Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten

 

Assessment Policy

 

Mission Statement
Hamilton Hill International provides education of the highest quality, preparing our students to become the next generation of global citizens. Well rounded in the principles of the International Baccalaureate, our students are grounded with the attitude to succeed in the complex world ahead.
 
 
Philosophy
We believe assessment involves gathering and analysing our students’ performance and providing feedback on their learning process. Assessment recognizes what students know, understand and can do and feel at different stages. Our assessment is central to the PYP five essential elements of learning: the acquisition of knowledge, the understanding of concepts, the mastering of skills, the development of attitudes and the decision to take action. All teachers and students are actively engaged in assessing and reflecting on student learning and teaching. At Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten, we value parent involvement and encourage parents to take an active role in the student learning process, therefore, parents will be kept informed of student learning process. 
 
Purpose for Assessment
 
The objectives of assessment in our kindergarten are:
• to enable students to express and share what they know, understand, and can do in their learning
• to assess the students’ level of engagement
• to assess students’ inquiry development throughout the Unit of Inquiry
• to provide feedback to teachers, students and parents on the learning process
• to allow teachers to reflect on each students’ individual needs and plan work to support their learning accordingly
• to plan future learning experiences for the students
• to provide information for evaluating the effectiveness of our kindergarten programme
• to encourage independence and the ability to work collaboratively
 
Types of Assessment and Effectiveness
- how do we discover what students have learned?
 
Teachers should bear in mind that a well-designed learning experience will provide data on students’ knowledge, skills, and conceptual understanding, and it is consequently a vehicle for assessments. There are three types of assessment in our kindergarten – pre-assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment. 
 
Pre-assessment:
Pre-assessment is used to find out students’ prior knowledge and experience so teachers can plan and refine the learning engagement accordingly. It is completed at the beginning of the Unit of Inquiry. Teachers strive to find out students’ prior knowledge in order to provide them with challenging provocations and learning engagements so they can further construct meaning and make important connections between prior learning and new learning.
 
Formative assessment (assessment for learning):
Formative assessment is used by teachers and students to inform and support the teaching and learning process. It is an ongoing assessment in which teachers monitor students’ achievements and promote learning by giving regular and frequent feedback during the teaching period in the classroom. Teachers gather information from the formative assessment to plan further learning for the next stage. 
 
Summative assessment (assessment of learning):
Summative assessment is a way to show the teaching and learning process. It is also an opportunity for student to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and conceptual understanding of what has been learned. It can assess several elements simultaneously:
• To inform and improve student learning and the teaching process
• To measure understanding of the central idea
• To prompt students towards action
• To demonstrate students’ understanding of the five essential elements of the PYP: knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and action
 
What do assessments look like in Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten?
• Using representative examples of students’ work or performance to provide information about student learning
• Collecting evidence of students’ understanding and thinking (children’s voice, photos and videos)
• Documenting learning processes of groups and individuals
• Using clear checklists and rubrics developed by teachers
• Involving students in reflecting on their learning
• Keeping records of all the assessments 
 
 
Effective assessments
The following criteria for effective assessments is applicable to pre-assessment, formative and summative assessment.
 
Effective assessments allow students to:
• share their learning and understanding with others
• demonstrate a range of knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills
• use a variety of learning styles to express their understanding
• participate in reflection, e,g. self- and peer-assessment
• base their learning on real-life experiences that can lead to further inquiries
• express different points of views and interpretations
• analyse their learning and understand what can be improved.
 
Effective assessments allow teachers to:
• inform every stage of the teaching and learning process
• plan in response to student and teacher inquiries
• gather evidence from which sound conclusions can be drawn
• provide evidence that can be effectively reported on and understood by the whole school community
• collaboratively review and reflect on student performance and progress
• take into account a variety of learning styles
 
Effective assessments allow parents to:
• see evidence of student learning and development
• develop an understanding of the student’s progress
• provide opportunities to support and celebrate student learning
• understand the assessment criteria
 
 Recording
- how do we collect and analyze the data?
 
Assessment strategies and tools form the basis of a comprehensive approach to assessment and represent the school’s answer to the question “How will we know what we have learned?”
 
The strategies are the methods or approaches that teachers use when gathering information about a student’s learning. Teachers record this information in a variety of ways (observations, performance assessments, process-focused assessments, open-ended tasks), to collect data. 
 
When choosing appropriate strategies, it is important to take into consideration which tools are most applicable and relevant to that strategy. This helps to ensure that an effective assessment of the learning experience takes place. 
 
Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten uses a range of assessment strategies and tools to gather information about a student’s learning e.g. rubrics, checklists, and anecdotal records. All teachers in Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten maintain assessment records in an online database and keep up to date records, which are useful for report writing or evidence to respond to parents’ concerns. 
 
