Assessment Policy

  • Mission Statement

    The mission of Maxwell Elementary School is to provide our students with an inquiry-based environment, where they develop into compassionate internationally-minded citizens who create, collaborate, communicate, and think critically in order to be successful in the world.

    Assessment Philosophy

    At Maxwell Elementary School, we believe that assessment provides students with multiple opportunities to show, apply and reflect on their development as a learner. It is differentiated and allows for creativity in how students show understanding of concepts and developing knowledge. Assessments determine areas of strength, growth, development and needs while guiding and informing instruction.

    Purpose for Assessment

    The chief purpose of assessment is to inform teachers, administration, students and parents. Assessment promotes effective teaching and learning. It determines the learners’ levels of understanding and allows them to reflect on their learning. Assessment informs parents and enables them to better support their children.

    What we assess:

    • ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, PSPE, Arts, Technology and IB units of inquiry
    • Development of attributes and attitudes
    • Prior knowledge, concepts, essential skills, approaches to learning, listening and speaking

    Why we assess:

    • Check for student understanding of standards, concepts and developing knowledge
    • Monitor progress to guide instruction
    • Show synthesis and application of knowledge
    • Determine areas of student strength, growth, development and need
    • Advise placement for intervention
    • Allow for student reflection on their learning
    • Inform stakeholders to maintain accountability

    Principles of Assessment

    Assessments are presented in a variety of formats and are used for different purposes. The process of assessment is on-going, providing students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding. The results of the assessments are used to inform all stakeholders.

    Characteristics of effective assessments:

    • Authentic*
    • Provide multiple opportunities to show and apply understanding (Pre, Formative and Summative)
    • Differentiated based on student need (GATE, intervention)
    • Offer a variety of tools and strategies
    • Specific and aligned to an objective
    • Formal and informal
    • Measureable and objective
    • Allow for creativity
    • Allow for reflection

    Assessment Practice

    A variety of assessment strategies and tools will be used to provide feedback on the learning process. Assessments are administered on an on-going basis and can occur weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. This information will be gathered and reported to all necessary stakeholders.

    How we assess:

    • District and Grade Level assessments:
       -Smarter Balanced
       -Synced Solutions
       -Scholastic Math Inventory
       -Scholastic Reading Inventory
       -Reading Counts
       -Writing Prompts
       -Essential Competencies*
       -Study Island
    • Open-ended responses
    • Presentations
    • Projects
    • Portfolios (Grade Level Portfolio and Multi-year Portfolio)*
    • Exhibition in 6th grade
    • Self and peer evaluation

    How we record student progress:

    • Check-off lists
    • Teacher observation form
    • Rubrics (student and teacher created)
    • Teacher anecdotal records
    • Standards-based report card
    • On-line and school databases:
       -Synced Solutions
       -Scholastic Math Inventory
       -Scholastic Reading Inventory
       -Reading Counts
       -ESGI (Educational Software for Guiding Instruction) Grades K-1st
       -Essential Competencies*
       -Study Island

    How we analyze and report student progress:

    • Grade level and staff collaborative meetings
    o Analyzing data and student work samples
    • On-line database (School City)
    • IB Unit of Inquiry Report Card (given at the end of each unit)
    • Parent conference reporting sheet
    • Standards-based report card
    • Rubrics
    • Student led conferences

    Review of Assessment Policy and Practices

    Grade levels and the staff as a whole will review their assessment practices annually. The Leadership Team (consisting of the principal, PYP Coordinator, TLC and grade level representatives) will gather the information from the grade levels and staff in order to review and amend the assessment policy annually. The revised assessment policy will then be communicated to staff, students and parents.

    Glossary of Key Terms

    Authentic Assessment: Authentic assessment can be described as a genuine or real representation of a student’s understanding.

    Grade Level Portfolio: The Grade Level Portfolio is a collection of student work for one entire school year. The student will choose one item per unit, for each of the 6 units of inquiry, and will include a reflection explaining why they chose each piece. These portfolios will be housed in the student’s classroom and are accessible to the student and his/her family at any time during the school year. At the end of the year, one piece will be chosen to go into the Multi-year Portfolio, and the rest will be sent home with the student.

    Multi-year Portfolio: The Multi-year Portfolio will be one piece from each year that the student participates in the PYP program. The pieces will be pulled from the Grade Level Portfolios each year. This portfolio will travel with the student from Kindergarten through Sixth grade. These portfolios will be housed in the student’s classroom and are accessible to the student and his/her family at any time during the school year. The Multi-year Portfolio will be sent home with the student upon leaving or completion of the program in Sixth grade.

    Essential Competencies: The Essential Competencies are a variety of benchmark assessments given in elementary school. The type of assessments are dependent upon grade level and may include, but are not limited to: Writing, High frequency words, math facts, oral fluency, letter and sound recognition, blending, segmentation, and rhyming.


    Making the PYP Happen: A curriculum framework for international primary education; IBO (2012)