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Assessment for Learning
Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions

Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions are part of a curriculum process which helps teachers to plan the courses they teach.  The Bluewater DSB secondary school curriculum leaders responsible for specific disciplines and courses in Bluewater have examined the Ontario Curriculum expectations for their discipline and have reached consensus on the Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions for a particular course.  This is a work in progress since more courses are yet to be examined to determine the Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions.

What is an Enduring Understanding?
Enduring Understandings are the big ideas that give importance and meaning to a set of curriculum expectations.
  • They can transfer to other topics, disciplines and adult life.
  • They reside in the heart of the curriculum.
  • They drive the planning and assessment process for teachers.
  • They are described in a personal and relevant context from the point of view of the student.

What are Essential Questions?
Essential Questions are written to foster understandings and allow students to apply their learning.
  • They have no simple "right" answer.
  • They are meant to be argued.
  • They are designed to provoke and sustain student inquiry, while focusing learning and final performances.
  • They often address the conceptual or philosophical foundations of a discipline.
  • They raise other important questions.
  • They naturally and appropriately recur.
  • They stimulate vital, ongoing rethinking of big ideas, assumptions and prior lessons.

Below is a summary list of courses which Bluewater DSB curriculum leaders have developed to date:

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