Assessments » Assessments

Assessments

 
 
At FSW, we invest a great deal of time, thought, and care into assessment. Throughout the school day, students are given continual feedback about their areas of strength and their next steps. Formal evaluations by teachers are completed and shared with parents on a periodic basis. The timing and format of these evaluations varies based on the age of the student. Either parents or teachers may schedule conferences as needed to address questions or concerns.
 
Narrative Evaluations and Developmental Rubrics in Lower School
 
There is significant agreement among educational researchers that report cards with simple letter grades do not foster, nor even accurately reflect, student learning. In fact, there is evidence that bad grades can contribute to a cycle of defeat in elementary-school-aged children. Young children don’t always have a firm grasp on concepts of cause and effect or the meaning of letter grades, much less the ability to grasp how grades are calculated. Therefore, teachers at Friends School use a detailed process to give parents/guardians a more accurate understanding of their early elementary student’s progress. A few weeks after the end of each semester, parent/guardians will receive this detailed assessment. These reports track the student’s developmental progress on a wide variety of capabilities. They also include a narrative assessment characterizing the student’s social adjustment and overall development as a learner. At any time during the semester, if a teacher or a parent/guardian has a concern about a student’s progress at school, either party may initiate a conference to address the issue.
 
Letter Grades Introduced in 6th Grade
 
Sixth graders are maturing cognitively and are more able to understand the cause and effect relationship between hard work and good grades. They also begin to compare their performance to that of peers and to set goals and standards for themselves. For these reasons, we find that adding letter grades to detailed narratives gives parent/guardians and students the best of both worlds; a basis for comparison with peers and teacher expectations, and a detailed analysis of areas of excellence and needed growth. Therefore, in addition to portfolios and narrative evaluations, sixth graders make the transition into receiving letter grades. During the first nine-week period, teachers guide them to understand the rationale for grades and to identify the requirements and the numeric values that will comprise their grades. They will receive their first “practice” grades at the end of the first nine weeks and will reflect upon, and discuss, their work, and brainstorm strategies for improving grades in the future. A combination of letter grades, portfolios, and narrative evaluations will be used to evaluate their progress for the remainder of the year.

Standardized Testing
 
FSW administers the Educational Records Bureau Comprehensive Testing Program (ERB CTP) for 3rd through 8th grades each spring.  ERB CTP is the preferred standardized test program for independent schools nationally. In addition to providing teachers and parents with data about individual students, these assessments allow us to gauge the quality of our program in relation to independent schools by providing national norms. Students are assessed in math, language arts, and verbal and quantitative reasoning. Student scores are available for parent review with Division Directors.