Assessment Policy and Procedures

YIS assessment philosophy


Assessment at YIS is integral to all aspects of the curriculum. Assessment is not only a means of measuring student achievement, it informs decisions made by teachers and students about what will be learned and how it will be learned.

Assessment will be authentic, informative, personalized and collaborative, involving teachers, students and parents. Constructive feedback will be provided through a balance of formative and summative practices that inform the teaching-learning cycle. Our assessment practices will reflect our international context, as well as the ethos and values of this school community.

YIS encourages effective assessment practices that promote learning by inspiring, motivating and challenging all learners in order to develop students who are: independent, inquiring, confident, reflective, knowledgeable and who are able to embrace lifelong learning as part of an effective learning community.


Purposes of assessment


Assessment is an integral part of the school’s curriculum alongside the strategies and methodologies used in teaching and the outcomes and standards used to inform learning. It is considered by Black and Wiliam to refer to “all those activities undertaken by teachers, and by their students in assessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged” (Black & Wiliam, 1998: 2). It therefore denotes a complex series of processes some fundamental characteristics of which are described below.


Forms of assessment


Formative assessment


Formative assessments can come, for example, in the form of monitoring and commenting or questioning a student when engaged in an activity; a teacher being conscious to extend waiting time when waiting for answers to whole class questions; and comments generated by self/peer/teacher assessment on a piece of work.


Through a variety of methods, ongoing and regular assessment will be used during the teaching and learning process to inform teachers and students about how learning is developing. Formative assessment and teaching are directly linked and provide feedback that is actually used to adapt the teaching and learning strategies to meet the learner's needs


Summative assessment


Summative assessment happens at the end of a teaching and learning process or experience and is planned for in advance. The assessment is designed so that students can demonstrate their learning in authentic contexts and apply it in new ways. Summative assessments may take a variety of forms including, for example, lab reports, essays, examinations, presentations, tests, projects, etc.



Characteristics of effective assessment


Collaborative


Meaningful dialogues between teachers, students and parents concerning planning, reflecting upon, supporting and reporting on assessment procedures will take place at any point in the teaching and learning cycle and involve a variety of exchanges between a variety of participants.


Authentic


Students will engage in real world tasks, which demonstrate the meaningful, effective and creative application of essential knowledge and skills.


Personalized


Tasks and assessment can and will be negotiated, differentiated, self-directed, cooperative and allow choice. A personalized approach to assessment will provide a range of learning opportunities which are matched to students’ needs, interests and aspirations. It will capitalize on their strengths and meet their needs by providing positive learning experiences to secure their success (QCA, 2004).



Approaches to learning and assessment


All learners will be expected to demonstrate that they are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective and they should reflect on their development of these characteristics. Attitudes are explicitly taught and emphasized. Student reflections and teacher observations are documented and these records will show the development and demonstration of targeted attitudes over time, for both spontaneous and planned activities.


Roles and responsibilities


Teachers’ responsibilities include:

  • Providing a range of opportunities for active participation in assessments that support the teaching and learning cycle.
  • Using a balance of both formative and summative assessments. 
  • Being considerate of the students’ prior knowledge, learning styles, interests and experience.
  • Using assessments to adapt the teaching and learning process, for example by providing differentiated learning. 
  • Creating opportunities for reliable and valid assessments that are useful and appropriate indicators of the stages of students’ development.
  • Creating authentic assessments that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills.
  • Communicating constructively with students, parents, colleagues and supervisors as appropriate.
  • Providing reasonable notice of summative assessments where preparation is necessary.
  • Having a clear and documented rationale for all key student assessments.

Homeroom tutors’ responsibilities include:

  • Where applicable feeding into the reporting system and communicating with teachers, students, parents, members of the Learning Support team and the SLT as necessary.
  • Students’ responsibilities include:
  • Being active participants responsible for their own learning and assessment, for example, seeking and acting upon feedback, setting and meeting their own goals and deadlines.
  • Communicating constructively with teachers, parents and their peers.

