Assessing Learning at Bambini Creativi
At Bambini Creativi, we believe the purpose of assessing student learning is to effectively capture and communicate students’ academic progress, character development, and areas of essential growth using a variety of assessment tools and strategies. Parents are provided ongoing information and updates regarding their child’s development and academic progress in regards to Bambini Creativi’s whole-child curriculum, as well as the International Baccalaureate’s standards and expectations. Teaching team members frequently use assessments to collect information and data to support curriculum development, individual learning requirements, and any modifications that are needed so each student in our program can experience success. Bambini Creativi utilizes formative assessment methods, tools and strategies on a daily basis to capture learning, along with the use of summative assessments tools to identify criteria for final projects and other learning that requires strategic measurement. We believe it is only fair that a child’s learning should be measured from multiple perspectives. These tools and strategies for assessing learning paints a comprehensive picture of where each individual child is at in their learning and development. Bambini Creativi does not believe that children should be assessed through the emphasis of standardized testing alone. Our students are whole-people, and our assessment strategies capture just that!
Pre-Assessment- is the understanding of a student’s prior knowledge that helps support the development of curriculum, the trajectory of instruction, and the support required to drive individual and group learning. For example, at Bambini Creativi, students may be asked to draw a picture of everything they know about the topic before starting a related unit of inquiry. This information provides our teachers with a baseline understanding of what our students already know about the subject so time is well spent designing opportunities to deepen learning and acquire new knowledge. Pre-Assessments support flexible grouping strategies that help teachers identify students who require extra support, who are understanding and progressing as expected, or who excel and require more challenging expectations and academic requirements.
Formative Assessment- is an informal assessment that continuously takes place to provide detailed feedback. Students use this feedback to improve ongoing learning and help them achieve academic criterion and program goals. This can also be accomplished through having students regularly reflect on their learning and share their reflection both in oral and written form. Different methods, tools, and strategies are used as a formative assessment. For example, teachers may use running records, anecdotal notes, checklists, strategic questioning, work samples, photo documentation, work samples, etc.
Summative Assessment- evaluates what the students know and are capable of doing by comparing against learning standards and benchmarks. Summative Assessment aims to accurately measure whether specific knowledge or skills were attained, or if highlighted academic outcomes were achieved. Summative assessment measures fluency, comprehension, skill acquisition, and improvement. Examples, of summative assessments are tests, grades, report cards, rubrics, assignments, etc. At Bambini Creativi we believe summative assessments are essential to measuring students academic ability and overall progress, however, this may look different than traditional standardized testing. For example, students may need to know certain criteria after a six week study of the human body. They would create a rubric with the teacher outlining all the criteria and knowledge they would need to attain and include in their creative project. This project could be a rap about the human body where students reference a grading rubric that outlines what content is required to incorporate into their project. For example, the students may be required to include specific anatomy, how different systems function, interesting facts, and how to ensure overall health.
Self-Assessment and Reflection- is a method used to promote student agency and ownership of learning. Students are frequently asked to self-assess and reflect on their learning. Students may document and review their work, write about where they can make improvements, and strategies on best approaches for moving forward. Teachers work closely with our students to celebrate academic achievements, as well as acknowledge areas in which students can improve. There should be no surprises to the student, family, or teacher about where the child is at in their learning. Students can also use self-assessment and the reflective practice to identify their own strengths and ways in which they can lead others, or where they may self-advocate if they feel they require further support. The process of self-assessment and reflection are transparent, and thus making it an effective learning tool and strategy for personal and academic growth.
Purpose of assessment:
Assessment supports and strengthens effective teaching and learning.
Assessment offers students transparency of their personal development, academic progress, and ownership of learning.
Assessment reflects on the holistic nature of our educational program and experience.
Assessment determines the learners’ levels of understanding, using both formative and summative assessment.
Assessment is an authentic account of the learning that is observed and accurately illustrates where the students are at in their learning.
Assessments must be developmentally appropriate and meet students where they are at in their learning.
Principles of assessment:
Assessment serves as a guideline for effective planning, teaching, and learning.
Assessment practices are clear and transparent to all members of the community [teachers, parents, and students].
Assessment should include formative and summative assessment.
Assessment provides students with opportunities for both peer and self-assessment.
Assessment encourages students to reflect on their own learning.
Assessment tools are modifiable and adaptable to students who have special rights and require special accommodations.
Assessment captures students’ current knowledge, experience, and understanding.
Assessment provides students with detailed feedback for the improvement of future learning.
