Assessment in Primary Schools: A Guide for Parents (December 2008) 30/11/2008

To parents and caregivers

When a child starts school, a partnership begins between home and school that continues until the child leaves school 12 or 13 years later. If families and teachers can work together in a good partnership the educational results for their children will be better.

Principals and teachers are keen for parents to be involved in their children’s schooling.

Assessment is not just the set of processes that lead to senior students getting qualifications. Through assessment, teachers at all levels of schooling find out what their students know and can do, and therefore what they should be learning next.

Primary and intermediate schools use a wide variety of assessment tools and methods across all curriculum areas. The achievement information on their students collected by teachers is used for many different purposes. One of these purposes is to keep parents informed of their children’s progress at school.

Teachers talk about assessment for learning rather than assessment of learning. This is because they want to make it clear that they use their assessments of what children have learned to plan what they will do next to help the children they teach to make progress.

This report is a guide to assessment in primary schools. It describes some of the ways teachers in primary schools gather assessment information, and the terms they use to describe the various assessment tools. It also talks about how parents can get information about their child’s progress and how parents and teachers can share responsibility for each child’s success at school.

The report includes quotations from Education Review Office reports on individual schools and show how primary schools and individual teachers use assessment. These extracts either describe where improvements are needed, or illustrate the way many schools are already making excellent use of high quality assessment information. You can read your own school’s latest ERO report on, or ask for a copy from your local ERO office.

Dr Graham Stoop
Chief Review Officer September 2008

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