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Assessment and evaluation.
The Multigrade Teacher training module for Zambian teacher trainers
The history of Multigrade teaching in Zambia.
Challenges of multigrade teaching.
Classroom management.
Curriculum planning in a multigrade classroom.
Assessment and evaluation.
Documentation in multigrade teaching.
Instructional materials.
Final word


Assessing, evaluating and marking.




One of the roles which a multigrade teacher must carry out is to monitor the progress of pupils learning so as to ensure quality of education.

Usually, this requires teachers to determine the educational levels of pupils when they first enter schooling, during the school year and at the end of the school year.

Therefore assessment should be considered a continuous and integral part of the teaching process.

Types of assessment 


Entrance test







Entrance tests are usually conducted at the beginning of the schooling process.

The purpose of these entrance tests is to determine exactly the educational situation of each pupil.

More importantly, tests results will assist the teacher to identify the particular stage within each grade that individual pupils have attained and therefore help the teacher to provide appropriate

individual instruction.

Regular assessment is carried out for the same purpose as those described above but is administered routinely through the school year.

Such assessment may be carried out daily, weekly or monthly.

The frequency of such testing will be determined by the purpose for which it was designed.

Periodic assessment is often used for specific purpose, such as determining if pupils have understood a particular topic which has just been completed. Means of assessment include:


        short test

        topic tests

        The use of homework.

It is often possible to ask pupils to assess their own work or the work of their peer group.

Alternatively, older pupils may help the teacher to assess the work of younger pupils.

It is often the case the learners workbooks are designed for these types of assessment.


Teachers have an understanding of what students need to learn and are expected to learn at various stages.

Children are learning all the time and this learning is not dependent upon what other children may be learning.

Teachers keep detailed records of what students do over a period of time enabling them to see a students development.

The multigrade classroom allows teachers to assess what a student can do and then extend them from there.


If a pupil writes wun instead of one the teacher knows that this pupil understands letters and sounds they represent. The teacher then decides whether the pupil is ready to be introduced to the spelling of the word one or if there are other priorities for the students development.


Children dont fail in multigrade classrooms. They continuously progress and they participate in assessing their progress.


They are made to feel that they are responsible for their learning and are always winners in the attempt.

Also, the younger children are stimulated by and model the behaviour of the older children, and older pupils act as tutors for their younger classmates while reinforcing their own learning process.


A multigrade classroom where continuous progress is encouraged and assessed works well because every child is unique and has an individual model and timing for growth.

Such a classroom provides opportunities for children to build progressively on their developing skill and knowledge base as they work toward the learning results.

There is respect for different learning styles.

Teachers structure a supportive learning environment where children feel successful, develop positive self-concepts and are helpful and sensitive to others.


Assessment in a multigrade class is continuously and spread over several years. There is a continuity over time that multigrade provides.


The pupil benefits from having the opportunity to stay with the same teacher and classmates and experience the same teaching style, assessment methods and other classroom routines over a two year ( or longer) period.


In a multigrade classroom there is time to recognize that a childs social and emotional needs are as important as academic needs.

Because the teacher values children as capable learners, she uses open-ended projects to provide for a wide of abilities and interests. During this time, the teacher can observe, assess and document what each child does and how it is done.

Each child is accepted at his or her own place on the developmental learning continuum. The teacher takes time to assess, evaluate and plan next steps for each child. Separate subjects are replaced by an integrated curriculum which engages children in meaningful activities that explore concepts and topics relevant and meaningful to the lives of the children.



In a classroom where all children are learning at different rates and are not all the same age, there should be little competition.

By helping each other, students reinforce their own understanding of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Conversations are encouraged as the children talk through their work in progress. These conversations help them understand just what they have learned.



Teachers should try to avoid long queues at their desks of children waiting for work to be marked. These children are wasting good time.

They quickly get bored and become restless. Its useful for you to have other activities ready for them to carry on with their own. This allows you to call one child at a time to your desk.

Many teachers find it more satisfactory to actually leave their own desk and move around the room. They sit beside individual children and help them and check their work in this way. This friendlier, less formal approach- particularly appropriate in the family atmosphere often found in the best multiclasses.








Some ideas:


Why not let children mark some of their own work?


Or make self-check work cards with

-         answer keys

-         a progress sheet in an exercise book or on the wall.


What about introducing routines for children to mark their friends work partner marking or for older; children to check younger ones?


These kinds of approaches can relieve the busy multiclasses teacher of some of the tedious, mechanical marking that is always necessary. In this way, you are left more time to spend in helping individuals with problems and in monitoring general progress.


Being a learner in a multigrade classroom does not negatively affect

Academic performance

Social relationships



Learners activity


Make a performance card/report per pupil, to record their performances.

To see the progress but also to see which child needs remedial education.


Since the teacher cannot be everywhere, or with each pupil simultaneously, the teacher shares instructional responsibility with them. A context of clear rules and routines makes such shared responsibility productive. The pupils know what the teacher expects

-         They know what assignments to work on.

-         When they are due

-         How to get them graded

-         How to get extra help

-         Where to turn assignments in




Learners activity


Find yourself some more rules and routines.

Two very important learners objectives

a.     Learn how to help one another and themselves.

b.    Develop independence.

Note: When a young pupil enters the classroom for the first time, he or she will receive help and guidance not only from the teacher, but also from older pupils. In this way they also learn that the teacher is not the only source of knowledge.


Kinds of Assessment


Assessment, recording, and reporting are important elements of teaching but they have to be manageable if the information they yield is to be useful to you, the pupils and others. As with planning it is best to think at three connected levels:


      *   Short-term




a.    Short-term assessment:


Short-term assessments are an informal part of every lesson.