Assessment is effectively communicated and shared with parents on an on-going basis.
Teachers will use a variety of assessment strategies and tools to provide feedback on the learning process.
Teachers will report assessment with report cards, parent-teacher conferences, student–led conferences, and anecdotal records and photo documentation on Seesaw (our digital-documentation platform).
Teachers will learn how to effectively use different assessment tools, strategies, and methods so assessments are accurate to the best of our ability.
Teachers will incorporate the use of formative and summative assessments with each unit of inquiry the classroom covers.
Teachers will use the information they collected via their assessments to inform and improve their learning and teaching practices.
As a private and independent school, Bambini Creativi is not mandated to participate in state assessments, however we do use state benchmarks as an indicator for most of our learning. Here are the current assessment tools that we use to record and report student learning at Bambini Creativi:
Summative Assessment Tools
Teaching Strategies Gold (Preschool- 3rd Grade)— The authentic, ongoing, observation-based assessment system that helps teachers and administrators focus on what matters most for children’s success. Grounded in 38 research-based objectives for development and learning, GOLD® supports effective teaching and assessment, and is considered a quality assessment for early years learning and development.
Rubrics- are an assessment tool that clearly indicates achievement criteria across all the components of any kind of project or assignment, from written to oral to visual. At Bambini Creativi students will have rubrics accompany their final project expectations, academic standards, and guidelines. Students will be graded against the rubric using our four different criteria. For example, the rubric would indicate that…
1- Beginning- Demonstrates a beginning understanding of the grade specific standards, concepts and skills and has not yet acquired the ability to apply them.
2- Developing- Demonstrates a developing understanding to the grade specific standards, concepts and skills and is acquiring the ability to apply them.
3- Competent- Demonstrates a competent understanding of the grade specific standards, concepts and skills as well as the ability to apply them.
4- In-Depth- Demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the grade specific standards, concepts and skills and takes initiative to apply them in a variety of settings.
Khan Academy- is an online educational resource that provides instructional videos, interactive exercises, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace and progress when they have mastered the skills required to advance. At Bambini Creativi, elementary students have a personal account that are accessible from home and school. Students mainly use Khan to support and assess their math and science learning. Students are graded on their exercises and results are stored on their personal account. This helps inform the teachers of how each child is progress and retaining understanding of specific math concepts and skills.
IB Scope and Sequence- The scope refers to the areas of development addressed by the curriculum. The sequence includes plans and materials for learning experiences to support and extend children's learning at various levels of development. At Bambini Creativi, our teachers use IB’s Scope and Sequence criteria in Art, Math, Science Personal, Social, Physical, Language, and Social Studies. The criteria outlined in the scope and sequence is often shared in the student’s portfolio, and learning summary reports to demonstrate what phase/stage of learning is achieved in the various domains of learning.
Singapore Math- is a teaching method based on the national mathematics curriculum used for kindergarten through sixth grade in Singapore. The term was coined in the United States to describe an approach originally developed in Singapore to teach students to learn and master fewer mathematical concepts at greater detail, as well as having them learn these concepts using a three-step learning process: concrete, pictorial, and abstract. Students are graded on assignments, quizzes, and tests.
Report Cards- communicates a students performance academically. The report card is issued by the school to the student, and the students’ parents. Report cards use a grading scale to determine the quality of a student’s school work and how well they have mastered outlined skills. At Bambini Creativi, report cards look differently than most traditional schools that use letter grades. Students are given a number grade based on their proficiency in the different disciplines of learning, as well as their character development. Report cards are sent out at the end of each semester. Each area of learning has a brief description, written by the teacher, sharing the content that was covered and what the student is graded on. The report card also includes grades reflecting their achievement of specific transdisciplinary skills. For example, students receive a number grade for their social, research, thinking, self-management, creativity, and communication skills. Lastly, students are graded on their character and their ability to reflect the Learner Profile attributes in their daily lives.
Developmental Screenings- takes a closer look at how your child is developing. When properly applied, screening tests for overall development in preschool children allow improved outcomes due to early intervention and implementation of treatment. Developmental Screenings set children up to be successful and address areas of concern so delays do not impede a child’s ability to learn. At Bambini Creativi, we offer developmental screenings at the beginning of each school year so children’s needs are identified and addressed right away. This helps the teacher and learner create effective strategies of support so they can be successful in our program. Students are able to receive additional support and therapies at the school during school hours. This ensures that the student is receiving critical intervention and support for healthy development.
