As with any other component of learning, assessments should be authentic and meaningful for students and, most importantly, the assessment process itself should be a learning experience for every student.
The purpose of assessment is not to merely measure, but to improve learning. We believe that assessment should be ongoing and lead to improvements in student learning, by providing necessary inputs to make informed decisions at class curriculum levels.
Assessments therefore must be developmentally appropriate and designed to allow students to succeed by showing what they have learned—never designed to force them into “proving” that they have failed to learn.
Students need multiple ways to demonstrate to us and to themselves what they have learned. It is imperative, therefore, that we create a range of assessments that draw on the learning strengths and preferences of our students and allow maximum flexibility. Our assessment philosophy, therefore, incorporates occasional formalised “summative” exams as well as on-going, informal assessments of a formative nature.
We believe that students should not be burdened with multiple, larger assessments on the same day, nor should major projects or homework assignments become due on the same day. Teachers plan and work collaboratively to create not only a variety of assessments across all subject areas but also aim to balance homework.
Ideally, assessments should be used to inform parents and teachers how students are progressing toward the learning objectives—but most importantly, they should inform the students themselves. We make it clear to students what is expected of them—what they need to know, understand and be able to do—and how they can demonstrate it at a level which will meet or even exceed the benchmarks we have set for them in the form of “learning outcomes” or targets at which the students should be aiming
There is no formal system of examination in the Junior or Middle Programme. However, assessment is an integral part of pedagogy and based on well-defined Learning Targets. The assessment happens on a continuous basis through various formal and informal tools, including standardised tests that are designed by experts to gauge student progress against objective measurements. In Junior Programme, teacher observation is used extensively.
Assessment in the Middle Programme focuses on classroom assessment practices that empower students to take charge of and monitor their learning and progress. Assessment begins with sharing of Learning Targets, statements of intended learning, that are clearly understood by students. Targets may be knowledge, reasoning, performance skill or product based. To set the students up for success, teachers share rubrics and checklists that contain the criteria of a task well done.
Teachers have a choice of assessment methods, ranging from students working on a performance or a product, or on time bound assignments that include Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) and extended written responses to teachers having a personal communication with individual students.
Formative Assessments inform students about their own progress, and enables teachers to ‘form’ effective instruction strategies. They include working through multiple drafts in an effort to achieve excellence, critically assessing each draft and seeking feedback for improvement.
Periodic Summative Assessments measure individual achievement at a point in time, against standards and benchmarks.
Students are partners in the assessment process, and are actively involved in self-assessment and providing critical feedback to peers. Each student maintains a portfolio, which is a collection of her work done over a period of time. This collection tool allows students, teachers and parents to appreciate the efforts made by the child, during the course of her learning journey.
Standard based reports are shared with parents at the end of each term. Portfolios and their artifacts are used during Student led Conferences for students to communicate their progress to families and teachers.
Even though we do not begin formal examinations until Class 8, we do identify important test-taking strategies and begin to introduce students to them as they progress through the Middle Programme, so that they are prepared for the demands of an exam system when they reach the Senior Programme. Additionally, the senior programme is focussing on formative tools to emphasize the role of assessment for learning. Assessment for learning cycle includes sharing of learning targets, success criteria, and descriptive feedback. Various evidence-based learning strategies and study skills are shared with the students so that they can take ownership of their learning. Student progress is communicated through regular parent teacher conferences.
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