Their purposes are to:


        Check that children have grasped the main teaching points in a particular lesson or unit of work, whether they have misunderstandings that you need to put right, and whether they are ready to move to the next activity.

        Give you information which helps you to adjust day-to-day lesson plans.


For these short-term assessments what you assess will be closely matched to your teaching objectives. There are two ways to make them:


        During every lesson:

You will absorb and react to childrens responses, see

-         whether they are confident or hesitant with new work

-         decide whether they need extension work or more help

-         Or if groups need to be adjusted


In a multigrade class you might aim to keep a special eye on one of them on a different day each week, perhaps questioning the children informally to check specific knowledge, skills and understanding.

If you notice any difficulties or misunderstandings, try to adjust your lesson and address them straight away.

If necessary continuing in the next lesson or two.

Use the plenary part of the lesson to acknowledge individual and collective achievement and effort.




        At intervals:

You can supplement your daily observations.

An out-of-class or homework exercise or activity at the end of a unit of work can give you useful information on who has learned what and who needs extra support.

Or you might occasionally give the class a short, informal test of rapid recall.

Older pupils could answer written questions, while younger ones write answers to questions which you give them orally.

Homework and informal test of this kind should be followed immediately by marking and discussion with the whole class to give pupils feedback on their performance and what they need to improve. At the same time you can make sure that any errors are put right and the merits of different methods discussed.


Short-term assessments dont need to be recorded, since they are for your immediate action and attention. But you may decide to keep your records, because they can help you to clarify patterns in performance over time or responses to specific teaching or support.


b.   Medium-term assessments.



Their focus should be on what you are unsure about, not on what you already know.


        Review and record the progress children are making over time in relation to the key objectives, what they know and can do, whether they can apply their skills in a new context, and whether any weaknesses remain.

        Identify childrens progression against individual targets, so you can give them and their parents feedback and set new targets.

        Help you to plan work over the next half term.

        Provide you with information to feed into end-of-year assessment.


You will need to mark any written task that is part of medium-tern assessment to give feedback to children to make corrections to their work, so constructive written comments are more helpful than mere ticks and crosses or scores out of 10. The marking, feedback and corrections should be done as soon as possible while children can still remember how they approached the task.

Childrens progress towards the key objectives needs to be recorded.

The easiest system to use is a class record of the key objectives; a summary sheet for the whole class, with the key objectives appropriate for the class down one side and childrens names across the top:


Key objectives Grade  4 Maths




















Use symbols correctly.




















Recognize simple fractions.






















Your class record can be kept in a folder with your supplementary notes. You will use the same file in the next year when the class will go to the next grade.


c.    Long-term assessment:


Towards the end of the school year you will need to assess and review pupils progress and attainment against school and national targets, drawing on your class record or key objectives and supplementary notes.

        Assess pupils work against the key objectives of the year.

        Assess pupils work against national standards.


Assessment, evaluation samples:


Science: 1. Evaluation sample after a topic the tree.


The teacher will make a list of the local and national trees.

So this test can be taken of after having learned about on or several trees.

These worksheets can also be used in the activity book


All the trees that are present in the school garden or play area.

Grade 1 + 2 + 3 + 4

All the trees that are present in the village.

Grade 2 + 3 + 4

All the trees that are present in the District.

Grade 3 + 4

All the trees that are present in the Province.

Grade 4


Make a chart of one tree



Name of the tree

Features of the tree


Parts of tree

Written and drawn

Describe or draw these features

Drawing is grade 1 + 2 + 3 + 4.

Writing is grade 3 + 4















Grade 1+ 2 + 3 + 4







Birds, animals or insects that use the tree


Grade 3 + 4

How people use the tree


Grade 3 + 4


2. Evaluation of the attitude of multigrade children.


Attitude evaluation

Term 1

Term 2

Term 3


1. I can solve my quarrels.





2. I do not disturb the other children.





3. Il learn to think, to carry on.





4. I can cooperate.





5. I fulfil the agreements.





6. I finish my work with care.





7. I finish my tasks





8. I can work independent.











very good



Evaluation and assessment tool




Low = not yet/rarely/to a small degree.

Moderate= sometimes/ to a moderate degree.

High = usually/frequently/to a large degree.






1. The learning environment




Teacher team




We actively seek to maintain a good understanding of the knowledge base by observing, reading, and attending workshop sessions regarding:




Child development and the learning process of young children.




Appropriate curriculum and teaching techniques specific to the young child.




Observing, assessing and recording young children growth and development.




Assisting parents to enhance their understanding of their childs development and to support this development in the home and school setting.




2. Organization




Teacher team




Children have many places to display their own work




We provide areas in the classroom for individual, small group and large group activities.




We encourage independence by supplying shelves, containers, supplies and special areas with symbols, pictures and /or work labels to encourage children to select, put away, and clean up materials and activities.




3. Learning tools, equipment, materials and supplies.




We offer materials that are open ended so children can use materials in a variety of ways.




We provide sufficient numbers and multiples of some learning tools to encourage the flow of activities, social interaction and peer modelling.




5. Scheduling of time




We organize the daily schedule to allow time for children to plan, implement, describe and assess their own activities.




We maximize continuous time for interactive learning and minimize the number of transitions to encourage childrens sustained involvement in complex activities.




We allow children to make choices and encourage them to be in charge of their own learning.




6. Developmentally appropriate practices.




We allow children freedom of movement to meet their own needs.




De have developed a well-balanced daily schedule that includes:




Active as well quiet activities




Individual, small group, and large group activities




Indoor and outdoor activities




Independent projects as well as teacher-initiated activities.




7. Discipline




Children are involved in setting our classroom rules and expectations.




Children know what is expected of them and their classmates.




We structure classroom activities to enhance cooperation rather than competition and emphasize helpfulness, kindness, and caring attitudes.











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