Assessment Policy

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Assessment Policy

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this policy is to expose students to a rigorous and challenging curriculum that aligns with aims, objectives, and assessment expectations of the IB DP.  Students are encouraged to give their best effort in class and seek out  assistance, from a variety of resources, when needed. This policy is a framework for assessment of student learning and by achieving the educational goals with all aspects of Assessment for the Newcastle School International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

 

1. Philosophy

 

We believe that assessment plays a crucial role in supporting learning as well as in measuring learning. One of the positive aspects of the IB Diploma Program is the nature of the assessments, giving students multiple methods and opportunities to show their achievement of the subject area objectives.  This effective approach is found within the IB subject area courses where teachers create their own assessments to measure students’ progress in addition to those required by IB. 

 

It is our belief that our students are ultimately responsible for their own learning.  They meet this responsibility by working diligently to complete assignments on time and in an ethical and appropriate manner.  Students are expected to monitor their progress in their classes, to inquire about ways to improve if necessary, and to prepare well for all forms of assessment.  Students are responsible for being aware of the goals and standards of their coursework and for asking for clarification when needed.  In addition to the stated objectives of each class, students are expected to set goals for their personal growth as life-long learners, to reflect on progress in meeting these goals, and to assess their achievement of them.

 

It is the belief in our school that teachers are responsible for supporting and facilitating students’ learning.  They meet this responsibility first by working diligently to understand intimately their subject matter and the standards of achievement for the courses they teach.  Teachers are expected to communicate clearly with students and their parents exactly what goals need to be accomplished in their subject areas.  Teachers are responsible for providing precise instructions where assignments are concerned, guidance when needed, and timely feedback to aid improvement.  Teachers are expected to analyse assessment data to determine strengths, deficiencies, and student needs.  Teachers are aware that assessments can be biased and use many types of assessment to evaluate their students’ progress.  Teachers also use assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of their own instruction, reflecting on their own practices, and to improve where needed.  Teachers are expected to use their full advantage tools available through technology and other venues to enhance their instruction and further support their students with their progress. 

 

It is the belief in our school that the coordinator and administration are responsible for supporting teachers and students in their efforts to meet the goals in their coursework.  They meet this responsibility first by providing the necessary training for teachers to become knowledgeable of the needs for their subject areas.  The coordinator is responsible for providing student data in a timely manner and for providing opportunities to analyse and reflect upon that data.  The coordinator provides time for teachers to reflect on their practices and plan, individually and collaboratively to enhance instruction.  The coordinator and administration provide training on data interpretation and use, as well as, using multiple assessment strategies.  They work together to analyse student performance, to set achievement goals for the school, and to plan goals for the future.  The coordinator and administration are committed to providing the necessary materials and tools to best achieve the goals of the IB Diploma Program at Newcastle School.

 

 Mission:

 

The mission of Newcastle School is to recruit, inform and admit new, qualified students in a professional and forthright manner, while maintaining the integrity of the school, the students and their families.

 

2. Practices

 

 Processes for standardization of assessment of students’ work

 

All IB teachers will attend specialized IB professional development face-to-face or online workshops which will provide training in the teaching and assessing of IB courses. The workshops provide teachers with comprehensive training in understanding and delivering the subject according to IB criteria. They receive copies of previous IB exams, mark schemes, annual IB subject reports, and make connections with other IB teachers.

 Resources in the community are accessed and utilized such as the use of the MyIB website. For example, teachers use exemplary student work found on the MyIB website to help standardize grading.

 Teachers utilize internal assessment moderation feedback to improve standardization of assessment.

Teachers of common IB subjects work together to implement, assess, and instruct their subject areas. For example, science teachers use the same assessment criteria in internal school practice. When there is more than one subject teacher they collaborate to standardize the criteria for individual investigation or exploration papers to ensure consistency of marking.

 

 

 To utilise criterion-based approach, teachers use assessment scales (rubrics): 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 predetermined scale.

