Specialized assessments
Key understandings
Supports and services
School History
Self Understandings, Goals and Strategies from the Student Learning Plan

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Conditions for Success


The data in this section is entered by teachers.
Conditions for success are the particular considerations intellectual, physical,
social/emotional or cultural that shape the learning experiences of each student.
Identifying the conditions within which students are most likely to experience success in
learning allows teachers to develop specific strategies for various learning contexts.
Insights about conditions for success may come from a variety of sources. Conversations
with families and students, classroom observations, recommendations from specialized
assessments and collaborative work with multiservice teams may be valuable sources
of information.
While conditions for success are likely to be applicable to a wide variety of learning
contexts, effective strategies are more likely to vary from one context to the next. This
can depend on the physical environment, the type of content or the nature of the task,
the types of social interactions involved, and/or other factors. Effective strategies change
over time as students change; it is appropriate to enter ideas for strategies as they evolve,
try them out with the student, keep them in the profile if they work and delete or adapt
them if they do not.
Consider:

When the student is at his or her very best, what are the critical factors at
play? What is the condition that those factors create for this student?

Of all the conditions that might impact student learning, which are most
significant at this time?

What strategies, related to this condition, might work in this particular context?

What has been identified by the student, either through classroom


interactions or through their student learning plan, about what has worked
and what has not?

Is there specialized assessment information on file that recommends specific


strategies?

What insights have parents communicated about conditions for success or


possible strategies?

Are there strategies that are being used by other teachers that might work in this
context as well?

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Current Learning
The data in this section is entered by teachers
Current learning notes capture formative assessment information about individual
students. The format for entering information into these fields can vary from user to
user and from note to note, but the key to an effective learner profile lies in the
quality of the data. There is a great deal of information that may be gathered to
serve a variety of purposes. Data that serves daily instructional decision-making is
descriptive, student-specific, and actionable. Actionable data is information that points
towards next steps in terms of content, process, instructional methods, and
conversations with students or any number of things that are to be negotiated in
making instructional decisions.
Notes may be edited or deleted when they no longer represent the students current
learning. By keeping assessment information current, the learner profile can function
as a reference point for the development of instructional and assessment plans, to
facilitate decisions about student groupings, or to monitor progress over time.
After entering a current learning note, the tagging system allows each note to be
categorized by the Program(s) of Study the assessment information relates to, the K-9
report card outcome that it is assessing, or the area(s) of focus within the Program of
Studies that are most relevant (10-12), as well as any applicable cross-curricular
competencies or CBE Results. While tagging learning notes is not required, doing so
allows for data about individuals or about groups of students to be easily sorted for
prioritized reference.
For more information on assessment please visit:
https://portal.cbe.ab.ca/staffinsite/teaching/assessment/Pages/default.aspx

Consider:

How do we design learning tasks such that the assessment information gathered
relates directly to the outcomes and learning processes identified in the
Programs of Study (both the front matter and the grade-specific learner
expectations), CBE Results and/or other areas of individualized programming?

What kind of assessment information is actionable? What will genuinely


inform decisions about the next content to introduce, misconceptions to
correct, ideas to revisit, learning processes to develop, supports to access or
instructional methods to try?

Is there data that is worth gathering that will facilitate formal documentation
processes (i.e. IPPs, Student Learning Teams, requests for services, reporting,
etc.)?

Is there particular data that needs to be collected school-wide (i.e. to inform


school development planning), or specific to a certain group (i.e. to inform PLC
work)?

Viewing notes authored by other teachers may invite new ways of


understanding and responding t o learners. How could strengths evident in one
context be transferred to another?
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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Priority Learning Cycles


The data in this section is entered by teachers
NEW In the Learner Profile, Priority Learning Cycles are now incorporated into the
Current Learning Section. Priority Learning Cycles will continue to have separate
section within reports.
Each student comes to their learning with a vast array of interests, strengths, needs
and plans for the future. Priority learning cycles invite teachers, in consultation with the
student, parent(s) and members of multiservice teams, where appropriate, to
thoughtfully identify those aspects of learning where targeted attention to cycles of
assessment, instruction and adjustment will most meaningfully impact student
growth. Focused on a s p ec if ic aspect of learning, anchored in curriculum
(Programs of Study, Results and/or other individualized programming) and closely
connected to classroom assessment information, priority learning cycles define the
space within which intentional, recursive adjustments can take place. Learning cycles
trace the intricate paths that teachers and students take together through day-today
learning over the course of weeks, months and sometimes even years.

