Three main types of assessment can be seen at work in the Primary School:
This form of assessment provides teachers with information concerning students' prior knowledge before the start of a new topic. This kind of assessment is usually informal and can involve several activities such as a class discussion, a think-aloud exercise or graphic organizers (visual representation of thoughts or knowledge). This form of assessment is essential during the beginning of the learning process: it provides teachers with the information necessary to determine the entry level into a new topic.
This is an integral part of daily teaching and learning. Teachers continually monitor and assess the students to determine what knowledge has been acquired at a given point in the learning process. In this way, they can better plan the next stage of learning. Formative assessment and teaching are directly linked; neither can function effectively and purposefully without the other.
This happens at the end of a teaching and learning block and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned. Summative assessments come in many forms: traditional quizzes, projects, reports, rubrics, peer and self reviews, presentations and performances that allow students to demonstrate the cognitive, physical, artistic, social or ethical skill that they have acquired.
Assessment is a permanent and important part of school life and is carried out by both teachers and students throughout the year. Progress is monitored and reported in different ways; through student-led conferences, written progress reports, portfolios and formal and informal meetings. (Refer also to the section on Reporting Student Progress.)
This school year, the Primary School will provide students with an assessment developed by the University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), the same organization that has developed the school’s English, Mathematics and Science curriculum. (See the section on The Curriculum.) The Checkpoint will be externally scored by CIE, providing feedback on student learning against an external international benchmark for learner performance.
This assessment will provide useful information concerning both the teaching and learning at LIS. It will not only provide parents, students and teachers with an indication of academic progress, but it will also highlight areas within the curriculum that may need modification.
The Cambridge Primary Checkpoint is designed to be administered at the end of a student’s primary education; therefore we foresee providing Checkpoint to students in Grade Five.
To find out more about the Cambridge Primary Checkpoint please visit www.cie.org.uk/qualifications/academic/primary/primarycheckpoint
In February, students in Grades Three, Four and Five in the Primary School participate in the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA). Developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research, the ISA is designed specifically for international schools.
The ISA assesses students in the three learning areas of Mathematical Literacy, Reading and Writing, using pencil and paper tests designed for these grades. The school provides these assessments to its students not for the purposes of grading students in their performance at LIS, but to determine how well our students are learning in comparison to other international schools. We also look at the results of the assessment in order to make the necessary modifications to our curriculum so that our students become even more successful.
Parents whose children participate in the ISA receive a full report that includes the results of the assessment. The results of the ISA should be considered in the context of other information about the student’s achievement provided by teachers and the school. To find more information about the ISA program please visit www.acer.edu.au/isa.
Classroom teachers, as well as EAL (English as an Additional Language) and GAL (German as an Additional Language) teachers, monitor student language development closely using the LIS Language Continuum. In the case of students in the regular classroom, or those students participating in EAL, the language development being monitored will be English while in GAL it will be German.
The Language Continuum has been developed by LIS staff and consists of measurable stages of language development following, among others, the Common European Framework. The Continuum measures the stage of a child’s language development within each of the four language strands or listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each strand has a set of skill indicators that determines which developmental stage of language a student has reached.
Teachers use the Continuum as a tool to record what he/she has observed in terms of a student’s language development during the course of the regular school day. In other words, the Continuum is not meant to be used as a formal pencil and paper test, but as a tool that assists in measuring the natural progress of language development through teacher observation that will, in turn, help direct the teaching process.
Portfolios are part of a process wherein students are active participants in their own learning. Portfolios are a means whereby parents are provided with information about their child’s progress during the Primary School grades. Together with the Student Led Conference it is vital to the process of student-centred-learning.
Portfolios are a rich and meaningful way of documenting your child’s progress as a learner across the range of subject areas as well as personal skills. They also provide the opportunity for the student to reflect on their learning and for parents and teachers to engage in a dialogue with students about their learning. A student’s portfolio is a book, or file, containing evidence of student learning through the inclusion of work samples, student self-assessments, peer assessments, student reflections on their learning, goal setting and goal reviews.
Your child’s portfolio will be taken home after the Student Led Conference at the end of Term Two. At the end of Term Three, it will be taken home again, but returned for the start of the next academic year as a valuable resource for your child’s next teacher. The times that your child brings their portfolio home provide you with opportunities to demonstrate your appreciation of your child’s efforts.
The Student-Led-Conference is integral to the process of using a portfolio as a means of assessment. The Conference provides a means for your child to share and discuss their learning progress, goals and other achievements with you. It is an opportunity for your child to demonstrate that they are capable of being self-directed in terms of setting goals that they wish to achieve and to reflect on their successes and identify areas that they need to work on.
Primary School Principal
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