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Features of best assessment practice - France

In a general way good practices seem to be those that are not exclusively aimed at making a selection, meeting a norm, but rather are those that help the pupil to learn and the teacher to teach.

How can good practices help the pupil to learn? First of all effective practices are those that are adapted to the characteristics inherent in the pupil’s type of deficiency. All methods of adapting assessments, based on a fair approach, make these assessments accessible to the pupil, who can therefore really show the skills he has learned. Then, an assessment is effective if it does not require a superfluous cognitive overload. In other words, the assessment proposed to the pupil must be very specifically targeted, and must make it possible to evaluate only the skill or skills aimed at. Lastly, it is by creating a relationship of trust between the pupil and the teacher that the teacher can gradually lead the pupil to a reflexive and metacognitive practice which will become formative for him/her.

How can good assessment practices lead the teacher to teach?

We have seen that good assessment practices are those which, based on the observation of the pupil, inform the teacher about the pupil’s difficulties and enable the teacher to identify the pupil’s needs. In order to identify the pupil’s needs, the teacher examines in turn, or simultaneously, questions of didactics, pedagogy, cognitive psychology, or even psychological and emotional elements that might help to understand the pupil’s performance. It is only on the basis of this fine observation of the pupil in the classroom that the teacher can then propose learning situations really accessible to the pupil. 

Lastly, the analysis of good practices in assessment has highlighted on the one hand the importance of the co-operation of the parents who, if their skills are recognised, can be very relevant.  On the other hand, partnership practices appear to help facilitate inclusion, provided that the action of the different professionals is closely co-ordinated with the practice of the teacher in the classroom. 

Policy that supports best practice

French laws now clearly express priority for the education of pupils with special educational needs, if possible in an ordinary environment.  The ordinary pupil should no longer have to prove that he can be integrated into a mainstream school.  On the contrary, it is now up to schools to show that they can educate all pupils.

To reach this objective, different laws develop a specific conception of assessment:

  • The aim is no longer to make an assessment in order to guide the pupil in a specialised environment, but rather to make an assessment in order to meet the needs of pupils in an ordinary environment, in a context of a shared right to education.
  • The assessment is no longer perceived as a stigma, but as a diagnosis, and it must lead to a personalised approach for the pupil.  The purpose is to identify the pupil’s needs in order to have an effect on compensation and/or accessibility. Moreover the importance of the participation of the pupil and his parents in the assessment process is clearly stated.  At every moment of the procedure they must give their opinion. 

Certain laws are prepared on the basis of co-operation between different ministries.  Thus, the purpose of the medical diagnosis is no longer to highlight the pupil’s deficiencies but rather to understand the pupil’s needs and to help the teacher make learning situations as accessible as possible to the pupil. 

Lastly, even if laws refer to national assessment protocols, and even if results are used as indicators for co-ordination for inspectors of the Regional Educational Divisions and the Rectors, these results do not encourage parents to make comparisons between schools and do not lead to pressure from parents. Moreover, these results are not related to the allocation of resources.  Only those assessments made when a pupil shows a deficiency can give rise to the allocation of additional resources as compensation for a disability.  In that case it is the parents who take the appropriate steps.  

Sources: 

Books

  • Hadji (C.), Pratiques et enjeux pédagogiques, E S F, Paris, 1997.
  • Perrenoud (P.), L’évaluation des élèves, de la fabrication de l’excellence à la régulation des apprentissages, entre deux logiques, De Boeck Université, Paris, Bruxelles, 1998.
  • Scallon (G.), L’évaluation des apprentissages dans une approche par compétences, de Boeck université, Paris, Bruxelles, 2004. 

Reviews

  • Duru-Bellat (M.), Mons (N.), Suchaut (B.), « Inégalités sociales entre élèves et organisation des systèmes éducatifs : l’éclairage des comparaisons entre pays », Cahier de l’IREDU, n°66, Dijon, IREDU, février 2004. 
  • Suchaut (B.), « Qu’apprend-on au cycle III ? Evolution des compétences des élèves du CE2 à la sixième », IREDU, octobre 2003. 
  • « Evaluation modes d’emploi », La Nouvelle revue de l’AIS, n°32, janvier 2006.

Notes

  • Brezillon (G.), Chollet (P.), Dauphin (L.), « Les réponses des élèves de CE2 à l’évaluation de septembre 2003 », Note d’évaluation 04. 05 mai, direction de l’évaluation et de la prospective, ministère de l’Education nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, édition 2004.

Internet Sites

  • « portail de l’évaluation », ministère de l’Education nationale, de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche. 
  • http://evace26.education.gouv.fr, « L’évaluation des élèves de CE2 et de sixième, septembre 2005 », ministère de l’Education nationale de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche, DEP. 
  • http://banquoutils.education.gouv.fr, « Banque d’outils d’aide à l’évaluation diagnostique », ministère de l’Education nationale de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche.
  • http://inshea.fr/, chemin : productions, informatique, adaptation des évaluations CE2, moteurs, malvoyants.
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