Consider:

What is most important for this student at this time? For the parent(s)?

What priorities do other teachers or members of a multidisciplinary team


understand for this student?

In terms of broader questions of quality of learning or quality of life, how does


this fit into a bigger picture for this student?

Learning Cycles
Each learning cycle represents a complex process of reflection and action in response to
specific assessment information - exploring where the child is in their learning and where
they might be headed, planning for instruction, and monitoring progress. Each cycle
begins with an examination of evidence gathered through daily learning, and proceeds
through setting learning targets, selecting strategies and documenting ongoing
assessment information.

Consider:

What will yield the most benefit for the student?

How does it reflect a common understanding (student, teachers, parents, other


professionals) of what matters?

Why this and not something else? Why now?

How does this fit into the bigger picture of what matters for this student?

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Current Learning
Each learning cycle begins with assessment information related to the Program of
Studies, CBE Results and/or appropriate individualized programming. Data about what
the student knows and c an do is gathered through classroom learning tasks,
conversations with students and parents, and information from diagnostic or specialized
assessments, where appropriate. Assessment data that informs a learning cycle is
authentic, descriptive, current and actionable.
Teachers begin a learning cycle by creating or selecting a current learning note that
captures the relevant assessment information. Once a Current Learning note has been
created or selected, the cycle can be initiated by clicking the cycle icon below the note.
Consider:

What recent assessment evidence is currently available within current learning?

What makes this piece of assessment information meaningful and actionable?

How does this information fit into a broader assessment picture?

What other assessment information is needed?

How could this information about the student be gathered?


Interpreted?
o

W hat has been observed through the course of daily


learning tasks?

W hat has the student said about their own learning?

What other information is available from parents, previous


teachers or other professionals?

Target
A learning target sets out next steps in learning. It reflects a common understanding
held by the student, teacher and parent(s) (as appropriate) about the instructional focus
that has been determined through classroom assessment. When learning targets are
clear and meaningful, students can take an active role in their learning and can monitor
their own progress. When targets are closely connected to quality assessment
information and reflect a specific focus within the Program(s) of Study and/or appropriate
individualized programming, the teacher can make instructional decisions with the
learning target in mind while responsively adjusting to the most current information.
Often, having a shared understanding of learning targets facilitates meaningful parent
engagement through support with identified strategies and communication with their
child and the teacher(s).

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Consider:

What takes priority at this time?

What is the desired outcome? What would success look like?

How does this target build on the students strengths?

How has the student been involved in setting and understanding the target so that
they can work meaningfully toward it?

How does it fit within a developmental sequence or learning progression?

How does it lead to next learning opportunities?

How does it meaningfully connect to a bigger picture of what matters for this
student?

Strategies
Strategies are approaches to teaching and learning that support students in reaching
learning targets. Within a learning cycle, strategies relate to the specific area of focus.
Strategies related to broader, more universally applicable conditions for success are
documented in that section of the profile, but may also be reflected here in terms of
additional specific actions. Strategies that support growth towards a learning target
may be related to task design, instructional methods, learning processes, content
knowledge or skill development. Ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of learning
strategies leads to responsive adjustments by both teacher and student.
Consider:

In addition to strategies noted in conditions for success, are there specific


approaches that could support the student in reaching this target?

What has been identified by the student, either through classroom interactions or
through their student learning plan, about strategies that have worked in the past
and strategies that haven't?

How do we know that the student understands the strategies?

How have we ensured that barriers have been removed for the strategies to be
implemented?

Is there specialized assessment information on file that recommends specific


approaches?

Are there strategies in use by other teachers that could transfer to this context?
And vice versa?