Heads of Departments’ responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring that opportunities are created for collaboration and moderation in designing and evaluating assessment within and across subject areas and year groups.
  • Ensuring teachers continually review and reflect on their assessment practices.
  • Being knowledgeable of the assessment practices employed within departments and ensuring a consistency of approach.
  • Guiding, coordinating and collaborating in the assessment practices of the school.

Senior Leadership Team’s responsibilities include:

  • Providing time for teachers to plan and prepare tasks and assessments which includes time within departments, across subject areas and both within and between grade levels.
  • Ensuring teachers continually review and reflect on their assessment practices.
  • Ensuring students, teachers and parents are all part of the assessment and reporting process.
  • Leading, coordinating and collaborating in the assessment practices of the school.

Parents’ responsibilities include:

  • Being active participants in assessment practices.
  • Supporting student learning.
  • Helping to create a holistic learning environment.
  • Taking opportunities to reinforce school learning.
  • Communicating constructively with students and teachers.

Tools of assessment  


As stated earlier,assessment will be authentic, informative, personalised and collaborative, involving teachers, students and parents.” To help students and teachers plan assessments effectively and to ensure a balanced approach to assessment, below is a list of examples accompanied by a typology of assessment.


The purpose of the examples is to exemplify the philosophy, offer descriptions of some assessment and tasks and their possible purposes, aid in planning and tracking assessment and also to work in accompaniment with the YIS appraisal process and help teachers assess their own assessment practices.


It is envisaged that assessment strategies below will be based on criteria shared with the students to support the aims of an ‘assessment for learning’ approach. A balance between formative and summative assessments is also assumed and many of the examples below can be used for both purposes. A balance of the variety of strategies and tools listed below should be included to ensure a representative view of student achievement is provided.


Examples of strategies for assessment


Examination  An activity which is in a controlled environment and is aimed at measuring student performance over the whole course taught to date.


Test  A formalized, in-class and controlled activity where students have been given notice in advance.


Quiz  An assessment on a small part of a unit, or through an informal class activity, given after the completion of a particular topic.


Lesson Reviews  Short verbal or written questions to assess student understanding.


Formal Essay Extended piece of independent student work which can reflect a student-generated title, a teacher-set title, be open or closed in nature and may have guiding questions; generally speaking, as students progress in age, this activity will move from descriptive to analytical or evaluative and increasingly have a formal structure dependent upon the subject area.


Research Project  Involves both teacher-guided and/or independent student work done both in class and/or as homework.  


Journal Writing  Continuous assessment activity, which can be part of class work or homework.  


Field Work  Off-site data collection for analysis and interpretation.


Practical/Experimental Work  Involves both teacher-guided and/or independent work; this activity is usually in a lab or specialist room involving specialist equipment.


Performance/Presentation  Requires a student to verbalize or actively demonstrate their understanding of a topic or concept.


Group Work  Collaborating with one or more other students to achieve learning outcomes by effectively combining the knowledge, ideas and the talents of the group members; note that individual student performance should be acknowledged as well as the group performance.


Observation  Systematically viewing and recording student behaviors and approaches to learning.


Conference  A formal or informal meeting between the teacher and the student to discuss and reflect upon learning (may also include parents).


Self-assessment  Students evaluate their work and reflect on the process they went through to produce it.



Examples of devices for clarifying criteria and reporting assessment


Criteria  A standard or description of behavior on which an assessment is based.


Rubric  A scale with achievement criteria that describes achievement levels for specific tasks.


Task-specific clarifications  Written for each summative task and include indicators specific to summative assessments and used to assign levels of achievement. These are created collaboratively by the teachers teaching the course.


Checklist  A list of desired learning outcomes (e.g. actions, attitudes, etc.) which are ‘checked off’ as they are observed.


Rating scale  A simple multi-point range (from high to low) used to judge extent to which a student demonstrates specific behaviors, attitudes or understanding.


Anecdotal records  A short narrative used to objectively report student behavior and approaches to learning.


Continuums  Visual representations of developmental stages of learning which show a progression of achievement or identify where a student is in a process.


Exemplars  Samples of students’ work that serve as concrete standards against which other samples are assessed.


External examinations

PSAT

Preliminary SAT:  an optional standardized test, taken by 10th and 11th grade students, to gauge academic standing and prepare for the SAT.

SAT

Used in some countries as a standardized test for college admissions.  Administered outside of normal school hours, at various times of the year.  Students generally take either the SAT or ACT – optional for grade 11 and grade 12 students.

SAT II Subject Tests

A standardized test used to establish proficiency is specific subject areas.  SAT II Subject Tests may be required for admission to specific university programs.  Administered at the same time as the SAT, at various times of the year. Optional for grade 11 and 12 students.

ACT

Used in some countries as a standardized test for college admissions. Administered outside of normal school hours, at various times of the year.  Students generally take either the SAT or ACT. Optional for students in grades 11 and 12.

TOEFL

Test of English as a Foreign Language: a standardized test used to measure student ability to communicate in English at colleges and universities. Important for university admissions and is administered at various times of the year. Optional for students in grades 11 and 12.

ISA

International School Assessment:  a standardized test developed for international schools.  Aims to evaluate student academic achievement, providing benchmarking data according to grade level.  All YIS students from grades 3-9 sit this exam once a year in February.

 

IBDP

International Baccalaureate Diploma Program:  an international program, taught in grades 11 and 12 at YIS, which culminates in external examinations at the end of 12th grade.  Results are used for universities admission in most countries.


Assessment and reporting in the Early Learning Center


Formative assessment forms the large part of assessment of young children, where effective assessment is viewed as a process that aims to enrich the children’s learning and development in which our understanding of children’s learning, acquired through observation and reflection, can be used to evaluate and enrich the curriculum we offer.  Observation, reflection and documentation are ongoing strategies used.


The teacher observes, reflects and documents in order to:

  1. Build up a clear picture and understanding of who the student is and his/her interests and dispositions.

  2. Identify the student’s mode of thinking.

  3. Assess the effectiveness of the environment, both physical and conceptual, on the student’s learning.

  4. Extend and scaffold the student’s learning by framing questions designing learning contexts and providing provocations.

Pedagogical documentation as a methodology


Documentation refers to the whole variety of practices such as video and audio recording, photographs, transcripts, observations, the preservation of artefacts, discussion, dialogue, and representation. The act of documentation becomes, in itself, a learning process for both educators and parents, where documentation, as a pedagogical tool, makes learning visible and contributes to the process of making learning more effective, more engaging, more life-enhancing.


Through documentation students’ thinking is made visible. A process of understanding is developed as to how thinking processes develop and how they can be supported. By documenting conversations, small group work and class discussions speech is recorded as well as the actions of children. Often the teacher takes on the role of a researcher and seeks a specific focus or question in their investigation. Documentation can take many forms. It can be a visual representation, audio or video recording, transcript of a conversation or photograph. It can be anything that helps to illuminate the thinking of students. After documentation, begins the analysis, interpretation and evaluation by the teacher and groups of teachers to gain multiple perspectives into the expression of children. Documentation is then shared and returned to the children and school community to learn from and make learning visible.


Sharing of documentation


Documentation is shared through school displays, portfolios, and school websites.


Written report / portfolio


In the Early Learning Center, a narrative report is sent home supported with the portfolio which documents the process of learning of the child, both individually and within a group at the end of the first semester and the end of the school year. The portfolio is made accessible throughout the year for families to view and to take home.


Student-Parent Interaction Day


Student-Parent Interaction Day is held two times per year (October and March), where the child becomes the guide to show his/her parents his/her learning through the experiences and spaces of the ELC.


Parent-teacher conferences


Conferences for each family are scheduled two times per year (October and April).


Action portfolio class


In physical education and music children’s progress may be observed in action during their lessons. It may not be a specially prepared class, but simply a chance to experience part of the child’s day. Action portfolios take place in January.


Unit sharings


Unit sharings are a way to share the progress or culmination of a Unit of Inquiry. Parents are invited to celebrate the children’s learning.


Parent information evening


An evening devoted to sharing of on-going classroom inquiries or projects in depth is held in April.  This evening aims to provide dialogue with parents to strengthen the connections between the cultures of home and of the ELC.



Assessment and reporting in the elementary school


Reporting and assessment take various forms in the elementary school. The prime objective of assessment in the PYP is to provide feedback on the learning process. It happens frequently throughout the school year, providing regular feedback. It identifies what students know, understand, can do, and feel at different stages in the learning process. Teachers select assessment strategies to support how students learn and perform. Teachers design assessment instruments to reflect the particular learning outcomes on which they intend to give feedback. Students and teachers are actively involved in the assessment process.

Teacher/student

Teachers use feedback to inform students of strengths in their work that match given criteria and specific ways to develop towards their goal. Feedback is timely so that it is valuable at that point in the student’s learning process. Feedback can take different forms; written, oral, demonstration or as an interchange between student and teacher as the teacher assists a student to self-assess their work.


Teacher/parent

Teachers can give the parents information about their child’s progress development and needs, and about the school’s curriculum. Teachers can also gather background information, answer parents’ questions, address any concerns and help parents define their role in the learning process. Such conferences can be set up by request with the class homeroom teacher or single subject teachers at any time during the school year.


Unit sharings

Unit sharings are a way to share the progress or culmination of a Unit of Inquiry. Teachers invite parents to the classroom throughout the year for unit sharings.


Sharing of documentation

Documentation may include written records of student conversations, comments and explanations, as well as photographs, videos, audio and graphic representations. These can be shared through school displays, student portfolios, and class blogs on the YIS Learning Hub.


Parent/teacher/student conferences (October)

Parent-teacher-student conferences (PTSCs), or ‘three-way’ conferences, are available for each family to sign up for a short 15-minute time slot to meet with the class homeroom teacher to discuss their child's progress. Through the PTSC, students are able to discuss their learning and understanding with both their parents and teacher present. The focus of the conference is on student goal setting in order to support learning. Students are required to attend the PTSC.


Student portfolio (December and June)

A student portfolio is a celebration of a student’s active mind at work. Portfolios are part of the assessment practices employed in the elementary school. Portfolios are one method of collecting and storing information that can be used to document and assess a student’s progress and achievement. Students will take home their portfolios with the first semester report (in December) over the Winter holiday in order to share their work with their family. The portfolios can form part of the Student-Led Conference and are updated throughout the year. Portfolios are to be taken home by students with the second semester report at the end of the school year (in June) and returned to school at the beginning of the next school year. Teachers have up to one month to view the previous year's portfolios before sending these home (in October).

Written reports (December and June)

Parents receive an online written report of their child's progress mid-year, and at the end of the year. The report summarizes the progress a student has made across the elementary curriculum, including the attributes of the IB learner profile. The report includes narrative comments made by the classroom and single subject teachers. Subject-specific knowledge for language, mathematics, Japanese language and mother tongue are reported on a continuum.


Action portfolio classes (January)

Parents are invited to attend action portfolio classes to observe their child ‘in action’ in areas that lend themselves more to performance: art, music, drama and physical education. During the last week of January, parents are invited to observe students participating in elementary lessons in these subject areas and gain a “snapshot” of student learning in action.

Student-led conferences (March)

Kindergarten through grade 4 students share their learning experiences in a 60-minute conference with their parents. The students are responsible for leading the conference and also take responsibility for their learning by sharing the process with their parents. There may be several conferences taking place simultaneously. The conferences may involve students demonstrating their understanding through a variety of different learning situations. The conferences 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 selected with guidance and support from the teacher, and could be from the student’s portfolio. The student identifies strengths and areas for improvement. This 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 are carefully prepared, and time is set aside for the students to practice their presentations. Grade 5 students also conduct student-led conferences with parents focusing on the process of the PYP Exhibition.


The PYP Exhibition (June)

Grade 5 is a special year in the PYP. Students in grade 5 engage in a collaborative, transdisciplinary inquiry process, known as the Exhibition, under the guidance of their teachers and mentors. The Exhibition is the culmination of the Primary Years Program. Students are involved in synthesizing the essential elements of the PYP and sharing them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the IB Learner Profile they have been developing throughout their engagement with the program. Students are given flexibility in their choice of real-life issues or problems to be explored and investigated during the Exhibition, and demonstrate how to take action as a result of their learning.



