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Assessment in the Primary School
By David Secomb, Primary Years Programme Coordinator

Assessment is an ongoing process of gathering, analysing, reflecting and acting on evidence of student learning. It identifies what students know, understand and can do at different stages in the learning process. The purpose of assessment is to inform learning and teaching. At ISZL, our aim is to develop an ‘assessment capable’ community. This means that everyone has a clear understanding of the reasons for assessment, what is being assessed, the criteria for success, and the methods by which the assessment is made. In so doing, the entire school community is included and valued. This, in turn, can have a powerful effect on the development of knowledge, conceptual understandings and skills.  

The graphic below displays the types of assessment you might typically see in the Primary School at ISZL. The actual amounts of each type may vary across different ages and times of the year, and there may be more than one type of assessment occurring in any given lesson – but this representation is fairly typical of most primary classrooms.

Monitoring learning: Monitoring of learning aims to check the progress of learning against personal learning goals and success criteria. It occurs daily through a variety of strategies: observation, questioning, reflection, discussing learning with peers and teachers, and well-considered feedback to feed forward for next steps in learning. Some tools used for monitoring include open-ended tasks, written or oral assessment, and a learning portfolio.

Documenting learning: The documenting of learning is the compilation of the evidence of learning. Documentation can be physical or digital, and can be displayed or recorded in a variety of media forms. Documentation of learning is shared with others to make learning visible and apparent. It reveals insights into learning and provides opportunities to reconnect with learning goals and success criteria. Documentation tools could include exemplars, checklists, rubrics, anecdotal records, portfolios.

Early Years 2 Teacher Sarah Osborne both monitoring and documenting during Outdoor Learning

Measuring learning: The measuring of learning aims to capture what a student has learned at a particular “point in time”. Not all learning can be, or needs to be, measured – for example, it’s difficult to measure how curious or principled someone is. Measurement tools are used to provide further data to support a larger picture of student achievement and progress in learning. At ISZL examples of these include an assessment at the end of a Unit of Inquiry, or the ISA assessment in Grades 3 and 5 which takes place this week with the results due early in 2019.

Reporting learning: Reporting on learning describes the progress and achievement of the students’ learning, identifies areas for growth and contributes to the efficacy of the program. At ISZL, reporting occurs at regular stages throughout the year in the form of Parent-teacher conferences; Parent-teacher-student conferences; Student-led conferences and also through written reports.

If assessment information is used appropriately, students will learn, teachers will be able to monitor learning, and students will have the opportunity to engage with relevant learning opportunities. Please speak to your child’s teacher if you have any questions relating to the assessment process.

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