At The Gardens School we use a wide range of assessment tools and observations, to measure student progress and achievement.
We believe in recognising and celebrating success in many forms, as all children have different strengths - be they academic, sporting, social, artistic, creative or the ability to think outside the box, in totally innovative ways! By having a school curriculum which is full of a wide range of learning experiences, all children should have the opportunity to experience success.
Assessment Tools are used by teachers to inform next learning steps for students. Results from assessments are used to group students of similar abilities/needs for teaching purposes, to identify gaps in knowledge or areas where gains have been made. Teachers work increasingly collaboratively to analyse assessment data and moderate student work samples, to ensure our assessment practices are consistent across teams and across the school.
When a child starts school as a New Entrant, they have a School Entry Assessment in their first few weeks. This assessment is to find out what literacy and maths knowledge children already have in place. The School Entry Assessment is nationally normed, which means that a child's results are compared to the average levels of children across New Zealand. Parents will receive a written report based on this School Entry Assessment and are invited to attend a parent-teacher interview, approximately 4 weeks after the child starts school.
The School Entry Assessment is repeated after the child has had 6 months of school and again, parents are invited to discuss their child's progress and achievement at a parent-teacher interview.
When a child has completed a full year of school (usually around their 6th birthday), they have a One Year Assessment. This assessment is also nationally normed and it is from these results that teachers can begin to identify students who may require extra learning support, e.g., Reading Recovery. This is followed by another parent-teacher interview. Some children may repeat this assessment when they have had two full years of school, particularly if there are concerns around their progress.
As children move through their schooling they will have regular assessments in the core subject areas of reading, writing and maths.
Assessments in reading include: PM/PROBE Reading testing, e-asTTle Reading (from Year 4), STAR Reading Testing (from Year 3)
Other literacy based assessments include: Oral Language assessment (generally as part of the SEA and One Year testing), Spelling testing
Assessments in maths include: JAM (Junior Assessment in Mathematics), GLOSS (Numeracy Assessment), e-asTTle maths (from Year 4), Number Knowledge assessments e.g., basic facts
Assessments in writing include: e-asTTle Writing (from Year 1)
National Standards have been removed by the government, but schools are still required to report on student progress twice per year and may do this is whichever way they wish to. We are continuing to use an OTJ form of reporting, in relation to our expected levels of achievement, based on the student’s time at school (Year 0-3) or the end of year level expectations (Year 4-8).
There are two OTJ points - one is to determine if children are ON TRACK to meet the next expectation - this is at 20, 60 and 100 weeks of school for children in Year 0-3 and at mid-year for children in Year 4-8. The other is to determine if a child has MET the expectation, this is at 40, 80 and 120 weeks of school for children in Year 0-3 and at the end of the year for children in Year 4-8.
Teachers make an OTJ (overall teacher judgement) in the areas of reading, writing and maths. They take into account relevant assessment information, but also their observations and conversations with students, their classwork and their participation in class activities. OTJ’s are not based on one piece of testing information alone.
Achievement is reported through our online student portfolio's in Linc-Ed and parents are invited to meet with their child's teacher(s), following this reporting.
All children learn at different rates and some will need extra help along the way. Teachers identify children who may need support in some aspect of their learning and there are a range of informal and formal target-teaching programmes and support services available for students who need them, e.g., Reading Recovery, Quick 60, Early Words, Talk to Learn, in-class reading or writing support, teacher-aide support etc.
Children with more specific learning or behavioural needs may be supported through services such as the RTLB (Resource Teachers for Learning and Behaviour), GSE (Group Special Education), Whirinaki (Child Mental Health Services), Kelston Deaf Education Centre or other external agencies - all in consultation with parents.