The IDEA Seminars take place in the Kangaroo summer camps every year.
The IDEA seminars aim to strengthen teachers’ competence in effective assessment by:
• Involving teachers in projects focused on improving school assessment of various subjects, such as Mother tongue (Romanian), Foreign languages (English, French, German, Spanish), Mathematics, IT, Science
• Guiding the design of items and tests for effective assessment
• Enriching a database of items for assessing the level of the students’ competences in various domains
• Offering consistent feedback for improving students’ learning.
During the seminars, teachers work together to develop and analyze items and tests, being coached by experienced professors. By the end of the seminar, each working group, with an appropriate support from trainers, succeed to finish a completed sample test for a certain grade (chosen by the working group). The sample test contains a list of assessment items accompanied by appropriate comments that are meant to serve as feedback for students.
The Kangaroo contests consist of a wide range of competitions for K to 12 grade students, which cover various school subjects, including languages, mathematics, and science. Conceived as competitions for all, these competitions are addressed to all levels of abilities and all types of schools; every participant is rewarded by receiving at least an attractive booklet. The winners of the competitions are rewarded by places in summer camps in the country and abroad.
The Kangaroo tests, consisting of multiple-choice questions of gradual difficulty, are meant to promote students’ creativity. The tests make efficient use of the multiple-choice system by proposing problems that are idea-based and not computational and by a set of rules that limit random answers (for example, the students avoid filling in the answer sheets at random because there is a penalty in scoring a wrong answer). In addition, as the problems count differently in the final score of each test (being classified on three levels of difficulty-complexity), the students have to develop a global strategy of approaching the test – therefore, the ones who are able to develop metacognitive skills have more chances to get higher results. Moreover, there is a vertical tracking of the problems, in order to not repeat in a new round a type of problem already used in a previous one.