International Concept for
March, 2015
Assessment Philosophy & Agreements
Version: March, 2015
The purpose of this document is to clarify understanding of the assessment processes
within our school setting. It is a constantly evolving document that reflects our school’s
unique assessment needs. Our assessment philosophy applies to the whole school
and is to be communicated to and understood by all continuing and new teachers,
students, parents, and administrators.
It is directly linked to our mission statement:
The mission of ICE is to provide students with challenging educational
programmes that develop a desire for life-long learning as well as
excellence in character and knowledge. We aim to develop active,
compassionate students who are globally minded and caring individuals
helping to light the way for their communities to create a better world.
Why do we assess the way we do at I.C.E.?
If we are asked why we assess, the answer would be “to guide instruction.” We
believe the ultimate purpose of assessment is to guide our planning and instruction so
that we can support and enhance student learning, rather than to simply generate a
We believe that the teaching/learning cycle starts with assessment, rather than
teaching, because if you don’t know what students already know and can do, you don’t
know where to start that teaching. This varies for every child in every area of
learning. Each student is a complex individual with a wide range of existing abilities,
skills, and knowledge.
We believe that teachers are professionals with the ability to make valid and ”weighty”
informal assessments, and that parents also can and do contribute valuable
assessment data for teachers to consider.
In order to become somebody who will change the world as our mission statement
asserts, students must be able to self-assess competently to reflect on learning and
subsequently grow and change as a life-long learner.
We believe that the best assessments are those that are most AUTHENTIC, or most
like the task as it actually exists in the real world.
We understand that whatever knowledge, skill or ability is being assessed, there are
many possible and valid ways for an individual student to show that understanding to
Assessment data is not just important for teachers, but for everyone involved.
What Assessment actions do we take?
Because assessment guides our planning and instruction, we make sure it is frequent,
on-going, varied, and continuous.
We assess frequently to find out what the student already knows and can do, in order
to discover what the next best teaching/learning steps would be.
Because knowledge and understanding differs for every child in every area, we assess
in many different areas in many different ways.
We collaborate regularly with other teachers and with parents, to design, discuss, and
reflect on student learning.
We actively teach our students to be competent at self-assessment in both academic
and behavioral areas.
We assess, for instance, reading by reading, and writing by writing, rather than
assessing these complex tasks by doing an artificially contrived task that does not exist
in the real world.
We do not require all students to have their knowledge and abilities assessed in the
same way every time, understanding that the important thing is to know if a student
“got it”, not that every student has to show understanding in the exact same way. We
honor and validate multiple and often creative forms of assessment.
We regularly communicate assessment data to students, teachers, parents,
administration, and the community.
What does assessment look like at our school?
We use a variety of techniques to assess students in product, performance and
knowledge tasks, such as:
• Rubrics
• Checklists
• Benchmarks/examples & models
• Continuums
• Observations/discussions
• Students’ self-assessment and peer-assessment
• Open-ended tasks: students are asked to complete or communicate an original
response (e.g. drawing, written response, diagram, solution etc.)
(See appendix for examples)
We do not rely on any one assessment to plan our instruction, but consider a wide
range of relevant and authentic performance data, formal and informal, standardized
and non-standardized assessments conducted before (diagnostic), during (formative)
and after (summative) learning.
Teachers make sure that all essential elements of the PYP curriculum are assessed;
knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action. The purpose and means of
assessment, and how it relates to significant learning, will be clearly explained to the
Diagnostic Assessment
Diagnostic assessment prior to teaching helps teachers and students find out what the
students already know and can do. This represents the ‘launchpad’ for learning to take
place that builds on existing knowledge.
While teachers take into account previous academic results, they also place students
in various contexts, scenarios, discussions etc. where they collectively ‘pool’ their
existing knowledge to begin their journey of inquiry.
While teachers usually conduct these assessments informally and take observational
notes to inform their planning, they may also use formal testing to assess students’
knowledge of necessary factual information (for example; knowledge of multiplication
The data derived from this process assists teachers in planning learning experiences
that are tailored to the strengths and needs of their students, as well as allowing
students to identify this in themselves.
Formative Assessment
