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Assessment Policy

Assessment Policy 

Statement of Philosophy

At Green Run Collegiate, assessment is seen as an important communication instrument between the teacher, the student and the parent/guardian.  It provides valuable information about students’ progress throughout the entire course of teaching and learning.  As a school, we are committed to supporting inquiry in real world context and situations as a means to foster a global mindset.  Furthermore, we support holistic teaching and learning through shaping the development of the whole student.

Purpose of Assessment

This information should aid all stakeholders in identifying next steps inside and outside the classroom setting so that students can successfully acquire, make meaning and transfer the content, skills and concepts being discovered (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011).  Through quality curriculum and instruction, we strive to ensure that students develop the knowledge, understanding, and skills necessary to become productive members in a global society (Tomlinson, 2003).  As such, assessment at GRC aims to:

Support and encourage student learning through meaningful and purposeful feedback

Collect evidence that informs, enhances, and improves the teaching and learning process.

Exhibit transfer of knowledge, understanding, and skills through interdisciplinary studies.

Principles of Assessment

Assessment is essential not only in helping students to understand and grasp information but also in adopting a positive outlook on the learning process itself.  Clearly articulated substantive feedback helps students understand that learning is a non-linear, continuous journey that helps them reflect on both their accomplishments and their areas for development. As a result, assessment should be an integral factor that supports students in becoming knowledgeable inquirers who realize the importance of critical and creative thinking.  Support in the teaching and learning process is found through the following two areas:

  1. Approaches to Learning – In addition to learning content, there is an emphasis on process skills that are relevant across disciplines and assist students with the learning process.  The Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills assist students in demonstrating their learning through meaningful and relevant assessments and prepare them for rigorous academic coursework.  Communication, management, research, social, and thinking skills become the tools to explore inquiry and promote self-regulated learning.
  2. Differentiation - Assessments in the classroom must be varied so that students have different ways to exhibit their learning.  Through a proactive approach, teachers plan for various ways students can express where they are at in the learning process.  Specifically, teachers use a variety of methods to assess students’ developing readiness levels, interests, and preferences of/for learning (Tomlinson, 2001), to include scaffolding when necessary.  As differentiation is rooted in assessment, the methods in which teachers assess reflect a variety of ways students can showcase what they know, understand, and are able to do.  Collaborative planning and reflection allow for differentiation of students’ learning needs and styles (Programme Standards and Practices, 2014). 

Assessment Practices

Instructors in all IB programs use assessment meaningfully in order to ensure students’ understanding of its importance in regards to their own learning. To that end, teachers use a range of tasks that best address the nature of the knowledge, skills, and understanding that are integral to the learning process and align with the disciplinary/subject-group objectives.

  1. Formative Assessment Practices  - Formative assessments provide teachers, students, and parents with the necessary qualitative and quantitative data to determine next instructional steps.  Multiple and varied methods are used during assessment “of” and “for” learning, to include individual and group work, open-ended tasks, seminar discussions, performances, and journaling, to name a few.  Less formal assessments are vital to the learning process, allowing teachers and students to 1) gauge development within the subjects and 2) determine areas of strength and those in need of improvement.
  2. Summative Assessment Practices - Summative assessments evaluate students’ learning and are used appropriately when students are capable of demonstrating a comprehensive scope of what they know, understand and are able to do.  Evidence used for grading is valid and based on clearly defined learning goals and standards.  More formal assessments are aligned with specific criteria (via rubric) to which achievement levels are determined.

Authentic Performance - Although established approaches such as multiple-choice, essays, and short answer responses, are necessary, teachers are also responsible for developing performance-based assessments that will show students’ aptitude in applying what they have learned in unknown and unfamiliar situations.  In all disciplines, we strive to provide students with real-world, relevant assessments that promote the development of a global mindset. 

Interdisciplinary Learning - Combining two or more disciplines (i.e., fields of academic study) allows for teachers and students to experience an integrative approach to teaching and learning.  Students work on a common problem between/among subject groups, providing opportunities to explore a phenomenon, generate inquiry, and generate a final product that is purposeful for the community.  Such enriching and motivating experiences enhance disciplinary perspectives and cross-curricular skills, while deepening interdisciplinary understanding that is retainable over time (Programme Standards and Practices, 2014).

