It is for their own sakes that children should get knowledge. The power to take a generous view of men and their motives, to see where the greatness of a given character lies, to have one’s judgment of present events illustrated and corrected by historic and literary parallels, to have, indeed, the power of comprehensive judgment – these are admirable assets within the power of every one according to the measure of his mind; and these are not the only gains which knowledge affords…Knowledge is not instruction, information, a well-stored memory. It is passed, like the light of a torch, from mind to mind, and the flame can be kindled at original minds only. (Charlotte Mason, A Philosophy of Education, p. 302-303)
Daily teacher observation – Redeemer school places the highest value upon daily interaction between child, teacher, and often, parents. Because of our small teacher-to-student ratio, teachers have the benefit of knowing each child as a person and can monitor progress, set expectations, and develop lessons that are appropriate for each student. Elementary teachers send home bi-weekly updates for each child, and middle school students receive mid-term progress reports. All students have an on-going record of these observations in a cumulative portfolio.
Trimester report cards –Parents of transitional kindergarten through third grade students receive a narrative assessment at the end of each trimester. Teachers provide a detailed account of each student’s successes and struggles in spiritual, social, personal, and academic areas. Parents and teachers meet to discuss the report and pray for the student. Fourth through eighth grade students receive percentage grades for each subject area in addition to evaluations of spiritual, social, and personal growth. Enrichment teachers provide feedback on attitude, behavior, and effort on a scale of 1 to 4. Parents and teachers meet to discuss the report card and pray for the student.
End of Trimester Assessments – It was common practice in Charlotte Mason’s schools and is current practice in many Childlight schools to allow the students an opportunity to tell through narration what they have learned over a longer term. K-2 will use a combination of drawing and dictation; 3-8 will write their answers. The school will set a schedule, usually during the last full week of the trimester. These assessments are based on discussions and activities in which students have already participated. These are different than a unit test. Students demonstrate how knowledge and ideas have been integrated throughout the trimester without “cramming” for a typical exam.
Standardized Testing – Redeemer School administers the Stanford 10 Achievement Test to 3rd-8th graders each March, and uses the results from the SAT-10 as one method of assessing the effectiveness of our school curriculum. School-wide trends noticed over time through the testing results may inform curriculum development decisions. Though standardized testing is not Redeemer’s preferred method of assessment, we do not shy away from this process. The distinctive practices of Redeemer School that feed the mind with ideas – the reading and discussing of quality literature and primary source documents, experimentation and hands-on science and math, narration and composition, study of nature and the arts – train students to make knowledge their own. As a result, they are able to demonstrate that knowledge in a variety of formats (including standardized testing) without having their daily lessons focused on fact-based, multiple choice questions. While Redeemer School does not spend time preparing students for this test, students generally perform at a high level in all areas.