SLA’s pedagogical approach, involving small-group collaborative work, allows teachers to get real-time feedback during the learning process. This constant feedback enables teachers to make micro-adjustments to their teaching in order to meet individual students’ needs.
Formative assessment provides children with encouraging and constructive feedback that helps them fine-tune their learning process (this might take the form of notes in a writing notebook, a short conversation with a child, or targeted work outside of class).
Summative assessment informs teachers where children are and what they need to move forward. At each grade level, we use internal checklists that outline benchmarks of skills. Teachers use these to keep abreast of the individual needs of each child. In this way, rich information about a child’s particular strengths and challenges is available for discussion among teachers, and with families in the form of narrative evaluations. Though we do not administer tests, we know that test-taking skills are important. In the upper grades, we expose children to test-taking strategies as well as standardized test question formats.