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Next Steps
Learning cycles reflect the ongoing work of teachers and students. Once the first three
components (assessment, target and strategies) have been entered into the learning
cycle, current assessment data is documented and used to determine the next step to
be taken. The right next step depends on the context -- it might be appropriate to
document the next piece of assessment information, or it might be appropriate to adjust
the target or refine the strategies. Learning cycles trace the paths taken in teaching and
learning. When a natural conclusion to a learning cycle is reached, ongoing
documentation within that cycle is no longer needed. New assessment information can
trigger new cycles at any time.
Consider:

What evidence can be gathered that will most authentically reflect the
learners progress towards and/or the achievement of the learning target?

Did the student achieve the target? Why or why not? What is the next step?

Do the strategies or the target need to be adjusted?

What does the evidence point to in terms of making this adjustment?

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

English Language Learning


The data in this section is drawn from SIRS
Data about English Language Learning typically includes the students home
language, their most recently reported English language proficiency levels and their
most recent ELL report card comment. SIRS data entry determines what is visible in
Iris.
When reviewing this data, consider:

What is significant about this learner, at this time, in this context?

What cultural and academic conditions for success are important areas of focus for
this learner?

What opportunities does the learner have in actively making connections and
developing relationships between their community and classroom environments?

First Nations, Metis or Inuit Learners


The data in this section is drawn from SIRS
This section provides information about students who have self-identified as being First
Nations, Mtis or Inuit learners.
When reviewing this data, consider:

What is significant about this learner, at this time, in this context?

What cultural and academic conditions for success are important areas of focus for
this learner?

What opportunities does the learner have in actively making connections and
developing relationships between their community and classroom environments?

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Specialized Assessments
The data in this section is entered by teachers
When a student has a specialized assessment on file, it can be indicated in the learner
profile. Although the report itself cannot be accessed through Iris, information about the
type of assessment, the date of the report and the name of the assessor can be
documented. Teachers, through conversation with members of the school/student learning
team, and (when appropriate) parent(s), the student or other professionals, undertake the
work of interpreting the report in the context of the students current learning. These
interpretations are then developed into key understandings, conditions for success and
learning strategies.
Consider:

How does my professional knowledge as a teacher, and my understanding of this


student, at this time, in this context, shape my interpretation of the report?

What additional professional learning may be required?

How does information from this assessment relate to what has been observed in
the classroom, what the student has shared about his or her own learning and what
parents have brought to the conversation?

What is most significant to document about this student, at this time, in this
context?

What information would be appropriate to document as a key understanding? A


condition for success? A strategy?

How might it inform a priority learning cycle?

Key Understandings
The data in this section is entered by teachers
There are things to be known and understood about every child. This may include
information about unique strengths and interests, personal and family considerations,
specialized assessment information and a variety of other information. As a school,
decisions may be made about certain types of information that is required for all students,
but generally key understandings will vary in nature from one student to the next.
Consider:

What is significant for this student right now? What is persisting, what is
temporary and what is intermittent?

What has the student and/or the students family identified as significant for them
right now?

How might this key understanding inform conditions for success, strategies or
priority learning cycle?

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Supports and Services


The data in this section is entered by teachers
At the discretion of the student/school learning team, supports and services (both internal
and external) accessed by the student may be documented. Many schools also use this
space to document referrals or applications that are being pursued on behalf of the student.
Consider:

How are these supports and services integrated with, complementary to or


compatible with the students daily learning experiences?

Are there strategies that the student is developing through access to these
supports and services that could be transferred to other learning contexts?

School History
The data in this section is drawn from SIRS
The school history provides information about the schools the student has attended in the
past two years. Additional school history can be accessed through SIRS.
Consider:

Could this students school history be a factor to consider (ie. variations in teaching
methodology, stability, ease of transitions, etc.)?

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Iris Learner Profiles | Pedagogy Considerations

Self Undertandings, Goals and Strategies


This data, entered by the student, is visible in the left sidebar of a learner profile
These insights, composed by the student in their learning plan, populate the learner profile
as well. This contributes to the triangulation of data that informs instructional decisionmaking, ensuring that the student perspective is present throughout our work.
Consider:

See questions on the document titled Student Learning Plans Pedagogical


Considerations

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