ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING
1. What is assessment?
Assessment is divided into 2 categories: Formative and Summative
Formative assessment is not used for grades but rather to enable the teacher to determine the progress of the students’ learning. When incorporated in the classroom, it informs both teachers and students about student understanding and allows the teacher to make certain instructional adjustments and interventions to ensure learning is successful. It enables the teacher to make informed decisions regarding:
A) What the students already know,
B) What the students have learned; and,
C) What the students still have to learn.
Formative assessment is derived from a collection of data such as teacher observations, practice exercises, anticipatory questions, informal dialogues and much more. It is considered “informal” but extremely important because it demonstrates students’ understanding of the core concepts and signals when students are ready for summative assessment.
During formative assessments, students are given descriptive feedback regarding their various performances. This enables the student to determine how they can improve and on what they need to focus to meet curricular objectives.
Summative assessment is the evidence of learning. It is the students’ opportunity to prove what they have learned and it is used for the purposes of assigning a grade. Summative assessments take the form of unit tests, culminating projects and purposeful dialogues. It takes the evaluation of formative assessment to gauge when students are ready for summative assessment; therefore, summative assessment is considered by educational experts as an accurate measure of a student's learning.
2. How are grades assigned?
Grades are assigned based on 5-8 summative assessments each semester, supported by evidence provided in the formative assessments. Students are given many opportunities to learn and improve their knowledge and skill set prior to a summative assessment. There should be no surprises during summative assessments as students have been exposed to an abundance of descriptive feedback during the formative assessment period. At this point, summative assessment is considered an accurate measure of the students’ learning.
Please note: all summative assessments can be redone during the year. I am guided by the principle that some students need more time to demonstrate their understanding of the course material and outcomes.
I fully support a student's desire to re-do any summative assessment for full marks, from any term, in an effort to improve their overall mark in their course.
3. What are work habits?
At SDSS there are 3 formal and 2 informal reporting periods. Formal reporting periods are when the student is assigned an actual percentage. These percentages are accompanied by a work habit assessment.
Work habits are categorized in 3 ways: G for good, S for satisfactory and N for needs improvement.
I believe it is important for students to self-assess their work habits. At the end of every month, I distribute my work habit rubric and students decide for themselves how well they have met the criteria for that month. If the students’ self evaluation is very different from my evaluation of their work habits, then I use this as an opportunity to sit down with the student to engage their thought process.