The Value of Assessment

May 17, 2023 | Boys’ Preparatory | Author: Mr Des van Wyk

At Boys’ Prep, we believe that effective assessment is crucial to inspiring teaching practice. When asked about the value of assessment, one of our teachers put it quite simply. “Assessments help me to establish what I taught, how it was received by my students and what I should do next.”

Upon completion of the chapter, Latitude and Longitude, the Grade Six Social Sciences teachers noticed that there were still a few gaps in some of the students’ knowledge and abilities regarding the use of coordinates.They decided to respond to this by grouping students according to their responses to the Coordinates task. Those who scored well in a particular section became team leaders, who guided the activity that followed. Under their guidance, the groups had to record an instructional video, explaining one core concept. It was amazing to see the involvement of all the boys and their differentiated and unique approach to the task. The students put their technological skills acquired during IT to good use and can be proud of their efforts. 

Using assessment results to inform teaching practice is the preferred approach at Boys’ Prep. It allows us to package learning in ways that suit students’ ability and current understanding as we journey towards achieving the intended outcomes.   

Recalling and expressing what was learnt:

The Grade Six students then completed the Geography component for last term with some collaborative work. Latitude and longitude, scale, and atlases, global statistics and current events were covered. The aim of the activity was to collect data about what students had learnt and were able to recall and express to determine the teaching and learning activities that would follow. Large sheets of paper with the various topics were pasted on the classroom doors. Students were divided into groups of four and had to write down as much as they could remember about each topic. They rotated around the room, collating their ideas. Teachers probed and stretched students’ responses by writing questions and clues, to which all groups could respond. At each station, groups assigned a scribe, who summarised the contributions of his team members.

Reflective practice and meaningful assessment remain one of the critical parts of our pedagogy at Boys’ Prep. We believe that collecting relevant data allows teachers to make evidence-based and informed decisions on how to adjust their practice.