An important message about Primary assessment at Acacia
Thank you to those parents who have given feedback about the end of term tests. I have carefully considered the feedback received, and have consulted with team members and experienced external colleagues. Following this consultation I have decided to make the upcoming week of diagnostic testing (20th to 24th Nov) as normal a week as possible. Afternoon activities will continue as normal. However, there will be no homework this week to enable children to rest. Please see below for my rationale. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I am very happy to explain this decision further in person.
We are introducing the Cambridge progression tests from grade 3 upwards this term. These tests are internationally benchmarked and provide valid internal assessment of knowledge, skills and understanding in English, mathematics and science. From Grade 4 upwards our teachers will also offer internal diagnostic tests in Social Studies, Chitonga and Creative and Technology Studies.
I wish to emphasise that all these tests are diagnostic tests. Our message to the children will be that these tests are an opportunity for them to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the year, and to identify areas where they need more support. Although they do inform the end of term grades, their purpose is not to form a judgement of our children.
We encourage you to share the same message with your children. Revision for these tests is not necessary. Our curriculum focuses on skills based learning. Skills are developed over the long term. By all means please support your children, especially older children, if they show an interest in reviewing their learning. We value the development of study skills. I advise that any child-initiated review sessions are limited to 20 - 30 minutes.
The language level of the Cambridge progression test questions is quite high. We will be encouraging children to take their time and read the questions carefully.
I understand and respect that many of our parents place a high value on testing and revision in the Primary school. I recognise that the Zambian Grade 7 exams can be high stakes exams, as they are used by Zambian secondary schools as a basis for selection. I also recognise that the Grade 7 exams are more content-focused than the Cambridge approach to assessment.
My aim as we continue to develop our integrated Zambian and international curriculum is to strive for excellence, so that all our children are prepared for their secondary schooling, wherever this may be. My professional opinion is that the best way we can help our children prepare for the future is by developing positive learning skills and attitudes over the long term. To help them develop a lifelong love of learning, so that learning is a joy and not a source of stress. Hard work, dedication and study skills are all important and valued learning skills and attitudes that form a part of this long term development.
Mark Barber, our regional Cambridge representative, will be visiting the school next term and will be giving a talk to parents. This will be a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you many have about the Cambridge programme and the Cambridge approach to assessment.
Acacia’s assessment and reporting systems will continue developing as we aim for excellence. You may notice some changes to the Primary report format again this term. This is to reflect the introduction of the Cambridge progression tests. I will endeavour to communicate all changes clearly, and I welcome feedback at any stage.
Please see below for details of what’s coming up in Week 10.
Mrs Kate Young,
20th to 24th Nov – Diagnostic tests will take place during this week.
These dates were updated on the interactive school calendar last term. Please note original printed calendars from January 2017 will display the wrong dates. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Week 10 Friday Cake Sale
Donations for the cake sale on Friday 17th Nov are kindly requested from the families of the following children. Only one donation needed per family.
Lweendo (5), Luumuno (2) and Mwala (1)
Parent volunteers this week are Mirriam and Annabel.
Week 10 Assembly
Grade 5 will be leading the Week 10 assembly on 17th Nov. Parents are warmly invited to attend at 1230. We apologise for last week’s assembly overrunning and any inconvenience this may have caused.
Enjoy your weekend and see you on Monday
Acacia International School Committed to Excellence