 

Grading/Marking

Newcastle School Report Card grades are based on a scale of A (100-90), B(89-80), C(79-70), D(69-60).  Anything below 60 is an F (failing condition).  All grading will be based on evidence and will not be subject to any form of bias.  In determining a final average, a teacher should consider students’ improvement over time and students’ best level of performance. At the teacher’s discretion, students may be allowed to increase their score on a certain assignment if the material has not been mastered.

 

The IB Diploma Program uses a scale from 7(excellent) to 1(minimal), with a score of 4 as worthy of recognition by most colleges and universities.  Due to multiple factors, a student may perform better according to the IB grading scale than the high schools or the opposite may occur.

 

Percentage

IB scale

85% to 100%

7

75 to 84

6

66 to 75

5

56 to 65

4

46 to 55

3

36 to 45

2

26 to 35

1

 

 

Teachers use a range of assessment techniques that support the aims of their IB courses. This makes it possible for the teacher to design daily coursework and assessments that make use of the IB subject assessment criteria. Teachers have the discretion to determine the frequency of formative and summative assessments based on their course requirements and the particular needs of their IB students.

 

Teachers of the IB analyse assessment data to inform their teaching and support student learning. Teachers adjust their practice informed by the analysis of assessment data. Teachers confer with and collaborate with one another in the process of adjusting their practice in order to best support student learning in the IB classroom and beyond.

 

Formative Assessment

Teachers use their knowledge of IB summative assessment expectations and practices to support students in improving their performance in a formative way.  A key function of assessment in our DP is that of providing valuable feedback. Teachers distinguish between formal IB assessment and school assessment and provide students with frameworks of supporting formative processes to prepare students to meet those expectations. Teachers value formative assessment for providing feedback on the nature of students’ strengths and limitations and ways to help with improvement.  

 

It is implied with all assessments that the work be the authentic work of the individual student unless the teacher explicitly states that collaboration is allowed or expected.  With regard to collaborative student work, teachers clearly articulate the degree of assistance they can give, the extent to which students may use external sources, and the amount of re-drafting that will be allowed.

 

Summative Assessment 

Teachers use their best professional judgment to determine the type and timing of summative assessments such as tests, projects, essays, etc. which are designed to help the teacher determine the degree of understanding a student has gained over particular portions of the IB curriculum for a given course. Teachers make these determinations based on the feedback from multiple formative assessments of a given topic or unit of instruction. 

 

IB Required Assessments

Teachers introduce IB assessment expectations, standards, and practices early in their instruction of IB courses.  Some of the assessment required by the IBO is carried out internally by classroom teachers who score students’ individual work.  When possible, internal assessment tasks will be a part of normal classroom instruction.  These include oral presentations, commentaries, laboratory work, investigations, and performances. Teachers are knowledgeable about course objectives and requirements and provide effective instruction that ensures students have the opportunity to develop the skills and content knowledge necessary for IB’s formal assessment requirements. 

 

Earning the International Baccalaureate Diploma

The IBO uses criterion-referenced assessments to confer points leading to an IB Diploma.  Each of six examined subjects is graded on a scale of 1 to 7 points.  A student who scores a minimum of 24 points on 3 Higher Level and 3 Standard Level (or 4 HL and 2 SL) subjects, completes both the Theory of Knowledge class and the extended essay with at least a D grade, and satisfactorily presents evidence of personal growth in each of the eight CAS Learning Outcomes can be awarded an IB Diploma provided none of the following failing conditions exist:

 

  • a grade of 2 in any HL subject
  • each grade 3 in an HL subject not compensated by a grade 5 or above in   

         another HL subject

  • a grade 1 in any SL subject
  • two or more grade 2 in SL subjects
  • two or more grade 3 in HL with a grade of 2 at SL
  • four or more grade 3 subjects

Excellent performance in the 6 subject areas results in a grade 7 for each, or a total of 42 points.  The maximum diploma point score is 45.  Theory of Knowledge and the extended essay contribute to the overall score through a matrix system, which awards up to 3 bonus points based on the candidate’s combined performance.

 

Those students who do not satisfy the entire set of requirements for an IB Diploma or who elect to take fewer than six subjects are awarded a certificate for examinations completed.

