A whole school approach to assessment and testing
Firstly, the process of assessment is seen as “gathering information”. Evaluation is the process of reflecting on, or judging, the quality of that data (how well they have done it). From our perspective, assessment is ongoing, authentic and purposeful. Teachers, parents and students are constantly gathering information about what they are learning and what they can do. Evaluation in so far as reflection on what was learnt is important if it is done in a way that supports the child to go further and supports the teacher to plan experiences. Evaluation that is judgmental to the detriment of the child’s self-esteem and learning abilities is not effective.
We believe that assessment and evaluation should
reflect a diversity of learning experiences and styles
be specific to individuals’ learning journeys
be non-comparative and non-competitive (to ensure that learning is not reduced to a base number or statistic – for more see below)
be positive – focused on strengths and abilities
reflect developmental learning, achieved at student’s own pace
connect with well-researched practices in teaching and learning
comply with acceptable standards, benchmarks and outcomes by the end of the 8 years of schooling (prep to year 7)
be communicative (to all stakeholders, including teachers, parents, government departments and most importantly the children themselves)
inform teaching and learning
be integrated into regular classroom experiences
be aligned with the school philosophies of play, choice, exploration and investigation at all levels and age groups across the whole school
Our school offers parent-teacher interviews twice yearly, and collates folios of work samples, continuums, learning progressions, photos and learning stories to document the children's learning and progress. We also are in weekly communication with families via face-to-face, emails, meetings and sharing of progress. We are required to give report cards and offer NAPLAN to students. Many families choose to opt out of these processes, preferring the rich information they receive about their child's development from their interactions with teachers .