There is an important distinction to be made about assessment in education in the 21st Century and that is the distinction between formative and summative assessment, i.e. assessment that supports and enhances learning and assessment that measures it at a point in time. Summative assessment is a picture of a student at a single moment in time, while formative assessment is a moving picture that shows active student thinking and reasoning. Paul Black put it succinctly:
When the cook tastes the soup, that’s formative assessment; when the customer tastes the soup, that’s summative assessment.
- Professor Paul Black, author of ‘The Black Box'
ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING (FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT)
Assessment for learning (and assessment as learning) is at the heart of all we do at BSJ. Students can only achieve their best and continually improve if they understand where they are, where they are going and what they need to do next. This is achieved by a continuous process of classroom assessment where students and teachers interact in the learning journey.
This process consists of the following components:
the active involvement of students in their own learning
sharing and modelling learning targets and success criteria
involving students in self and peer assessment
effective questioning that identifies / diagnoses learning needs
providing feedback that allows students to recognise the next steps in their learning and how to take them
continually adjusting planning in response to children’s learning needs
ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING (SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT)
At regular intervals through the academic year, teachers record their formative assessment judgements for each child in our student database. This process is called assessment of learning and the information is analysed and used by the school in a number of ways, all with the explicit aim of raising achievements and standards. In Kindergarten, students' attainment is judged against the age-related criteria from the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. From Year 1 to Year 6, students' attainment is judged against criteria adapted from the English National Curriculum and International Primary Curriculum (IPC).
To support and validate the teachers’ assessments, all students from Year 1 to Year 6 also take standardised assessments in Mathematics and English. Online standardised external assessments are taken by the students in June. Students in Year 3 and Year 6, and all new students in Key Stage 2, also take Cognitive Ability Tests (CATs). These are verbal, spatial, quantitative and nonverbal reasoning tests and help the teachers analyse learning needs.