Assessing to understand the child's interests and needs
Younger children are observed and notes written that become part of their learning journal, this is where their whole-school journey and progression is recorded. As children start to read their progress in literacy is logged in the form of a learning record, this is, essentially, a record of achievement that can be developed and added to throughout all of their school years.
At The Sala, to help children progress in mind and body, we mostly use formative assessment (ongoing, during the process of learning) to help us shape planning for the future and aid the progression of each child at an individual level.
Parents are involved on a daily basis through our use of a digital portfolio for each child. Click on the pdf below to find out more about this revolutionary reporting system:
Involved and empowered
Older children are involved in creating the criteria that they will be evaluated on and there is a strong focus on self and peer assessment so that they are confident at critiquing their own work and to help them recognise that to gain a deeper level of understanding involves trial and error - failure is often more important than success. Portfolios of their learning in action are created throughout the process and become part of their reflection and means for them to evaluate their learning journey. The portfolios are created with care and taken home as something to keep and value; if they so wish, children can add to and develop them in the future. Every step of their learning journey is a valued accomplishment. As with younger children, learning records are used to track literacy.
Guidance on the standard levels for academic skills for a particular age group comes from the British National Curriculum but we do NOT provide formal standardised tests here at The Sala. Research has shown that levelling and grading, especially by year group, often impedes the progress made by a child: they can cause stress, fear of failure, comparison to others and children are often taught material that is not appropriate for them. By providing detailed feedback - not levels or grades - children can focus on themselves and their own progress, not how they compare to others. The Sala uses the levelling system as a scale, so we can see how it might be best for children to progress with academic skills. But, importantly, academic skills are not the only skills we promote as these are only a part of what your child is learning in this school. If you want your child to sit standardised tests, The Sala is not for you.