Policy - Assessment
Principles of Assessment
The Pamoja Education assessment policy is founded upon the principle that assessment should aim to
- Promote student learning
- Measure student attainment and engagement
- Provide constructive feedback and supporting evidence regarding student attainment and engagement
To support these three aims, assessment must
- Be integral to teaching and learning
- Engage the learner
- Be balanced, comprehensive and varied
- Recognize individual achievement and progress
- Value teacher judgment
- Be efficient and manageable
- Ensure that marking and feedback is recorded and visible to students
Principles into Practice
Pamoja Education assessment principles are implemented in course design and teaching practices to ensure the following assessment priorities:
Formative Assessment: Assessment for Learning
- All assessment in Pamoja Education courses is formative and all assessment activities will be accompanied by constructive feedback.
- All feedback promotes learning and is based on criteria or analytic mark schemes.
- All automated, self-assessed or peer assessed assignments will be reviewed by the teacher and general feedback will be provided.
Summative Assessment: Best and Latest Attainment Indicators
- Some assessments have greater significance than others in determining individual student attainment levels.
- The significance of an assessment activity is clearly indicated to students.
- The attainment level that a student receives reflects current attainment in relation to course learning objectives.
Balanced Assessment: Reliable and Valid Activities
- Formal assessments (e.g. the year one exam and trial exam) are taken by students under supervised conditions and assess all work studied in the course to that point whilst modeling formal IB assessment conditions.
- Formal assessments are designed to ensure reliability in the assessment of student understanding and to provide reliable attainment levels at key moments in a course.
- Informal assessment activities (all those other than exams taken under supervised conditions) are designed to ensure validity in assessment by providing students a variety of means to demonstrate understanding.
- Discrepancies between a student’s attainment level in formal and informal assessment activities will be discussed with the student, School Services and the Site-based Coordinator to ensure that students are completing informal assessment in the excepted manner.
- All submitted assignments are run through turnitin.com to support reliability of assessment.
The quality and efficiency of assessment must be consistent and transparent across all Pamoja Education courses. To this end, all courses have an assessment map where all assessment activities are described using the following headings. Assessment maps are made available to schools and students at the beginning of the school year.
Categories of Assessment
- Categories of assessment are used to communicate to teachers, schools and students the degree to which an assessment is used to make summative judgments on attainment level.
The categories are Formal, Major, Minor and Purely Formative (see in Appendix 1 – Categories and Methods of Assessment)
Methods of Assessment
- Assessment method indicates whether a student’s work is Teacher Graded (individual feedback given), Teacher Reviewed (general feedback given) or the marking is Automated.
- The different methods of assessment are applied so that no single method dominates.
- The different methods of assessment serve different purposes which are clearly described in each course.
Forms and Types of Assessment
The forms of assessment are the range of subject-specific assessment activities that allow students to develop and demonstrate their understanding of subject content and skills. Each subject identifies and defines forms of assessment used in the specific course assessment map.
There are also a general range of assignment types used across courses such as individual work, groupwork, peer assessed assignments and self-assessed assignments. Groupwork may ask students to submit individual assignments or group assignments. The type of assignment is indicated in the assessment map.
Administration of Assessment
All Pamoja Education courses feature assessment conditions that promote student learning, gauge student attainment and provide data for constructive feedback to schools and parents.
Frequency of Assessment
- Major assessments are scheduled with sufficient frequency to allow a student attainment level to be reported with confidence.
- Major assessments are usually defined as requisite assignments that students must submit to receive a unit attainment level. If a requisite assessment is not completed an attainment level will normally not be reported for that unit and the student will receive No Grade (NG).
- No more than one submitted assessment or automated assessment is scheduled per week.
- No more than one discussion forum, wiki or journal post stimuli is usually scheduled per week.
- Assignment submission due dates are established to ensure that students acquire key concepts to keep pace with the course.
- Due dates are required to allow the timely release of general assessment feedback and specific teacher feedback.
- Assignments submitted after the due dates are treated as a purely formative assessment activity; they receive feedback as appropriate but are not used to report attainment.
- Due dates are normally in the week in which an assignment appears in a course. However, due dates for major assignments will often be one week later.
- Work that is submitted after a due date is indicated as such in the Gradebook.
- SBC’s are asked to contact the teacher before a due date if there are extenuating circumstances (e.g. illness) for a deadline to be extended for an individual student.
- All assignments receive feedback.
- Feedback takes a form relevant to the method and form of assessment deployed.
- Written teacher feedback on individual assignments is required on assessments that are teacher graded. General feedback is acceptable on purely formative assessments that are teacher reviewed or automated. Automated assessment will normally include automated feedback.
