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Assessment, Grading and Reporting

Assessment Policy

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to clarify the learning community’s understanding of the assessment process within our school setting. It is a constantly evolving document that reflects our school’s unique assessment needs. Our assessment philosophy applies to the whole school and is to be communicated to and understood by all continuing and new teachers, students, parents, and administrators. It is directly linked to our mission statement: 

ISNS develops globally responsible and compassionate young people by encouraging them to become active and inquiring life-long learners within an intercultural community.

As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, we are also aligned with the International Baccalaureate Organization’s (IBO) mission and their IB Learner Profile. The IB mission statement can be viewed at: 

http://www.ibo.org/mission/

Assessment Philosophy

  • Assessment at ISNS guides instruction and enhances student learning.
  • Includes a variety of types of assessment and evaluation to address each student’s range of abilities.
  • Teachers at ISNS develop rigorous assessments that are standardized within PYP teams and MYP/DP departments.
  • Assessment at ISNS ensures that students have the opportunity to self-assess and reflect on their learning.
  • Assessment at ISNS attempts to reflect ‘real world’ requirements.

Effective assessment for students addresses:

  • All the five essential elements (knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action) and the learner profile. 
  • Students as an active part of the learning process through reflection and demonstration of their understanding. 
  • Students’ strengths and demonstrates mastery and expertise. 
  • Analyzing and understanding student’s learning and what needs to be improved. 
  • Involvement of students in the development of some of the assessment activities and tools.
  • The students’ need to be responsible learners and perform at a higher level when challenged. 
  • The need to provide learners with criteria for success prior to the assessment.

Effective assessment for teachers addresses:

  • The need to design assessment tools and tasks that will provide the best evidence of the intended learning taking into account diverse learning styles and needs.
  • The need for awareness of the assessment policy practiced in school and to understand and develop appropriate assessment criteria. 
  • The use of varied strategies and tools including pre and post assessment tasks, formative and summative assessments to determine what students know and understand. 
  • Inclusion of peer and self-assessment where appropriate. 
  • Provision of timely, descriptive and actionable feedback by teachers.

Effective assessment for stakeholders' addresses:

  • The standards set by the IBO. 
  • The verification of teaching objectives against learning outcomes. 
  • The use of assessment as a measure to determine the effectiveness of curriculum delivery. 
  • Building a community of teachers and learners striving for excellence.
  • Use of ongoing assessment practices throughout each unit.

Types of Assessment

Pre-Assessment

Occurs before embarking on new learning to uncover prior knowledge and experiences. Typically, this form of assessment is undertaken at the beginning of a new unit and acts to inform the teacher in the planning, teaching and learning assessment cycle.  It also identifies the individual needs of learners.

Formative Assessment 

Provides information that is used in order to plan the next stage in learning. It is interwoven with learning and helps teachers and students to find out what the students already know and can do. Formative assessment and teaching are directly linked and function purposefully together. Formative assessment aims to promote learning by giving regular and frequent feedback, as well as gathering ongoing data (through observations, anecdotal records, checklists, etc.) about student learning. This helps teachers to plan for future teaching, identify where program adjustment is needed and continue to provide learning opportunities, which aim to extend students’ knowledge, understandings and develop skills. Formative assessment also enables learners to improve knowledge and understanding, to foster enthusiasm for learning, to engage in thoughtful reflection, to develop the capacity for self-assessment, and to recognize the criteria for success.

Summative Assessment 

Aims to give teachers, students, parents and others a clear insight into what a student has learned to that date with reference to pre-determined criteria. Summative assessment is the culmination of the teaching and learning process and gives the students opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned.  (IBO Diploma summative assessments are assessed or moderated externally by IBO examiners or moderators against IBO subject specific criteria.)

Diagnostic Assessment 

All assessments can provide diagnostic evidence, which is used to feedback into formative and summative assessment.

Recording and Reporting

  • Student progress and achievement are recorded and reported according to standard/criteria.
  • ISNS uses ManageBac as the formal reporting platform.
  • A student's final achievement level is determined based on criteria using the most consistent evidence of overall learning. 


Division Specific Assessment, Grading and Reporting Systems


Diagnostic Measures of Student Progress

Diagnostic Assessments 


Assessment of Students of English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Many of our students may be involved in our EAL program based on their language proficiency level using standardized assessments.  Although these EAL students are assessed based on the appropriate curriculum standards at their grade level, attention is paid to the progress that students are making regarding their language acquisition and their efforts in meeting these grade level standards.

