This section refers to all the types of assessment that are carried out in the school on pupil performance whether internal or external procedures. The guidelines point out that every school must have a School Assessment Policy which must be collaboratively prepared and with which all teachers must be au fait. Teachers must adhere to the guidelines contained in the policy. We are provided with a list of the likely contents of the policy which must be drawn up by each school.
The guidelines go on to explain how each school must produce an analysis of performance of the pupils both from internal examinations and externally validated assessment such as Grade 6 tests, CSEC and CAPE. These analyses must be shared with the parents of the school and time set aside for a group discussion by all staff. This will inform teaching strategies, allocation of teachers and programme emphases. An example of how this analysis is to be carried out is given for your use.
It is a requirement that all children are assessed not only continuously but also through annual examinations. The guidelines provide examples of how continuous assessment might be carried out and also information on the administration of annual examinations.
Not all schools are the same and there are often situations which will arise in the context of the school which might have a positive or negative impact on examination success. Whilst schools will not use these as excuses for poor performance, they should, however, be taken into account when analyses of results take place. A form is provided for this “Documentation of Action Research”. Here you will record any difficulties or problematic issues which beset the school in general and classes in particular, including individual children. Likewise, if you are fortunate to have a very talented and well motivated intake, you will need to take account of this when analysing results.
Now read thoroughly pages 114 – 122 of the guidelines “School Records and Documents”.
Now complete the following activities in your portfolio. You should try to do so with as little reference to the guidelines as possible, only referring to them at the end when you should check your answers and correct them where necessary.
Activities Unit Ten
10.1 Why is it important that a school should have an Assessment Policy?
10.2 Find a copy of your own school’s assessment policy and review the contents ensuring that they are up-to-date with current practice in the school and educational thinking in general.
10.3 Every school is located in its own unique context. Look at your own school and decide whether there are any circumstances which have a negative or positive impact on your school’s results.
10.4 Look at the analysis of performance in your school’s external examinations (e.g. CSEC, Grade 6 Tests) and ask yourself whether this analysis has had any impact on the future development of the school. If not, why not?
10.5 Now carry out a similar exercise for your internal examinations.
The guidelines “School Records and Documents” are provided for you by the Ministry of Education to enable you to run your school more effectively. They not only contain guidance but also provide you with pointers to other documents which will help you in this task.
We must remember, as stated earlier, that they are not a means to an end in raising achievement or increasing school effectiveness but will assist you in organising yourself so that you are able to carry out that very important task. Much of what you have read is statutory and must be carried out. Some of the information is in the form of guidelines and you have some leeway in how you will operate. Whichever is the case, you are strongly advised to comply with the requirements as they will assist you in being the leader of an effective school.