Teachers value the critical role of assessment as a tool to inform their teaching and
understand their students.
Assessment for learning: Adjusting future learning.
• Changing planning when an observation is made of a student’s unexpected
(higher or lower) level of current knowledge, skills and behaviours (differentiating
to their ability)
• Scaffolding a student’s learning after s/he demonstrates a misconception
• Sharing criteria so that students understand what they are trying to learn and can
strive to achieve
Assessment as learning: Learning from what you have done.
• Self and peer-assess
• Write reflections
• Develop concept maps of previous and new learning
• Set/adjust learning goals
• Discussing annotated work with their teachers
• Students have the option to repeat the assessment if they feel they can improve
Using the traffic light system, students will engage in self-assessment
of their understanding following all significant learning experiences.
When giving feedback, teachers focus on the learning outcome/s
indicated at the beginning of the lesson to indicate what/how the
student needs to improve when a lack of understanding is
demonstrated. When using this system, teachers need to avoid
negative images (sad face, thumbs down, etc.)
Teachers also use plenary questions, activities, games, presentations, discussions etc.
to make their own assessments of students’ understanding.
Summative Assessment
Assessment of learning: What have we learned?
Teachers make judgements on authentic student achievement against goals and
standards. These include:
Product tasks
– Poster, painting, booklet, report etc
Performance tasks
– Drama, oral, power-point, role-play, performance skill etc.
Process-focused assessment
– Exhibition, thinking logs, journals, benchmark reading etc.
Constructed response assessments
– Graphic organizers, mind-maps, templates, etc.
An example of a summative assessment:
Central Idea: We have different reasons to travel to the places in the world.
Lines of Inquiry:
• Our personal journeys and their reasons
• Choices and decisions during travel planning
• The effects of our personal journeys on our development
Students are asked to choose different roles as a reporter, an artist, a sportsman, a
photographer etc. They are asked to plan a journey with the perspective of that role.
The criteria to use while planning are identified together. They prepare their work
according to the criteria and as if it is going to be presented on a TV show. The
presentations are filmed and the parents are invited at attend/watch recordings.
Beyond (A+)
The student
had difficulty
while creating
a travel plan.
The student
had some
difficulty while
creating a
travel plan.
The student
created a
travel plan.
The student
created a detailed
and effective
travel plan.
The student
created a
detailed and
effective travel
of potential
changes and
The student
had difficulty
and organising
his/her travel
The student
made simple
about his/her
Not much
originality in
The student
could mostly
his/her travel
and created
an original
design for
The student could
research his/her
travel destination
in detail and
created an
original and
interesting design
for content.
The student
using many
mediums and
delivered a
thoughtful and
The work
prepared was
not connected
to the central
idea and quite
The work
prepared had
connection to
the central
The work
was mostly
connected to
the central
The work he/she
prepared was
clearly connected
to the central
connected to
the central
idea, making
links beyond
what was
evident in
What else do teachers identify, other than knowledge and understanding?
- Has the student demonstrated action? (applying values and using knowledge &
skills in a meaningful way).
- What attitudes has the student shown?
- Has the student improved any transdisciplinary skills? (communication, social,
thinking, self-management and research skills).
The process of conducting a summative assessment:
1) The summative assessment is developed in a planning session before the unit
begins. All future planning should be a step-by-step process of leading students
towards an understanding of the central idea (the summative assessment task).
Note: In some cases, if formative assessment indicates that students are significantly behind
or above expected level of understanding, summative assessment may need to be modified.
2) Students and parents are made aware of the summative assessment task before
it is conducted and given enough time to prepare. They are also given the
assessment rubric before the assessment (developed jointly with a member of
ICE Leadership Team).
3) An explanation of why it is important and how it represents understanding of the
central idea and accumulated understanding developed from the lines of inquiry.
4) Students have options available in how they choose to present their
5) Students are given written feedback (which may include photos, video etc.) with
a verbal discussion about their strengths and areas for improvement.
6) Students self-assess their work and may discuss it with another student
(additional peer-assessment).
7) Parents are given feedback that includes both student and teacher comments.
8) Parents have the option of writing their own comment.
9) The work is filed in their portfolio with a copy of teacher/student reflections &
 Ideally, parents should be invited to attend performance tasks where appropriate.
 See appendix for feedback examples
 The Learner Profile also needs to be assessed and evidence can be collected in
formative and/or summative assessments.

