The Reggio Emilia approach is one that many teachers aspire to use in their classrooms, and while much information can be found on how to best set up one’s classrooms and ideas for provocations, the challenging part is finding concrete information on how to assess student learning. Below are some tips to help you evaluate student progress in a concise and documented fashion.
First things first: classroom set up is key and not just because your room should have a certain look to it, but because you must be absolutely clear on which objective(s) will be met in which defined space. When setting materials out, it helps to use a planning tool that will help you lay out your room so that when the students interact with resources they are being “guided” to meet the standards you have in mind. Additionally, when creating each space it is not only important to think about how each defined space can meet objectives for a single subject area but also for multiple subject areas, if possible, and to have a plan if students move materials from one space to another. For ideas on how to create such a planning tool, see the following:
8 Steps to Setting Up a Classroom
Ensuring Your Environment Becomes the Third Teacher
Once you are clear on how you will use your environment to guide learning, you can begin to think about how you will evaluate students and what criteria you will use. Some things to think about are:
When you have a clear plan on how you will document student learning, the next step is to execute. Because you are working in a fluid environment where demonstrating learning is ongoing, this can be a tricky thing; however, if you have a tool in place for recording what you observe, such as a tracking sheet for each defined space that lists objectives you are looking for and includes space for you to note students who have achieved the goals, it will be easier for you to keep track of what you observe. This tracking sheet can be based on your classroom setup planner as it already has objectives mapped out across each area in your room. It also goes without saying that a device for taking pictures/recording evidence should always be near - you never know when that magical moment may happen!
And finally, once all your evidence of learning has been collected, the last step is reporting. Because you have your tracking sheets that list objectives and which students met them, you will be able to accurately report on each child’s progress and have the photo/video evidence collected to back you up, which is exactly what parents and admin will want to see. If teachers in the next grade level are not following the Reggio Emilia approach, consider condensing the report you provide to them to include only what the students have demonstrated they can do, minus the photo/video evidence as this is what they will be most interested in when planning for the year ahead.
While these are some tips and suggestions to help you get on your way, they are by no means the only ones. Have any other strategies you would like to share? We would love to hear them!