How do traditional evaluations benefit the students ? When we talk about evaluations, don’t we have in mind a constant idea of comparing or measuring one student to others ? We have so many emotions when it comes to testing. At the French American School of Minneapolis, we made the decision to use a constructive testing tool to value the individual and its progress rather than comparing a child to others.
MAP (Measurement of Academic Progress) is an evaluation test that measures students’ progress over the school year. Our students test three times a year. Fall testing enables teachers to have a reference point at the beginning of the school year, to know exactly where a student is in his/her learning path. At that stage, students become actively involved to develop specific skills, determined by the testing analysis and organized in goal-settings. Isn’t it more engaging for a student to go to school every day with the desire to reach goals rather than the fear to fail?
MAP is a fabulous tool for developing differentiation and it truly meets the needs of each student. The MAP test starts at the same point for all students, given their grade level, and is interactive: it adjusts itself step by step to the student’s level. Rather than providing questions a student is not capable to answer or questions that are too easy, MAP is bringing the testing experience to a positive feeling. And yet, indeed, we are still working on the same goal: to evaluate a child’s skills and knowledge, and range him/her in his grade level learning objectives .
FASM uses more tools to empower students in their success. In preschool, students fully take part in their own evaluation by filling out their « Cahier de réussite » (success notebook). This tool becomes a visual trace of their success and therefore progress. Considering the importance of language development between the age of 2 and 5, this experience is also an opportunity to develop and strengthen language skills.
In primary grades (K to 5), students know at the beginning of each day what will they learn. They are fully involved in working towards their goal-settings.
Likewise an adult – an accomplished athlete, a musician or any worker – a student will thrive and succeed knowing what is he doing and where it takes him.