How do we communicate assessment?

Teachers, students and parents will collaboratively assess, record and report learning
through the following means
Teacher-Student conferences: Weekly.
Teachers discuss progress with students at least once a week, addressing the
following aspects of being a learner:
- How effort relates to progress
- How behavior relates to progress
- Attainment of learning goals / new goals / further encouragements
- Example/s of great work!
- References to the Learner Profile and Attitudes, recording for future use in
reports/summative assessment.
Parent-Teacher conferences: At the end of term 1.
The teacher and parents discuss learning and indicate any concerns they have.
Positive agreements should be made between the teacher and parent to ensure the
concerns of both parties are addressed and an optimal learning environment for the
student ensues.
Student-led conferences: At the end of Term 3.
Portfolios are presented by the student, with the teacher as a facilitator, to parents who
come in to the classroom. This is the collective samples of the students’ best work from
the year and should be accompanied by videos and pictures on the interactive
Three-way conferences: At the end of term 2.
Teacher, student & parent together discuss progress and goal-setting. Joint
agreements made in a positive and constructive manner to promote optimal learning.
Written report: Three times a year, at the end of each Term.
All aspects of the written curriculum addressed (Key concepts, Knowledge-U.O.I.,
Action, Attitudes & Transdisciplinary Skills) with all other teachers commenting on the
learner within their subject. The following indicators of understanding will be used to
define progress and achievement (also used on assessment rubrics):
O Outstanding
A+ Achieving Beyond
A Achieving
S Satisfactory
NS Needs Strengthening
The purpose of a student portfolio is to help students reflect on their learning, to show
growth over time and to show development of the whole child both inside and outside
of the Program of Inquiry in all subject areas. The portfolio allows all those involved in
the learning process to see a true picture of the child. It may also serve to help the
teacher reflect, assess and teach.
Contents of I.C.E. Student Portfolios
- One student-generated reflection for each unit from our POI or a student’s response
to a piece of work from the unit of inquiry
- PYP Learner Profile Reflections
- Evidence of Development:
 Literacy : K-2 teacher annotated response, 3-5 Book Response
 Writing: Evaluated Writing Sample
 Mathematics: Problem Solving Piece
 Work from specialists assessed by rubrics in Music, Art and PE
Management Guidelines:
- Binders separated by tabs into grade levels
- Follows child K-5, passed from teacher to teacher before new school year and given
to child at end of 5th grade
- Intended to be student managed with teacher guidance
- A balance of teacher-selected and student-selected work depending upon
developmental stage of child
- Students should be able to explain why specific materials are in their portfolios
The Learner Profile
All participants in the learning process are expected to model the attributes of the
Learner Profile. The students will self-reflect and set goals on their development of the
- Kindergarten and 1st grade will introduce the Learner Profile focusing on one attribute
a month.
- 2nd through 5th grade students will use the ICE Learner Profile Reflection to selfassess
their growth and understanding of the Learner profile. Teachers agree to give
students time at least 2- 3 times a term to complete the document. This will be housed
in the student’s portfolio.
- All units of inquiry have focus attributes that will be revisited during the duration of
- 5th grade will reflect their personal growth/journey through demonstration in the
exhibition using electronic data and portfolio pieces
Note: The following examples can be used as templates or can be modified to suit the
age of students across different year groups. The components of each should be kept,
but can be represented and recorded in a different format.
Display clearly in the classroom and use in all significant learning experiences.
Adjust format and use relevant to Year level. When using this system, teachers
need to avoid negative images (sad face, thumbs down, etc.)
This can also be done verbally in pairs, small groups and whole-class
Self-Assessment Name:
Date: h
Learning Criteria How was it?
(transdis. skill)
Did you demonstrate any of the Learner Profiles?
○ inquirers ○ thinkers ○ principled ○ risk-takers ○ balanced
○ knowledgeable ○ communicators ○ caring ○ open-minded ○ reflective
Next time, I could do better by...
Student Teacher
In the task:
How much effort?
In the task:
How much effort?
Do you think you have improved? Yes / No
I would like to try again? Yes / No Formative Assessment
Teacher-Assessment Name:
Date: h
(transdis. skill)
What result did you achieve? _______________________
Did you demonstrate any of the Learner Profiles?
○ inquirers ○ thinkers ○ principled ○ risk-takers ○ balanced
○ knowledgeable ○ communicators ○ caring ○ open-minded ○ reflective
What you are doing well:

