Tempe Academy of International Studies Assessment Policy
Purpose of Assessment Policy:
Assessment is a critical component in the learning cycle and it is important to clarify for teachers, students and parents a common understanding of the assessment process within our school’s learning environment. Consistent with the standards and practices of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP), this document provides an overview of Tempe Academy of International Studies beliefs and practices regarding the purpose and use of assessment.
We believe that assessment is paramount to the teaching and learning process. We value ongoing, authentic assessment and believe students need to have multiple opportunities to demonstrate and share their learning in creative ways. We believe assessment should be differentiated to meet the unique needs of each individual.
Philosophy Aligned to Mission Statement:
Igniting Curiosity. Cultivating Creativity. Encouraging Compassion. Launching Leaders.
The TAIS mission statement is closely tied to our Assessment Policy. As assessment plays a crucial role in students’ learning, this policy is important in helping our school achieve its mission.
Igniting Curiosity, Cultivating Creativity, and Launching Leaders
By providing students with assessment tasks that encourage continued learning, we promote inquiry. In addition, we aim to develop knowledgeable students, who care about their education by involving them in the assessment process. Teaching students explicitly about the MYP objectives and assessment criteria, they are well aware of the expectations and can take ownership for their learning. By offering specific feedback that highlights students’ strengths and addresses areas of improvement, we can help students reflect and set goals so they can move to the next level of achievement.
Nurturing intercultural understanding and respect among students happens when educators understand and respect the needs of all learners, while providing opportunities for exploration inreal-world contexts. Being cognizant of the unique learning needs and language development of each student, we recognize that differentiation is the key to helping all students find success. By providing students with a variety of assessment tasks, we honor the identity of our learners. In addition, through the creation of assessments with real-world contexts, we encourage students to broaden their perspective, promoting international mindedness. At TAIS, we see the diversity of our learning community, as well as that of our global community, as a positive resource that can enrich learning, providing opportunities for students and staff to heighten their awareness and expand their thinking.
Purpose of Assessment:
Assessment is designed to:
- To improve teaching and learning
- To gain information to determine next teaching and learning steps.
- To evaluate our learning processes and practices as educators
- To identify student strengths and needs for differentiating instruction
- To monitor progress and growth
- To communicate progress with students and parents
- To facilities student understanding of their own growth and needs
- To collect data for school improvement initiatives
- To determine professional development needs for teachers and support staff
- To promote reflection among students and teachers
Principles of Assessment
Assessment is a key component of teaching and learning and includes a balance of both formative and summative assessments. At Tempe Academy, our assessment practices reflect our philosophy of assessment:
Assessment is authentic, rigorous, and student-centered:
- Assessment is grounded in real-world application and is appropriately challenging.
- Assessment provides multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know, value, understand, and are able to do.
- Assessment is designed to assist students’ development of the Approaches to Learning skills, which coordinate with 21st century skills.
Assessment is differentiated:
- Assessment is varied in type and purpose.
- Assessment practices recognize and take into account students with special educational needs.
Assessment is transparent and shared with teachers, students and parents:
- Assessment criteria are shared with students prior to the assessment, making students aware of the expectations at all stages of their learning.
- Assessment enables ongoing communication between students, teachers and parents.
- Assessment data promotes content-area and interdisciplinary collaboration among teachers.
Assessment provides meaningful feedback
- Assessment focuses on both the learning process and learning outcomes.
- Assessment provides teachers with data to reflect upon and drive instructional practices.
- Assessment practices provide students with timely and meaningful feedback about their progress and areas of growth.
Planning for Assessment
- Assessment is integrated into planning, teaching, and learning in all content areas.
- Assessment is planned using backwards design. (Focusing on the MYP aims and objectives, as well as the Arizona’s College and Career Readiness Standards, teachers create assessments that will allow students to demonstrate an acceptable level of achievement of those goals.)
- Teachers work collaboratively to design MYP unit planners, assessments, and task-specific rubrics.