Dispositions of Assessment - Ultimately, assessment embodies the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile traits that help students become responsible local, national, and global community members (MYP: From Principles into Practice, 2014).  We support our students’ in their abilities to serve as inquirers, thinkers, and communicators, in addition to being knowledgeable, principled, open-minded, caring, balanced, reflective, and a risk-taker.  Application of these traits are specifically displayed through opportunities and experiences with Community Service Learning, Personal Projects, and Creativity Activity Service.

Grading - Criteria & Achievement Levels

Feedback is essential throughout the learning process.  The process of grading and reporting is a form of feedback that describes a learner’s achievements based on disciplinary standards (Tomlinson & McTighe, 2006).  The primary goal of feedback is to provide students insight into their learning from an outsider’s point of view. Teachers and students specifically provide each other with input regarding performance and improvement. Insight given can address students’ attainment of the learning goals, or it can address other areas of importance, such as students’ growth of certain IB Learner Profile traits.

In addition to the grade reporting policies set forth by Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Green Run Collegiate students will also be assessed utilizing the established criteria set forth by the IB Organization. Using benchmarked criterion-referenced assessments assures that students’ performances are measured against an already established set of expectations. Normally presented through an assessment rubric, these guidelines are typically given to students prior to the implementation of the assessment so that they clearly understand what needs to be done for successful completion.  Specific level descriptors and command terms are used as indicators to measure various levels of success.

Middle Years Program

Students enrolled in the Middle Years Program will be awarded MYP grades based on a seven point scale. This grade is determined based on the total amount of achievement levels earned by a student in all criteria of a subject group. Each group has four areas of criteria on which students are assessed.

Eight is the highest achievement level a student can earn for each criterion. The final achievement level will be based on the teacher’s professional opinion at the end of the year. This evaluation will be based on students’ performances on summative assessments; in determining the final achievement levels, instructors will take into consideration patterns in the data, such as increasing level of performance, consistency and mitigating circumstances (MYP: From Principles into Practice, 2014). Students will receive a separate report card depicting progress in IB coursework.

Diploma and Career-Related Programs

Diploma Program and Career-Related Certificate students enrolled in any Diploma Program group course can be awarded up to a maximum of seven points upon the completion and grading of all required assessments. These points are considered the students final IB subject grade. These group courses have two kinds of assessments:

  1. Internal Assessment- Determined by IB, this type of student work is graded and marked by the teacher.  This type of assessment can account for 20%- 50% of students’ final IB grade. In order to ensure reliability in terms of the instructor’s grading, student samples are mailed to IB each year in order to be moderated by outside examiners. Types of internal assessments are orals, science lap reports, and investigations.
  2. External Assessment- The majority of assessment components consist of examination papers that students complete during the month of May. These exams can include multiple-choice questions, short-response questions, essay questions, and commentaries on supplied texts. Other external assessments are often completed during an extended period of time under the guidance of their teachers; such examples of these are literature assignments, written tasks and music investigations. These assessments can account for up to 80% of students' final IB grade (Diploma Programme Assessment Principles and Practice, 2013).
Student who are candidates for the IB Diploma must earn a minimum of 24 points. However, certain requirements must be met in order to earn a diploma at this nominal level:

CAS requirements have been met.

There is no “N” awarded for TOK, the EE or for a contributing subject.

There is no grade E awarded for TOK and/or the EE.

There is no grade 1 awarded in a subject/level.

There are no more than two grade 2s awarded (SL or HL).

There are no more than three grade 3s or below awarded (SL or HL).

The candidate has gained 12 points or more on HL subjects. (For candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count.)

The candidate has gained 9 points or more on SL subjects. (Candidates who r register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL.)

The candidate has not received a penalty for academic misconduct from the final award committee. (Diploma Programme Assessment Procedures, 2020)

The IB Career-related Programme certificate will be awarded subject to satisfactory completion of the following requirements by a candidate.

