Assessment is integral to the nurturing of high quality learning experiences and is a powerful driver on the educative culture of a school and in the creation of the curriculum it offers.
Hornbill School understands the role of assessment as a powerful tool for cultivating individual engagement and believes that effective assessment begins with the recognition that human beings are a profoundly complex mixture of different kinds of intellectual processes.
Hornbill School’s Philosophy of Assessment is based on seven key principles, which acknowledge this starting point and outline the broad aims of its assessment process.
Assessment is learning
It is a process, which encourages the development of expert performance, of judgement and choice, and of problem solving and creativity. Assessment requires both educator and child to engage in the metacognitive monitoring of learning in order to better set appropriate and achievable targets and to make judgements about the successes of previous learning opportunities. Assessment is not a bolt on to learning; it is an integrated and vital thread within the complexities of the learning experience.
Assessment is formative.
It is a rigorously formative process, which scaffolds the development of children as curious and reflective learners and supports them towards attaining mastery of the curriculum.
Assessment is collaborative.
The process of assessment is a learning partnership between educator and child. Assessment happens with children, not to them. It encourages children to foster a genuine ownership of their own learning and to develop the necessary attributes to integrate newly acquired knowledge and skills into already established understandings.
Assessment is reflective.
The act of assessment is a reflective act. It is an opportunity to reflect on the success of previous learning; to judge how successfully learning has been integrated into previously established patterns of thought; and it allows the space to create pathways for the continuation of intellectual development. Assessment nurtures the ability to become aware of one’s own mental habits and to transcend limited patterns of thinking.
Assessment is explicit.
Acts of assessment are clearly visible and are an explicit and valued part of all children’s learning. Space is made, both within lessons and as separate learning opportunities, for activities, which nurture the reflective skills of assessment. These skills are taught explicitly and the process of assessment is open and transparent.
Assessment is implicit.
Educators make intuitive judgements about children’s learning in order to make small adjustments to learning experiences and to maximise the potential of such opportunities. This implicit and continuous level of assessment flows from high standards of professional expertise and is rooted in an embedded understanding of cognitive, interpersonal and motivational abilities. This type of implicit intuition and unconscious reflection is assessment at its most powerful, and nurturing the children’s abilities to successfully negotiate this state is the culmination of the assessment process.
Assessment is summative.
The assessment process needs to generate accurate and useful data for the purposes of making summative judgements. This data needs to be accurate and consistent, and allow meaningful comparisons with other schools, both locally and nationally. These summative judgements are used to take snap shots of children’s current attainment and to provide understandable information for pupils, parents and school staff.