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Home » Primary Years Programme » Assessment in the Primary School

Assessment in the Primary School

Assessment is viewed as a continuous process and an essential part of the learning cycle. It is both formative and summative in nature and incorporates a wide variety of tools and strategies. In support of this belief, the KIS curriculum documents include assessment ideas and strategies. Assessment data is analyzed and provides valuable information to support each student’s learning, programme development, curriculum effectiveness and the modification of teaching and learning strategies. Students are assessed prior to embarking on new learning experiences as well as during and at the end. Assessment of knowledge and conceptual understanding allow teachers to plan and refine their teaching to meet the needs of the students.

A distinction can be made between:

  • Summative assessment - aimed at determining a student’s achievement level, generally at the end of a course of study or unit of work, and
  • Formative assessment – aimed at identifying the learning needs of students and forming part of the learning process itself. Although there are clear differences between these two types of assessment the same tools and strategies can often be used for either purpose, the distinctions are made in the use of the information acquired. The two approaches are balanced, interact and are mutually supportive of each other.

Effective assessments allow teachers to:

  • provide a consistent cycle of reflection regarding planning, teaching and assessing
  • inform and evaluate effective curriculum
  • differentiate the programme
  • assess the process as well as the product
  • provide opportunities for both formative and summative assessment strategies
  • utilize a wide variety of assessment tools
  • develop individual assessment records and an understanding of each student’s needs
  • inform students of required criteria and expectations
  • provide students with opportunities for meaningful feedback
  • develop accurate record keeping
  • assess students’ current knowledge before embarking on new learning
  • provide students’ with regular feedback as a basis for learning
  • provide meaningful and accurate updates to parents on their child’s progress

Effective assessments allow students to:

  • have criteria that are known and understood in advance
  • analyze their learning and understand what needs to be improved
  • demonstrate the range of their conceptual understandings, their knowledge and their skills
  • synthesize and apply information to their learning
  • base their learning on real-life experience that can lead to other questions to ask or problems to solve
  • focus on the process required to complete a task
  • focus on producing a quality product or performance
  • highlight strengths and demonstrate mastery and expertise
  • express different points of view and interpretations
  • promote reflection, self evaluation and ownership of learning
  • promote fair and reflective assessment of peers

Effective assessments allow parents to:

  • keep abreast of their child’s progress at school
  • see evidence of student learning and development
  • work in partnership with the school and their child to support learning
  • facilitate effective support both at school and at home
  • provide opportunities to celebrate student learning