This week, Progress Tests are being held for pupils in Years 2-6. These ‘snapshots’ are a celebration of learning, and are approached in a low pressure, straightforward manner without the need for revision in most subjects. Generally, open-ended questions allow pupils to display what they know rather than what they don’t. Up through Year 4, most are conducted orally, with a scribe taking down each child’s answer. By Year 5 all narrations are written by the pupils themselves.
Earlier this week, Year 3 pupils were asked to recall what they’d learned in Geography – for example, ‘Tell all you know about one of your favourite countries that make up the continent of South America.’ In response, one pupil spoke about Brazil and the Amazon Rainforest; the response included detailed knowledge about climate and air quality, animal species, tribes whose way of life have been endangered because of deforestation, and specific facts about the Amazon river.
Another pupil was asked, ‘Tell all you know about New York City’. They described the Statue of Liberty, the Theater District, particular statues in Central Park, the Empire State Building, and Washington Square. In conclusion, the pupil recommended an itinerary for a trip to New York City!
The pupils’ thorough recall of topics studied several weeks earlier is impressive, and they are excited to tell all they know about a topic. These Progress Tests present an important opportunity to celebrate narration and the power of attention, as well as to reinforce and complete the learning of the term.