 

Data Collection and Analysis

 

At least annually, the IB teachers meet with the teachers of “feeder” courses to analyse the previous year’s examination results and any feedback provided by the IBO.  This allows for vertical alignment of content as well as assessment. These teachers analyse the data for strengths and weaknesses within the courses and any patterns that may emerge from the data. They discuss instructional practices and make informed adjustments to the vertical delivery of coursework at all levels according to the students’ needs. 

 

Recording and Reporting

 

School Marks

Teachers are encouraged to provide progress reports every two weeks to keep parents and students aware of students’ grades.

 

Report cards are issued once per semester. IB courses are yearlong, and credit is not earned until the end of the school year.  A student’s GPA and class rank will not change to reflect yearlong IB coursework until the end of the school year. 

 

Newcastle School’s IB Diploma Program Homework Policy

Newcastle School’s IB Diploma Program Homework Policy aims to help students establish a healthy balance between commitments in school, after school and at home. The policy also aims to aid students in planning their work time more effectively.

 

 

Expectations of Newcastle School IB teachers:

          a) Plan the activities of their classes effectively

          b) Remember that students have other classes, which make demands upon 

              their time and mental resources.

          c) Avoid concentrating assignments, projects, or other work at the end of a

              grading period.

          d) Avoid homework practices that are punitive, unreasonable, and/or futile.

Homework encompasses a range of activities to be completed outside of class, activities such as students’ reviewing their notes after each class, study time for reviews, quizzes, tests etc. Students should be aware that activities that have been assigned well in advance that may require some additional preparation time in addition to regular homework time.

 

The suggested homework guideline for IB HL subjects is three hours a week while IB SL subject teachers should expect their students to complete two hours of homework per week. Based on a full diploma loading this would mean that students would average around three hours a night Monday to Friday.  It is preferred that students do not procrastinate which will lead to potential academic dishonour/dishonesty.   

 

To make sure that homework is appropriate, teachers should follow these guidelines in relation to the homework they assign:

 

          1.  Homework should have a clear academic purpose. Homework should be used not for new learning; rather, it should enhance classroom learning. The student should easily understand the ultimate goal of the assignment - pre-learning, checking for understanding, practice, or processing, and the teacher should communicate the goal to the students. The important roles of homework are to practice skills and reinforce content taught in class. Typically, new material should not be given as homework except where the goal is pre-learning.  Additionally, assigned readings as part of a unit that is first being introduced may involve the discovery of new material that a teacher may have not yet covered in class.  Teachers should use a balanced approach between these priorities when planning assignments.

 

          2.  Homework should focus on high quality tasks that are doable. Teachers are encouraged to        complete the tasks themselves to gain a real understanding of the time and skill demands of the task. Modelling is important and expected.  If a student cannot complete a homework assignment independently, such an assignment can undermine student motivation. In terms of difficulty, all homework should be within the developmental/intellectual/skill capabilities of the students, for whom it is assigned.  At the high school level, parental or tutorial assistance should be virtually unnecessary.

3.  Homework should be personally relevant. If teachers want students to take responsibility for homework, students must have a good deal of control over what they learn, how they learn it, and how they show that they have learned it. Teachers should design homework assignments, which provide students with ample opportunities to personalize their work.  Teachers are encouraged to differentiate tasks by length, by difficulty, or by which concepts specific students need help understanding whenever possible.

 

IB Junior and Senior Course Guidelines

The policy recognizes that senior and junior level IB courses require more time during the week and a greater amount of weekend homework than Honors and DP level courses. It is recognized that during times such as IB internal assessment deadlines that students will be required to exceed the recommended homework time. In particular all the homework/journal work the students do for IB Visual Art SL is work that they are supposed to be experiencing on their own.

 

IB students need to understand that homework, following the above guidelines, may be checked for accuracy.  As long as homework does not involve a new topic the students discover on their own, but enhances the knowledge acquired in class, accuracy is     important. With exceptions, if students are to explore something new and give their opinion, there will be less expectation with regard to accuracy.

