BIS assessment focuses on students developing good test taking skills, planning and organising for
projects, and internalised evaluations with critical analysis skills. We see assessment as a tool for the
students to self critique rather than a tool for judgement. Our assessment revolves around an Integral framework.
Integral Human Development (Wilber, 2000) draws together a variety of human development models into one coherent system that acknowledges the thousands of researchers and developers who’s theories have been coordinated into one model. An Integral perspective looks at quadrants levels lines, states and types (Esbjorn-Hargens, 2009) and in Integral educational approach translates that into teaching and learning experiences (Dea, 2011)
Every experience of life travels through these four quadrants. Each of these quadrants reflects core curriculum content. They are specified in conceptual terms within the quadrants on the diagram right.
The four quadrants interact through every experience and assessment is no exception. The assessment topic itself must reflect the experience of the four quadrants and so too will the choice of assessment tool. We want to see how they have understood on a personal experience, group and skills/knowledge level.
The Cultural component (LL) is assessed through projects, real life experiences such as the morning meeting, fundraising, peer tutoring and whole community presentations. The students also use the
Self Directed Learning characteristics as the tools for self critique. This self critique is shared with parents biannually as a portfolio presentation, a beautiful opportunity to hear your child talk about their learning and share their interests and passions.
The Individualised component (UL UR) is assessment is based around their goals. Students share what
they are comfortable with and assessment is primarily through observation and discussion and in their portfoli presentations.
The Societal component (LR) satisfies the government requirements, grading the 8 Key Learning Areas (KLAs) and reporting within biannual report cards as required by the Federal Government. We use a range of assessment tools that conform to standard system based testing under exam conditions (as the child becomes ready for this).
BIS students sit the year 3, 5 and 7 mandatory tests in literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN). BIS participates in NAPLAN, but NAPLAN will not change the BIS philosophy of teaching to the individual. How we compare to another school is not out priority; a positive exam experience is our goal. We do not perpare for the tests at all apart from some relaxation and discussing the format just before they start. It is just another day at BIS.
To fully appreciate the depth of an individual student understanding it is an imperative to ensure that we use tools to gather information about a student’s learning style across accessing choices, sensory dominance preference and processing.
At BIS we use a number of key tools:
*Information gathering preferences – Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 2011)
*Sensory dominance – Visual Auditory Reading Kinesthetic (VARK) (Fleming & Baume, Issue 7.4, Nov. 2006)
*Information Processing – Let Me Learn (Dawkins, Kottkamp, & Johnston, 2010)
These assessment tools are for diagnostic purposes, helping us understand how they are learning and to help them build skills in the types that they tend to avoid or find difficult.
Example: A student with a dominant Technical processing preference may find planning very difficult. By validating that they find it hard, helping them to find a quick and easy method to ensure planning is included in their project and giving them clear and explicit planning goals, they will find planning is no longer something they routinely fail in their assessment.
Levels of Development
Within the Integral approach is a range of developmental tools that assess a student’s developing perception and application across a range of contexts. Each one is constrained by the features of developmental theory :
*Moral Development (Kohlberg & Charles Levine, 1983)
*Ego Development (Loevinger, 1998)
*Faith Development (Fowler, 1981)
*Emotional and Social Development (Goleman, 2011)
*Self Directed Learning (Skager, 1979-12-01)
This level of tracking allows us to see how we can target learning experiences to take advantage of the moments that the child is ready for a new perception and not introduce concepts too early or move on too fast.
Example: It is important for primary children to experience grading however according to ego development frameworks it is only when they are at a Dolphin’s level of perception that they will experience postive outcomes from knowing their grade. Big Cats and Penguins are therefore not told they are being graded, nor are they given their grade.
BIS uses three key processes within its planning and these form considerations of the design of the assessment tools to capture the outcome of their learning.
*Integrated and Enrichment Learning– Multiple subjects taught and learnt in a single experience through project based assessment. Using marking criteria and grading,both self assessed and externally assessed. (Clark, 1968) (Renzulli & Reis, 1997)
*Mastery learning – aiming for all children to achieve mastery of concepts before moving on. We use daily, weekly and end of term tests. Many different diagnostic tools are used regularly to track learning in core literacy and numeracy and ensure that students are progressing at their rate. Dolphins are also given written tests to practice formal test taking. (Bloom, 1994)
*Curriculum compacting – Involving pre testing and regular compacting of teaching and learning to ensure students do not repeat mastered concepts (Rogers, 2002)
Recommmeded reading list that covers these references is available on the Curriculum page.