SPUR Assessment Process
The CRTC started the Student Performance upon Understanding Review (SPUR) process in 2008/09. It’s an original system developed and revised by our staff. SPUR – its tactics and its philosophies – function as the foundation of the CRTC’s assessment and, to some degree, is our operating model. Assessment drives what we do and binds us together to get there.
Our design is quite simple: Being successful in the CRTC must correlate to being successful in the working world. Since our function is to prepare you for all aspects of your chosen career pathway, our reporting system is different from what you may be accustomed to because our expectations are different.
How It Works
The SPUR should be seen as a combination of a job performance review (more so) and a school report card. The SPUR process takes place four times per year. The process involves you doing a self-evaluation of your work and then sitting down and discussing your performance in a private meeting with your teacher.
The focus of this meeting is a structured assessment of your performance on competencies and soft skills related to your program. Competencies are the big understandings and technical skills required for a specific career. Soft skills are the personal and interpersonal qualities such as professionalism, ambition, leadership, integrity and perseverance valued by employers.
To prepare for this evaluation, you and your teacher will be recording, reviewing, and gathering evidence throughout the term. Your data will be stored in your CRTC Evidence Portfolio (which is online in most cases). The SPUR conversation is very scripted (teachers prompt and students talk), and performance ratings upon all active hard and soft skills are negotiated, established, and recorded. Prior goals are reviewed and new goals are established.
Rubrics Set The Course
Criteria is a huge element of the SPUR process. All competencies and soft skills have related requirements and procedures, or “rubrics.” The language in these rubrics is not set in stone, however. One technique we use to promote better understanding of course requirements involves students rewriting the rubrics (with their teacher’s collaboration) to put them into their own words. Rubrics are the guidelines used to structure teacher and student expectations during SPUR meetings. They are critical to the success of this process, and an area of perennial focus for our professional development.
The CRTC started Rolling Grades in September, 2014. This model reflects a more competency-based approach. Because of the learning curve involved in developing new technical and workplace skills, a Rolling Grade system is used to ensure that the student’s final grades reflect only their most recent competency ratings. In essence, each quarterly report is more like a progress report. Thus students can evolve from Q2 to Q3, and leave their previous rating behind. Additional information can be found at the FAQ link provided below.
Semester and final grades are a result of shop and classroom performance ratings as determined through the SPUR meeting with instructors. All assessment data is compiled in a database. Current and historical assessment data are maintained and presented graphically in a quarterly report and in ad hoc reports as needed.
The SPUR process was designed to reflect a mix of industry and postsecondary values. We sought feedback from all of our industry partners during development as well as for each incremental improvement. Thus, SPUR closely reflects the assessment process students will face in the workplace.
Additional Information on the CRTC SPUR Process
- Professional Skills Rubric
- Conversion Table 19/20
- National CTE Article on SPUR Process by Director Steve Rothenberg
- Sample SPUR Quarter Reports (Feb 2015)
- SPUR and Rolling Grades FAQ (Feb 2015)
- Video: SPUR Conferences in Action
- Video: Instructor and Students Talk about the SPUR Process
- SPUR Improvement Plan (sample document to show it evolution)
- SPUR presentation links
- Mindsets, by Dr. Carol Dweck
- Assessment for Learning, by Dr. Anne Davies
- Fierce Conversations, by Susan Scott
- Teacher Evaluation Rubrics, by Kim Marshall
- Embedded Formative Assessment – Dylan Wiliam
- Bob Marzano, Tom Guskey