Variety of Assessment
The Waldorf curriculum and educational approach contain benchmarks and methods of assessment of student progress. Teachers conduct individualized, ongoing assessment of each student during the course of the school year. Teachers use a variety of methods to assess students, including daily observation of student progress and behavior, portfolio review, math and spelling tests, book reports, and morning lesson review exams.
Assessments Inform Learning Goals
The faculty of the Santa Cruz Waldorf School understands student progress evaluation as a service to the student. Progress evaluations identify the areas in which students need more support, as well as assess when learning goals have been met and students are ready for new goals. It is important in this context to remember that the school strives to bring forth in every student her or his very own potential. Thus, evaluations against external standards or comparisons with other students only have limited informational value in assessing a student’s unique progress.
To be most effective, a Waldorf education requires communication between all adults who care about a child. Regular meetings between all of a child’s teachers are considered the best tool available for understanding questions of progress in individual children. When specialty teachers and class teachers are able to converse about a particular child, new ideas and insights can come forward to help all of the teachers understand how to work more effectively with that child. Teachers may also discuss student progress or areas of concern with colleagues during grade-level group meetings.
Open communication between parents and teachers is essential. Parents are kept informed of student progress and remedial options are recommended as necessary at parent-teacher conferences during the school year and end-of-school year narrative evaluations. Teachers communicate with the parents as necessary at other times through phone calls and additional conferences. Teachers offer weekly office hours to ensure adequate opportunities for communication.
An important aspect of the Santa Cruz Waldorf School’s evaluation process is the work of the Care Group. This group of teachers, remedial specialists, and therapists addresses the needs of individual students and brings the resources of the school to bear on these needs. The Care Group assists in assessing readiness for first grade, second grade progress, and in individual child studies.
1st & 2nd Grade Assessments
The Santa Cruz Waldorf School conducts an extremely thorough assessment of each Kindergarten student prior to first grade acceptance. The school conducts a second grade assessment with each child as they approach the age of 8. Students are assessed on: