The MYP Top Ten #5
The Global Eagle - Week of November 14 to 18, 2016
1- The Learner Profile
2- Concept based learning
3- Inquiry Questions
4- Global Contexts
As we continue deepening our understanding of the Middle Years Programme, this week I invite you to read the attached section about MYP Assessment from Principles into Practice guide. (p. 78-79). Assessment is fundamental in the delivering of IB Education. From the time we develop units and write our curriculum, to how we deliver it, assessment gives us a sense of direction of where we want our students to go and be successful at along their learning journey. MYP Assessment gives us a clear and powerful common language to achieve this goal.
Principles of MYP Assessment
Assessment is integral to all teaching and learning. MYP assessment requires teachers to assess the prescribed subject-group objectives using the assessment criteria for each subject group in each year of the programme. In order to provide students with opportunities to achieve at the highest level, MYP teachers develop rigorous tasks that embrace a variety of assessment strategies.
In the MYP, teachers make decisions about student achievement using their professional judgment, guided by mandated criteria that are public, known in advance and precise, ensuring that assessment is transparent.
Across a variety of assessment tasks (authentic performances of understanding), teachers use descriptors to identify students’ achievement levels against established assessment criteria. MYP internal (school-based) assessment uses a “best-fit” approach in which teachers work together to establish common standards against which they evaluate each student’s achievement holistically.
This “criterion-related” approach represents a philosophy of assessment that is neither “norm-referenced” (where students must be compared to each other and to an expected distribution of achievement) nor “criterion-referenced” (where students must master all strands of specific criteria at lower achievement levels before they can be considered to have achieved the next level).
Assessment in the MYP aims to:
• support and encourage student learning by providing feedback on the learning process
• inform, enhance and improve the teaching process
• provide opportunity for students to exhibit transfer of skills across disciplines, such as in the personal project and interdisciplinary unit assessments
• promote positive student attitudes towards learning
• promote a deep understanding of subject content by supporting students in their inquiries set in realworld contexts
• promote the development of critical- and creative-thinking skills
• reflect the international-mindedness of the programme by allowing assessments to be set in a variety of cultural and linguistic contexts
• support the holistic nature of the programme by including in its model principles that take account of the development of the whole student.
Assessment practices in the MYP can sometimes represent significant challenges to existing school practices. Some key features of MYP assessment include:
• distinction between internal summative assessment and the supporting formative processes
• attention to the most accurate demonstration of student performance, rather than mechanically and uncritically averaging achievement levels over given reporting periods
• assessment of student understanding at the end of a course, based on the whole course and not individual components of it.
Students must be able to recall, adapt and apply knowledge and skills to new questions and contexts. Students need to understand assessment expectations, standards and practices, which teachers can introduce early and naturally in teaching, as well as in class and homework activities.
The aim of MYP assessment is to support and encourage student learning. The MYP places an emphasis on assessment processes that involve the gathering and analysis of information about student performance and that provide timely feedback to students on their performance. MYP assessment plays a significant role in the development of ATL skills, especially skills that are closely related to subject-group objectives. The MYP approach to assessment recognizes the importance of assessing not only the products, but also the process, of learning.
MYP internal assessment includes tasks, strategies and tools that are designed, developed and applied by teachers working with students in their schools. Teachers are well placed to assess the work of their MYP students; this assessment model supports the professional judgment of teachers in deciding the achievement levels of individual students.
MYP assessment encourages teachers to monitor students’ developing understanding and abilities throughout the programme. Through effective formative assessment, teachers gather, analyse, interpret and use a variety of evidence to improve student learning and to help students to achieve their potential.
Student peer and self-assessment can be important elements of formative assessment plans. Internal (school-based) summative assessment is part of every MYP unit. Summative assessments are designed to provide evidence for evaluating student achievement using required MYP subject-groups pecific assessment criteria. Internal summative and formative assessments are closely linked, and teachers must use their knowledge of IB assessment expectations and practices to help students improve performance through consistent, timely and meaningful feedback.
By assessing students as they develop disciplinary and interdisciplinary understanding, teachers identify student learning needs in order to better inform the learning process. Assessment in the MYP is not confined to the final part of a learning period, such as the end of a unit. Formative assessments can be planned from the start of a unit, although they may change as teachers engage with students to determine the next stages of learning.
In summary, when creating MYP units, teachers must ensure that assessments:
• are integral to the learning process
• are aligned with subject-group objectives
• gather information from a variety of perspectives, using a range of tasks according to the needs of the subject and the nature of the knowledge, skills and understanding being assessed
• are appropriate to the age group and reflect the development of the students within the subject
• provide evidence of student understanding through authentic performance (not simply the recall of factual knowledge).