Evaluations & Assessment
We believe in formative assessment, rather than timetabling in end-of-term blocks, as it reduces the pressure on students and gives teachers multiple opportunities to look at performance data and tweak the curriculum according to the individual needs of their pupils.
MAP test is used every quarter to keep track of students’ skill based learning and align their learning diversity with the classroom teaching.
To achieve this, we also test students in many different ways. Informal testing is often impromptu but framed informally so as not to cause anxiety. This can range from a 5-minutes spelling test to verbal testing of subject knowledge; often, students aren’t even aware that they are being tested, but teachers take detailed notes to ensure that progress monitoring is as thorough as possible.
Our assessment criteria is based on scores on classwork, homework, quizzes and projects other than the formal exams. Students receive advance notice of dates, times and content. Teachers run preparation sessions to ensure that students understand both situational and academic requirements for each test, and the data from this is used to inform ongoing learner programs, coaching opportunities, setting and the content of our regular teachers’ meetings.
Exams are an important measure of student achievement within education, but we do not believe in placing the majority of the curriculum’s emphasis on exams. Rather, they are a way of celebrating achievement and consolidating learning.
Students at Umm Alqura undertake several exams during the year, so that they become used to the process of preparation, controlling emotions and ultimately performing to their potential.
By using a multiple exam structure, rather than having all exams as finals, students do not have to experience as much pressure. The significance of each exam is diluted, and students are given every opportunity to pass and achieve excellent cumulative results.
By spreading exams through the year, teachers can also analyze student performance and address learning issues continuously, thereby contributing to each student’s academic progress more proactively.
By tracking improvement in this way, students can then more clearly perceive their own progress with a series of results.
Our curriculum includes plenty of time for exam preparation for students, with one-on-one input from teachers and several sessions of dedicated exam preparation. We also conduct mock exams, so that students can acclimatize to the unique conditions of exams. They are then less stressed when the real exams happen and can perform better with a clearer mind.