EAL students in the PYP will receive progress reports twice a year.  Students are assessed using a standardized test to determine if they can advance to the next EAL level when both the EAL and homeroom teacher sees progress in their language growth.  This test examines their ability in all four main skill areas of language, which are reading, writing, listening and speaking. Once students are proficient in English, which is determined by assessments and in class work, they are exited from the EAL program.


Explanation of Assessment Terms

Assessment Strategies

Observations

All children are observed often and regularly, with the teacher taking a focus varying from wide angle focusing on the whole class to close-up focusing on one child or activity, and from non-participant observing from without to participant observing from within.

Portfolios

These are collections of students’ work that are designed to demonstrate successes, growth, higher order thinking, creativity and reflection. Portfolios include examples of self, peer and teacher reflections.

Open – ended tasks

These are situations in which children are presented with a stimulus and asked to communicate an original response. The answer might be a brief written answer, a drawing, a diagram or a solution.

Selected Responses

These are single occasion, one-dimensional exercises such as tests, quizzes and examinations.

Process-focused assessments

The students’ skills are observed regularly and the observations are recorded.

Performance assessments

These are assessments of goal-directed tasks with established criteria that are authentic challenges and problems. There are numerous approaches to the challenges/problems that require the use of many skills and there is rarely only one correct response.  Audio, video and narrative records are often useful for this kind of assessment.

Taken together, the assessment strategies form the basis of a comprehensive approach to assessment. Whatever strategy is used, self and peer as well as teacher (and sometimes parent) reflections are seen as an important stage in the learning process. Peer reflections include reflections completed by students at different grade levels, and teacher reflections include those completed by either the homeroom or subject teacher.

Assessment Tools

Rubrics

An established set of criteria for rating students in all areas. The descriptors tell the assessor what characteristics or signs to look for in students’ work and then how to rate that work on a predetermined scale. Rubrics can be developed by students as well as by teachers.

Exemplars

Samples of students’ work that serve as concrete standards against which other samples are judged. Generally there is one benchmark for each achievement level in a scoring rubric. Each school is encouraged to set benchmarks that are appropriate and usable within their particular school context.

Checklists

These are lists of information, data, attributes or elements that should be present.

Anecdotal Records

Anecdotal records are brief written notes based on observations of students. “Learning stories” are focused, extended observations that can be analyzed later. These records need to be systematically compiled and organized.

Continuums

These are visual representations of developmental stages of learning. They show a progression of achievement or identify where a student is in a process.

Conferences

The purpose of conferences is to share information between teachers, students and parents. A school should determine the function of conferences in order to develop their structure, and this might include goal setting. These conferences may take a formal or informal structure.

The following structures can be used:

Teacher–Student

These are designed to give students feedback so they can reflect on their work and further refine and develop their skills. It is important that these individual conferences occur frequently in order to support and encourage the student’s learning and teacher planning.

Teacher-Teacher

These are designed to give teachers the opportunity to discuss a student’s progress, challenges and effective strategies to assist student learning and development.

Parent–Teacher Conferences

These are designed to give the parents information about the student’s progress development and needs, and about the school’s programme. Teachers should take this opportunity to gather background information, to answer the parents’ questions, to address their concerns, and to help define their role in the learning process. The parents should take the opportunity to provide the teacher with the cultural context of the student’s learning.

Student-Led Conferences

Student-led conferences involve the student and the parent. The students are responsible for leading the conference, and also take responsibility for their learning by sharing the process with their parents. It may involve students demonstrating their understanding through a variety of different learning situations. There may be several conferences taking place simultaneously.

The conference will involve the students discussing and reflecting upon samples of work that they have previously chosen to share with their parents. These samples have been previously selected with guidance and support from the teacher and could be from the student’s portfolio. The student identifies strengths and areas for improvement. It enables parents to gain a clear insight into the kind of work their child is doing and offers an opportunity for them to discuss it with their child. The conferences must be carefully prepared, and time must be set-aside for the students to practice their presentations. The format of this conference will depend on the age of the student and all of the participants must understand the format and their roles prior to the conference.

 


References

IBO (2007) Making the PYP happen, Geneva.

IBO (2014) MYP: From Principles into Practice, United Kingdom

IBO (2019) Assessment Principles and Practices- Quality Assessments in a Digital Age, United Kingdom

IBO (2017) Grade descriptors, United Kingdom

 


Assessment Policy Review Process

This policy will be reviewed bi-annually (before second and fourth reporting periods) by the pedagogical leadership team of the school and any proposed changes which might reflect new research, source documents or ways to improve the policy’s effectiveness will be shared with the school community for their input (teachers, parents, students if appropriate and director/board) before any changes are made.

Revised March 3, 2021