 

3. Links to Inclusive Education, Language, Academic Honesty, and Admissions Policies

 

Assessment and Inclusive Education

Students participating in the IBDP of Newcastle School who receive classroom learning support will receive those same learning support services within the IB coursework and assessments as authorized by the IBO.  Students, their parents, and their inclusive education teachers are responsible for informing the IB classroom teachers and coordinator of all requirements.  Teachers differentiate their assessments to support students with particular inclusive education needs.

 

Assessment and Additional Language Learners

Students identified as language learners of English in our school are encouraged to participate in our IBDP. Students, their parents, and language support teachers are responsible for informing the IB classroom teachers and coordinator of the enrolment of language learners in the DP. Teachers differentiate their assessments to accommodate students with language learner needs.  

 

Assessment and Academic Honesty

Teachers provide instruction to IBDP students on appropriate effective citing and referencing. Teachers provide explicit instruction regarding the degree of help outside of the student’s own knowledge and skill base that will be allowed for each assessment. Expectations regarding academic integrity are clearly communicated and authentic student work is highly regarded. Consequences for misconduct are clearly communicated.

 

Policy on Plagiarism

Students are given a copy of our school’s IB Honor Code at the beginning of their junior year and again at the beginning of their senior years.  They are asked to review it with their parents, sign it, and return it to the IB Coordinator.  Copies of the code are posted in each subject area classroom and in the IB Office as well.

 

Depending upon the severity of the incident, violations of the code are generally handled in the following manner:

          1st Offense:  Parent Conference and a “zero” for the assignment

 

2nd Offense:  Written reprimand and a “zero” for the assignment and may         

                     result in possible exclusion from the IB Exam in the specified 

                     subject

 

          3rd Offense:  Recommendation for dismissal from the IB Diploma Program

 

Assessment and Admissions

 

While our Admissions Policy stipulates that students must have no grade lower than “70” for any prerequisite course, circumstances will be taken into consideration where a students’ performance showed improvement over time even if the final mark for the course does not reflect this growth. It is the assessment of the student’s readiness, willingness, and work ethic which eclipse past academic performance. In such cases, the IB teacher of the given course will conduct an interview with the student to determine the student’s understanding of the whole course in question.   

 

4. The Implementation, Evaluation, and Review of the Assessment Policy

 

Training Teachers new to the IB Program

The IB Coordinator, any course veteran(s), and new teacher(s) will meet within the first two weeks of the start of the school year in a small group or one-on-one training session following the sharing of the policy by email.  

 

Communication and Review of the Assessment Policy

Annually, the IB Faculty and administration will receive the latest draft from the IB Coordinator by email within the first two weeks of school for their review.  They may email their questions and concerns to the coordinator for discussion at the first IB Faculty meeting of the school year.  Changes will be made by consensus of those present at that meeting.

Annually, IB Students and their parents will receive written copies of the policy within the IB student handbook within the first month of the school year.  Students and their parents will be solicited for their input for any revision(s) that may be needed.

 

Other IB stakeholders may view the policy any time online on the school’s IB website.  Questions, comments, or concerns may be emailed to the IB coordinator.

 

References

 

1. General regulations: Diploma Programme, IBO, 2019 https://resources.ibo.org/data/d_0_dpyyy_reg_1609_2_e.pdf

 

2. Guidelines for developing a school assessment policy in the Diploma Programme, IBO, 2010 https://resources.ibo.org/data/d_0_dpyyy_ass_1101_1_e.pdf

 

 3. Diploma Programme assessment procedures, IBO, 2021 https://resources.ibo.org/data/dp-assessment-procedures-2021_8c20559f-5260-462a-9078-39b46dcf1a5c/dp-assessment-procedures-2021-en_252d18c4-fda1-4e06-80e7-7caa5e0f3e1b.pdf

 

 4. Grade descriptors, IBO, 2017 https://resources.ibo.org/data/g_0_dpyyy_grd_1712_1_e.pdf

 

 5. Diploma Programme: From principles into practice, IBO, 2015 https://resources.ibo.org/data/d_0_dpyyy_mon_1504_1_e.pd