Evaluation and Progress
Formative assessment is an intrinsic part of Progressive education practice and is present in all parts of our program. Annotated observations by teachers, formal and informal student interviews, compiling of longitudinal evidence for individuals, and analysis of data in terms of a group or age band all serve to inform our decisions about instructional materials and methods as well as guiding our work with individual students. Although we make use of published assessment tools, we believe that the most useful and authentic assessments are based on what we observe daily as our students engage with our program and curricular goals.
Assessment as a Planning Tool
The Miquon School does not issue letter grades or evaluate students’ work in terms of numerical scores. Rather, students receive ongoing individualized feedback as a lesson or activity proceeds and are guided toward greater self-evaluation awareness and goal-setting at a developmentally appropriate level. We assess children’s learning primarily through observation of their work and play throughout their day, and this continuously informs our instructional strategies. Classroom teachers have regular meetings with our Learning Support Team and the specialists to discuss individual children or, sometimes, a group dynamic that is a concern.
Archives and portfolios of children’s work provide material evidence of growth and areas of need, and formal reporting to parents is both narrative and descriptive. Formal assessment to affirm growth and devise better support includes individual reading-skill testing conducted regularly by our Language Arts Coordinator and by classroom teachers, mathematics assessment done by classroom teachers, administration of the Terra Nova standardized tests in 5th and 6th Grade, and learning evaluations done by independent providers or the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit.
Reporting on Progress
Reporting focuses on progress, successful strategies, questions, and goals. In addition, regularly-scheduled meetings with parents are supplemented by additional communication as the need arises; parents are a vital part of our evaluation and planning process.
Parent-teacher conference are held twice a year — in the fall and spring –to discuss their child’s work and progress in the context of our curriculum. Instructional topics, activities, and instructional strategies are part of that conversation.
Parents receive a curriculum report from their child’s teacher, which is a candid reflection on the year’s classroom curricular goals and experiences, along with a lengthy narrative end-of-year report on each individual student.
Before the start of each school year, teachers communicate in writing with parents about their specific plans and goals. Throughout the year, classroom newsletters and teacher blogs keep parents informed of activities and projects through which curriculum is implemented.