Assessment and progression of the child
Watching and listening to the children while they work in a group gives insight into how the child works, thinks and cooperates. While observing the children, a teacher might notice that one child is leading the activity from the start, while another child may be more reflective about their input and will wait to contribute until they are sure. Sometimes children may play a key role in solving a problem, but allow another child to present the work and it is only through observation of the group that a teacher will know how the group constructed its answer.
Individually questioning and listening to a child, as they work, sheds light on a child’s thought process. This type of intervention can be used to see how a child is solving a problem. The teacher may ask questions about how the child has collected the information, or what tools they may need to solve the problem. The teacher can use this time to actively intervene and support the child, or extend their learning beyond the activity in hand. The teacher will often ask questions specifically to enable the child to think more deeply and broadly around a subject, or to reflect on what they already know which might help them to tackle the next step. Individual reading sessions would come into this category.
Whole class discussion and games
Prior knowledge of individuals and groups can be assessed with a brainstorming activity, often at the start of a project. Teachers can use this time to make a mental (and sometimes written) record of which children have prior knowledge of a certain topic. Games can also be used to assess abstract problem solving and mental maths skills. A child’s concentration span, ability to share attention and capacity to listen to others is assessed at these moments.
A teacher may ask a child to draw pictures when solving a maths problem, for example. The child will draw out the process as they see it in their mind. This annotation enables the teacher to see how the problem solving process in taking place in the child’s mind. The teacher may complete the annotation when interviewing the child, noting down important additions that the child makes verbally.
Books and journals
The child will have a book in writing, maths and in some cases, reading. These books are a record for the child of their progress since the beginning of the year. The teacher may annotate this book at regular intervals after discussions with the child about the work. The differences between the work at the start and the end of the book are also discussed with the child. Corrections may be made by the teacher in these books.
A child may make a spontaneous, or prepared, presentation to which the class will listen and respond. This is a means of evaluating a child’s ability to organise material and communicate their ideas clearly. Conclusions may be drawn about the depth to which the children have researched the presentation.
We share with the children the objectives which they need to achieve, and listen to those that they wish to achieve. They can give feedback in groups or individually about which objectives they find particularly challenging. The children choose the work which features in their portfolio and discuss with the teacher the importance of the pieces in connection with their learning journey during the year.