Assessment is a vital part of Dreaming Tree. Ongoing evaluations of both teachers effectiveness and student performance are essential for success.
The first week of school each student meets with the head teacher for an extensive but casual conversation during which the teacher will assess the student in all key areas based on the goals outlined in the curriculum PDF. This formative assessment will guide the teacher in crafting lessons tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of each student.
Portfolios, a collection of a students work, will be kept and used to chart a student’s progress. Portfolio assessment is an evaluation tool used to document student learning through a series of student-developed artifacts. This collection must include student participation in selection of portfolio content, the guidelines for selection, the criteria for judging merit, and evidence of student self-reflection.
Students discussing their work with teachers inorder to choose what goes into their portfolio is a powerful teaching tool. Assessment portfolios require students to continuously perform self-evaluations of their work. Teachers will convey to students the purpose of the portfolio and what constitutes quality work. As students judge their work using explicit criteria to identify strengths and weaknesses, they are monitoring their own progress. Portfolio meetings serve to reinforce successful work as the teacher explains to the student why a given artifact is important to include in her portfolio.
Assessing student abilities that can only be demonstrated by physical performance such as motor skills, or social/emotional growth, will be done by teacher observation. The teacher will take notes, (both running records and ancedotal), and keep a checklist based on the goals stated in the curriculum PDF, that will be kept in the portfolio. During portfolio meetings a teacher can discuss progress, and give some additional instruction and encouragement to the student.
Our effectiveness as teachers is discussed everyday at Dreaming Tree. Every morning during circle time we ask students to tell us what they liked and did not like about the previous day. Student’s comments are taken as a signal to investigate a particular learning activity. This is the beginning of evidenced based assessment of our work. A teacher will take notes during small group and whole class learning. Notes will take the form of anecdotal notes, running records diagrams, sketches, and photographs. Matrices and Tallies to be done later. The notes will be transcribed into our data system that has 3 basic Interconnected components, assessment of children, teacher student interaction, and progress measurement as defined by the standards. In addition to understand which strategies and techniques are successful we use disucussions with educators, professional development workshops, and discussions with parents and loving guardians.
This year we have chosen “Teaching Strategies Gold”, (TSG), as a data correlation and assessment tool. TSG has data inputs for thirty-eight objectives that are key predictors of school success and that have outcomes valued by our state learning standards. Additionally, the outcomes are aligned with Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.
The objectives are organized into 10 areas of development and learning, including broad developmental areas, content areas, and English language acquisition featuring both children’s receptive and expressive skills.
The TSG product is based on research including Child Trends School Readiness Predictors Research (2006), the work of the National Early Literacy Panel (2009), and the Pathways Mapping Initiative (2007). See button below for a link to TSG Objectives for Development and Learning Handbook PDF.
TSG can be used with all children, including those with learning challenges. TSG shows typical progressions for each objective through the use of color‐coded bands that are tied to children's ages; because development is uneven and overlapping, the color‐coded bands allow teachers to account for natural variations in children's development and learning.