How can you improve? My Learning Goals

Student comment Parent Comment
Would you like to try again? YES / NO Formative Assessment
Summative Assessment Name:
Date: h
(transdis. skill)
What result did you achieve? _______________________
Did you demonstrate any of the Learner Profiles?
○ inquirers ○ thinkers ○ principled ○ risk-takers ○ balanced
○ knowledgeable ○ communicators ○ caring ○ open-minded ○ reflective
What I did well:

What I will improve: My Learning Goals

Student comment Parent Comment
Summative Assessment
Summative Assessment Name:
Date: h
How will I be assessed?
(transdis. skill)
What is the purpose of this assessment?
What learning is needed to do well in this assessment?
Unit of Inquiry Central Idea:
Lines of inquiry:

Assessment task:
What ways can I complete it?
Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
If you have another idea for how you want to complete it, ask your teacher! Summative Assessment
Student developed checklist – 6-7 year olds
In a unit under the transdisciplinary theme “Who we are” a class of 6–7 year old
students were inquiring into the central idea “Relationships can be enhanced by
sharing perspectives”. One of the lines of inquiry was “Strategies for building and
maintaining effective relationships” and the teachers felt that students could selfassess
their cooperation (transdisciplinary skills and PYP attitude) when working with
After engaging in collaborative play-based activities, this class of 6–7 year olds
identified criteria for successful cooperation. This then formed the basis of a checklist.
Students used this checklist to self-assess their participation in subsequent group
activities. Reviewing the students’ self-assessments allows the teachers to determine
whether the students are ready to move onto the next stage of learning in the unit.
On reflection, this strategy and tool worked well as an indicator of students
understanding of cooperation. However, in addition to the common criteria for success
identified by the class, students may be able to add their own individual criteria in order
to illustrate how individuals view and value cooperation differently.
Student work identifying persuasive devices – 8-9 year olds
Transdisciplinary theme: How we express ourselves
Central idea: The power of advertising influences our choices
Concepts: Change, Causation, Function
Lines of inquiry:
• The use of persuasive language, images, and sounds in advertising
• The effect of advertising on our everyday choices
• The connection between advertising and target groups
Establishing prior knowledge
One of the strategies the teachers used to establish the students’ prior knowledge of
the central idea and lines of inquiry of this unit was to ask the students to select and
observe an advertising image in a magazine. Students identified the persuasiveness in
the images and text and finally predicted the target group that would be most
influenced by the advertisement. In addition to highlighting the prior knowledge of the
students and helping teachers determine the next stage in the inquiry, this also
became of on-going interest to some of the students. One student in his own time
reviewed a number of advertisements for persuasive language devices. Towards the
end of the inquiry, one of the tasks selected to assess students’ understanding of the
central idea also drew on the experience of this formative assessment.
Students were asked to:
• select an advertisement from a
• identify any persuasive
devices they noticed
• present these
• predict the group of people
being targeted by the

