• Our Assessment Policy

    Wharton K-8 Dual Language Academyevaluation

    Assessment Policy
     
    Philosophy

    Principles of Assessment

    The Wharton DLA community adopts the IB philosophy that “assessment involves the gathering and analysis of information about student performance and is designed to inform practice”. The IB philosophy identifies what students know, understand, can do, and feel at different stages in the learning process. As members of the community, students and teachers are actively engaged in assessing students’ progress in student-initiated projects.

    Teachers are mindful of learning outcomes and they employ assessment strategies that take into account the diverse, complicated and sophisticated ways that individual students use to understand experience. Additionally, the PYP stresses the importance of both student and teacher self-assessment and reflection.

    The PYP approach recognizes the importance of assessing the process of inquiry as well as the product(s) of inquiry, and aims to integrate and support both. (from Making the PYP happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education Practices in Assessment, IBO 2009)

     The prime objective of assessing student learning and performance is to give feedback t

    • Students—to encourage the start of lifelong learning
    • Teachers—to support their reflection on what to teach and how to teach it 
    • Parents—to highlight their child’s learning and development (from the IBO website, 2007)

    With this purpose in mind, we have included in Wharton DLA’s Essential Agreements for Assessment to: 

    • assist all students with creating portfolios that contain 2-3 work samples for each unit of inquiry
    • facilitate student completed learner profile reports at the end of each unit of inquiry
    • share learner profile progress with parents at least 2 times/year
    • insure expectations are clear and understandable at the beginning of each unit
    • share rubrics with students and their families
    • send home at the beginning of each unit of inquiry a description of each project along with questions for home discussion
    • ensure that students have consistent opportunities to reflect on all work samples in their portfolios

      Practice in Assessment

    • Teachers should be mindful of the particular learning outcomes that they intend to report on prior to the selection or the design of the assessment.
    • Teachers should employ techniques for assessing children’s work that take into account the diverse, complicated and sophisticated ways that individual children use to understand experience.
    • Both student and teacher self-assessment and reflection are included in the process of assessment.
    • Opportunities are provided for students to consider their progress in relation to the attributes listed in the PYP student profile.
    • Observations and anecdotal records of their own performance can be included in each child’s portfolio of selected work.
    • The student can also contribute to his/her own assessment through student-led development talks.
    • Teachers use a variety of assessment strategies and tools, for example, rubrics, anecdotal records, checklists, benchmarks and portfolios of work.
    • Forms of assessment used cater for a variety of intelligences and ways of knowing.
    • Authentic assessment strategies are used, for example, recording children’s responses and performances in real-life situations, which have real problems to solve.
    • Such forms of assessment should be used in conjunction with other forms of assessment, such as standardized tests, in order to assess both student performance and the intentions of the program.

    Types of Assessment

    Testing for Admission

    Idea Proficiency Test (IPT) is a language assessment to evaluate a child’s proficiency in his/her native language prior to acceptance in our Dual Language program.

    Pre-Assessment

    Teachers will assess students’ prior knowledge and experience before embarking on new learning experiences.

    Formative Assessment

    Formative assessment is interwoven with the daily teaching and assists teachers in determining what the children have learned in order to plan for the next stage of learning. 

    Summative Assessment

    Summative assessment takes place at the end of the teaching and learning processes and provides students with opportunities to demonstrate what has been learned.

    Learner Profile Assessment

    Throughout the learning process, opportunities are provided for teachers, students, and parents to report on progress in relation to the attributes listed in the IB Learner Profile.

    Assessment of the Essential Elements of the PYP

    There are five essential elements of the PYP. These are all assessed through the units of inquiry and recorded on the planner for each unit.

    • Knowledge: assessment of the knowledge learned in each unit is done through the summative assessment that reflects an understanding of the central idea. 

    • Skills, concepts, and attitudes: each unit provides opportunities for development of different skills, concepts, and attitudes. Reflection on growth in these areas is recorded on the planners and self-assessment done by students.

    • Action: action taken by students, which is a result of knowledge gained through the unit of inquiry is noted on the planner.

    Student self-assessment

    Opportunities for student self-assessment are interwoven throughout the daily learning to engage the students in reflection and assessment on their own learning. The students are given adequate time to reflect on their progress in all subject areas, including the attributes expressed in the learner profile.

    Portfolios

    A portfolio is a record of students’ involvement in learning which is designed to demonstrate success, growth, high-order thinking, creativity, assessment strategies and reflection. A portfolio is a celebration of an active mind at work. (from Making the PYP Happen, IBO)

    The purpose of portfolios is to…

    • empower students to be active participants in their own learning
    • encourage reflection on the learning process and achievements 
    • encourage students and parents to see learning as a continuous process
    • encourage a sense of pride in one’s work and thereby building self-esteem

    The Fifth Grade Exhibition

    Students who are in fifth grade are expected to carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry project, known as “The Exhibition”, under the guidance of their teachers. The Exhibition requires that each student demonstrate the five essential elements of the PYP: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the learner profile that they have been developing throughout the Primary Years Programme.

