Assessment – so what?

Today, a colleague and I spent the day doing the Early Numeracy Interview. We ensured that kits were ready, papers were named and teachers were happy for us to remove the children from the classes.

As a team, we went through every child in every class and looked at other data, discussed the child and how, if and why we should assess them. We asked teachers for their input and finalised our lists.

I must say, I felt a bit apprehensive about spending the whole day doing assessments, but when I started, I saw how beneficial they could be. Not because I could see (at that moment, in the way I asked the questions) what children knew. It was a reminder of so many other things …

  1. How important it is to talk with and LISTEN TO children. To hear what they say, listen to words that they choose and how they articulate themselves.
  2. Pay attention to the process. Ask children why they say things. How did they get to the answer.
  3. Praise self-corrections. Draw the attention of learners to the importance of thinking about the validity of answers and allowing them the opportunity to say, “No, that’s not right – this is why.”
  4. Discuss the assessment. Ask children how they feel they did. What did they notice about themselves – what does mean about them as learners.
  5. Feedback  is vital– talk to other teachers and parents about what you have discussed with the child. What are the implications for tomorrow’s learning?


And now I am asking myself ..

Do I care about the profile that I get from the assessment? Yes – it tells me a great deal about where the child is at. There are many other consideration when thinking about the child. This is one of them.

Is the test accurate? In some ways. I will carefully analyse where each child  left off and why.

What does assessment make you think about? Why?


About Jina Belnick

I am a full time learner - tumbling head first into education and joining my learners on the amazing adventures that we encounter daily at our PYP school in Melbourne, Australia.I am currently working in learning support, feeling the waters and seeing how teachers and learners are best supported, I am a listener and a leader, an inquirer and a follower. I'm loving the ride!
This entry was posted in Jina, Learning, learning support, Thinking and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Assessment – so what?

  1. CliveSir says:

    I wonder how much _you_ influence the outcome. Is the child relaxed in your company or wary of you?
    I also wonder why you were selective – what were the criteria for not assessing certain children? Does it matter that you don’t have those assessments? Does not having them skew the overall assessment?
    Do the children see it as getting a little bit of individual quality attention? Should those points you identified be part of daily interactions, not just at assessment time?
    Just asking as an interested amateur!


    • Jina Belnick says:

      Hi Clive,
      Thanks for your comment.
      The children all know me and we chat before we begin the assessment. I think that most probably feel some anxiety (as we all do in formal assessments) but I like to believe that they are comfortable – if not relaxed.
      We run an early morning maths intervention program for children who are around 6 months behind where we want them to be. We do not include children who are receiving intensive intervention in other areas and as this is an intervention program that lasts around ten weeks, we try to select children who are emotionally in a good space too. We only run the session for four children in each group and that is why we are selective.
      I agree 100% that children need individual attention EVERY DAY and we endeavour to provide that. I am not their class teacher, I am a Learning Support teacher, so I do not have the privilege of working with all of them every day.
      I believe that all assessments are tiny pieces of a huge puzzle. Every interaction, every time a child chooses to remain silent, every aspect of learning needs to be considered when thinking about learners. I also believe that there are fundamental flaws in the kind of formal assessment that I administered and that is why I choose to focus on the learning behaviours and discussions that emerge from the assessment rather than the results.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: More assessment so whats … | thespaceofjeans

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