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People involved in assessment - Iceland

The teacher is the professional, and is in charge up to a point. The teacher is the contact with the school and the decision making process which takes place there (how and when to assess etc.) The pupil is the main point of the studies. What is achieved is mainly up to the pupil. So really its incredible how little anyone talks to the pupil, and how little his/her activity and participation is in the process. The pupil is the key person, while the teacher and parents can be supportive of the studies. The teacher is inside the school, and has the possibilities in teaching and all that. Parental activity consists of motivating the pupil at home, increasing the child’s commitment to the studies, to encourage interests and to build up circumstances which are supportive of study and school work. Diversity in assessment and using peers is a good thing, and should be done more often. M. 

D’s teacher, who is a developmental therapist and works with the class teacher, is primarily responsible for the assessment. The class teacher writes the tests, which are adapted for D. In this case the pupil is involved in evaluating his own studies, like other pupils with portfolio assessment. 

D’s school uses portfolio assessment, among other assessment processes. Once a year, in the spring, parents attend a pupil led conference where the pupil shows his or her chosen items of the showcase portfolio. The same applies to D and his portfolio. 

I feel that parents come in as people who know other aspects of the child than the school, and involvement in assessment is one of the school’s ways for the parents to learn about the school’s work. In addition, they learn more about the status of the child’s studies, and they can have an influence which is supportive of study and well-being. M. 

Co-operation between pupils, parents and teachers is assured by the school contacting the parents regularly, and that is a fixed procedure which all teachers work by. So parents, pupils and the teacher work together, to set objectives and assess the pupil’s studies. This worked best when the process was linked to interviews with the teachers. Before the interview, the parents knew how the studies had been progressing, and we sometimes received notes about factors we needed to consider. Sometimes there were points to consider before the interview. That worked well. The school needs to have the attitude… realise that this collaboration yields benefits, and can have a very good effect upon the child’s schooling. In N’s case, I felt the school realised this, as his handicap meant that he required a lot of help in the process of learning. M. 

Team approaches to the assessment that was used varied very much. It depended upon the subject and the teaching. Teachers, school administrators and parents met regularly, usually once a month, and more often if necessary. Whenever the parents were involved, it was encouraging. I was worthy to be included, and that made me more interested, and then I was better aware of what I should do to be supportive of the studies. When I was included I felt respect and trust and I found that marvellous. M.

 

Sources:

  • Interview with a mother. August 2005
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