Student developed continuum – 7-8 year olds
Effective assessments involve students in the assessment process.
In this example, the students were fully involved in developing criteria for
successful completion of an upcoming assessment task. By involving them in
the process, the teachers found the students were well informed as to the
expectations for completing the task and set their own goals for attainment. The
emphasis in the criteria was on the transdisciplinary skills of self-management,
social and research skills. An unexpected outcome from this experience was
that students referred back to the criteria in other learning situations.
Transdisciplinary theme: How we express ourselves
Central idea: Humans use non-verbal means to communicate
Key concepts: Form, Function, Perspective
Lines of inquiry:
• The different forms of non-verbal communication
• How people communicate non-verbally in different cultures
• Comparing the similarities and differences of forms of non-verbal communication
around the world
Teacher developed overview of unit assessment – 6-7 year olds
Transdisciplinary theme: Sharing the Planet
Central idea: Water is a precious resource that is essential for life
Teacher developed recording sheet
Effective assessments address the essential elements.
Establishing prior knowledge helps teachers to plan learning experiences that will take students to new levels of
understanding. One of the strategies this planning team decided to use was a checklist that identified what they
would expect to see in relation to concepts and transdisciplinary skills, all of which connected back to the central
idea and lines of inquiry for the unit. This checklist provided a starting point for teachers as they observed student
engagement in various learning experiences during the unit.
O Outstanding
A+ Achieving Beyond
A Achieving
S Satisfactory
NS Needs Strengthening
Documentation of inquiry
Effective assessments document the inquiries of learners.
In this school, documentation informs the planning process, in that teachers discuss
their observations with each other and make collaborative decisions about the next
stage of learning for individual students. This inquiry into bones came as a result of a
hospital role-play centre set up in the class. The teachers were able to observe and
document some students’ development of science and mathematics concepts. The
introduction of new provocations was in response to the teachers’ observations and
collaborative dialogue. The documentation provides very visible evidence of students
evolving conceptual understanding over a period of time, which is difficult to achieve
through single activities.

Summative assessment task
Effective assessments use ICT as a tool to support inquiry.
This summative assessment task was developed in collaboration with the ICT teacher.
The intention of this performance task was to give students the opportunity to
demonstrate what has been learned and it assessed several elements simultaneously.
The criteria for success were clearly linked to the central idea of the unit of inquiry,
although separate criteria for the effective use of the ICT tool were also developed with
the students.
Transdisciplinary theme: Sharing the planet
Central idea: Human behavior can cause or prevent the extinction of species.
Key concepts: Form, Causation, Responsibility
Lines of inquiry:
• What a species needs to survive
• Human factors which have led to endangerment and extinction
• Our responsibility to sustain diversity of species
The students were required
to create a “glogster”
poster ( that
followed the criteria set out
in the assessment task
description. The “glogster”
should help students to:
• understand the impact of
action and the importance of
sustainability of the
environment for future
• understand the factors that
lead to the extinction of
plants and animals
• understand how choices of
human beings &
environmental factors can
lead to endangerment and/or
extinction of living things
This assessment task was developed with the support of the ICT teacher who coteaches
with the homeroom teachers on a regular basis. While the emphasis in
the assessment was on demonstrating understanding of the central idea of the
unit, in learning about glogsters the students co-created a checklist of what a
good glogster would look like and what elements it would contain.
After the activity,
the glogsters were
uploaded to the
class blog and
each student was
asked to peerassess
three other
students’ work.
Although this was
an assessment
task that was used
in a summative
manner, the
students were able
to re-visit their
work at a later date
to make any
amendments or
changes they felt
were required after
the reflection
Student assessment of the Learner Profile – 10-11 Year Olds
Effective assessments address the process of learning.
The PYP approach to assessment recognizes the importance of assessing the
process of inquiry as well as the product(s) of inquiry, and aims to integrate and
support both. This rubric was developed as a tool to assess the engagement of
students during the exhibition. It is based on the attributes of the IB learner
profile and the PYP attitudes. In addition, the criteria are written to reflect the
understanding of the central idea and to encourage action in response to
Transdiciplinary Theme: Grade 5 Exhibition
Central idea: We have a responsibility as global citizens to inquire and take action

