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Assessment

“It is for their own sakes that children should get knowledge. The power to take a generous view of men and their motives, to see where the greatness of a given character lies, to have one’s judgment of present events illustrated and corrected by historic and literary parallels, to have, indeed, the power of comprehensive judgment – these are admirable assets within the power of every one according to the measure of his mind; and these are not the only gains which knowledge affords… Knowledge is not instruction, information, a well-stored memory. It is passed, like the light of a torch, from mind to mind, and the flame can be kindled at original minds only.”

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Daily Teacher Observation, Narration & Student Portfolios:

South City Community School places the highest value upon daily interactions with each child, their own report of knowledge, comprehension, and critical thinking through narration, and student portfolios. Because of our small teacher-to-student ratio, teachers have the benefit of knowing each child as a person and can monitor progress, set expectations, and develop lessons that are appropriate for each student. Narration, or “telling back” is used across subject areas, with each student narrating back a lesson or piece of literature, providing both broad story lines and detailed facts, and demonstrating knowledge, comprehension and critical thinking. Student Portfolios also provide a strong testimony of samples of each student’s best work and progress throughout each year.

Trimester Report Cards:

Parents of all students receive a report card at the end of each trimester. Teachers provide a detailed account of each student’s successes and struggles in spiritual, social, personal, and academic areas. Report cards include both a narrative report as well as mastery / development charts on specific learning objectives. Students in 6th – 8th grade will receive both per subject and cumulative grades on their 2nd and 3rd trimester report cards.

End of Year Exams:

It was common practice in Charlotte Mason’s schools and is current practice in many ChildLight schools to allow the students an opportunity to tell through narration what they have learned over a longer term. At SCCS, End of Year Exams will begin in 2nd grade; 2nd and 3rd grades will use a combination of drawing and oral dictation, while 4th – 8th will provide written answers. These assessments are based on discussions and activities in which students have participated all year and are across subject areas. Students demonstrate how knowledge and ideas have been integrated across subjects and throughout the year, without “cramming” for a typical exam.

Standardized Testing:

Although standardized testing is not our preferred method of assessment, we do not shy away from this process.  The distinctive practices of South City Community School that feed the mind with ideas – the reading and discussing of quality literature and primary source documents, experimentation and hands-on science and math, narration and composition, study of nature and the arts – train students to make knowledge their own.  As a result, they are able to demonstrate that knowledge in a variety of formats (including standardized testing) without having their daily lessons focused on fact-based, multiple-choice questions.  For PreK through 1st grade, SCCS administers the SEARCH test for early assessment & intervention of perceptual, motor and language development needed for reading and math development. For 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades, SCCS administers the Iowa Test of Basic Skills research-based and time-proven Survey Form Assessment each spring, and uses the results from the ITBS as one method of assessing the effectiveness of our school curriculum. School-wide trends noticed over time through the testing results may inform curriculum development decisions.

See our chart below for our developmentally targeted progression of assessment at SCCS:

SCCS Assessment Progression

** items noted in red are contingent only upon reaching grade

PreK – 1st Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Report cards each trimester
SEARCH & TEACH testing / intervention program

2nd Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Report cards each trimester
End of Year Oral Exam

3rd Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Math tests regularly administered
Report cards each trimester
End of Year Oral Exam
ITBS Survey test for reading, writing, and math

4th Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Math tests regularly administered
Report cards each trimester
End of Year Written Exam

5th Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Math tests regularly administered
Report cards each trimester
End of Year Written Exam
ITBS Survey test for reading, writing, and math

6th Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Math and writing tests regularly administered
Report cards each trimester
End of Year Written Exam

7th Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Report cards each trimester
Subject and cumulative grades will be given on the 2nd and 3rd trimester report cards.
End of Year Written Exam

8th Grade

Daily teacher observation
Narration
Student portfolios
Report cards each trimester
Subject and cumulative grades will be given on the 2nd and 3rd trimester report cards.
End of Year Written Exam
ITBS Survey test for reading, writing, and math