Assessment places the student at the centre of the learning process allowing for new ways of learning and a broader range of skills to be assessed.
Assessment is an essential part of good teaching and learning for the following reasons:
- Assessments enable the teacher to monitor a student’s progress and make decisions about what and how the student is learning. This information allows the teacher to identify the next steps in advancing the students learning and adapt teaching strategies and learning activities as appropriate.
- Assessments provide the students and parents with information regarding progress.
- Assessments help to identify appropriate subject levels for students in the Junior and Leaving Certificate.
- Assessments help identify students who may need additional support and services and to inform consultations with the NEPS psychologist where necessary.
- Assessments assist school management in identifying students, subjects, classes and areas of the curriculum that require further timetabled support.
- Assessments play an important role in subject choice, career guidance and progression to third level and further education.
Standardised Assessment Procedures
Elphin Community College has adopted the Assessment for Learning (AFL) approach to formative assessment. Its purpose is to use the whole process of assessment to help learners improve their learning. It is formative because its intention is to form, shape or guide the next steps in learning. It is about ‘learning to learn.’
Assessment for Learning
Assessment should support learning as well as measure the outcomes. Effective assessment for learning enables pupils to understand how to improve their work by:
- Helping them to understand the assessment criteria before an assignment is begun.
- Telling them what they have done well and what they could improve on.
- Telling them how to improve their work.
- Making available examples of work which do meet the criteria so they can see how to improve their own work.
- Being a part of effective planning
- Focusing on how pupils learn.
- Being central to classroom practice.
- Recognising all educational achievements.
We recognise, however, that not all aspects of this approach are of benefit in all curriculum areas and the discretion of the teacher is advised to adapt the theory to suit the particular demands of the subject.
In line with the demands of the syllabus in each curriculum area, teachers set regular homework and comment on the merits of work and make suggestions for improvement.
Assessment work may be differentiated to suit the needs and abilities of the individual.
During whole school term assessments, a cover sheet for teacher and student feedback is attached to the student scripts.
Assessment of Learning
- Third and Sixth Years have examinations in November, Mock examinations in February and the Certificate Examinations in June.
- First Years, Second Years, Transition Year and Fifth Years have examinations in November, February and May.
- The mode of assessment may include: written examinations, practicals, aurals and/or oral work.
- Transition Year assessments may involve the following: External certification, portfolio, oral presentation or multimedia.
Examinations generally follow a similar format to the Junior and Leaving Certificate Examinations and a marking scheme is clearly identified.
Mock Examinations are set and corrected externally.
- Reports are forwarded to Parents/ Guardians of First, Second, Transition Year and Fifth Years in November, February and June and in November and March for Third and Sixth Year students.
- The report template is computerised and allows teachers to distinguish levels. A mark and grade are awarded and a comment can be generated from a menu. Alternatively, an original comment can be given.
- Transition Years parents receive a copy of a student assessment and an overview of progress.
- All reports are signed off by the Principal and a general comment may be made on progress to date.
Assessment concessions for learners with barriers to learning
On the advice of a competent professional such as a doctor or educational psychologist a student with temporary or permanent barriers to learning may be granted various concessions.
The names of these learners will be listed on the notice board in the staffroom together with the concession they are permitted. Concessions may include:
- Additional time to complete tests and examinations
- Spelling dispensations
- Handwriting dispensations
- Special centre
- Reader or scribe