- General assessment feedback to the whole class is normally provided to the class section and/or learning space during the week after the final submission due date.
- Students’ assignments are marked and returned with appropriate feedback within one week after the final due date for the assignment.
- Feedback is often given on the document that makes up the submitted assignment although comment is also expected in the comment section of the Gradebook
Each course in Pamoja Education features an assessment structure and associated calculation that facilitates reporting on students to provide a “best and latest” attainment level at any moment in the course. This structure defines how assessment is recorded and how this recorded assessment data is used to indicate student attainment. A grade calculation specific to the course in the Learning Management System’s gradebook nominates a grade to guide teachers in determining a student’s attainment level at a reporting period.
Structure of Assessment
- All submitted and assessed student summative assignments are used as evidence to assign a level of attainment during the course.
- Each unit of work has a grade weighting.
- The number of marks available for each assessment in a unit of work determines the weighting of that assessment within the unit.
- If insufficient major assignments are submitted for a judgment of best and latest attainment over an assessed term, then a student’s attainment level may be reported as “No Grade”.
- Each subject has an assessment map and published grade calculation that demonstrates how recorded assessment data is used to determine and report upon student attainment levels. This is shared with students.
- Gradebook calculations generate a percentage grade that, with a conversion matrix that is designed around subject-specific grade descriptors, are used by teachers to inform their judgment of the student’s current 1 to 7 IB attainment level.
The Learning Management System (LMS) gradebook is the primary means by which student attainment and performance in assessments is recorded. The gradebook reflects the unit structure of assessment for each subject and serves as an important resource for student feedback:
Graded Assignment Standards
- All submitted or automated assignments that are graded and receive feedback must appear in the gradebook.
- Assignments are grouped as units of work within the gradebook.
- The grade calculation in a grade book will produce a column “total” in the final column which is reported to students and the value to be used to make decisions about a student grade using the grade boundaries.
- The percentage is nominative and teachers can use professional judgement to change the grade they report to students, any such change must be recorded and relevant comment made in student reports.
- Assessment maps, grade calculations and grade boundaries are published in courses and freely available to students and SBCs to allow them to interpret the gradebook and understand why specific attainment levels are awarded.
- The grade scheme for an exam will be 1 – 7 and IB grade boundaries should be applied.
- Term grades are given based on evidence of student attainment level in submitted work and exams.
- The grade scheme for a term grade is 1 – 7 and “No Grade” (if insufficient requisite assignments are submitted).
Students receive two grades at each scheduled reporting point as follows:
- The term grade is a judgment of a student’s level of attainment in relation to IB course outcomes.
- An attainment level will be given on a scale of 1 – 7 and relate to all or part of the Grade Descriptor (or equivalent IB criteria) for a course.
- The term grade is reported every term apart from Term One.
- Teachers will, where necessary, use written reports to support their awarding of term grades based on the “total” percentage on the grade book.
- In determining the term grade, teachers will focus upon the best and latest assessment data, although prior performance may also be considered.
- The engagement rating is distinct from a student’s term grade.
- The engagement rating is a holistic judgment of a student’s general level of course engagement as per Pamoja Education parameters (see PJE Engagement Policy) during the specific period under consideration.
- The possible levels of engagement are Engaged, Insufficiently Engaged and Not Engaged.
- A student’s level of engagement will be measured according to his/her attendance in the course, interactions with course content/discussions and submissions of assigned work.
- The procedure and criteria for awarding ER can be found here.
Pamoja Education uses several procedures to maintain assessment standards. These include standardization activities such as cross marking and moderation of student sample work. These activities are designed to ensure consistency in the teachers’ application of:
- Criteria and analytic mark schemes determining student attainment in assessment activities
- Metrics in determining student performance in course interactions such as discussions and blogs
- Grade boundaries in determining attainment levels for formal assessments and term grades
Each department documents standardization activities for relevant forms of assessment as per the Standardisation of Assessment SOP.
 E.G. The end of year one and a final semester trial exam.
 In Pamoja courses general feedback will be given to groups of students (usually whole sections) in a number of forms including the comments on criteria, general written feedback, screencasts, mark schemes etc.
 The exception is the Term One report where a student only receives an engagement rating.
 Term One grades are not given since the student has spent less than 2 months in the course and it is too early to make a reliable judgment of student attainment against IB learner outcomes.
Appendix 1 – Categories and Methods of Assessment
Method of Assessment
Self Assessed (& Teacher Reviewed)
Peer Assessed (& Teacher Reviewed)
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