Insight on evaluations

A few weeks ago I talked to you about the national evaluations planned by the French Ministry of Education. The evaluations were scheduled to take place in 6ème and CP. I choose my words carefully – “were scheduled” because our 6èmes didn’t do the evaluations. For logistical and technical reasons, it was decided that the 6ème evaluations would not take place in French schools abroad this year. We hope to be able to propose them to our 6èmes next year.

In my previous message, I also mentioned that the evaluations would enable us to draw conclusions and note areas for improvement at a school level. Carine Capel, Fabienne, Andria and I spent a lot of time analysing the results of the CP students, who completed the evaluations in September.  We were curious to know how our students fared. Individual children’s results were shared with their parents and discussed during the parent-teacher meetings, obviously I will not be going into those details here.

The first conclusion that we were able to draw from the results is that our CP students are…CP students. Not that we doubted it for a second, but it is always interesting to see that our students, some of whom are just beginning to discover the French language, manage to solve problems and work out answers for questions devised for French children in French schools in France. So really, to conclude that all of our CP students are CP students is quite remarkable.

The second conclusion is that it is much more difficult to identify trends than we thought it would be.  The statistical reality of the results makes it clearer than ever that each child learns at their own pace. In our results, it is not unusual to find speakers of other languages scoring higher in French than children who speak French at home. It is also not unusual to find children who joined the French Section in GS scoring higher than those who have been here since PS.  The results are complicated to analyse because the opposite is also true: among the CP results, there are also French children who started with us in PS scoring higher than French classmates who joined in MS.  

I admit, we were surprised by the results (including by the overall level, which was really very good) and also by the variations and the impossibility of extrapolate clear, linear learner profiles.  But at the end of the day, we are happy; the CP results prove what we’ve been saying for what feels like years: children trace their own routes to knowledge and knowhow. There are ups, there are downs, there are a-ha moments, there are moments of absolute incomprehension and moments when suddenly everything clicks into place and their learning really takes off.  .

The lesson for us all – parents and teachers – one we need to keep in mind at all times, is that we have to leave kids the time and the right to make mistakes, to start again, to learn and to grow.  

From what I see everyday in our secondary classes, I can reassure you that your children are headed for success if together we allow them to learn at their own pace, and if we are vigilant and kind in equal measures when it comes to accompanying them in their learning.

Have an excellent weekend

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