Formative assessment tasks are designed to prepare students for the summative task by assessing students’ progress in acquiring skills and concepts needed for the summative assessment. Types of formative assessment include but are not limited to:
- Student Reflection
- Self- Assessment
- Peer Assessment
- Classroom Observations
- Use of teacher and student created rubrics
- Multimedia Portfolios
- Process Journals
- Anecdotal Records and other observable notes recorded by teachers showing growth over time
Summative assessment tasks are created to be open-ended, providing differentiation by allowing students to showcase their knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways and to determine effectiveness of instruction. Assessment tasks are created by teachers for a particular unit. Assessment tasks are aligned with the MYP objectives for that subject area. TAIS provides differentiated assessment tasks that include, but are not limited to:
- Unit Tests
- Individual or Group Projects
- Performance of skills
- Student Reflections on the Learning Process
- Written examinations
- Oral exams
Summative Tools and Feedback:
Summative Assessments are criterion-related in all MYP subject areas. The IB MYP provides rubrics within each content area that align with the subject area objectives. Teachers use the IB MYP rubrics specific to their subject area, and the criteria being assessed, to determine student achievement levels. Rubrics are clarified using task-specific descriptors with student-friendly language.
Students are assessed against each of the MYP criteria a minimum of two times over the course of the year in each subject area. Feedback is provided on the rubric by highlighting achievement descriptors that were met and offering suggestions for improvement in order to reach the next level of achievement.
Assessment Recording and Reporting
IB Assessment Recording and Reporting
Currently, teachers inform students of their proficiency in IB subject area objectives by sharing their achievement levels on the MYP rubrics for each criterion. These rubrics provide students with information about their overall achievement on the assessment, as well as the breakdown of their achievement toward each objective within the criterion. Teachers offer specific written feedback on the rubric. Students use this feedback to reflect on their work: highlighting their strengths, noting their areas for growth, and creating a plan for improvement.
We are making progress toward official IB Assessment Reporting by investigating ManageBac to provide teachers with a streamlined way of recording IB achievement levels.
State Mandated Grades and Report Cards
Arizona State requires awarding letter grades. In addition to the IB levels of achievement, TAIS dually awards, letter grades based on percentages of formative assessments. Official progress reports are sent home with students at each mid-quarter, informing families of students’ in-progress grades. At the end of each quarter, report cards are mailed home notifying families of students’ final quarter grades.
Parent/Guardian Access to Reports
In order to form a cohesive team, dedicated to educational pursuits, it is necessary to keep families well-informed.
Parents and students have access to posted grades via ParentVue. Teachers regularly post formative assessment grades electronically that can be accessed at home by students and their families. With access to this information, students can take accountability for their education and advocate for their learning.
All teachers have access to an electronic assessment calendar, to which they can add the details of upcoming assessment tasks. These calendars are posted on teachers’ webpages and updated frequently.
Responsibilities of TAIS Learning Community Concerning Assessment
Assessments should provide opportunities for students to...
- Demonstrate and share their learning with others
- Include goal setting for reaching their true potential
- Use their unique learning strategies and build on their individual strengths
- Choose different learning styles to show what they have learned
- Build confidence in what they have learned and understood
- Communicate their personal point of view and understanding of their learning
- Understand their individual needs and how to improve their performance
- Connect their curiosity about the world and create authentic experiences that guide the inquiry process and their personal learning journey
- Advance their understanding of what makes a quality product and performance
- Participate in a self-reflection or peer review process
Assessments should allow teachers to...
- Use quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the teaching and learning process
- Collaboratively reflect on individual student growth and needs in Professional Learning Communities
- Differentiate their instruction to reflect the individual needs of learners
- Intervene on behalf of students who need additional support and resources
- Define expectations for the outcomes on student projects and various assignments
- Adapt learning styles to meet the individual needs of learners
- Collect data to inform students, parents, staff, and district leadership on student progress
- Prepare for the creation of future lessons, IB Units, and projects
Assessment should provide opportunities for parents to...
- Understand student learning and progress
- Provide support outside of school
- Celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of their student
- Maintain records and documentation of student achievement and growth
- AzMerit Arizona Department of Education mandatory assessments
- NWEA Math and Reading
- District Writing Assessments
Continuing Education and Practices at TAIS
Current teachers (SY14/15) have had in-school professional development in MYP assessment. The teachers are making progress using the MYP rubrics in assessment. Standardization of marking will take place with an MYP school in our community. Singleton teachers will need the support from teachers who teach the same discipline. In the coming year, one or two teachers will attend a Category 2 workshop on assessment.
We will review our assessment practices annually to ensure that our TAIS community will have a better understanding of the assessment process.