Skip to main content
Donald A. Wilson Secondary School
Assessment Policies

In May 2010, the Ministry of Education released the document entitled "Growing Success". The "Growing Success" document sets policy and recommends practice in regard to assessing student work to inform teaching practice, evaluating student work and reporting on student progress.  The purpose of the "Growing Success" document is to promote fair, transparent, and equitable assessment, evaluation, and reporting practices in Ontario schools with the aim of maintaining high standards, improving student learning, and benefiting students, parents and teachers. The changes outlined in the "Growing Success" document are intended to lead to more consistent assessment, evaluation and grading practices. The Durham District School Board has set out regulations adn standards for quality in the assessment, evaluation and reporting of student achievement that aligns with "Growing Success".


Statement of Purpose

The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to improve student learning.


Assessment And Evaluation Practices

Assessment and evaluation are based on the provincial curriculum expectations, known as content standards, and the achievement levels, known as performance standards. Marks/grades should reflect only a student’s achievement relative to the curriculum expectations.

Successful assessment and evaluation policies and practices are contingent on a "partnership among and the shared responsiblility" of the school, students, and the parents/guardians. Parents will receive feedback regarding school, board wide and provincial student achievement, and the methods of assessment, evaluation and reporting.


Full Disclosure

All students taking grade 11 and 12 courses will be subject to a Full Disclosure policy. If a student is in a course five school days after the midterm-reporting period the course will appear on the transcript, even if it is dropped. Colleges and Universities use this information for making admission and scholarship decisions.



The percentage grade represents the quality of the student’s overall achievement of the expectations for the course and reflects the corresponding level of achievement as described in the achievement chart for the discipline. Achievement charts are organized into four broad categories:   Knowledge/Understanding, Thinking/Inquiry, Communication, and Application/Making Connections. Weighting of categories will vary slightly to reflect the nature of the discipline and subject, consistent with Board and Provincial policies.

Final Grade: Seventy percent of the grade for all courses will be based on evaluations throughout the course. Thirty percent of the grade for all courses will be based on final evaluation tasks administered towards the end of the course.


Learning Skills And Work Habits

In addition to course expectations, students are to demonstrate learning skills and work habits in each of their courses. Teachers assess student progress in six learning skills and work habits: Responsibility, Organization, Independent Work, Collaboration, Initiative, and Self-Regulation. Learning skills and Work Habits are not part of the student’s marks, except in specific cases where they are embedded as a curriculum expectation. Learning skills and Work Habits are reported on the Provincial Report Card separately from the achievement of course expectations.



Teachers will provide students with a course outline during the first week of classes. It is the student’s responsibility to share this information with their parents. The course outline will include information on assessment and evaluation. Teachers report student achievement through a variety of formal and informal reporting methods such as, the Provincial Report Card, interviews, conferences, phone calls, mark updates and letters to parents. The school will host a formal parent-teachers’ conference session each semester.


Assignment/Test Evaluation

In order for teachers to evaluate the achievement of curriculum expectations, a number of assessment and evaluation opportunities are provided and must be completed by students. Assessment refers to informal or formal tasks about which students receive descriptive feedback in order to succeed on evaluations. Evaluation refers to the judgement of students work.


Late And Missed Assignments

The Durham District School Board has set out regulations on late and missed assignements for implementation at the school level.

It is the teacher's responsibility to post assignments and due dates. It is the responsibility of the student to seek assistance from the subject teacher when he/she is unable to complete the assignment(s) on time. Where possible this should be done in advance.

Deadlines are critical to the learning process as they: impact on the student’s ability to absorb new classroom material and/or understand course expectations (ultimately affecting the student’s credit); are part of normal workplace life; are a reasonable workload management strategy for students and teachers; bring closure to the unit of work; and allow the class to move forward in the curriculum and address other expectations.

Students are responsible not only for their behaviour in the classroom and the school but also for providing evidence of their achievement of the overall expectations within the time frame specified by the teacher, and in a form approved by the teacher. Students must understand that there will be consequences for not completing assignments for evaluation or for submitting those assignments late. Where in the teacher’s professional judgment it is appropriate to do so, a number of strategies can be used to help prevent and/or address late and missed assignments. Students must negotiate with their teacher when submitting late and missed assignments.

Where in the teacher’s professional judgment it is appropriate to do so, a number of strategies may be used to help prevent and/or address late and missed assignments.

These progressive strategies include:

  • asking the student to clarify the reason for not completing the assignment;

  • helping students develop better time-management skills;

  • planning for major assignments to be completed in stages, so that students are less likely to be faced with an all-or-nothing situation at the last minute;

  • maintaining ongoing communication with students and/or parents about due dates and late assignments, and scheduling conferences with parents if the problem persists;

  • referring the student to the Student Success team or teacher;

  • taking into consideration legitimate reasons for missed deadlines;

  • setting up a student contract;

  • using counselling or peer tutoring to try to deal positively with problems;

  • holding teacher-student conferences;

  • reviewing the need for extra support for English language learners;

  • reviewing whether students require special education services;

  • requiring the student to work with a school team to complete the assignment;

  • providing alternative assignments or tests/exams where, in the teacher’s professional judgment, it is reasonable and appropriate to do so;

  • deducting marks for late assignments.

