How do you assess how well students are learning?

In Waldorf schools, there are no letter grades given to evaluate progress at the primary levels. Teachers give parents a detailed written summary of their child’s learning. It includes the child’s strengths, areas to develop, and how the teacher is working with the child. At our school, there is a mandate that there will be no surprises for parents on the year end report! We have a minimum requirement of two parent-teacher conferences, one in the fall and one in the spring. At each one, the teacher describes the child’s progress with regards to a very detailed list of skills and attributes. Not only that, but additional conferences may be scheduled at the request of the parent or the teacher at any time during the year. So the year end report is a compilation of conversations and advisements that have already taken place throughout the year.

For young children especially, cooperation is emphasized instead of competition.

See our FREE REPORT for information on why it’s important to avoid high-stakes testing for kindergarten and elementary school children!

In middle school, children are taught how grading systems work, and are encouraged to calculate their own grades by measuring their performance against specific criteria established by their teachers. Letter grades can be given at the discretion of the teacher as early as 7th grade.

In regular classrooms, many children who are given tests from a young age develop anxiety about tests, and bad grades sometimes contributes to a belief that “I can’t learn”. To me it makes sense to first foster a love of learning and a belief that “I can learn”, and then learn how to take tests. In this way, tests are more likely to become a useful learning tool rather than a source of dread and stress.

Here is an article about testing written from a Waldorf perspective.