  • The candidate has completed the specified career-related study.
  • The candidate has been awarded a grade 3 or more in at least two of the DP subjects registered for the CP.
  • The candidate has been awarded a grade of at least D for the reflective project.
  • All personal and professional skills, service learning and language development requirements have been met.
  • The candidate has not received a penalty for academic misconduct from the final award committee.
  • All candidates will receive the CP statement of results detailing achievement in the DP subjects and reflective project along with the status of completion of the CP core. (Career-related Programme Assessment Procedures, 2020)

Recording & Reporting - Green Run Collegiate will use the software application ManageBac in order to record and report IB criterion-based school grades to both students and parents.  ManageBac allows students to submit their Community, Service and Action Hours, store important documents and archive important information concerning their IBIS account.  ManageBac enables teachers to not only record students’ grades, but to upload their curriculum units as well as to provide student feedback so that both students and parents alike can access this information.

Issue of results concerning IB Diploma Program candidates and course students’ IB-validated grades will take place on July 6 each year.  Students can view their results by logging onto their accounts at https://candidates.ibo.org. In order to access their account, students must obtain a unique alphanumber user name as well as a personal identification number from their DP Coordinator. (Handbook of Procedures for the Diploma Programme, 2014).

Homework - The role of homework is to reinforce the content, skills and concepts learned in the classroom. As a result, homework may be differentiated according to student need and readiness level.

An Inclusive IB Education

To guarantee that all students have open access to an IB education, the faculty and staff at GRC adhere to both the Special Education Needs and Language policies that provide the student population the opportunity to be successful in this kind of setting.  GRC teachers will plan and design their assessments according to students’ Individualized Education Plans and Section 504 plan when appropriate.  In addition, students’ mother tongues will be honored, as assessments and resources will be translated for the student whenever necessary.  Translation programs will also be key in providing English Language Learners with quality feedback that will guide them in their learning process. 

Review & Communication of Assessment Policy

The assessment policy will be reviewed on a yearly basis with a panel consisting of teachers, students, parents and administrative staff with the intent to inform and advise the community at large.  This review will be driven by the needs of the Green Run Collegiate community, the changes provided by the International Baccalaureate Organization in regard to its assessment philosophy, as well as prominent research on assessment conducted by practitioners within the field of education.  Changes to the policy will be communicated with all immediate stakeholders in a timely manner.  The Assessment Policy may be accessed and viewed via the Green Run Collegiate website for students, parents, and the community to access.

Appendix/Glossary of Terms (MYP From Principles into Practice, 2014)

Approaches to Learning - Concerned with the development of thinking skills, strategies and attitudes and the ability to reflect on one’s own learning.

Assessment rubric - A grid that contains levels and descriptors.

Differentiation - Planning for different levels of ability, choice/interest, and learner preferences.

External Assessment - Assessment that is set and marked by the IB and not by student’s teacher.

Formative Assessment - Ongoing assessment aimed at providing information to guide teaching and improve student performance.

Interdisciplinary/Integrative - Combining or involving two or more branches of learning or fields of academic study. 

Personal Project - A project that is the culmination of the students’ experience in the MYP and shows their experience of ATL and global contexts, completed during the final (5th) year of the program.

Scaffolding - A strategy in which teachers develop and employ a sequence of steps or stages marked by a gradual decrease of support and a corresponding increase in students’ responsibility for their own learning.

Summative assessment - The culminating assessment for a unit, term or course of study, designed to provide information on the student’s achievement level against specific objectives.

References

Diploma Programme Assessment Principles and Practice. International Baccalaureate Organization, November 2010.

General Regulations: Diploma Program. International Baccalaureate Organization, February 2014.

Handbook of Procedures for the Diploma Programme 2014. International Baccalaureate Organization, November 2012.

MYP: From Principles into Practice. International Baccalaureate Organization, May 2014.

Programme Standards and Practices. International Baccalaureate Organization, January 2014.

Tomlinson, C.A. (2003). Fulfilling the promise of the differentiated classroom. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C.A. (2001). How to differentiate instruction in a mixed-ability classroom. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.

Tomlinson, C.A. & McTighe, J. (2006). Integrating differentiated instruction and understanding by design. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2011). The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD.