Purpose of Assessment and Grading
ISY has clearly articulated practices and beliefs for assessment and grading. Framing these beliefs, are defined purposes for assessment and grading:
- The purpose of assessment at ISY is to improve student learning and to inform teachers’ instructional practices.
- The purpose of grades is to communicate student achievement of standards and the ISY Expected Schoolwide Learner Results (ESLRs), including the IB aims and objectives and the IB Learner Profile, to students, parents, school administrators, other institutions and employers.
Classroom assessments at ISY are based on the knowledge, skills, and learning targets derived from the ISY adopted standards. Students are given formative assessments, or assessments for learning, which provide them with valuable feedback. For teachers, formative assessments provide information to help inform instructional decision-making as learning occurs. Students use feedback on formative assessments to improve and revise their work and learning. Summative assessments typically occur at the end of an instructional unit and provide evidence of student achievement for the purpose of making a judgment about student proficiency.
In a standards-based system, behaviors that support learning, such as work habits, effort, responsibility, and attitudes are judged separately so that academic grades are accurate and reflect how a student performs and achieves in relation to the knowledge, skills, and understandings set forward by the standards. Such nonacademic factors are of equal importance to the development, success, and achievement of students and their learning, thus, performance in these areas of student learning are assessed, tracked, and reported distinctly from academic achievement.
Follow the link, Assessment Guide, for more details about ISY’s assessment and grading practices.
External Schoolwide Assessments
ISY utilizes internal and external assessment data to assist in monitoring student learning, student progress and schoolwide programs. Longitudinal trends that mark areas of strength and areas to improve are identified to guide schoolwide action planning for ongoing, continuous improvement.
When using assessment results to evaluate student learning, ISY considers several reference or data points that, together, provide a complete profile of a student's skills, abilities, and knowledge.
Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
What is the MAP test?
The MAP test is a computerized adaptive test that measures individual student growth and progress from the beginning of the school year to the end of the school year. It assesses students in the areas of math, reading, language, and science and is aligned to ISY adopted standards. Each student takes a test that targets his/her individual achievement level.
MAP testing results provide valuable information for teachers and parents. Teachers use testing data for instructional purposes: to identify individual student strengths and areas to improve; to identify specific areas of the curriculum that may need more emphasis; and to track student growth. Parents can also monitor their children’s growth from September to May and from year to year in relation to achievement in math, reading, language, and/or science.
Who takes the MAP test at ISY?
Kindergarten and Grade 1: Students in these grades take the ‘MAP for Primary Grades’ test that includes reading and math. Headphones and audio accompany the test, and the testing format is visual and interactive.
Grades 2 - 3: Grades 2 and 3 students take the MAP test in math, reading, and language.
Grades 4 - 8: Grades 4 through 8 students take the MAP test in math, reading, language, and science.
What information do parents receive about their children’s performance on the MAP test?
Parents receive individual student MAP progress reports in October and end of May. These reports provide information about progress students make in each subject area from one test administration to the next, and they show how a student performs compared to ISY peers and to a 2011 normed sample group of students. The reports also provide specific subject area performance and Lexile reading levels.
What are students tested on within each MAP subject?
The table below shows a breakdown of the topics/content of each MAP test subject.
MAP Test Categories
Kindergarten – Grade 5
Algebraic Thinking; Number and Operations; Fractions: Measurement and Data; and Geometry
Grades 6 - 8
Algebraic Thinking; Real and Complex Number Systems; Geometry; Statistics and Probability
Kindergarten – Grade 1
Foundational Skills; Language and Writing; Literature and Information Texts; Vocabulary Use and Functions
Kindergarten - Grade 8
Literature; Information Texts; and Vocabulary
Grades 2 – 8
Plan/Organize/Research (Writing); Understand Grammar and Usage; Punctuate and Spell Correctly
Grades 4 – 8
Physical Science; Earth and Space Sciences; The Living Environment
What is a RIT?
MAP results are reported in RIT scores. This is a different type of score than a typical test that provides a percentage correct. It is also different from many tests that provide results based on a child’s score compared to others in his or her grade. Instead, the RIT score is an equal-interval scale that is independent of grade level. As a result, we can easily measure growth in learning. This type of score increases the value of the tests as a tool to improve student learning because it enables teachers to recognize where to focus attention for your child’s learning.
How does the MAP measure growth over time?
NWEA provides growth projections for students, which represent the median amount of growth typically observed for students with the same starting RIT score, in the same grade, and in the same subject area. Parents should understand that individuals grow at different rates, and that anticipated growth rates based on norms should be viewed as “typical” growth, not “expected” growth. Sometimes RIT scores may decrease from one test to the next, which is not cause for immediate concern—students may have had a bad day or may have been tired which could affect performance. Decreases are most often seen in the September testing session after the summer holiday, which may reflect a break in learning.
What does Lexile mean?
The 150-point Lexile range is included on NWEA’s Individual Student Progress Report. The Lexile Framework for Reading is a scientific approach to reading and text measurement. There are two Lexile measures: the Lexile reader measure and the Lexile text measure. A Lexile reader measure represents a person’s reading level on the Lexile scale. A Lexile text measure represents a text’s difficulty level on the Lexile scale. When used together, they can help a reader choose a book or other reading material that is at an appropriate difficulty level. The Lexile reader measure can also be used to monitor a reader’s growth in reading over time.
A Lexile measures a text’s syntactic complexity—the number of words per sentence. We know that longer sentences are more complex and require more short-term memory to process. A Lexile also measures semantic difficulty—a measure of vocabulary. This measure looks at the frequency of words in a text compared to a body of over 400 million words.
It is very important for parents to keep in mind that Lexile does not evaluate genre, theme, content, or interest. Even though a student might be able to read at a certain Lexile, the content or theme of the text may not be appropriate for that particular student because of his or her age or developmental level. Also, a student may be able to read more difficult text if it is an area of interest for that child since he or she may already be familiar with some of the vocabulary necessary to comprehend the text.
For more information about your child’s Lexile reading score indicated on your child’s MAP progress report, please see the following website: www.lexile.com/using-lexile/lexile-at-home/. To view typical reader measures by grade based on normative data, you may wish to visit the following: www.lexile.com/about-lexile/grade-equivalent/grade-equivalent-chart/. A list of books and their Lexile measures can be found at www.lexile.com/findabook and a link to a Lexile Level Guide is below.
How can I learn more about the MAP test?
MAP Resources for Parents Website
MAP Normative Data
‘International Schools Choose MAP to Measure Academic Growth’ Press Release
Lexile Level Guide
MAP RIT Reference Charts
“MAP – Supporting International Schools and Students” Video
The International Schools’ Assessment (ISA)
What is the ISA?
The International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) is an annual assessment program that has been specially developed to measure skills in mathematical literacy, reading and writing of students in international schools.
The ISA is based on the internationally endorsed reading and mathematical literacy frameworks of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) developed by the Organization for Economic Co- operation and Development. It is designed and developed in Australia by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).
The ISA reports provide descriptive information about what students know and can do. The results are equated from year to year so they can be used to track changes over time at individual and school level.
What is ISA NOT?
ISA is not a competitive or comparative test, such as the IB Diploma. It is not a test that students “pass”. It is not used for purposes other than providing data to you, your child, and us about his/her learning. While we give opportunities for practice, students do not ‘prepare’ for the tests, since they are consistent with what students learn on a regular basis.
Who Uses the ISA?
Over 73,000 students from 340 schools across nearly 80 countries participated in ISA 2014-15.
How do the assessments work?
Students complete a reading literacy test, a mathematical literacy test and two writing tests, each of which takes between 45 minutes and one hour to administer. The tests include both multiple-choice and open-ended tasks.
When do grade 3 - 10 students take the ISA?
The tests will be taken during the second week of February. They will be taken in ‘normal’ school conditions, e.g. in homeroom groups, in conditions that are familiar to our students.
How will ISY use the results?
As a school, we will analyze data and look for general patterns of performance. We will use this data in conjunction with other testing data to monitor and modify our educational program. This data will be one of the ‘success indicators’ to which we pay attention each year.
How does the ISA differ from the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)?
There are three general differences between the ISA and MAP. One, the ISA is geared specifically for international students meaning that test that is not targeted to any one national or cultural group: it has been designed with the knowledge that the students who will sit the test come from many cultural, social and linguistic groups, and that the curricula they have been exposed to are diverse. Two, the ISA assesses a range of complex higher-order thinking skills because it includes two writing tasks as well as open questions in the reading and the mathematics that require students to explain their ideas and to generate ideas. The MAP, on the other hand, is mostly multiple choice in format. Third, the ISA is calibrated onto the PISA scale and so schools are provided with data that is comparable to PISA country data. The ISA norms are based on international schools' data from across the world, while the MAP norms are based on representative sample data from both international and US-based public schools.
MAP and ISA tests complement one another to provide ISY teachers, students, and parents with useful information about student learning and progress.
What information will I receive as a parent?
We will pass on all information about your child to you in the form of an individual report. The report will give you a detailed record of your child’s performance in relation to scales that describe increasingly advanced skills in mathematical literacy, reading literacy and writing. You will receive the report at the end of May.
For more information about the ISA, visit: http://www.acer.edu.au/isa/
ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency in Languages (AAPPL)
During two class sessions in March and April, students in grades 5 through 10 participate in the AAPPL, a language assessment that aims to monitor the progress of students’ learning in French and Mandarin as well as the progress of the world languages program.
AAPPL stands for the “ACTFL Assessment of Performance Toward Proficiency in Languages” and is a web-based test that assesses language performance within four modes of communication: interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing, and interpersonal listening and speaking. The results of this assessment inform students and educators about learning progress and program effectiveness. AAPPL assessment items are based on real-world, every-day situations and incorporate the use of video in the interpersonal listening and speaking portion of the assessment to simulate an authentic interactive speaking environment. The AAPPL measures a student’s language ability according to the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, which are aligned to the ISY’s language standards (ACTFL Can-Do Statements). Assessment results indicate the level of performance achieved for each section of the test (interpretive reading, interpretive listening, presentational writing, and interpersonal listening and speaking).
Parents receive their children’s AAPPL assessment reports in May.
For more information about the AAPPL language assessment, follow this link.
To see a sample AAPPL student report, click here.
All Grade 10 students participate in the Pre-Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) to help prepare for the SAT and to identify strengths and areas for improvement. Students are assessed on reading, writing and language, and mathematics skills. All questions are in the multiple-choice format.
The reading test measures the following skills:
- Citing evidence to support a conclusion
- Identifying how authors use evidence to support their claims
- Using context clues to determine meanings of words
- Determining how an author’s word choice affects the meaning, style, or tone of a text
- Analyzing history, social studies, and science texts (to examine claims, interpret data, and make inferences)
The writing and language test measures the following skills:
- Supporting arguments with relevant information and ideas
- Developing a claim for an argument
- Revising text for improved word choice, sentence fluency, organization, and optimal impact and expression of ideas
- Using knowledge of English language conventions to edit text for correct punctuation, subject-verb agreement, parallelism, comma usage, sentence structure, and correct verb tense
The mathematics test measures the following areas and skills in math:
- Mastery of linear equations and systems
- Problem solving and data analysis
- Procedural flexibility and accuracy
For more information about the PSAT, click here.
FitnessGram is a non-competitive health-related fitness assessment based on fitness standards that aims to improve overall health and fitness in students.
FitnessGram is administered through a series of age-appropriate assessments. Upon completion of these assessments, students, parents, and teachers are provided with a comprehensive report that shows which areas of fitness are healthy and which need improvement in order to maintain or improve health and fitness. The report provides an overview of students’ levels of fitness according to the following areas:
- Aerobic Capacity
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
For more information about FitnessGram, please follow this link.