Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Assessment at ISL
The diverse student population at ISL lends itself to unconventional assessment techniques. Since it is a private school, they do not adhere to any state or national standards that their students are required to meet. Nor do they have to take any standardized tests at the elementary school level. I asked my cooperating teacher how she goes about assessing her students, since most of them speak different languages and enter ISL at different times during the year, all coming from other countries with different education systems. She talked about how she is constantly assessing her students, but they are never aware of her assessment. Through the inquiry based curriculum provided by the IB program they follow, her assessment is all based on the students performance in class every day. She did mention that as a part of the IB program, she does many pre assessments of her students when they first enter her classroom, but she does not find them as helpful as what she observes on her own. She always looks over their free writing, listens to them read a few times a weeks, and assesses their math skills based on their mastery of facts when she asks them. During our conversation, she talked about this inquiry based system of learning, and how it is very different from both the traditional British and American systems of learning where rote memorization is rewarded through test success. I am not sure how all of the inquiry based assessment would work in classrooms that are driven by the achievement of state standards, but I like how it gives my cooperating teacher the freedom to further differentiate her lessons for her diverse group of students. I think that a combination of both assessment styles would be very beneficial for students.