About eight months ago, a group of colleagues and I worked together to write our school’s assessment policy. We consulted research, investigated what other PYP schools were doing, wrote definitions, and collected samples of assessments being used by different teachers within our school. We wrote a statement of beliefs about assessment, shared it with our colleagues and refined it based on their feedback. We solicited input from a representative group of parents and our school board. The purpose of this document is to outline our beliefs and drive assessment practice within our school.
We shared the final document with staff in October…
and witnessed little to no change in practice.
Clearly I need to spend some time with my staff working through the implications of our assessment policy on their practice, because it should result in a dramatic shift in how assessment is carried out within our school. There should be daily evidence of how teachers use informal and formal assessment data to inform their daily planning. There should be evidence of a wide range of assessment tasks being used. There should be evidence of students having opportunities to use the feedback they received to improve on a piece of work. Teachers should be able to speak knowledgeably about what their students are and are not yet understanding.
Yet very little of this evidence exists.
As I am at the beginning of this inquiry, I am not yet absolutely sure of the lens I want to take or even what my driving question will be. I know I want to better understand teacher perceptions on assessment and how this impacts on their communication of expectations towards students and how they do or do not use assessment to inform their teaching. Perhaps a look into the historical and philosophical roots of assessment will be a good starting place.
I also want to determine how I can help my teachers translate our policy into their own practice. My ultimate goal will be to develop a workshop for teachers on assessment in align with my school’s assessment policy and then provide them on-going feedback on their assessment practices using the beliefs and practices of our assessment policy.