Catherine recommends a portfolio approach to assessment, which is formative, child-centred, and easily monitored by the teacher.

Digital photographs of the whole class can be taken regularly and displayed within the classroom to show the progress being made by all the children, for example children listening to a story, reciting a finger rhyme, singing a traditional French song, performing a French dance, or enjoying French food. The display parcel gives suggestions as to how to make this progress visibly explicit to the children, parents and the rest of the school.

Each child can be guided by the teacher in how to measure their own progress. The teacher can point out to a child when he or she is able to do something well. For example, commenting on how well some children can perform the actions to a finger rhyme. The child might recognise steps such as:

  • I can perform the actions to the finger rhyme Voici ma main.
  • I can say the finger rhyme Voici ma main with my friends.
  • I can say the finger rhyme Voici ma main by myself.

When a child recognises such a significant step in terms of progression, he or she might like to ask a friend to take a photo of the achievement which can be included in the French folder together with a statement worded by the child himself.

Children should be given regular opportunities to assess their progress, and to record it in their portfolio or French folder. The learning focus and teaching sequence in the lesson plans are based largely on oracy or literacy learning objectives, within a context of cultural awareness. Objectives from the three strands of Intercultural Understanding (IU), Language Learning Strategies (LLS) and Knowledge about Language (KAL) are clearly displayed at the foot of each lesson plan, giving the teacher a clear picture of the progression being made in these areas.

Celebrating Success

At certain key points, such as at the end of the school year, each child could be given a data CD containing electronic samples of their work, the text of any e-mail exchanges, the lyrics to the songs they have learned, a CD photo library recording all the activities in which they took part in French lessons, and possibly one or two digital video clips of them, as individuals, reading aloud a story or reciting a finger rhyme from memory. This, together with their own record of progress in their French folder, will provide a treasure trove of experiences from their French lessons which should tell their own success story.

Recording and reporting

At the end of each parcels section in the Schemes of Work is a selection of statements which could be used by the teacher when writing progress reports for the children. The statements can be downloaded here: