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Swigert Assessment Policy

Updated May 2019 – Inclusion Policy Committee: Principal (Shelby Dennis), Assistant Principal (Jennifer Woolf), IB Coordinator (Jamie Phillips)

School Vision and Mission Statements:

Vision

Swigert International School strives to create innovative, intellectually curious students who share a sense of stewardship for creating a better and more peaceful world.

Mission

Swigert will achieve this vision by developing knowledgeable, inquisitive and compassionate young people.

Knowledgeable: Swigert International School provides a challenging and engaging intellectual program to ensure that each child reaches his or her full potential.

Inquisitive: Through highly effective instructional practices, and including the use of technology, the environment and community resources, Swigert inspires creativity, curiosity and critical thinking.

Compassionate: Swigert develops respectful students who care for themselves, their communities and the world around them.

Integrated Assessment and the PYP Perspective

“Assessment is central to the Primary Years Programme (PYP) goal of thoughtfully and effectively supporting students through the acquisition of subject-specific knowledge and skills, the understanding of concepts and the development of approaches to learning.

The development of knowledge, conceptual understandings and skills requires that both teachers and students demonstrate assessment capability.” IBO: Principles into Practice 2018

Swigert International School Philosophy on Assessment:

Assessment is the means by which all members of our school community can increase their potential. We strive to create both assessment capable teachers as well as students through a holistic approach to assessment. Students become active, self-regulated learners as they have opportunities to reflect and act on specific and positive feedback. Through assessment teachers have an opportunity to become more effective, as they reflect on data and adjust their practice to meet the needs of students. Assessment information is foundational to informing our instructional practice and is for the clear purpose of continual improvement for all members of our learning community. We strive to become an assessment capable learning community through a shared awareness of why and what to assess, we have a shared understanding of what constitutes quality work, and we have culture of collaborative and inclusive assessment. Teachers are consistently adjusting their instruction to support student learning as they monitor what students know, understand and are able to do.

Rationale:

The purpose of this document is to communicate to the learning community an understanding of the assessment process within our school setting. Swigert’s philosophy is that ongoing integrated assessment is critical to guide our planning and instruction and to support and enhance student learning.

Purpose of Assessment at Swigert:

  • To collect data that drives instruction and student learning
  • To evaluate and strengthen our learning process and practices as educators
  • To identify students’ strengths and needs to better understand our learners
  • To individualize instruction based on student need
  • To monitor progress and growth within a community of learners which helps to evaluate the depth of the school’s curriculum, inform professional development needs and help to target the need for resources
  • To communicate student progress with parents and guardians so they too can support the growth and joy of learning
  • To empower students to have agency for their own learning

Characteristics of effective assessment that we strive to create at Swigert:

  • Authentic assessments that help students create real world connections
  • Clear and specific assessments that include success criteria and desired learning goals
  • A variety of assessments that include an extensive use of strategies students can employ to show their learning with multiple opportunities for success
  • Developmental assessments that focus on each individual students growth and not as a comparison to others
  • Collaborative assessment that engages teachers and students in the process of creating assessments and evaluation of progress.
  • Interactive assessment that engages ongoing discussion about student development
  • Ongoing and cyclical assessment so teachers can collaboratively monitor student growth over the course of a unit or the year.
  • Feedback to feed forward is the process that “provides feedback on current learning to inform what is needed to support future learning.” (IBO: Principles into Practice 2018)

 

Assessment Capability in Teachers and Students

Co-constructing learning goals and success criteria: Teachers and students create learning goals that are personal and success criteria that is achievable. Teachers’ model skills and the language of reflection as children grow in their understanding of assessment. Together the teacher and student build an understanding of quality work.

Assessment is designed to inform learning and teaching: The “backwards by design” (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005) process is utilized at Swigert, as we first identify the knowledge, concepts, and skills that students need to know as we plan for assessment. We also incorporate the IB philosophy of “forward by design” as we consider the learning that occurs that has not been planned for. Students play a huge role in the reflection of these skills to show evidence of concepts, knowledge, and skills that have occurred but not planned for.

What to assess?

When assessing for inquiry teachers can observe the depth and breadth of an inquiry over time, assess the student’s ability to apply conceptual understandings to create further inquiry, evaluate connections made across subjects and identify when students apply skills to construct new knowledge.

When assessing for conceptual learning teachers can focus on how concepts are articulated and explained in new situations.

When assessing for approaches to learning skills teachers should monitor the growth over time. Students can become increasingly self-regulated when monitoring their own ATL skills.

How to assess?

Monitoring learning occurs on regular basis through a variety of strategies including; collaborative teacher discussions, observation, questioning, reflection, and purposeful discussion with students and teachers.

Documenting learning makes learning visible and can be done in a variety of formats, including hard copies as well as a digital form. Questions, reflections, and evidence of learning should be regularly documented to show learning over time. Portfolio’s and journals are examples of formats students can utilize to document their learning while teachers can use checklists, rubrics, and anecdotal records on a daily basis.

Measuring learning provides data to create a picture of student’s progress. It’s important that there is a shared understanding of what success looks like among teachers and students. Multiple data points should be used to evaluate learning over time.

Reporting on learning at Swigert is thoughtfully considered as it shared with the learning community and reflects the progress and achievement of students. At Swigert we report on student’s progress in the following ways; reports, celebrations, student-led conferences; portfolios, checklists, and rubrics, exit tickets, and student reflections just to name a few.

Mandatory Assessments: Mandated by state or local entities to compare students to an identified standard.

  • CMASS
  • District Benchmarks
  • ISTATION
  • ACCESS for English Language Learners
  • Cogat – 2nd Grade
  • Assessments tied to grade level units of inquiry

Formal Assessments and structure for implementation at Swigert:

Our school uses multiple levels of assessment to create an instructional plan to best serve all students. At the beginning of the school year, we take two half days for assessment of all of our students and gather baseline data on their reading ability using ISTATION and DRA for grades one through five and the Word Task Analysis for our Kindergarten students. Students also complete a beginning of the year writing assessment based on grade level standards and math baseline assessment. In addition to these school-wide assessments, students receiving intervention are evaluated through the Core Phonics Survey. Students with specialized learning needs are also evaluated using a variety of special education tools (see inclusion policy.)

Because of the value we place on assessment and data-driven instruction. We have dedicated one hour weekly for grade level data teams. This time is focused on examining student work/data, setting goals for students and classrooms and monitoring progress. There is also time for discussion, study and sharing of effective strategies to address specific areas of identified need.

Reference:

International Baccalaureate Organization. “Assessment in the Primary Years Programme.”

Ibo.org. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2005-2019.Web.https://www.ibo.org/