ZSA Assessment Policy
Zhongshan Academy inspires all members of the school community to be life-long learners that embrace future challenges and approach them with resilience and confidence. They love and care about the environment and are concerned about the future of our planet. At ZSA we guide and motivate our students in the development of their interest and deeply rooted love for learning.
Zhongshan Academy provides students with various opportunities to explore wider global issues, and a caring community that encourages students to be conscious and proactive international-minded citizens, while maintaining a strong connection with their local cultures and heritages.
IB mission statement
The International Baccalaureate® aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
To this end the organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment.
These programmes encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.
Philosophy of Assessment
ZSA believes that assessment is essential in understanding students’ development in knowledge, concepts, skills and attitudes during the inquiry-based learning process. It also provide authentic data information for teachers, students, parents and administrators to understand what learning stage that students in and what they can improve in the ongoing process. ZSA provides diagnostic assessment, formative assessment as well as summative assessment and all the assessments are authentic, varied and purposeful.
In ZSA, assessment is the key element of the PYP program that guide students to understand the five essential elements of the learning process:
The acquisition of knowledge; the understanding of concepts; the mastering of skills; the development of attitudes; the decisions to take action.
The assessment component in the school’s curriculum can itself be subdivided into three related areas:
Assessing: How we discover what students know and have learned
Recording: How we choose to collect and analyse data
Reporting: How we choose to communicate information
Assessment of the students’ understanding and development is an essential component of the curriculum and helps to inform continued development, learning and teaching. Students are observed in various and situations and a wide range of assessment strategies are implemented in the curriculum.
At ZSA the classroom employs a range of assessments that display students’ understanding of learning.
Diagnostic assessment prior to teaching helps teachers and students find out what the students already know and can do. It assist teachers to tailor their plans to meet students’ need. It is not necessary to adhere to certain assessment tool or specific criteria for this type of assessment.
Summative assessment: aims to sum up students’ achievement and progress. It usually occur at the end of a unit of work, offering a verdict on overall progress and summarising achievement. It gives students various opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned. It can assess the five PYP elements simultaneously; It measures understanding of the central idea, and guide students towards action. It informs and leads to improvement in student learning and the teaching process.
Formative assessment: It is interwoven with daily instruction and provides information that is used in order to plan the next stage in learning. It helps teachers and students to find out what the students already know and can do. Teachers use different strategies and tools to keep a record of student progress. This process helps students to improve knowledge and understanding, to foster growth mindset and passion for learning, to engage in thoughtful reflection, to develop the capacity for self-assessment, and to recognize the criteria for success.
Differentiation in Assessment:
When students are unable to achieve the learning objectives inside the classroom as their peers, teachers will differentiate in the teaching and learning practices whether in the process, content, or product, as much as possible by use of various manipulative, different leveled texts, readings, stories, use of different strategies, along with differentiated worksheets, and implementing differentiated formative and summative assessment.
Assessment in the classroom includes:
• collecting evidence of students' understanding and thinking
• documenting learning processes of groups and individuals
• engaging students in reflecting on their learning
• students assessing work produced by themselves and by others
• developing clear rubrics
• identifying exemplary student work • keeping records of test/task results
The ZSA uses a range of methods and approaches to gather information about a students’ learning. They record this information using a variety of tools.
Reporting on assessment at ZSA includes communicating what students know, understand and can do. Reporting involves parents, students and teachers as partners and is honest, comprehensive and understandable to all parties.
Reporting to parents, students and teachers occurs through:
• Parent Information Evenings
• Conferences (parent- student-teacher) (student-teacher) and (Student Led)
• The Portfolio
• The Exhibition
• Twice Yearly Parent Comments
Parent Information Evening
Parents gain information about the school from the Head of Primary and classroom teachers regarding the curriculum and classroom routines via this important evening that is held at the beginning of Term
The Portfolio is an important part of the school's reporting program. It provides a record of student effort and achievement in all areas of school curriculum and life as well as a dynamic means of three- way communication between parents, students and teachers.