Assessment and reporting in the middle and high school  


General


Reported levels of achievement should be the most accurate representation possible of a student's level of achievement at the end of the reporting period. This may mean the most recently sustained achievement, but all valid summative data should be taken into account. Professional judgments are to be made based on the subject-specific criteria, and averages and percentages are not to be used.


A consistent number system (1-7) will be used for reporting all end of semester achievement levels in the middle and high school with each level clearly described.


A level 3 or above would be considered worthy of a pass for HS transcript purposes.


GPAs are calculated for the purpose of university application and school transcripts only as necessary.  They are not part of the active assessment processes in the school.


Numerical boundaries for generating end of semester achievement levels are to be established by departments for all HS courses as appropriate for each grade level.


Grades 6-10


Departments will use the published MYP criteria. Students, teachers and parents can refer to these criteria to discuss student progress. Departments will use the agreed formats for presenting assessment criteria and task-specific clarifications.


Assessment and reporting within grades 6-10 is to be based on subject-specific criteria. The use of criteria will be consistent and transparent within and across all subjects.


Task-specific clarifications will be used for each summative tasks. Indicators will be developed in line with the subject-specific criteria in order for students to be clear about how to best demonstrate their learning.


Each summative task will be assessed using the subject-specific criteria appropriate to that task and levels of achievement will be recorded for each criteria will be recorded.


Grades 11-12


Assessment and reporting within grades 11 and 12 is to be based on Criterion Based Assessment in classes when it is appropriate to do so.  It will be used on all IAs for which the IB provides criteria.


In reports for grade 11 and 12 students, the subject-specific criteria will not be listed. When appropriate, teachers are expected to comment specifically on the criteria from a subject. Examples of this could include the semester when the math exploration/project is completed or specific labs have been completed in a biology class. Teachers are also expected to specifically comment on ATLs and how these have been assessed.  


When tests are provided as a means of assessment, they should be graded using the appropriate mark scheme provided by the IB and allocated a 1-7 grade based on the grade boundaries published in the subject reports. It is understood that teachers will exercise professional judgment in assessment with the understanding the DP grade boundaries are based on tasks at the end of a 2-year program.


Teachers in the DP are expected to use a variety of assessment tasks that cater to the different learning styles of their students.  It is not acceptable to only use past papers as a means of assessment.  


The YIS and IB grades should closely align and accurately reflect student achievement at that point in the course. Teachers should use their professional judgment to determine the level of achievement.


Documentation


In the secondary school, all HODs are required to collect and review an assessment overview at the beginning of each semester that outlines the major summative assessment tasks planned for the semester as well as approximate dates. These will be shared with the relevant Vice Principal.


Moderation


Moderation should take place a minimum of once per semester, ideally at the beginning, to establish a common understanding of achievement levels and at other points in the semester as required. Moderation can take place in small groups of teachers teaching the same grade level in common planning time or during department meetings. Please refer to the YIS Internal Moderation Procedures for clarification.


Late Work


Late work needs to be dealt with separately from academic achievement and should not be penalized by the lowering of achievement levels. Such issues should be addressed within criteria describing approaches to learning and, if necessary, subsequently involve, for example, direct communication with the student’s parents, implementation of an IAP, support from the Learning Support department and disciplinary measures being taken.


Mid-semester report (Grades 6-11)


Mid-semester reports will summarize progress made directly linked to evidence from the student’s work.  

The report will be made up of the following for each subject area:


  • A course outline describing what content, concepts and skills have been covered to date in the semester.

  • A narrative comment from each subject teacher, focusing on the student’s achievements up to this point in the semester and  areas of growth to focus on in the remaining half of the semester.


End of semester report (Grades 6-11)


End of semester reports will summarize progress made directly linked to evidence from the student’s work and also meet the needs for transcripts.


The report will be made up of the following for each subject area:

  • A course outline describing what content, concepts and skills have been covered in that semester.

