Friday, 24 April 2015

eNews Issue 31

At Hong Kong Academy, we understand that assessing (what we used to call “testing” when I was a child) a student’s knowledge is a highly nuanced activity. While pop quizzes and standardised testing serve an important purpose, they are only one part of a much bigger picture. We think of assessments as being “formative” and “summative”. That’s ed-speak, so to declutter the jargon, a “formative” assessment is when we monitor a student’s progress to provide feedback we can use to enhance their learning. This type of assessment is continuous and frequent and allows teachers to adjust or change strategies or content as needed. A “summative” assessment is when we evaluate a student’s learning at the end of a unit or course of study, giving us the opportunity to evaluate the end product such as a final exam. We believe that the right mix of these two different types of “tests” give us a solid understanding of a student’s growth over time.
While we don’t over emphasise the need for standardised tests, we do make every effort to use certain tests wisely, such as the International School Assessment (ISA). The tests are completed by HKA students in Grades 3-9 every October. We communicated the school’s results to parents at an evening meeting earlier this week. ISA allows us to take a snapshot of where our students are and how they compare to other students around the world. It’s a “health check” that confirms that HKA students are learning and growing and it is further proof that students from HKA can transition to other schools when they move. We know this from ample anecdotal evidence as well but the ISA results provide that information in a standard form.
If you have any questions about assessment at HKA, please feel free to contact me, Virginia Hunt or Doug Musco.

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