Each student has his/her own Portfolio, which is shared with their parents at the Three-way and Student-led conference.
Student Led Conferences are formal reporting sessions to parents, led by the students themselves. The teacher's role in this process is to guide and prepare the students. The emphasis is on the discussion between a child and his/her parent.
The focus of the Student Led Conference is on students' progress – academic and social. Student Led Conferences are designed to give students ownership of the assessment of their learning, so they can become more actively involved and committed. These conferences make students accountable for their learning and encourage student/parent communication.
Other benefits are that students learn to evaluate their own progress and build critical thinking skills, self-confidence and self-esteem. Parents become an active participant in their child's learning and skills, and have an opportunity to help their child set positive goals. Students are trained to become confident participants and conference leaders. The development of their training will naturally be progressive as students move through the year levels. Clearly we would have different expectations about how a PYP 1 student would report as distinct from a PYP 5 student. Our aim is to build skill development beginning in PYP1 and moving through the year levels.
Three Way Conferences are formal reporting sessions with both parents and students and are led by the teacher and the students.
Students in the final year of the PYP carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry approach – the PYP Exhibition. At ZSA this takes place in the Spring term. One of the purposes of the PYP Exhibition is to provide a forum for student driven reporting. Other key purposes include the following:
• For students to engage and report on an in-depth, collaborative inquiry
• To provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate independence and responsibility for their learning
• To provide students with an opportunity to explore multiple perspectives of their topics
• For students to synthesize and apply their learning of previous years, and to reflect on their journey through the PYP
• To provide an authentic process of assessing student understanding
• To demonstrate how students can take action as a result of their learning
• To unite the students, teachers, parents and other members of the school community in a collaborative experience that incorporates the essential elements of the PYP
• To celebrate the transition of learners from PYP to MYP education
Standardised Achievement Tests
The ZSA will introduce standardised tests as a means to evaluate students’ language and mathematics that align to the Chinese national curriculum. Standardised assessments are used as a part of the whole school assessment policy in an effort to gain as much information as possible about the student as a learner and about the programme. Standardised assessments are specifically used for the following reasons:
• To inform teaching.
• To provide information which shows growth over time
• To inform decisions about programs
• To form part of the process of reporting to parents
Teachers have information that helps them to form groups, plan the differentiation teaching and be aware of those with special needs.
Zhongshan Academy Assessment Essential Agreement
All teachers are responsible for informing parents about the PYP and their program of inquiry units for the year using the following forms of communication:
• Wechat communication group
• Class dojo and digital weekly learning journey
• The School website (to be enhanced when school has new website)
• Inviting parents to view the learning of their children formally (Open houses, mini-'exhibition', Student Led Conferences (SLC) or celebration of learning events) or informally (when parents visit classes or student learning is sent home to share)
• Student portfolios
• Three-Way Conferences
• Student Led Conferences
• The PYP coordinator will provide regular information about the PYP using a range of
communication strategies, e.g. newsletter articles, parent workshops etc.
• Assessment Objectives should be planned at the start of the unit and should demonstrate clear links between the assessment tasks and all components of the planner, i.e. central idea and lines of inquiry, key concepts, teacher and student questions, learning activities. • Assessment strategies and tools should be varied and can include pre and post assessment tasks and formative and summative assessments.
• Assessments should include peer and self-assessment where appropriate.
• Students should be involved in the development of some of the assessment activities and tools (e.g. rubrics). When students are not involved in the development of assessment activities they need to be informed of assessment criteria.
• Assessment will inform and direct future learning.
• Assessment at the school is working towards addressing all five of the essential elements
(knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action) and the learner profile.
• Teachers will be familiar with and put in place the assessment policy of the school.