It is expected that teachers and school teams will use a variety of strategies, as described above, to ensure that students submit their assignments for evaluation and meet timelines. Late and missed assignments for evaluation will also be noted on the report card as part of the evaluation of a student’s learning skills and work habits. When appropriate, a student’s tendency to be late in submitting, or to fail to submit, other assignments (including homework) may also be noted on the report card as part of the evaluation of the student’s learning skills and work habits.

Some deadlines are negotiated; some are absolute. A parental and/or doctor note may be requested as part of the negotiation process. If a student chooses not to submit/complete work either on a negotiated or absolute deadline then that work may not be assessed or evaluated. In those cases, the student may receive a mark of zero or it may be deemed incomplete. 

For Grades 9 and 10, the code "I" (incomplete) may be given as a mark to indicate that insufficient evidence is available to determine a percentage mark and the credit may be in jeopardy.


It is the responsibility of the teacher to inform the students in advance of test dates. Major test dates are to be posted three school days in advance. It is the student‟s responsibility to know test dates, to prepare, and to write the test on the set date. If a test is missed due to illness, or other legitimate reasons, it is the responsibility of the student to provide a note from parent and/or doctor to the teacher indicating the reason for the absence and the awareness that a test was missed. There are times when previously approved commitments conflict with scheduled tests i.e: co-curricular activities. It is the responsibility of the student to make alternate test date arrangements prior to the test with the subject teacher. A student will receive a consequence if he/she skips the class on the day the test was administered. 


Final Course Evaluations/Examinations

Final course evaluations are compulsory. Students absent from final evaluations and/or examinations may receive a grade of zero or incomplete, as there would have insufficient evidence to base a mark/grade. There will be only one set of formal examinations in each semester. These examinations are 1-2 hours in length. Since examinations may represent up to 30% of a student’s final mark, all students are expected to write examinations.


Absence From Examination

If a student is absent for an examination, they must prove that the absence was unavoidable. In the case of illness a doctor's statement is required stating medically unfit for exams. If necessary, the school will arrange alternate examinations for illness or family tragedy. In the case where the absence is deemed to be invalid, the exam mark shall be zero and incomplete. The report mark shall reflect its impact and the credit jeopardized.


Family Vacation

Examinations are clearly marked on the school calendar. Students are expected to write exams during these time periods. Alternate exam settings will not be arranged to accommodate family vacations, employment or other personal activities – the exceptions noted above. The school calendar is posted on the school website.

Suspension And Missed Assignments/Tests

It is the responsibility of the student to request alternate arrangements for missed tests or assignments, prior to the student’s return to school. It is the responsibility of the teacher, based on individual student circumstances, to accommodate these requests.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is expected from all students.



Cheating and plagiarism are serious concerns. Plagiarism and/or cheating may result in a mark of zero or incomplete. Donald A. Wilson Secondary School has set out clear guidelines which outline student expectations to prevent adademic dishonesty. Students are expected to be honest and commit to academic integrity.

Plagiarism is defined as the use of the thoughts or ideas of someone else by a student without crediting the source. If you use part or all of any other person's book, essay, magazine article, chart drawing, diagram or any other piece of work in any of your assignments without proper acknowledgement, you are plagiarizing. Even with proper accreditation information must be paraphrased and reworded. Direct quotations should be used sparingly and must appear within quotation marks. If you submit an assignment written by anyone else (e.g., a relative, friend, fellow student) or if you buy an essay or present information taken from the Internet as your own, you are plagiarizing. Plagiarized assignments may be given a mark of zero or incomplete and parents notified. In the case of cheating, the student may receive a mark of zero or incomplete for the test or examination and parents will be notified.

Plagiarism policies will reflect the following four factors: the grade level of the student, the maturity of the student, the number and frequency of incidents and the individual circumstances of the student. A record of the cheating/plagiarism incident will be forwarded to school administration for record keeping and possible additional progressive discipline.


Honour Achievement

Full time, secondary school students have the opportunity to earn a Durham District School Board Honour Roll Certificate in each of Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. A secondary school student will have earned a Durham District School Board Honour Roll Certificate in their grade from July to June if they have achieved the following: 

  • Grade 9:  An aggregate of at least 640 marks in their highest achieving eight credits earned

  • Grade 10:  An aggregate of at least 640 marks in their highest achieving eight credits earned

  • Grade 11:  An aggregate of at least 640 marks in their highest achieving eight credits earned

  • Grade 12:  An aggregate of at least 480 marks in their highest achieving six credits earned


Note: Secondary school students excused from full-time attendance on compassionate grounds (Education Act, Reg: 374/10), Grades 9-12, will be considered for a Durham District School Board Honour Roll Certificate at the principal's discretion.