Back to School … and into Reporting Season
Happy New Year!
With the resumption of the school year, we are quickly approaching the end of the first semester. Many MYP units are wrapping up with summative assessments, after which reporting season opens, with teachers preparing comments and assessing students’ overall progress thus far.
While these “administrative” activities may not be quite as glamorous as some of the projects and engaging learning activities that take place in our various learning spaces, the feedback that students and parents will receive over the next few weeks has the potential to play a vital role in students’ learning and growth.
Feedback in fact is one of the backbones of several of the SIS Learning Principles. In particular, consider how feedback contributes to the following commitments:
Principle #7: Learning is enhanced when assessment informs and guides teaching and learning.
MYP assessments provide us with both summative and formative feedback: summative in terms of identifying the level of understanding students are presently able to demonstrate; formative in terms of identifying steps needed in order to achieve the next level.
Students make effective use of assessment feedback by …
using the criteria to assess the extent to which their demonstrated understanding coincides with their perceived understanding
identifying the skills necessary to improve to the next level of achievement
Similarly, teachers make use of assessment feedback by …
examining differences between their perceptions of student readiness and students’ actual demonstration of understanding on the assessment
modifying instruction to address any discrepancies that arise
Feedback in Partnerships for Learning
Principle #5: Learning is enhanced through partnerships between students, parents and teachers.
Feedback works best when it contributes to constructive conversation. Conversations between students and teachers around feedback help to clarify the steps needed to reach the next level and modifications to approaches to teaching and learning that could be helpful.
In addition to applying the MYP assessment rubrics, teachers provide written feedback on student work and comments on overall progress during the semester, in an effort to spark further conversation about how best to support progress.
Parents are also encouraged to use feedback as a prompt for conversations with students and teachers. Both traditional assessment feedback, as well as the feedback about Approaches to Learning (ATL) skill development included with the report card, are intended to foster rich conversations between parents, students and teachers about current progress and next steps in ATL skill development and demonstration of conceptual understanding.
Feedback and Fostering a Growth Mindset
Principle #3: Learning is enhanced when approached with a growth mindset.
A growth mindset includes both affirming where we are presently and recognizing that there are genuine opportunities for growth in front of us. Feedback in the MYP is structured to support just such a mindset. Assessment criteria not only identify students’ current levels of understanding, but also provide students descriptions of targets for higher achievement. Viewing assessment data through the lens of ATL skill development empowers students to identify specific skills that can help them take the next steps.
As we move into reporting season, let’s take advantage of the many opportunities to use feedback to support student learning.
Here are some additional opportunities for strengthening partnerships for learning. Please be on the lookout for a survey coming via email to gauge interest and availability.
Important Dates for Your Calendar
Monday, January 30 – MYP Parent Session – Assessment in the MYP
This upcoming parent session is designed to help parents better understand the MYP assessment model, thereby equipping parents to make the most effective use of feedback in supporting their child(ren)’s learning.
Tuesday, February 21 – Grade 10 Personal Project Exhibition
Please note the change from the date shown on the printed calendar for this on campus event.
Friday, March 17 – MYP Parent Session – Approaches to Learning
Tuesday, April 4 – MYP Parent Session – Mathematics in the MYP
Tuesday, April 18 – MYP Parent Session – Personal Project Intro for Grade 9 Parents
“In case you missed it” … we hold several MYP Parent Sessions throughout the year. The most recent session was held during parent-teacher conferences and focused on Voice, Choice and Action in the MYP. A recording of that webinar, along with previous parent sessions can be found in the MYP section of the Parent Portal on the school website.
An Additional Opportunity for Feedback
In addition to feedback on student learning described above, we have been invited by a representative of the IB to form a focus group to provide feedback on the benefits and challenges of teaching and learning under the MYP framework. The hope is that this focus group will represent a cross-section of the school community, including parents. The commitment involved is a one-hour group interview. If you would be interested in participating or learning more, please feel free to contact me.