From 20 till 22 January, our group met for the second project meeting in Budapest. This meeting took place in the office of the Magyar Waldorf Szövetség and brought together a total of 9 participants.
The tone of this meeting was set by the wonderfully reflective poem “The Minister of Exam” by Brian Patten. We felt that this summarised the reasons why we are putting time and effort into this project.
After the round of updates on everyone’s professional (and if wanted to share it personal) activities most of the first afternoon was spent with reflecting on the National Agency’s reactions to our answers to the preventive monitoring.
The form and possibilities of a project website were looked into and decided to create an easy and dynamic webpage on the ECSWE Webserver. This has been done since then and the beta version is already live. It can be found on http://personalisedassessment.ecswe.eu/ which is also going to be the location of the final page. We might however add another domain.
The question arose during the meeting of what our personal motivations were for taking part in this project. This gave interesting topics for discussion. We looked again at assessment as a whole and our focal points and criteria for the selection of good practices.
Although we already had some practices in mind it was invaluable to have a brainstorm session and try to collect all the possible sources. These then could be run along the selection criteria and the final list selected. One thing was clear: although two of the participating organisations have a Steiner Waldorf background, and about 60-75% of the practices would be collected from Steiner Waldorf schools, all these practices should be applicable to ALL schools.
We also decided that when we select practices, we select these based on reaching a broad coverage of competences, e.g. knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, personal development. A good practice should cover several dimensions of the L4WB compass. While collecting, we will thus use the holistic perspective: head, heart, hands and spirit, which in the context of the project means:
- HEAD is the knowledge behind the assessment
- HEART is the nourishing relationship between who is assessing and who is assessed
- HANDS are the skills that put it into practice
- SPIRIT is what allows the child to develop their inner diversity in a holistic way.
We also worked on the interview quide. Some key points from this:
- a practice should always be looked at in its specific context of school, cooperation between teachers, parents and pupils, educational climate in the country;
- asking the teachers to define themselves within these contexts – looking at how the teachers can embed their practices into the school contexts;
- there needs to be a balance in the collected methods between primary and secondary education;
- wherever and whenever it is possible, asking also the parents/older pupils about their views on the method – clear definitions are needed of WHAT is being assessed: the learning process, the pupil’s progress, something else;
- the form of the assessment is also important: written, spoken, etc. Time was also spent on defining the method of writing up the practice and on success indicators.
At the end of the meeting we used our very useful tops and tips method for evaluating the work that we had done up to this point in the project and the meeting itself. The list of participants and the internal notes from the meeting including the agenda are added to the interim report as attachments.