Formative assessment task
Effective assessments establish students’ prior knowledge.
In this unit of inquiry, a range of assessment strategies and tools were used to
inform the different stages of the learning process and the progress made by
students in all the PYP essential elements. Students were provided with
opportunities to demonstrate their prior knowledge and current understanding.
This information was used to inform the next stage of teaching and learning.
Teachers observed students as they engaged with tasks and anecdotal records
were kept. Students were asked to reflect on their learning regularly throughout
the unit
Sorting and classifying symbols When sorting and classifying symbols,
students needed to use their
communication and thinking skills to
develop their classification system.
By observing student discussion,
teachers were able to develop a feeling
for students’ prior knowledge.
Students developed captions for
each section of symbols.
Presentations to the class were given in
order to provide further opportunity for
listening and speaking skills. These also
providing information to the teacher to find
out what the students already know.
All symbols were displayed in the
class and a Venn diagram was
used to compare and contrast
signs, symbols and logos. This
provided more evidence of
students’ current understanding
and thinking.
After visits from local primary resources,
students used technology to share their
reflections and new understandings.
Anecdotal Notes
Effective assessments assess the understanding of young learners in authentic
Assessing the understanding of young students in an authentic way can be difficult.
While students are able to show their understanding by using a wide range of different
media, teachers can sometimes impose their own interpretation, rather than hear the
voice of the student. For the purpose of formative assessment, this planning team
chose to observe the students’ interactions with particular provocations and then
document these observations through photographs and anecdotal notes. Where
possible, teachers also asked the students questions to discuss the processes and
products of their learning and to reflect upon their experiences. These observations
helped to inform the teachers of areas still requiring development.
Recording comments during the U.O.I.
What do we know about light?
• “I know. Airplane can make light in the night.”
• “At nighttime it can glow. The bracelet. This is the sunflower and this is the sun.”
• “The sun makes light. A TV makes light. I have a blue torch at my home.”
• “I have a standing lamp in my home. It have animals on it and it’s red. I have also a
flashlight in my home”.
The following student wonderings were documented during small group discussions
after students first experienced the darkroom.
What does it feel like, look like?
• We can set something up there (ceiling). Then we can take the light up there so we
can see where we are going.
• We need a flashlight.
• They don’t have batteries.
What can we use the darkroom for?
• When you wanna play bear. Pretend that you’re sleeping in the bear sleep room.
• The bear think it’s their house but its not. It’s our house!
• It makes me scared. I think there’s a monster in there.
• Then we need some light.
What can we do in the darkroom?
• Hide.
• Hide and Seek. We can play.
• We could be monsters.
• Pretend its night-time.
• Teacher – What happens at night-time?
• In night-time, we see moon and stars. Maybe we can pretend is outside. Really dark

Rubrics & Self-Assessment
Effective assessments address understanding of the central idea.
The summative assessment for this unit of inquiry was a simulation task that allowed
students to use the knowledge gained and experiences they had encountered during
the unit. The task was open-ended, allowing for differentiation in recognition of each
individual student’s interests and capabilities. The rubric, developed with the students
earlier in the unit, identified the criteria that would be used for assessing how students
demonstrated their understanding of the central idea and lines of inquiry.
Transdiciplinary Theme: How We Organise Ourselves
Central idea: Power of the People

Evidence of Progress
Effective assessments inform the next stage of teaching and learning.
This unit provided opportunities for students to demonstrate their prior knowledge and
current understanding. This information was then used to inform the next stage of
teaching and learning.


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