Documentation
The documentation of the evidence of student learning is an assessment strategy significantly relevant to early years (3-5 years) in PYP. Teachers use a range of methods to document student learning as a means of assessing student understanding. This may include but is not limited to videos, audio, photographs and graphic representations. Teachers may also use written records of student conversations, comments, explanations, and hypotheses as well as annotated pieces of student work that may form part of a student’s portfolio.
 
Portfolios
A portfolio is a celebration of an active mind at work. A portfolio is a record of students’ involvement in learning which is designed to demonstrate success, growth, higher-order thinking, creativity, assessment strategies, and reflection. It provides a picture of each student’s progress and development of knowledge, conceptual understanding, transdisciplinary skills, attitudes and the attributes of the learner profile over a period of time both as an individual learner and as group learners.
 
 
The information gathered within the portfolio will be shared with the students and parents to support their learning journey. The contents of the portfolios include:
• Student’s name and photo
• End of the first term and second term reports
• 6 samples of learning linked to the central idea / line of inquiry / five essential elements of the PYP for each Unit of Inquiry
• An Unit of Inquiry evaluation report for each unit with comments about student learning at the end
• Comments by the teacher in regards to students’ attributes of the learner profile with photos evidence and annotations
 
Each piece of work should:
• be dated
• have information about making it clear to the reader their learning experience and its purpose. This should come in the form of one or more of the following:
o A teacher reference stating the purpose of the activity
o A reference to the disposition that the student demonstrated according to the central idea/line of inquiry / five essential elements of the PYP.
(Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten Essential Agreement, 2017)
 
Portfolio content needs not be limited to written work. A variety of media can be represented to reflect different learning styles and experiences, including drawing, photos, voice recordings, videos and other media. In addition, Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten, we use the Seesaw app as digital portfolios to document what students are learning at school and share it with parents.
 
Reporting
Reporting on assessment is about communicating what students know, understand and can do. It describes the progress of the students’ learning, identifies areas for growth, and contributes to the efficacy of the programme. Assessment without feedback is merely judgment; feedback is the component of assessment that lets students reflect on and improve their work. Reporting is perhaps the most public aspect of Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten’s assessment policy, and as such needs careful consideration in order to provide clear information that is useful to students and parents. Reporting may take many forms including conferences and written reports.
 
Effective reporting should:
• involve students, teachers and parents as partners
• reflect what the school community values
• be comprehensive, honest, fair and credible
• be clear and understandable to all parties
• allow teachers to incorporate with what they learn during the reporting process into their future teaching and assessment practice
 
As an IB candidate school, we are required to report on each student’s development according to the attributes of the learner profile. Opportunities should be provided for students to consider their progress in relation to the attributes listed in the IB learner profile in the context of student learning. Observations and anecdotal records of their own performance should be included in each student’s portfolio of selected work.
 
The following reports are to be produced for each child over the course of their attendance at kindergarten.
 
 
K1 K2
Term 1 • Parent-Teacher Conference
• 2 Unit of Inquiry reports
• Mid-year progress report • Parent-Teacher Conference
• 2 Unit of Inquiry reports
• Mid-year progress report
Term 2 • Parent-Teacher Conference
• 2 Unit of Inquiry reports
• End of year progress report
• Learner profile report • Parent-Teacher Conference
• 2 Unit of Inquiry reports
• End of year progress report
• Learner profile report
Learning Journal (informal) report throughout the year
• At least one photo/video will be uploaded weekly for each child in Seesaw app to share with parents what their children are learning at school
 
At Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten, we believe that good communication among teachers, students, and parents is necessary for children’s success. We have four open days per year for students, parents, and teachers to celebrate students.
 
Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-teacher conferences are held formally twice per year. These are designed to give the parents information about the student’s progress in development and needs, and about the school’s programme. Teachers take this opportunity to gather background information, to answer the parents’ questions, to address their concerns, and to help define their role in the learning process. The parents should take the opportunity to provide the teacher with the cultural context of the student’s learning. In addition, parents may make appointments to meet with their child’s teacher at any time in the year to discuss their child’s progress or of they have any concerns or questions.
 
The written report
Written reports are seen as a summative record for students, parents and the school itself of a student’s progress. Reports that clearly indicate areas of strengths, areas for improvement, and are helpful aids to a student’s development.
Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten’s reporting system ensures that:
1. The learner profile is addressed.
2. The transdisciplinary units and the subject-specific teaching are included.
3. All teachers involved in the student’s progress have an opportunity to comment.
4. All the essential elements of the programme are included.
Parents can also view the portfolios and evidence in Seesaw which reflects their child’s learning journey at Hamilton Hill International Kindergarten. 
 
*The Assessment Policy is reviewed annually. 
 
 
Bibliography
 
International Baccalaureate Organization (2009). A curricular framework for international primary education. Making the PYP Happen. Cardiff, UK: Peterson House.
 
International Baccalaureate Organization (2009). PYP Coordinator’s Handbook 2010-2011. Cardiff, UK: Peterson House.