Our assessment policy at St. Francis school informs all stakeholders namely SMT, teachers, KGAs, LSAs, learners and parents and any other outside agencies, about summative, formative and continuous assessment procedures that are currently followed in the school. Summative assessment measures students’ performance at a given time whereas formative assessment constantly informs about each student’s learning in order to inform the next steps in learning.
Assessment, which measures subject knowledge, understanding and skills, is to be based on the learning outcomes as outlined in our syllabus. This ensures that the assessment used is valid. Moreover, so that it is also reliable, the assessment criteria (such as when correcting exam papers) are consistent among all educators.
Both summative and formative assessments should be used consistently in all year groups accordingly. It is a priority that all stakeholders are involved to have a clear vision of the students’ progress and identify areas for improvement. It will help teachers to be objective, accurate and prepared to help all learners to improve.
Consistent assessment procedures are to enhance effective communication amongst all stakeholders and thus commitment by all, to raise standards of achievement.
Records of progress provide a clear indication of the progressive development of each learner and therefore assure a smooth transition of learners from year to year. These provide effective feedback to everyone concerned to identify progress, detect areas for improvement and reflect on the means to improve further.
During the first parents’ meeting with their child’s teacher, the assessment procedures to be used for that year are explained, so that all stakeholders will have a clear idea of what is expected.
Types of Assessment
Across all years, diagnostic assessment in the core subjects (English, Maths and Maltese) informs the teacher where each individual student stands in his/her learning at the beginning of the scholastic year. Thus strengths and weaknesses are identified and educators plan according to the level established.
This diagnostic assessment is based on the learning outcomes achieved in the previous scholastic year and carried out using various assessment modes according to the discretion of the teacher. Formative feedback to students and parents will communicate areas for improvement. Moreover, a meeting held with the parents of pupils with special needs during the first month of the scholastic year, where the individual educational program (IEP) of the child is planned, will be a means how to communicate to parents about the progress of students.
Periodical staff meetings indicate the need to evaluate areas for improvement in assessment. Once these are identified a specific action plan is drawn up to cater for the identified. The data outlined in the PMP document is used for school development and action planning. Thus teachers can address classroom targets to improve the students’ outcomes.
Formative assessment enables the teacher to identify current misconceptions and needs in class. Such an insight provides continuous reflection on what pupils know and what they need to know next
In early childhood years – that is KG1 and KG2, years 1 and 2, – and in year 3, the samples collected from all learners are evidence of learning for which formative feedback is given to students. Besides, for their teaching to be more effective, teachers observe their pupils consistently and continually, as they participate in planned and free activities. This helps them to gain a broad range of information, and provides the necessary feedback to chart the pupils’ progress and plan ahead.
Summative assessment is to be carried out once a term for years 4, 5 and 6. There will be tests in November, February (half-yearly) and June (annual). The marks of these tests will not focus solely on the written component, but also on orals, homework and schoolwork, fieldwork and different projects. This will inform teachers and parents about the learning taking place and where each student needs support.
Through professional dialogue, Year 4, 5 and 6 teachers agree to correct their pupils’ exam papers respectively. At the end of the summative assessment, the corrected examination papers are handed to the students. This is an opportunity for them to act upon their mistakes and improve their learning.
Different dimensions of a child’s learning and development
The P.E. teacher assesses each child’s development through various exercises twice a week. Furthermore, certain activities in class serve as mean to note the child’s fine and gross motor skills. During group work and break time, teachers monitor students’ behaviour to ensure integration amongst their peers. Throughout the day, every staff member ensures that students are putting into practice the moral values they are taught.
Different opportunities such as talent shows, crafts, role play, drama and project work assess the student’s creative dimensions across all the scholastic years in the early childhood and primary school.
Continuously a pupil is rewarded for his/her good behaviour.
Identification of Specific Learning Difficulties
Teacher identifies children with learning difficulties at the earliest possible stage. Then, referral is communicated with the Head of School, who in turn provides appropriate support and intervention, together with the complementary teacher. If the Head of school decides that this support is not enough, the parent is notified so that further external support can be sought and the child’s difficulties addressed. Once assessed, the child is monitored routinely to ensure the most appropriate form of learning support is given to the child. The psychologist’s and other professionals’ reports should be updated every alternate year.
Records and Reporting
To ensure communication amongst all stakeholders, at the end of each term all parents are given the assessment booklet to consult and discuss with their child. The booklet helps to highlight students’ areas of improvement to improve the overall learning experience. It includes a general outcome for each strand outlined in the syllabus for the core subjects.
Feedback on this assessment book is given using a letter scale to indicate the level achieved by the student, which highlights any areas for improvement. Students and parents are given the opportunity to give feedback on the report, to cater for the students’ respective needs.
A similar approach is done with the Kindergarten classes. The Kindergarten assessment booklet used is common to all church schools, that is published by the Secretariat for Catholic Education.
The school gives pupils, parents and teachers valuable information about a pupil’s overall performance during parent’s day which are held twice a scholastic year. This information indicates pupils’ progress and achievement in the knowledge and skills in a particular area of learning using the mentioned booklet.
Furthermore, after the Half Yearly and Annual exams, Year 4, 5 and 6 students are given cards with marks including teacher’s and parent’s comments.
To identify any area for development across the school, SMT together with the staff meet to discuss the strength and weaknesses encountered during the teaching and learning process as a whole and how these have reflected in the results obtained.
As to other means of assessment and reporting techniques, the school uses portfolios, which are handed over from one class to another.
Regularly, class works are marked using positive comments and stickers according to the specific task. The teacher and the LSA, constantly, give oral individual feedback to encourage the student. In certain tasks, the oral and written feedback reflect the learning objectives of the lesson. Occasionally comments are explained whilst the writing is in progress, specific grammar is re-explained. Often work is marked alongside the student.
Across the years, teachers agree that from time to time they will underline mistakes during corrections instead of marking with an ‘X’. This will encourage the students’ to improve and think about their mistakes.
Homework is given daily to give students opportunities to complete work begun in class and to apply and consolidate the skills and knowledge taught. This informs parents of what has been covered in class and the students’ understanding. As a school, we have a home work school policy (refer to school website – mmargherita.org)
As a school, including all stakeholders, a consensus is reached on the criteria for marking students’ work. Years 4, 5 and 6 across all church schools, use a common detailed marking scheme to ensure consistency, for Summative purposes.