Formative Assessment Tools
Seesaw- is a online platform for student engagement that empowers students to document their own learning progress and share their work with their parents, teachers, and learning community. At Bambini Creativi, elementary students have a personal Seesaw account with parental permission and access. Teachers post weekly and students may post their work daily. This allows families to comment on their children’s work and to be in the know of what is happening in the classroom. Seesaw also fosters collaboration for parents to support their child’s educational development and classroom learning at all times. Students and teachers reference individual Seesaw accounts to share learning at student-led conferences.
Student Portfolios- are a compilation of academic work and other forms of educational evidence assembled for the purpose of evaluating work quality, learning progress, and academic achievement. Student portfolios also help determine whether students have met learning standards or other academic requirements, and grade-level expectations. Students often use their portfolios to help reflect on their academic goals and progress as learners. They are special because they archive academic work products, accomplishments, and other documentation that is captured throughout the year.
Photo Documentation- is used to show evidence of student learning, including samples of students work and the progression of the different stages of completion. Photo documentation effectively captures the stories and purpose of a learning event, experience, or development. It also helps drive curriculum development, communication, and collaboration between home and school. At Bambini Creativi, one can expect to see photo documentation panels throughout the school, posted on Seesaw, and found in students’ digital portfolios. Photo documentation is shared with parents on a weekly basis.
Written Documentation (Anecdotal Record)- An anecdotal record assessment involves observing and documenting children’s development, their learning experiences and relationships, and how they interact with the world around them. An anecdotal record is a detailed descriptive narrative recorded after a specific behavior or interaction occurs. This also includes direct quotes and transcribed conversations among students. Over time, a collection of anecdotal records provides a great deal of information and evidence about a child and their development. At Bambini Creativi, teachers often use anecdotal record and written documentation to post happenings in the classroom via Seesaw. They also may use written documentation for documentation panels or student portfolios.
Parent-Teacher/ Student-Led Conferences- are formally scheduled times where parents, teachers, and in our elementary program- students, get to discuss individual learning progress and development, and any important factors that may impact their learning. Teachers will report academic progress and growth based on classroom observations, while sharing a variety of assessments, including rubrics, portfolios, and work samples. At conferences, parents are also encouraged to inform the teacher about the students strengths, needs, behaviors, and any information or insight that may shed light on what is being observed at school. At Bambini Creativi, we have scheduled fall and spring parent-teacher conferences that are approximately 30-45 minutes long. In our elementary program, students work towards a student-led conference where the students get present their favorite projects, what they have learned, what their strengths and areas of needed growth are,
Work Sampling- is a continuous progress, instructional assessment that uses guidelines and checklists, portfolios, summary reports, and student work to assess individual learning. These assessments help teachers document and assess a student’s skills, knowledge, behaviors, and academic achievements from the early years through elementary. Students demonstrate what the know through a series of evaluations which allows their teachers to make informed decisions about how to guide instruction. Work sampling, at Bambini Creativi, is used in connection with our rubrics and other assessment tools. Work samples are collected from our students as evidence of where the students are at in their learning. These samples are analyzed, evaluated, and kept in the student’s portfolio.
Assessment in the PYP:
Assessment through the PYP unit planners encompasses both formative and summative assessment. Common formative assessment tasks are developed by teams to assess student learning related to the lines of inquiry. Students are pre-assessed at the beginning of each unit of inquiry to share what they know and currently understand about the topic at hand. Summative assessments are developed by our educational teams to assess student learning, progress, and enduring understanding of the central idea. These tasks, more specifically the summative assessment, are not necessarily difficult tasks, but simple assessments for students to answer basic questions, like, “do the students understand the concepts within the central idea?” These can include straight forward question and answer formats, graphic organizers, oral responses, and at times formal presentations. Assessment tools can also be modified to address specific student modalities of learning, individual needs. Teachers work in collaboration to determine the criteria needed to decide what student’s should know and understand about the concepts, skills, attitudes, knowledge, and action. The criteria is outlined on a rubric that is shared with the students at the beginning of the unit so they have a full understanding of what they need to know, and what is expected of them. At the end of the unit, during their final project, students will be graded and assessed according to the criteria outlined in the rubric. By using the variety of assessment tools, methods, and strategies, student learning is captured and assessed to accurately evaluate student’s performance, progress, and achievements in the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Program.
Students in 5th grade participate in Exhibition, the culminating experience of the PYP. Students are expected to demonstrate all aspects of the Learner Profile, participate in an in-depth collaborative inquiry, and take action based on their learning and new understanding.