Assessments in the Primary Department
As we have been working on our end of year assessments this week, we felt it was an ideal time to explain in more depth how we assess and monitor children’s progress in the primary department.
There are two types of assessment: formative and summative.
Formative assessments are the day-to-day opportunities that teachers take to measure the learning that is taking place. They are the most important in determining next steps for individuals and groups and will directly inform the teaching that will take place. At all times, teachers are listening, discussing and observing work to continually gauge an individual’s understanding of the concepts being covered and skills being practised. This is the time to evaluate and develop understanding DURING the learning process. The purpose is to maximise the opportunities for learning that is taking place in the here and now. This approach is hands on and purposeful and will give teachers a clear and realistic picture of progress.
Examples of formative assessments include:
- asking students to draw a concept map to represent their understanding of a topic
- whole class questioning using ‘show-me boards’ during teacher-led discussion/input
- questioning students about their work while they are completing it
Summative assessments are used to evaluate in a much more clinical way what has actually been learnt. This is the time to evaluate and develop understanding AFTER the learning process. This is achieved by assessments that should not be prepared for, and are designed to show what is remembered and can be applied in given scenarios. At Mougins British International School these assessments are benchmarked against the British curriculum to give a clear indication of the overall progress of each child.
Best learning opportunities
Both types of assessment are crucial and we use these to constantly direct professional conversations about the teaching and learning within the department. We are currently working on a feedback policy which will enable us to share with children and parents the progress that is being made. This will allow us to work together to provide the very best learning opportunities.
In the Primary department, assessments are not to be feared or seen as a time of pressure where children should be forced to prepare. Rather, assessments should be seen as regular and normal opportunities to determine how best to move forward and maximise growth.