Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
District 13 Durham

Professional Judgement & Growing Success

Teachers’ professional judgements are at the heart of effective assessment, evaluation, and reporting of student achievement.

(Growing Success, page 8)

If you are questioned regarding your ability to exercise your Professional Judgement as a classroom teacher, you are advised to consult your Union representative.

Additionally, please consult our Understanding Professional Judgement document for further clarification.


The following examples ARE matters of Professional Judgement (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • choosing the order and emphasis of specific expectations when delivering the curriculum
  • identifying the instructional strategies to deliver the curriculum
  • determining the format and content of your lesson plans
  • selecting methods for differentiating instruction and assessments for students
  • deciding what resources are used to support the curriculum and outcomes and whether or not to use ministry approved textbooks
  • choosing the frequency, timing, methods and types of assessment and evaluation used to measure student learning
  • determining the method and frequency for providing feedback to students
  • determining the method and frequency of communication with parents and students beyond the requirements under the Education Act and its regulations
  • determining the format and content of lesson plans/information for occasional  teachers
  • deciding what format to use and the content of lessons for absent/ suspended  students
  • choosing what input you provide into the development of IEPs and safety plans
  • determining the information included in a teacher’s Annual Learning Plan
  • choosing to participate in PD outside of the school day/year.


For examples of what ARE NOT a matter of Professional Judgement but ARE examples of Professional Duty and/or Responsibility, please visit the Provincial website for the full document.

Growing Success

The “Growing Success” document is an attempt by the Ministry of Education to update, clarify, coordinate and consolidate assessment, evaluation and reporting policy.  Below are some key highlights from the document:

  • Students “are responsible for providing evidence of their learning within established timelines, and that there are consequences for cheating, plagiarizing, not completing work, and submitting work late.”
  • Late and missed assignments: There are 17 strategies that teachers COULD use if it is in their professional judgement to do so including, “deducting marks for late assignments, up to and including the full value of the assignment.” 
  • References to the professional judgement of teachers are woven throughout the document.  This judgement is “at the heart of effective assessment, evaluation, and reporting of student achievement”.  Boards and schools may not limit this judgement.
  • The use of “I” in grades 9 and 10 – Credit not earned and these students may be considered for credit recovery.  The determination to use an “I” is a TEACHER’S choice and does NOT need to be “requested”.
  • Boards may not have policies that prevent teachers from using personalized comments on report cards.
  • There is NO mention of the number of comments that must appear on the report card, only that teachers should provide strengths and next steps for improvement.
  • Assessment of learning and assessment as learning are not “graded”.  Homework may be assessed but not evaluated, meaning it will be reflected in the learning skills and not the numeric grade of the student.
  • Group projects may be included as evidence of student achievement for evaluation if, and only if, “each student’s work within the group project is evaluated independently and assigned an individual mark, as opposed to a common group mark.”
  • It is up to the teacher to choose which of the specific expectations should be used for evaluation and which are accounted for in instruction and assessment.
The “lower limit” of the range of percentage marks below 50 per cent that teachers may record on the report cards of students in grades 9 to 12 is 10% on a midterm and zero on a final report card.

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