Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Senior Secondary navigation


You are here:

Assessing student learning in classical studies

Assessment is bigger than NCEA. It is the means (provides the evidence) by which teachers are able to judge how effective their teaching is, and for whom. And it is the means by which students can measure their progress.

Diagnostic and formative assessment

Effective teachers use diagnostic and formative assessment:

  • to identify different students’ strengths and needs
  • to provide detailed and thorough measurement of students’ progress
  • to identify the impacts of their teaching and the implications for future teaching.

What might this look like in the classical studies classroom?

The New Zealand Curriculum notes (page 39) that ‘The primary purpose of assessment is to improve students’ learning and teachers’ teaching as both students and teachers respond to the information that it provides.’

An effective programme of assessment involves consultation with students. It encourages learners to self-assess and to reflect on what they have learned, based on intended learning outcomes. An ongoing assessment process gathers a range of evidence to inform the next steps for both learning and teaching. It is important to offer students multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding. The mode of assessment should be varied to encourage engagement and achievement, as well as to provide information about what students need next to inform subsequent teaching and learning. These are some ways to gather information on what students know and can do in classical studies:

  • Brainstorming
  • Concept/mind mapping
  • Informal/formal questioning/conferencing of the individual, group, or class
  • Oral performance, for example, monologue, speech, presentation, group drama, or debate
  • Written/multimedia responses, for example, perspective writing, essays, narratives, research findings and synthesis, online forms (blog, wiki, website).

Classical studies teachers can share information with other teachers from different learning areas, and vice versa, to inform their understandings about students’ strengths and needs.

Involve students in their own assessment

Knowing what is expected of them strengthens students' abilities to judge when they have met success criteria and contributes to developing their ability to manage themselves.

Formative assessment in a variety of contexts should be based on shared learning intentions and explicit success criteria, developed through quality discourse and learning conversations and reinforced by focused feedback.

For example:

  • The class might explore models of effective drama before discussing what they believe an effective scene from Aristophanes' Wasps should look like, and then developing success criteria that groups can use to peer review their performances.
  • Self and peer assessment exercises, opportunities for reflection (together with attention to the processes of reflection), and journals or portfolios are all useful tools to help students benefit from assessment information. Students could keep blogs or visual diaries as formative and even summative assessment tools.
  • Students in pairs or small groups could grade or annotate exemplar scripts then compare their evaluations with the actual rankings in class discussion.

In addition to teacher assessment and self-evaluation, students may also find it useful to seek feedback from other people (extended family or people in the community). E-portfolios, blogs, and websites are useful tools for collaborative sharing and feed-forward.

Last updated August 20, 2019