Assessment and Feedback
Assessment involves gathering information to understand better how each child is progressing at school and using that information to further the child’s learning. Assessment, therefore, goes far beyond just testing. It concerns the daily interactions between the teacher and each child that include moment-by-moment conversations, observations and actions. (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment)
Assessment at Roscommon Community College is an integral part of the learning process. It not only allows for the recording of progress in terms of standardized testing, but uncovers a wide variety of attitudes and issues that exist within the modern education system in Ireland. Because assessment is seen as tool to support learning it is proactive in terms of its relationship with both teachers and students. Thus students would not only avail of the standardized testing process, but also engage in reflective practices, peer mentoring and critical target setting with specific learning outcomes.
Standardised Assessment Procedures
- Prospective First Year students sit an entrance test (CAT) for diagnostic purposes before entering the school in September. The results of this test are used in the creation of mixed ability classes and to help identify students who might benefit from interventions at this time.
- Questions and answers are used at the start of lessons, during the teaching process and at the end of class. Different levels of questioning and varying methods of asking questions of the class and of individuals are used. Project tasks, homework, class tests are used to assess students’ progress.
- Homework is assessed in accordance with the school’s homework policy.
- Regular Class tests are given on completion of a topic or section of the course and teachers record the results of these in their class journals.
- Formative assessment techniques include teachers adding constructive remarks whereby students can develop their own work, involving students in self-assessment, peer assessment etc.
- Reports are sent to parents in October, Christmas, Easter and summer for all classes. The October and Easter report consists of a mark and comment based on continuous assessment/class tests. The Christmas and summer report is based on a timetabled exam and consists of a mark and comment.
- Exam classes follow the assessment procedures for October and Easter. Mock Exams take place in late January/early February and are sent outside the school for correction. The results of these exams are sent to parents/guardians with a comment from the class teacher when results are available. The results of the Leaving and Junior Cert Exams are given to students in August and September respectively.
- Transition Year Students are assessed on the basis of a Portfolio produced during the course of the year and receive reports at Christmas and summer.
- Educational/Psychological Assessments funded by the Department of Education are offered to students based on recommendations from class teachers, the results of the Entrance exam, consultation with primary schools, self-referral by students and other relevant criteria.
Assessment takes place regularly and:
- Reflects skills applicable to content and course objectives
- Consists of a range of formative and summative activities applicable to the year or course
- Reflects positive achievement
- Is used to diagnose individual student learning issues
- Produces indicators for guidance in terms of career and university orientation
- Is based on work presented for correction and cannot be taken as a guarantee of future performance in State Examinations.
Students can expect to:
- Have a clear idea of the knowledge and/or skills that are being assessed.
- Be aware of the weighting of each assessment in the overall assessment pattern.
- Receive clear feedback regarding a mark or grade that has been awarded.
- See each graded assignment.
- Be provided with the opportunity to have their performance assessed qualitatively.
- Have access to all criteria being used in the assessment.
- Be given advance warning of any assessment for which preparation is necessary and be clear about the date of the assessment.
- Receive informal feedback/assessment on some pieces of work.
Statement of Assessment
- Assessment is the process of collecting, analysing and interpreting information to assist teachers in making decisions about the progress of their students.
- Assessment should provide evidence of student performance relative to learning outcomes and assessment standards as described in both the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate national programme for learning.
- Classroom assessment should be both formal and informal, and should be used to provide feedback to students that supports and enhances their learning experience.
- Formal assessment tasks must be designed to provide systematic evaluation of student performance and progress, and evidence which can be used to evaluate student performance relative to the assessment standards for each specific learning programme, learning area or subject.
- For each learning programme, learning area or subject, the formal assessment tasks should include a range of appropriate activities. These may include examinations, tests, projects, oral presentations, written reports, demonstrations, performances, investigations, practical work, and creative writing.
Informal continuous assessment should form part of the daily classroom routine of teachers as a means to monitor student progress and to provide feedback to students. This informal monitoring should include homework checks, questioning, teacher observation of student work, discussion, brief informal oral or written tests etc.
Formal continuous assessment should take place on a regular basis and should be based on the prescriptions as laid down by the department of education.
Each subject teacher is required to submit a subject assessment plan for the year which lists the following items for each year class:
- The nature of formal continuous assessment tasks
- The set date or completion date for each task
- The mark allocation for each task
Formal examinations will take place before the October half term, Christmas, Easter and summer, with the exam classes doing mock examinations in February. The examinations will be classroom based at October and Easter and centre based at Christmas and summer.
- All marks will be given as percentages.
- On completion of examinations, students will be given an opportunity to review their scripts.
- After each examination period these scripts will be used for remediation purposes and to improve the examination technique of students.
- All results will be placed on E-portal where parents will have access to them.
- A printed version of the E-portal examination page will be posted to parents.
- Any examination failures will result in a consultation process between the student, parents, class teacher and Deputy Principal. This process will put in place an Individual Learning Plan for the student in order to assist him/her in their specific difficulties.
- All students are required to sit these formal examinations. Any absences will result in a new paper being presented to absentee students. No student can progress to the next term without sitting these examinations.
Assessment concessions for learners with barriers to learning
On the advice of a competent professional such as a doctor or educational psychologist a student with temporary or permanent barriers to learning may be granted various concessions.
The names of these learners will be listed on the notice board in the staffroom together with the concession they are permitted. Concessions may include:
- Additional time to complete tests and examinations
- Spelling dispensations
- Handwriting dispensations
- Special centre
- Reader or scribe