• Philosophy

    The Wharton DLA community adopts the IB philosophy that: 

    “A school-wide assessment culture acknowledges the role assessment plays in informing the learner, learning and teaching, and the learning community about achievement, progress and in supporting decision-making. The purpose of assessment is to inform learning and teaching. It involves the gathering and analysis of information about student learning to inform teaching practice. It identifies what students know, understand and can do at different stages in the learning process. Effective assessment that achieves this purpose provides valuable information to understand what constitutes learning and how to support it, and is meaningful to all members of the learning community." 


    Classroom and campus leaders 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 Assessment: Primary in the Years Programme, 2022)   


    IB assessments must: 


    1. be an ongoing process of gathering, analyzing, reflecting and acting on evidence of student learning to inform teaching.

    2. involve teachers and students collaborating to monitor, document, measure, report and adjust learning.

    3. actively engage students in assessing and reflecting on their learning, acting on feedback from peers and teachers to feed forward to next steps in learning.

    4. foster an assessment culture involves the development of assessment capability among all members of the learning community.

    5. co-construct and clearly communicate the learning goals and success criteria.

    6. assess both learning outcomes and the learning process.

    7. be both backward and forward looking.

    (from Assessment: Primary in the Years Programme, 2022) 


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


    • 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 online portfolios that contain 2-3 work samples for 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

    • 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.

    Characteristics of Effective Assessment  

    A highly effective assessment shares some key characteristics (Adapted from Clarke 2012).

    • Authentic: It supports making connections to the real world to promote student engagement.
    • Clear and specific: This includes desired learning goals, success criteria and the process students use to learn.

    • Varied: It uses a wider range of tools and strategies that are fit for purpose in order to build a well-rounded picture of student learning.

    • Developmental: It focuses on an individual student’s progress rather than their performance in relation to others.

    • Collaborative: It engages both teachers and students in the assessment development and evaluation process.

    • Interactive: Assessment encompasses ongoing and iterative dialogues about learning.

    • Feedback to feedforward: It provides feedback on current learning to inform what is needed to support future learning (Hattie, Timperley 2007) and raises students’ motivation. (from Assessment: Primary in the Years Programme, 2022)   

    Practice in 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 Assessments

    Testing for Admission

    PreLas or LasLinks is a language assessment to evaluate a child’s proficiency in his/her native language prior to acceptance in our Dual Language program.


    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. In formative assessment, it is more important to identify correctly the knowledge, skills and understanding that students have not yet developed, rather than to accurately measure the level of each student’s achievement. (from Assessment: Principles and Practices, 2018) 

    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. The balance between the student’s attainment and the quality of feedback is reversed in summative assessment, where the outcomes of the assessment will be used to make decisions about the student, often around competitive selection for employment or educational opportunities, but also to support further teaching. (from Assessment: Principles and Practices, 2018) 

    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 a summative assessment that reflects an understanding of the central idea.

    Skills, Concepts, and Learner Profile: each unit provides opportunities for development of different skills, concepts, and attitudes. Reflection on growth in these areas is recorded by 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.


    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, learner profile 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), IOWA/Logramos, CoGat, High Frequency Word Test, Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS),Imagine Learning, & HISD District Level Assessments are all standardized tests that are required by the school district.


    Assessment Tools

    • Checklists: lists of information, data, attributes or elements that should be present in students’ work or performance

    • 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 is a means of giving feedback for 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- 8th grade students receive a written report card every 6 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 following page) at least twice a year.







    *Policy Review: We will review our assessment policy at least every year. In collaboration with the faculty and community, this policy was reviewed in August/September 2023.