Assessment at PJS

Assessment is derived from ‘assidere,’ to sit with or beside. It is something we do ‘with’ and ‘for’ a student, not something we do ‘to’ them.

— Grant Wiggins


Assessment is integral to teaching and learning at Princeton Junior School and is the process of gathering and analyzing information in order to inform teaching and learning.  Assessment helps identify what students know, understand and can do at different stages of the learning process and provides teachers with important information to support learners in their growth and development.  Derived from the Latin word assidere meaning to sit beside,  when we assess children, we help them understand where they are in their learning, where they need to go, and how best to get there.

Summative Assessment provides clear insight into student understanding.  It represents the culmination of the teaching and learning process and gives students opportunities to demonstrate what has been learned.

Formative Assessment provides information that is used to plan the next stage in learning and helps teachers and students clarify what students already know and can do.  Formative assessment promotes learning through regular and frequent feedback, allowing learners to improve knowledge and understanding, engage in thoughtful reflection, develop the ability to self-assess, and recognize the criteria for success.


Assessment FOR Learning

Assessment for learning includes the strategies and tools that teachers use to gather data on student progress for the purpose of providing effective feedback and furthering student learning.  Instead of grading, reporting, or judging, the goal is to understand how students are interpreting and understanding their work so the teacher can plan for the next steps in each child’s learning with purpose and accuracy.  

Assessment for learning may include:

  • Pre-assessment at the start of a new unit to determine what students already know

  • Examining work in progress, looking for signs of understanding/misunderstanding

  • Observing and listening to students in collaborative learning groups to determine where students are in their understanding

No grades or final judgements are connected to assessments for learning; their sole purpose is to determine where students are in order to move them forward.

Assessment OF Learning

This type of assessment measures the degree of student mastery of the learning goals and typically is reflected in grades and report card comments.  Examples may include tests, projects, and collections of evidence over time which are then, at a fixed point in time (i.e. end of Term), judged for the purpose of a report card comment.

We do not learn from experience...we learn by reflecting on experience.

— John Dewey

Assessment AS Learning

Assessment as learning focuses on the meaning made by the student as he/she reflects assessment.  Assessment as learning may include:

  • Students engaging in peer and self assessment and understanding what quality work looks like and how they might improve their own work

  • Students becoming involved in goal-setting, monitoring their own progress, or reflecting on the results of their learning and planning for next steps

Like assessment for learning, assessment as learning is not graded; its purpose is to support students in owning their learning and taking responsibility for navigating their personal learning journey.


At PJS, we provide a variety of methods for reporting and encourage parents to participate in the development of their child’s learning in the following ways:

  • Back to School Night Parents gain information about classroom teachers and specialists regarding the curriculum and classroom routines (September)

  • Goal Setting Conference Parents and teachers meet to determine goals for the school year in the areas of academics, social emotional learning, and work habits and discuss how student will be supported both at home and at school (October)

  • Parents' Day Parents are invited to spend an hour and a half in the classroom learning alongside their child (November)

  • Written Report, Term 1 Parents receive a formal written report of their child’s progress during Term 1 (December)

  • Curriculum Night Parents meet with their child’s next grade level teacher to learn about the curriculum and expectations for the following year of schooling (January)

  • Parent-Teacher Conference (February)

  • International Student Assessment (ISA) PJS uses the International Schools Assessment (ISA) for grades 3-5 to provide our students with an experience with standardized testing. The test is administered on paper and assesses reading, writing, and math skills and it is benchmarked across the globe. PJS uses this test to inform our curriculum and instruction. (February)

  • Written Report, Term 2 (March)

  • The Primary Years Program Exhibition The Exhibition marks the culmination of the IB Primary Years Program (April)

  • Student-Led Conference The K-5 student-led conference is designed to establish and support students as navigators of their learning by owning assessment as a form of learning and deepening self awareness (May)
  • Written Report, Term 3 (June)
  • End-of-Unit Presentations/Learning Events (ongoing)

  • Seesaw Seesaw is our school wide platform for parent/teacher communication and documentation of student learning. Seesaw allows teachers and students to create easily accessible, online digital portfolios that move with students from year to year through Grade 5. This provides an authentic audience for student work and offers parents a personalized window in their child's learning. (ongoing, real time updates)