The curriculum delivery and assessments at HIXS are focused on skill development and not only on content mastery. The skills worked on range from self-management skills to social and research skills which are considered critical for success both in college and work life.
The international curricula of IGCSE and IB place the highest priority on construct validity—that is, that our assessments test the traits and abilities that they are intended to test. Other than promoting learning and providing sound measurement, assessments in the international curricula of IGCSE and IBDP demonstrate international mindedness, are objective and fair, evaluate higher order thinking skills as well as cognition, include a range of knowledge and understanding performances, and use various means of assessment.
The school believes that assessment should be continuous and transparent to provide feedback of the learning process to students. Assessment at Heritage International Xperiential School is designed carefully to meet the purposes its results are used for. A well-planned assessment system at HIXS offers diverse information about student needs. This in turn leads to well-informed decision making about those students, especially in assisting teachers to accurately predict student performance. Effective assessment is a balance between formative tasks to assess for learning and summative tasks that provide an overarching assessment of learning. Teachers at HIXS spend time with instructional coaches and learn to design a balanced assessment system using the strengths of formative, interim, and summative assessments to address instructional goals.
Assessment can mean any of the different ways in which student achievement can be gathered and evaluated. We use multiple assessments strategies and evaluation tools to inform our teaching and learning. In order to cater to the rigorous expectations of IGCSE assessments, students experience a variety of assessments during their journey of Middle School. IGCSE and IB DP assessments measure students’ achievement levels against published criteria that are derived from the course aims and objectives. Final assessment is rigorous criterion-related performance assessment. Many assessments in the IGCSE and IB Diploma are diverse in nature from the multiple-choice questions for understanding to carried out over a prolonged period, and at other times, they take place over a few hours.
The single most important aim of assessment is that it should support curricular goals and encourage appropriate student learning. Standards of achievement are required to demonstrate mastery on a criterion-referenced with the grade descriptors. The grade descriptors across grades intend to help teachers explain the academic requirements of the Heritage International Xperiential School K-12 programme and ascertain achievement grades. The assessment practices aim to motivate students to become self-directed learners by setting goals, clarifying learning targets, taking feedback and reflecting on their growth and challenges. Students and teachers regularly analyze data from assessments, reflections and student work to inform the student goals and teacher’s lesson.
Assessment in the traditional system is thought of as a tool, which can lead to positive or negative outcomes for those being evaluated with them. Today, there is a strong movement for “assessment as learning” that focuses on the role of students as a critical connector between assessment and learning. With reflection and critical analysis of their own learning, students take responsibility for their own learning with teachers as their ‘guide on the side’. In the assessment cycle students become comfortable with all different kinds of assessments.
Internal assessment provides individual students with the opportunity to select their own topic or issue, following a particular interest and giving them greater control over their own learning. This flexibility of approach makes internal assessment a valuable addition to students’ education, improving the validity not only of the assessment process, but also of the learning experience as a whole. Internal assessments give an opportunity for in-depth inquiry into a focused topic intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity.
Teachers at HIXS consider academic writing as a constant process of revision based on successive drafts in which rewriting is more important than writing, and requires an assessment of the process more than of its result. The planning process involves identifying student deadlines (self-led) as well as scheduling time for support sessions; deadlines are planned in the department for feedback and reflection. Students formulate arguments clearly and coherently, as well as draft and proofread their own work.
Effective visual and written reflection strategies are included in the form of photographs, mind-maps, diagrams, flow-charts, planning/ data collection strategies, etc., are taken up in the Middle School onwards as to train our students for the extensive research-based assessments in the global perspectives in IGCSE, internal assessments of the IB subjects and IB core of Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Extended Essay (EE).
Technology will not drive the choice of approaches to assessment but to create meaningful assessment for students, the IGCSE and IB DP is committed to using technology and tools to improve the quality of what can be assessed, not using it for the sake of having it. Many topics within the IGCSE and IB DP mathematics courses lend themselves to the use of technology. Graphical calculators, dynamic graphing software, spreadsheets, simulations, apps, dynamic geometry software and interactive whiteboard software are just a few of the many kinds of technology available to support the teaching and learning of mathematics.
In the IGCSE and IB Diploma while memorization plays a role, but no student is at a disadvantage for not remembering the formulae in the exam and formulae booklets are at their disposal in math and science both. Students can also use technology to engage with the learning process in many ways, including in developing and enhancing their own personal conceptual understanding, searching for patterns, testing conjectures or generalizations, justifying interpretations, collaborating on project-based work and helping organize and analyse data.