The Manitoba government is investing more than $1.6 million to expand access to early years evaluations and digital assessment tools in English and French for educators and clinicians across the province, to support early identification of learning needs, Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced today.
“Our government knows how important it is for educators and clinicians to be able to identify learning needs early on, especially to support literacy instruction and intervention,” said Ewasko. “These new resources will provide teachers and clinicians with equitable access to early identification tools, specialized assessments and interventions to identify student learning needs, and develop supports and programming to improve outcomes.”
Based on consultations with school division superintendents and a review of current early years assessment tools used in the province, the Manitoba government is investing $1 million in partnership with The Learning Bar to implement the Early Years Evaluation assessment tool for three school years in school divisions that have indicated interest in participating, beginning in 2023-24.
“Frontier School Division has been using the Early Years Evaluation for years, which we have found to help meet the learning needs of each child,” said Reg Klassen, chief superintendent, Frontier School Division. “The results from the evaluation find that our teachers are designing and implementing better interventions for our kindergarten children and improving their scores in the areas that are leading indicators of reading achievement.”
The minister noted more than one third of school divisions in Manitoba currently use the Early Years Evaluation to assess children’s development and learning needs in kindergarten, with many other divisions indicating they would like to implement the tool. The Early Years Evaluation a provides teachers with student specific data to address in-year learning needs of students and inform school-level planning with a focus on supporting early literacy skills and healthy childhood development.
The Manitoba government will evaluate the data collected from the assessments to inform provincial policy decisions and assess the impact of this initiative in school divisions that are implementing the tool. Following the three-year contract, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Learning may consider provincewide implementation.
The Manitoba government is also investing more than $600,000 in partnership with Pearson Clinical Assessment’s Digital Assessment Library, providing equitable access for school divisions and supporting the early identification of student learning needs. The resource includes an interactive assessment component and a scoring component, and offers more than 40 resources and assessment tools from classroom to clinical settings.
“The opportunity to expand and access more assessment tools and resources is pivotal in supporting all students in their learning and well-being. Now, clinicians, resource teachers and all teachers across Manitoba will have the opportunity to expand and strengthen assessment practices and explore new opportunities to serve all students,” said Bonnie Slimmon Kiliwnik, president, Student Services Administrators’ Association of Manitoba. “This financial investment will allow school divisions to redirect funds to other areas to support student learning. This advancement will undoubtedly lead to better outcomes for Manitoba students.”
With this new funding, school divisions who previously purchased their own early years assessments and digital subscriptions can redirect funding back to classrooms to respond to additional student needs.
“Investing in access to this digital library on behalf of school divisions will enable them to give up their licences and use that funding for front-line educational services,” said Ewasko. “This builds on our record-setting investment in education this year, and the provision of an operating funding increase to each and every school division across the province.”
Pearson Clinical Assessment is increasing the digitization of their assessment tools and makes updated versions of materials available immediately upon revision. The digital assessment library materials can be downloaded before use to ensure access in areas with limited internet service, the minister said.
To read Manitoba’s K to 12 Education Action Plan, and learn more about expanded access to the Early Years Evaluation and Pearson Clinical Assessment’s digital assessment library, visit https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/action_plan/index.html.
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