“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein
We believe that assessment can help children improve the quality of their work and also their understanding of what constitutes good work. At Lewes New School children are not required to sit standardised tests such as SATS. Instead, we have adopted a rigorous but more holistic approach to assessments that rejects labels and allows for a more ‘fluid’ concept of ability and a more diverse and integrated understanding of learning.
Ongoing observation, documentation and dialogue
High ratios of adults to children enable teachers and teaching assistants to closely observe a child’s interactions, approach to activities, challenges and achievements. These observations are carefully documented and form the basis of regular conversations between teacher and child.
Through dialogue with the teacher, children reflect on both the processes and quality of their work. They meet on a regular basis to discuss what they’ve encountered and the habits, skills and knowledge that have formed the focus of their experience, and to reflect on their learning journey. Teachers provide sensitive, constructive feedback which aims to foster motivation an children and teachers to work together to decide ‘what next?’.
Very much a part of life at LNS, children are encouraged to invite their classmates to comment on their work and learn the art of giving and receiving constructive criticism.
Children are invited, but not required, to take part in regular twice-yearly meetings between teacher and parents.
These are a collaborative venture between teacher and child, which form a record of the child’s learning journey throughout their time at the school. Children develop their learning portfolio themselves, which includes examples of work and teacher observations as well as the child’s own reflections and evaluations on their work.
Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (Elli)
This is a self-assessment tool which provides a useful framework and common language between the children, staff and parents for monitoring the children’s ‘learning journey’ and for developing strategies for the future.
With the help of their teachers, children regularly reflect on the range of ‘learning habits’ that they need to develop if they are to be successful learners. Evidence of progress with these is collected and presented in their learning portfolios