Assessment, Certification and Evaluation
Here in Ashbourne Community School, we endeavour to ensure that assessment is an integral part of the learning process in Transition Year. Assessment has to be flexible, varied and transparent, while the certification has to be credible and be a real reflection of the student's progress and contribution right across all areas of the Transition Year Programme. Certification is awarded at the Transition Year Graduation, which takes place at a designated date in the school sports hall in late May. The following grades are awarded:
Excellence; 90% +
Completed TY; 50% or less
Certification is based on the following:
50% for curricular and class work.
25% for completing work placement work diary in Transition Year journal.
25% for personal reflection, Transition Year journal, portfolio box and end of year interview.
Class and curricular work is assessed using a wide variety of methods, which are specified in each subject/module programme. The assessment methods include, written and practical work, oral and aural project work, portfolio/folder presentations, student logs/diaries and interviews. These are clearly outlined to students at the beginning of each module and student participation in methods of assessment is actively encouraged. A maximum of 10 credits are awarded at the end of each module, in early January and mid-May. The criteria for the awarding of these credits are set by the teacher, the relevant department and the student. A maximum of 2 credits is awarded for attendance in most modules/subjects. Emphasis is placed on assessment of key skills, such as teamwork, communication, planning, organising, goal setting, in addition to academic criteria. This process is reinforced by teacher/student assessment in the Transition Year journal. A report is sent home to parents/guardians in late January, which is followed by a Tutor-Parent-Student Meeting during school hours in early February, to help access and evaluate each student's progress. The final report, sent in late May, incorporates the final credits total and certification.
Work placement accounts for 25% of the assessment. This is accessed on a weekly basis and is based on a student account of their placement under relevant headings, employer and parental signatures, and completion of both the employer and student evaluations at the end of each placement. Completion of the actual work placements is awarded up to 13% and completion of the work diary entries in the Transition Year journal are awarded up to 12%.
Personal reflection, Transition Year journal, portfolio box and interview accounts for the final 25% of the assessment. Each student from the outset, compiles a portfolio, which covers all aspects of their progress in, and contribution to Transition Year. Before being interviewed, each student completes a 2 page typed personal reflection under 8 headings. Each Transition Year journal is also checked during the interview.
Evaluation is an essential component of the TY programme. We endeavour here in ACS to continually evaluate all aspects of the TY programme, with the overall aim of continually improving in the delivery of the programme. In particular, we look at enhancing the learning and growing experience for the students involved, as well as enriching the school and wider community. Evaluation is an essential, in order to ascertain what is working and what may not be working, and based on this, making decisions to improve the overall effectiveness of the programme.
The internal evaluation, conducted by the school, occurs at a number of levels and is essential in attempting to deliver a vibrant and effective programme. An overall evaluation of the programme takes places at the end of each TY year. Links to evaluation forms are sent to students, parents and teachers. This information is compiled, analysed and forms the basis of a detailed review of the year, which is drawn up by the Programme Coordinator in conjunction with the TY team, and presented to both, school management and the Board of Management. This in turn is used to help design the upcoming TY Programme. The views of work placement providers and service providers are also taken on board.
The students are involved in ongoing evaluation. Firstly there is a weekly reflection section in their journal, which they complete each week. In addition, there is a dedicated section in the TY journal which provides the opportunity to evaluate their participation and progress in different aspects of TY. The students are asked to evaluate the module/activity and their own participation in each. This is facilitated by relevant sample evaluations in the TY journal. It assists teachers and subject departments in drafting their module or subject plan for the following year. This is critical in evaluating students to reflect on their progress in TY, to identify any possible difficulties and to focus on continual improvement. The evaluation process for work placement is outlined in the work placement section of the TY journal. Finally, there is a detailed end of year evaluation, which students complete at the end of the year.
To further reinforce this, a Tutor-Parent-Student Meeting, is held in early February, to help all concerned evaluate progress in TY, with the view to addressing any concerns and acknowledging achievements.
The programme is open to external evaluation by the Inspectorate, and the last full TY inspection occurred in 2007.
Assessment, Certification & Evaluation
of TY in ACS