Reporting and Assessment
Comprehensive formal reports are issued after the end of Term 2 and at the end of Term 4. Each project receives a full marking schedule aimed at improving the student's academic schooling. There is also constant verbal and/or written feedback to parents and children during the normal course of the school year. Parents are welcome to obtain feedback when they are in at the school and to ask for more formal appointments when they see the need. Emails are welcome and will be responded to promptly. Parents are also welcome to call in and observe part of their child’s class.
The school concentrates on students developing their ability to do all assessments effectively and to the best of their ability. Test sitting skills are practiced and developed through regular testing and assessment.
The main form of student work assessed is their eight completed projects in each year.
At the end of every second project (i.e. the end of each term), the students will also be tested in assessments based on the traditional subject divisions. This is to allow them and their parents to be sure that they are being advantaged by the mode of learning we are using and to give them a comparison against normal New Zealand school criteria. Some of their projects also require them to make clear subject divisions within the aspects they are studying. We will participate in the Australian Mathematics, English and Science competitions and others that are relevant and worth the experience.
National Standards Work at South Auckland Middle School:
Schools are now required to report twice a year in “plain language” on how – in our case – Year 7 & 8 students are performing in relation to National Standards that have been developed in Mathematics, Reading and Writing. Schools have been left with a large range of options on how they report on these with the basic requirements being that the reporting includes:
- the student's current learning goals.
- the student's achievement progress in relation to the National Standards.
- what the school will do to support the student's learning.
- what parents, family, and whânau can do to support their child's learning.
For making judgements, the key tools being recommended are many of the ones we use - ongoing class tests, teacher observation of a student’s work and discussion with the students as to their level of understanding. Based on this, teachers make an Overall Teacher Judgement as to where the student is working in relation to the standards (note – the Ministry of Education are aligning some assessment tools to the standards but are not proposing definitive tests so a level of subjectivity will remain). i.e. your child will not be subjected to a whole new battery of tests in reading, writing and maths.
The disadvantages on including National Standards reporting in with the South Auckland Middle School schools reports seem very clear:
- They could become the focus of the reports and subjects such as Social Studies, Science, Technology, the Arts (etc.) would become secondary. This can also lead to the perception of students/families being skewed towards things regarded as affecting the judgment on these standards and missing out on a vast range of other opportunities.
- Students/families would have to wait until the middle of the year to gain an understanding of the level their child is working at.
- In many areas, our curriculum is significantly above the NZ Curriculums levels and designed for extension. While it is challenging for some students, this provides for the kind of improvement we consistently see in PATs and in external measures (e.g. our Year 10 classes moving above the national average in Australasian Competitions). This also provides for the quality of our students’ work as they move into Year 11 and deal with internal assessment incredibly effectively through the experience they have with the project work.
For this reason, South Auckland Middle School will include National Standards reporting for Year 7 and Year 8 with the I.B.P. document that is issued at the end of Term 1 and Term 3.