  • Criteria and current levels of achievement for approaches to learning.

  • In grades 6-10, subject-specific assessment criteria, a description of each criteria and a recently sustained achievement level for each criteria.

  • In grade 11, an end of semester achievement level on the 1-7 scale.


The following will also be included on each report:


  • A list of each completed activity.

  • Homeroom tutor comment.

  • Student reflection on their progress.

  • Attendance statistics and tutor / principal signatures.

  • School assessment philosophy and other relevant detail.


End of semester report (Grade 12)


End of semester reports will summarize progress made directly linked to evidence from the student’s work and also meet the needs for transcripts.



The report will be made up of the following for each subject area:


  • A course outline describing what content, concepts and skills have been covered in that semester.

  • Criteria and current levels of achievement for approaches to learning.

  • An end of semester achievement level on the 1-7 scale.



The following will also be included on each report:


  • A list of each completed activity.

  • Homeroom tutor comment.

  • Attendance statistics and tutor / principal signatures.

  • School assessment philosophy and other relevant detail.


Transcripts are to be produced as required to provide a summative report on achievement levels for students moving to different institutions, e.g., transferring school, going to university, beginning work. They will be accompanied by documentation explaining the school’s achievement levels and their equivalents as necessary.



Progress reports


At any time, individual subject progress reports may be sent to both parents and students to indicate improvement or lack of progress.  Parents should be informed as soon as possible if their child is failing in a particular subject. These reports are available via the student comment system on Veracross. Progress reports should be completed digitally by the teacher and Veracross will forward them to the relevant vice principal for review.


Progress reports will be sent to the following individuals: parents, teacher, tutor, vice principal, principal, head of academics, and counsellors.  A digital copy in a secure folder will also be kept in the student’s Veracross files.  Parents will be asked to acknowledge receipt of the progress report via a reply email to the teacher and tutor.


In making a decision to send home a progress report, teachers should remember that progress reports form a part of the student’s permanent record and are encouraged to use their judgement about when a progress report is warranted. Teachers are also reminded that progress reports can be sent home to note improvements as well.


Incident reports


Incident reports are used to report a serious infraction of school rules or inappropriate behavior in a classroom (for example, talking back to a teacher or disruptive actions).  Incident reports are also available under ‘Resources’ and will be handled in a similar fashion to that of progress reports with the notable exception that incident reports should be submitted to the secondary principal for review rather than the relevant vice principal. Blank Incident Reports also are available on Google Doc.



Daily/weekly reports


On occasion a student will be asked to obtain a report of the previous day’s/week’s progress in subjects when academic standards have fallen below his or her capabilities.  The report form will be given to a student by his/her group tutor. The form should then be signed by a parent and returned to the group tutor, who should then forward it on to the principal for further action if necessary.



Reports for students enrolling mid-year

In middle school, students commencing enrollment:
  • After spring break or fall break receive a culminating progress report, not a full report.
  • At the beginning of a semester will receive a full report.
  • Between the start of a semester and the mid-semester break will receive an amended report.

In high schoolstudents commencing enrollment:

  • At the beginning of a semester will receive a full report.
  • After spring break or fall break receive a culminating progress report, not a full report, with no credits received for the relevant semester.
  • Between the start of a semester and the mid-semester break will receive an amended version of reports. Credits will be assessed on a case by case depending on the student's arrival date. Each student's situation will be looked at carefully to determine options for gaining credit by the end of the relevant year.


Bibliography


Inside the black box, London, King’s College: Black Paul & Wiliam Dylan, 1998


Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 2004, Designing a personalized curriculum for alternative provision at key stage 4: London, QCA


Making the PYP happen, A curriculum framework for international primary education, 2009: International Baccalaureate Organization


What are the purposes of Assessment in the PYP: Link  International Baccalaureate Organization


MYP-Assessment and Exams: Final assessment -through 2015: Link International Baccalaureate Organization


MYP -Assessment from 2016: Link  International Baccalaureate Organization


Understanding DP Assessment:Link  International Baccalaureate Organization




Updated June 2015