    Required local, state & national testing

    State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), Stanford 10/Aprenda3, Naglieri Non-verbal Achievement Test (NNAT), High Frequency Word Test, Tejas Lee, Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS), iStation, & HISD District Level Assessments are all standardized tests that are required by the school district.

    Recording

    Assessment Tools
    • Checklists: lists of information, data, attributes or elements that should be present in students’ work or performanc  
    • Exemplars: samples of students’ work that serve as a concrete standard against which other samples are judged.
    • 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
    • Anecdotal records: brief written notes based on observations of students
    • Continuums: visual representations of developmental stages of learning that show a progression of achievement or identify where a student is in a process
    Assessment Strategies
    • Observations: All students are observed regularly, with the teachers taking notes on the individual, the group, and the whole class. Observations include how groups work and the roles of participants within the group.
    • Performance Assessments: Students are often required to show what they can do on authentic tasks that often have more than one acceptable solution. This shows how well they can apply what they have learned.
    • Process-Focused Assessment: The students’ transdisciplinary skills are observed and recorded. This may include checklists, inventories and narrative descriptions.
    • Open-ended tasks: These are situations in which children are asked to communicate an original response. The answer might be a brief written answer, a drawing, a diagram or a solution.
    • Test/Quizzes: These assessments provide a snapshot of students’ subject specific knowledge.
    • Student Reflections: Often at the end of a unit, students will be asked to reflect on what they have learned.

    Reporting

    Reporting is a means of giving feedback from assessment. It describes the progress of children’s learning and identifies areas for growth. 

    Teacher-Student Conferences 

    These conferences are usually informal. They are incorporated into the regular classroom routines and are meant to provide the students with feedback on their progress. These conferences also allow students to reflect on their own work and to make decisions regarding their portfolios.

    Student-Led Conference

    This conference will be held once a year between students and parents. The students are responsible for leading the conference, taking responsibility for their learning by sharing the process with their parents. It may involve students demonstrating their understanding through a variety of different learning situations. The conference will involve the students discussing and reflecting upon samples of work that they have previously chosen to share with their parents. These samples have been previously selected with guidance and support from the teacher. The student identifies strengths and areas for improvement. It enables parents to gain a clear insight into the kind of work their child is doing and offers an opportunity for them to discuss it with their child. The conferences must be carefully prepared, and time must be set-aside for the students to practice their presentations. (Making the PYP Happen IBO)

    Teacher-Parent-Student Conferences

     During any time of the year, both teachers and parents can request a conference to discuss the progress of a student.

    The Written Report

    According to HISD policy, Pre K students receive a written report card every 12 weeks and K-5 every 9 weeks with a progress report sent home mid-cycle. The teacher will give written feedback on student development of the attributes of the IB PYP Learner Profile (see below) at least twice a year.

    Assessment Review

    As a staff, we will review our assessment agreements and policy annually.

    *Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its three academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP) or the Diploma Programme (and in addition the IB Career-related Certificate). Candidate status gives no guarantee that authorization will be granted. For further information about the IB and its programmes visit http://www.ibo.org 

    IB Learner Profile 

    The aim of all IB programs is to develop internationally minded people who, recognizing their common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet help to create a better and more peaceful world. As IB learners, we strive to be:

    Inquirers- We nurture our curiosity, developing skills for inquiry and research. We know how to learn independently and with others. We learn with enthusiasm and sustain our love of learning throughout life.

    Knowledgeable- We develop and use conceptual understanding, exploring knowledge across a range of disciplines. We engage with issues and ideas that have local and global significance.

    Thinkers- We use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. We exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.

    Communicators- We express ourselves confidently and creatively in more than one language and in many ways. We collaborate effectively, listening carefully to the perspectives of other individuals and groups.

    Principled- We act with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness and justice, and with respect for the dignity and rights of people everywhere. We take responsibility for our actions and their consequences.

    Open-minded- We critically appreciate our own cultures and personal histories, as well as the values and traditions of others. We seek and evaluate a range of points of view, and we are willing to grow from the experience.

    Caring- We show empathy, compassion and respect. We have a commitment to service, and we act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the world around us.

    Risk-takers- We approach uncertainty with forethought and determination; we work independently and cooperatively to explore new ideas and innovative strategies. We are resourceful and resilient in the face of challenges and change.

    Balanced- We understand the importance of balancing different aspects of our lives—intellectual, physical and emotional—to achieve well-being for ourselves and others. We recognize our interdependence with other people and with the world in which we live.

    Reflective- We thoughtfully consider the world and our own ideas and experience. We work to understand our strengths and weaknesses in order to support our learning and personal development.

    The IB learner profile represents 10 attributes valued by IB World Schools. We believe these attributes, and others like them, can help people become responsible members of local, national and global communities.