Formal and Informal Assessment

Students’ progress is assessed throughout the school year in a variety of ways. Formal approaches include highly regarded published assessments in reading and mathematics, which help us to understand student learning needs and to plan curricula. Informal assessments occur daily and include the documentation of demonstration of Habits of Mind, portfolios of student work over time, and anecdotal evidence of progress in the Learning Profile areas of concentration. The results of the various assessment tools are documented and discussed with parents and students throughout the year, and are summarized at each student-led conference.

Processing speed is a frequent struggle for Howard School students; many of our students take longer to do the same work as others. Instead of pouring water directly into a bucket, it’s like pouring water through a funnel first – slower, but it gets to the same place. We know that processing speed is independent from the quality of the student's thinking and reasoning. For this reason, we don't believe that speed tests are useful means of assessing the true capacity of our students' learning.