Assessment Policy

    Whittier International School

    Assessment Policy

    1. Overview
    2. Why Do We Assess?
    3. What Do We Assess?
    4. Types of Assessments and Tools
    5. How Do We Report?

    l.   Overview

    Assessment is an ongoing process of gathering and analyzing evidence of student learning to provide a foundation for planning and teaching.  Through assessment, students and teachers reflect on learning, create goals and celebrate growth.  

    Assessment is an integral part of our International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program here at Whittier International Elementary School.  We recognize that teaching, learning, and the assessment of that learning, are fundamentally interdependent.  As students learn through the 5 Essential Elements of the PYP and the Learner Profile, our main goal is to use assessments to thoughtfully analyze student learning and evaluate the effectiveness of our teaching and practice.  

    We fundamentally understand that all students:

    • Have differing learning styles,  cultural experiences, expectations and social emotional needs
    • Perform differently according to the context of learning and/or setting
    • Are active participants in directing their own learning
    • Benefit from using self-assessment, peer assessment and reflection as part of the learning process
    • Should receive specific and timely feedback that is honest and constructive

    II.   Why Do We Assess?

    Assessment is an essential part of the instructional cycle.  Thoughtful assessment will provide information about individual student learning and social development.  

    Assessment is carried out in order to:

    • Create a clear picture of the student and his/her interests, skill level, learning style, strengths and challenges
    • Assess the effectiveness of the teaching and environment on the student’s learning
    • Differentiate instruction to meet the individual student needs
    • Set individual social and academic goals
    • Build student success and confidence
    • Engage students in self-reflection
    • Provide clear and timely feedback for students and their families
    • Guide future learning experiences for our students
    • Monitor performance relative to national, state and district standards
    • Have students reflect on their development of the Attributes of the Learner Profile and the five essential elements of the PYP (action, knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes-KCASA)

    IV.   Types of Assessments and Assessment Tasks and Tools

    Types of Assessments:

    • Pre-assessments occur before embarking on new learning.  We tap into student’s prior knowledge and experiences to enhance their learning.  We identify what they have mastered already and where they have misconceptions or need support.
    • Formative assessments are woven into daily learning.  They provide teachers and students feedback on the development of the learning process.  Formative assessments guide the next stages of learning.
    • Summative assessments occur at the end of a teaching and learning cycle. We strive to create summative assessments that:
      • Assess for depth of understanding of the central idea and transfer of the concepts
      • Give students the opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned in a variety of ways, based on their particular aptitudes
      • Allow for demonstration of the Learner Profile, and other elements of the PYP
      • Are motivating and purposeful
      • Show criteria and models in advance and skills have been practiced
      • Include a thoughtfully created task and evaluative tool

       Teachers use a wide variety of the following assessment tasks and tools:

    Teacher Created Assessments

    • Observations, anecdotal notes, running records
    • Reflective journals and portfolios
    • Performance and product assessments (written, oral and visual)
    • Open-ended assessments
    • Quizzes/Tests
    • Rubrics, Checklists, Exemplars, Continuums, Surveys

    School-wide Assessments

    • Better by Mistake sheet for Math (Upper grades)
    • Front Row Math (1st-5th)
    • Lucy Calkins Writing Units of Study checklists, rubrics and continuums
    • BAS (Benchmark Assessment System)

    Standard Common Assessments (State and District required)

    • PARCC (math and literacy) and CMAS (science and social studies)
    • I-ready (reading)
    • ACCESS Language Testing (English Language)
    • Benchmark Assessment System (BAS)
    • Math Expressions assessments
    • BVSD District K-5 Math Assessments (K-5 fall, K-2 spring optional)
    • 6th Grade Transitional Math Assessment
    • BVSD writing prompts and rubrics (Based on Lucy Calkins)
    • TS GOLD (kindergarten)

    V. How Do We Report?

    We believe that clear, open communication is essential to effective reporting on assessments and student learning.  We strive to provide feedback early and often, so that assessment becomes a tool for students to improve rather than simply judgement.  We involve families, students and other teachers as partners in education.  

    • Teachers conference regularly with individual students and small groups
    • While most family conferences are student-led, we also hold parent/teacher conferences as needed, and teachers report out to families in a variety of ways
    • Student data is shared and discussed at a variety of staff meetings and weekly team meetings.
    • Students select and reflect on artifacts for their IB Portfolio, which follows them from grade to grade.
    • Do we report out after each unit of inquiry?  At least some student reflection with their families? How can we phrase this in a way that allows for wiggle room and variety in each grade?
    • Standard Based report cards and (Readiness Plans for kinder)  are sent home to families three times a year.  
    • Math assessment data (including screeners and AVMR testing if completed) is recorded  in Forefront Math
    • We report on student progress on the IB Learner Profile through individual awards (Caught You Cards), self-reflections in student portfolios, and a variety of grade-specific reporting strategies In Action Plan:  Create a chart for each grade level- already started in Evaluation Paperwork.
    • The Whittier International Elementary School Exhibition highlights and celebrates 5th grade student reflection on personal understanding of the PYP and collective action.