“How’s our Sophie doing?”
“Is Billy making progress?”
“Are they where you’d expect them to be?”
“What can we do to help them improve?”
These are some of the primary concerns experienced by parents when they leave their children at the school gates. After all, their children come to school to gain an education. So the very least a parent can expect is to see some signs of progress from one day/week/month/year to the next.
What do they know now that they didn’t before?
What can they do now that they couldn’t before?
What value is school adding to their knowledge? Their understanding? Their life?
Knowing the Individual
For us, it’s essential that our teachers get to know their students really well. Knowing the individual helps to really personalise the learning for our students. And personalised learning leads to improved outcomes.
We believe in keeping our groups small in order to facilitate this.
Small groups allow teachers to better know each individual student. More importantly, it creates an environment where students and teachers can maintain a daily dialogue with ease. Developing close individual relationships is especially key for teachers when it comes to tracking progress.
The Feedback Loop
Part of this process, of course, is marking the children’s work on a regular basis, as well as making time to ensure that the students have an opportunity to look back over their work and digest the feedback given.
Comments and feedback are extremely important to us, and we value them far more than grades and marks because we feel that feedback has to be constructive. It needs to address any shortcomings or misconceptions and highlight precise strengths. This is the best way to encourage progress.
In addition to this ongoing assessment, we like to keep a learning journal for each child as well. In it, we map out their journey and progress both with selected pieces of work, or footage of the children in action, or small observations from either the teacher or the student themselves. Over the course of a year, this becomes a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates real progress and development from one activity to the next, effectively creating a thread through their learning.
Naturally, we share all of this with parents on a regular basis. As well as keeping an open dialogue with students in school, we keep the lines of communication open with home too. It’s important for parents to be kept in the loop with their child’s progress.
What about standardised testing?
Well, we’re not the biggest fans of regular standardised testing. However, we do have an annual standardised computer-generated assessment that we have used for some years now.
It’s essentially a quiz our children play on a computer that measures their ability at that specific moment in time. We’re then able to use the data taken from the results of their quiz and compare them to other children who’ve taken the same quiz at the same age.
This allows us to form a picture of our students’ levels compared to other schools that use the same quiz system. And that provides us with a benchmark of ability and progress. We can see if our children are on track or exceeding expectations in particular areas. Or whether they are still developing in other areas in comparison to their peers in other schools. And this is really useful for teachers to identify where to focus next in order to keep students learning and progressing in a meaningful way.
If you would like to find out if Dania is the right fit for you and your children, simply contact us today by emailing us on [email protected]