‘Assessment’ is a word that some people fear.
As Assessment Co-ordinator I spend a lot of time contemplating, discussing and reviewing the value of assessment procedures. Information is only worth collecting and analysing if it is used to drive up standards, and help children to achieve their potential. For this reason, at Brabyns we are delighted to use ‘Classroom Monitor,’ a programme which helps teaching staff to keep a day-to-day record of exactly where each child is up to with their learning, and to pinpoint next steps. This is assessment which informs learning, unlike our end-of-year assessments which provide a ‘snapshot’ of how successful that learning has been.
Most meaningful assessment strategies occur in the classroom through dialogue with pupils, looking at work and involving children in their own evaluations of where they are up to with any particular topic or objective. We are proud that children at Brabyns are known for their mature and independent attitude to learning. They take ownership of self-assessment, throwing themselves into the ‘Learning Pit’ (click here to view) and clawing their way back out, only to look back and see how far they have come.
For many the learning of multiplication facts is the deepest pit of all, but also one of the most necessary. In order to access the Year 5 and 6 Maths curriculum effectively children need to have all their multiplication facts up to 12 x 12 at their fingertips by the end of Year 4. Our children strive to get to the summit of ‘Multiplication Mountain,’ a tool which helps them to see their journey to mastery of their tables facts, and assess their own success.
As a staff we recently came across an extremely helpful resource: http://www.transum.org/Tables/Times_Tables.asp which provides a systematic, varied and structured set of online games and activities claiming that children can learn a table in five days. Many of our children have found this very helpful, and are seeing the results of their labour on the Mountain.
So when we talk of assessment, it shouldn’t be scary or worrying. It is something in which the whole School community is involved, and for the most part is informal and informative.
Mrs Munro, Year 5 Teacher
Mathematics and Assessment Coordinator