PYP Curriculum Corner: 18/01/2019

Welcome to the January edition of the Curriculum Corner.  In the PYP this week, Grade 5 and 6 began Cycle Assessments but what are these and why are we doing them?

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What are they?

For one hour per week, Grade 5 and 6 will have an assessment to complete in test conditions.  Every four weeks they will come back to the same subject in order to show how they are developing and improving in the subject area and in taking an assessment in that subject.

Cycle Assessments are on a 4 week rotation:

Week 1: Maths

Week 2:  Reading Comprehension

Week 3:  Written Text:  English

Week 4:  Written Text:  Italian

Week 5:  The rotation begins again with Mathematics and so on….

The Content

Your children will be assessed in maths on units they have completed in order to teach them that mathematical skills need to be retained and recalled in different contexts.  The assessments will be taken from Everyday Mathematics.  In reading your children will have a range of texts such as narrative, recipes, poems and they will have different types of questions to comprehend set from a range of teacher materials.  The written text will be based on one genre for each assessment beginning with narrative/story writing and will be set by myself.

How are they Assessed?

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Teachers and myself will grade the Cycle Assessments and will complete an Excel document to track each child’s progress.

Maths – tracking of each individual question so that a comparison can be made across the whole class and the teacher will know which areas need to be covered again

Reading – tracking of each individual question to understand which students know how to answer each type of comprehension question

Writing – in Grade 5 the writing will be assessed against the Lucy Calkins Writing Rubrics and in Grade 6 against a modified MYP criteria so that your children start to become familiar with the MYP assessment system

Teachers will then monitor each child’s progress as they move through each cycle of assessments and also the progress of the class as a whole.  In collaborative planning we will discuss the results and amend curriculum planning as required.

Bringing the Cycle Assessment home

Once the assessments have been graded and the results inputted, teachers will send the Cycle Assessment home for you to view.  Some assessments will come home quickly, the written assessments will take longer to mark as they will be marked by multiple people to ensure consistency.

I would suggest reading through the questions and celebrating with your child those ones which they answered correctly.  You might then look at some of the incorrect questions.  Teachers will go through the mistakes with your children but you might also want to talk about why they got the answer they did!  The Assessment is a one hour snap shot of your child’s strengths and weaknesses so please do not panic if you are not happy with the result.  Please ask for a meeting with your child’s teacher if you have any concerns about your child’s progress.

We kindly ask that you sign the assessment to show you have seen it and return the Cycle Assessment to school as these will be kept in the class Assessment Binder and will be passed on to next year’s teacher.

Where is the PYP in the Cycle Assessments?

In the PYP, we have a set of Approaches to Learning which are skills we aim to foster in your children.  We talk to the children about these skills within units of inquiry so that they understand these are lifelong learning skills they will use well beyond their school years.  One of those skills is Self Management.  In having a weekly assessment block, your children will begin to apply time management skills, synthesising skills and will learn more about themselves in terms of working under pressure and within a time limit.  We hope that you will see your children improve in these skills as they work through the Cycle Assessment process.

The importance of Reflection…

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At the end of each assessment, the children will complete a set of questions which will ask them to think about what they found easy, what they found challenging and which specific type of question they struggled with.  They will set themselves goals to work on before the next Cycle Assessment for that subject comes around again and this will help your child to reflect on their progress and take responsibility for their learning.  You will find the reflection on the last page of the assessment.

I hope you will find the assessments a worthwhile experience and if you do have any questions about them please do not hesitate to contact me:  jwhittle@iscomo.com