Test. Exam. Quiz. Evaluation.
What feelings and emotions arise when you hear these words? What has been your prior experience with these words as a student? For most of us, it would be a range of emotions and feelings – likely, most of them negative – nervousness, dread, stress, or anxiety. Why? Because assessment, historically, has been a “Gotcha!” experience. Pulling out what you didn’t know or were unable to factually recall at that specific moment in time, bringing it to your attention through a √or ×, percentage or grade and then moving on, with little to no opportunity to learn from or improve on our mistakes. It was focused more on the deficits in our understanding.
In the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), we want to create positive feelings and emotions when it comes to the concept of assessment. So that it is something learners see as a valuable part of the learning process; that is done with them, rather than to them. We aim to provide assessment opportunities that are:
All of this leads to the assessment being more supportive; more of an “I got you” experience. Where making mistakes isn’t used against you, but rather, celebrated as the starting point of further learning. Where students, their teachers, their peers and their parents are working collectively to create an environment where learning can flourish as a result of ongoing assessment.
To ensure a well-rounded assessment culture, the PYP looks at four dimensions:
While all 4 dimensions have their unique function and value, we place more emphasis on monitoring and documenting learning. These dimensions allow for more ongoing, direct student involvement in the assessment process as a whole, and are critical in providing actionable feedback for the learner.
Monitoring and Documenting learning happens daily through a variety of strategies; questioning, observation, reflection, discussion with peers and teachers, Seesaw posts and visible thinking routines and displays, just to name a few. In these two dimensions, we are looking at:
Measuring learning is intended to capture what a student has learned at a particular point in time. This includes our MAP testing data or any diagnostic assessments that teachers use to inform the design of their learning experiences moving forward. Reporting on learning informs the learning community where students are on their learning journey and describes the progress and achievement of the students’ learning. Progress reports, student/parent/teacher conferences, student-led conferences are just some of the ways in which we report on learning. In these two dimensions, we are mainly looking at:
Ultimately, we are striving to develop assessment-capable and confident learners. Those that have a strong sense of self; know how they best learn, and what they need in order to develop further. Those that have feelings of pride, excitement, and purpose when asked what their experience with assessment was. I Got You vs. Gotcha. Can you feel the difference?
Reference: International Baccalaureate Organization (2018). Primary Years Programme: From principles to practice. Learning and Teaching. 67-83