oriented performance assessment (LOA): Can LOA help facilitate the
move from primary school to grammar school?
1. What is LOA?
LOA should improve pupils´ motivation and
goal orientation and encourage a critical approach to the subject.
Their independence, originality and sense of responsibility should
also be developed. This new method of assessment will also reduce
the pressure on pupils to achieve and help relieve any apprehension
they may have regarding their new school environment. It encourages
teachers to be objective when grading work, which results in fewer
grade discrepancies, and encourages pupils to be satisfied with
their final performance grades. LOA helps pupils to learn to work
as individuals during lessons and to adapt to a variety of classroom
Characteristics of LOA
- At the beginning of each term pupils receive
a learning goal catalogue including the various objectives to
be achieved (= performance log-sheet).
- Learning goals are categorized into basic learning
goals and more advanced goals.
- Learning goals which have been attained are recorded
on the log-sheet in writing by both pupils and teachers.
- Pupils are given additional opportunities to
prove they are capable of reaching goals to those provided by
conventional forms of assessment (tests, exams), for example handing
in presentations or producing independent work demonstrating the
attainment of further learning goals.
- The final marks, which are decided on the basis
of objectives achieved, are recorded on the performance log-sheet.
2. Putting theory into practice
At the beginning of the term pupils receive a performance
log-sheet on which both the general learning goals and the subject-specific
learning goals are listed. During the first year pupils also learn
to take responsibility for keepíng their own performance
log-sheet up-to-date. This method allows them to keep track of their
current state of achievement. Consequently, the reasons for awarding
a certain grade should be clearer and less open to debate. Teachers
also have copies of their pupils’ log-sheets in order to be
able to monitor each individual’s progress.
Because it is divided into basic learning goals
and more advanced objectives, LOA helps pupils to learn how to take
responsibility for their own learning. Pupils must achieve the basic
learning goals in order to pass a subject and may reach one of the
higher grades only by producing additional work. The teacher will
provide various opportunities for fulfilling the necessary criteria.
Individual pupils should make good use of these opportunities and
take responsibility for their own learning. The tasks to be carried
out should be assessed according to pupils’ ability to fulfil
the task criteria which they have established previously with the
help of their teachers. If these criteria have been satisfied, the
tasks can be accepted as proof of pupils’ achievement and
entered accordingly onto their performance log-sheets.
The criteria for the basic learning goals should
be satisfied not only once in order merely to pass the subject,
but as often as possible so that competence can be achieved through
repetition. The tasks to be carried out in order to reach the higher
grades are in general more difficult and sophisticated. Tasks enabling
pupils to achieve a grade 1 or 2 („very good“ and „good“)
are marked in the text book and may consist of general problems
relating to the wider context of the topic or of relevant examples
taken from the media.
All methods of assessment are weighted equally,
and the conventional school tests form just one way of determining
Table 1: Methods of assessment and grading
||Method of assessment
||Evaluation of aims
Observation during the lesson
work produced independently
|Being aware of one’s own ability
Being able to solve problems
which are more complex than
those of the basic learning goals
|Discussing written tests
|taking and making good use of
opportunities to work independently
(at home or during the lesson)
|Thinking of and formulating
|During the lesson
|Carrying out tasks independently
(at home or during the lesson)
|Carrying out and presenting tasks
LOA grading helps encourage pupils to achieve, since
repeating previously unattained goals is not only allowed, but actively
The tasks vary considerably and should aim to develop
as many personal skills as possible, for example:
- the ability to cope with changing situations
- the ability to take responsibility for one’s
- the ability to monitor one’s own progress
- the ability to communicate
- being interested in one’s work
- being willing to apply oneself
- being able to draw upon a wide range of techniques
to achieve a goal
Examples taken from the LOA curriculum for 1st year
Mathematics, English, German and Biology are described below:
The change from primary school to grammar school
also means pupils must adjust from having one contact teacher (their
form teacher) to working a different teacher in each subject. If
at this stage pupils are given guidelines to follow and goals to
achieve, and learn how to work independently to reach these aims,
it will have a positive effect on their entire education.
The pupils are really enjoying their work! Independent
learning, where pupils must move from base to base completing a
different task at each, enables individuals to fulfil the criteria
for both the basic and for the more advanced learning goals. They
may also establish their own working speed.
Table 6: Plan of action for Mathematics
The role of the teacher is no longer just to convey
knowledge and to examine, but also to supervise, stimulate and help
the pupils! A feeling of security is also provided by the list of
goals to be achieved. The willingness of the children to achieve
and their creativeness within the LOA programme can clearly be seen.
The results of a questionnaire completed by parents
of first year pupils have shown that this programme has been successful.
- LOA has made to move from primary school to
grammar school easier
- Initial anxiety regarding the new school environment
was quickly dispelled
- Somewhat unusual enthusiasm for school was apparent
- The option of producing work on a voluntary
basis was seen as very positive
- As were the various methods used to produce
- As a result of LOA no problems whatsoever were
experienced with the transfer from primary school to grammar school
- There was greater motivation to work and learn
- Leaning goals could be repeated
- There was no fear of written exams
- Happy children
- Satisfied parents
Criticisms from some parents:
- The pressure to achieve learning goals became
greater at the end of each semester because of the desire to achieve
a better semester grade.
- The conventional system of grading still appears
- This system has resulted in more work for the
pupils and more pressure to achieve. It also demands a lot of
individual guidance from the teacher.
It can be concluded that this alternative form of
teaching in the first year has been surprisingly well recieved by
pupils and teachers alike. It has been proven that LOA reduces the
problems pupils have in moving from primary to grammar school.
I would like to thank my colleague Mag. Hans –
Jörg Kunze, who has been working on the development of LOA
for a long time now, for his efforts and for convincing me that
this project would be successful.
I would also like to thank the following colleagues
for their contributions:
English: Mag. Sophia Soklaridis
German: Mag. Nina Kaspar – Markhoff
Biology: Mag. Brigitta Zillner