• Have parents' names recorded to refer to
• Have evidence/work samples to share with parents - work samples and portfolios
• Collaboratively discuss information that will be shared and how action will be recorded
• Read student file in case professional reports need to be referred to (In Administrator Office)
• Teacher/Buddy and Peer practice before three-way conference
• Prepare student prompt sheets (Single subject and classroom)
• Dates need to be published on the school wechat news and on the school calendar well in advance
During the Conference
• Always begin and end with a positive comment about the child
• Ask how parents and students are feeling about how the child is progressing
• Give parents a strategy to take away to deal with a specific issue or problem (all issues should be shared with parents before conferences)
• PYP coordinator to organise a reflection sheet
• Record information/action for follow up during the interview
• Reiterate with parents at the end of the interview those actions that you will be following up on and the action the parent will now need to take
• If an interview is going to take longer than the allocated time offer to meet again to continue the interview at another time in the near future
• Students should be involved in choosing what is shared with parents
• Where possible students should report to parents addressing all five of the essential elements (knowledge, skills, concepts, attitudes and action)
• Students should be involved in choosing what is shared with parents
• Students should report to parents addressing all five of the essential elements (knowledge, skills, concepts, attitudes and action). Teachers should meet and greet parents and roam around the room throughout the conference.
• Classroom teachers and Specialists should meet together to plan what is being shared
• All year levels should be consistent in their approach to the SLC
• Notices informing parents need to be distributed at least 2 weeks before the conference takes place
• SLC dates need to be published in the school wechat news and calendar
• PYP Coordinator to write a cover letter for portfolios (purpose etc)
• Each student will share their learning portfolio at the three way and student led conferences
• Portfolios provide information about the content of the unit (Lines of Inquiry including maths and language stand-alone) and at least one work sample from each unit
• Each term the following work samples are included in the portfolio:
Language A and B and Mathematics work samples
POI Transdisciplinary Unit of Inquiry work sample.
• Twice a year the following work samples are included in the portfolio:
Drama or PE
• A week before portfolios are sent home the single subject teachers need to give the cover page and work sample to the class teacher
• Portfolios should include a range of assessment strategies and tools and can include pre and post assessment tasks and formative and summative assessments.
• Assessment samples could include peer and self-assessments where appropriate.
• Students should be involved in the selection and development of some of the work samples and assessment samples.
• All work samples need to be teacher acknowledged in some way and should be dated.
Guideline of reporting in Zhongshan Academy
All students are observed often and regularly, with the teacher taking a focus varying from wide angle(for example, focusing on the whole class) to close up (for example, focusing on one student or one activity), and from nonparticipant (observing from without) to participant (observing from within).
The assessment of goal-directed tasks with established criteria. They provide authentic and significant challenges and problems. In these tasks, there are numerous approaches to the problem and rarely only one correct response. They are usually multimodal and require the use of many skills. Audio, video and narrative records are often useful for this kind of assessment.
Students are observed often and regularly, and the observations are recorded by noting the typical as well as non-typical behaviors, collecting multiple observations to enhance reliability, and synthesizing
evidence from different contexts to increase validity. A system of note taking and record keeping is created that minimizes writing and recording time. Checklists, inventories and narrative descriptions (such as learning logs) are common methods of collecting observations.
Single occasion, one-dimensional exercises. Tests and quizzes are the most familiar examples of this form of assessment.
Situations in which students 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. The work, with the assessment criteria attached, could be included in a portfolio.
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 pre-determined scale. Rubrics can be developed by students as well as by teachers.
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. The school is working to set benchmarks that are appropriate and usable within this particular school context.
These are lists of information, data, attributes or elements that should be present. A mark scheme is a type of checklist.
Anecdotal records are brief written notes based on observations of students. “Learning stories” are focused, extended observations that can be analysed later. These records need to be systematically compiled and organized.
These are visual representations of developmental stages of learning. They show a progression of achievement or identify where a student is in a process.
The PYP Committee and Pedagogical Leadership Team accept the responsibility for ensuring the assessment policy is put into practice. In accordance with the school curriculum development standards, the assessment policy are regularly reviewed at the end of each academic year.