How assessment works
Our assessment processes have integrity yet they are not our focus. Our prime objective is inspiring students, not measuring them.
Purposes of Assessment
EtonHouse Kazakhstan International School believes that school assessment is done for three reasons:
- so teachers can discover what the students already know, and therefore what they need to know next (FORMATIVE or assessment for learning)
- so that teachers can discover if what they have been teaching has become part of the students’ knowledge/skills base (SUMMATIVE or assessment of learning, and assessment of teaching in some instances).
- so that students know what they need to do next to improve their understandings and skills.
There is also the most important type – on-going and continual assessment which is what teachers all use every day to do their jobs – if a child is having difficulty with something, they help; and if a child is finding something easy, they challenge; if the majority of students is finding a planned lesson too hard or too easy, teachers abandon that exact plan and innovate.
Methods of Assessment
Assessment at EtonHouse Kazakhstan International School can take many forms – conversation, tests, tasks with criteria sheets, observation, projects/tasks etc., not all of which can be marked or graded. The most important assessment is the continual one which cannot be marked, but is the most used. The assessment method depends on the purpose. Assessment is the collecting of evidence about a student’s learning.
At any time during a lesson teachers can ask the students to answer a question, orally or in writing; or they will simply notice in written work that students have achieved a certain level of understanding. If these moments are specific, such as number facts, history dates, spelling words etc, that information can be recorded in a mark book. Alternatively, keeping anecdotal records is a valuable way to record information about each student, and they are helpful when writing reports.
Grades/marking of work in exercise books is done to inform the student of their progress and as a form of assessment. There should be comments (or at least ticks) by every piece of written work – sometimes with a sticker – but there is no need for numbers or A-E for each piece of work. In these books there should be a number of mistakes visible and obvious, preferably with corrections done or at least discussed. People all learn well by making mistakes. Children are to be encouraged to attempt responses and written work in their books and to be allowed to make some errors without censure.
Correcting these errors with the child is helping that child to learn. It also gives them a point of reference for next time they are asked to do a similar task. Grading of work in exercise books can and should happen sometimes, but it should be based less on a common standard for the class and more to reflect that particular student’s progress. Two very different pieces of work could be graded the same because they are intended for specific children.
Goals – it is sensible and fair to inform the students about the purpose of each learning experience. In order for this to happen, students should be looking at very clear goals. The curriculum sets out general goals for learning, but for each child, or a group of children, the teacher can give smaller, more specific goals for each piece of work e.g. “When re-telling this story, use adjectives for each character.” Students can then check their own and/or a classmate’s work to see if that goal has been achieved. Peer and self-assessment by students should occur frequently.