This research work is an account of the assessment methods of Waldorf elementary school teachers. It also offers a full discussion Waldorf programs for teacher education, teacher evaluation systems, and requirements for school accreditation—these are what the Waldorf community submits as assurance that Waldorf teachers’ classroom assessments are valid, fair, and reliable. Its audience is mainly a readership of education professionals; to facilitate their better understanding of Waldorf methods the authors translate Waldorf conceptions into the terms and concepts that are standard in the education profession for discussions of student assessment.
Ciborski and Ireland begin by locating Waldorf education in past and current trends of education philosophy and practice in the U.S. and suggesting its potential important contribution to several issues in today’s debate on education reform. They then present the foundations of the Waldorf approach: its view of the purpose of education, the Waldorf understanding of the stages of childhood, and pedagogical fundamentals based on that understanding.
The authors then offer case researched documentation of how nine teachers, teaching grades three through seven in three different independent Waldorf schools, taught main lesson (core curriculum) subjects over five months from September 2010 through January 2011: how they set learning goals, carried out instruction, and assessed student progress toward those goals in both classroom assessments and formal written reports. Ciborski and Ireland have added here a new content: examples of the student learning standards that have been formalized by most Waldorf schools. These standards illustrate the Waldorf developmental approach wherein teachers of lower grades are concerned mainly with non-cognitive areas of development, with gradually increasing focus on traditional academic skills as the grades progress.