IAM Assessment Philosophy  

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The International Academy of Macomb approach to assessment honors the process of student-centered learning through authentic formative and summative evaluations that inform classroom instruction. Assessments are interdisciplinary, offering students the opportunity to take ownership of their learning. Students take risks, reflect, and seek improvement throughout the process. This philosophy is based on the International Baccalaureate criteria and state standards for assessment that emphasize critical analysis, synthesis of information, and the importance of a global, responsible, and ethical approach to learning.

Our assessments ask that, as learners, students put forth quality effort in unique and unfamiliar situations that are informed by their individual learning experiences. Through practicing their skills and receiving informed feedback based on standards-based rubrics, summative assessments ultimately reward improved performance that guide students toward acquiring mastery of skills and concepts.

Our formative assessments are the start of this progress cycle, providing students with opportunities to practice new skills and make mistakes in a safe environment with feedback from teachers to support students' progress in their skill acquisition. This practice is aimed at driving student growth and developing their resilience through problem solving and managing their own learning, in accordance with the IB Approaches to Learning. These forms of assessment may include, but are not limited to, journal entries, worksheets, readings, oral participation, and Socratic seminars. Through this cycle of practicing skills and receiving feedback, students are well supported to demonstrate their mastery of skills and concepts through their performance.

This performance and mastery is evaluated in our summative assessments, which evaluate students on their ability to not only demonstrate these skills in familiar contexts, but also in new environments or situations. This encourages students to transfer and apply their knowledge in authentic and relevant contexts, preparing students to be critical thinkers and adept members of the wider world. These assessments are evaluated on MYP or DP standards-based rubrics, providing students and their guardians with a clear understanding of what skills they will be evaluated on and what proficiency level they are at in their skill acquisition. These forms of assessment may include, but are not limited to, tests, labs, quizzes, presentations, projects, and performances. Through the feedback on these standards-based rubrics, students, guardians, and teachers have a common language for discussing student growth.

Our practice of measuring this growth is guided by the International Baccalaureate assessment criteria and is not a percentage-based system, but rather is intended to be a reflective process that communicates individual student growth in specified areas. These criterion marks are then used to inform the percentage or letter grade a student earns on an assignment by indicating how they are developing in their skill acquisition over the course. Communicating these criterion marks helps to empower students in their own learning by allowing them to reflect on their practice of skills, set goals, and work toward achieving them. Additionally, these records will also inform teacher instruction and departmental curriculum decisions to meet the needs of students and support them in their growth.

All of our teachers share this overarching philosophy of assessment and means of communicating student growth through IB criteria. Additionally, all of our teachers have been part of crafting this assessment policy through their work in school improvement committees. With this shared vision, we understand that each discipline is unique in the type of knowledge and ways of demonstrating mastery of skills, and as such, each has its own methodology for measuring student growth and knowledge and instruction for guiding students toward mastery of skills and concepts. Each discipline will communicate its approach to assessment through its syllabi in the beginning of the semester.


It is important to point out a very significant conceptual difference in terms of grades between the International Baccalaureate grading system and the U.S. educational systems. The IB grading scale in secondary education is different from the U.S. method because it ranges from 1-7 in the DP and MYP where the American system grades students 0%-100%. IB assessments are based on essays and problem solving and more rarely on multiple choice answers. The elegance, form, reasoning ability and written expression in all subjects are also graded. In addition, there should be a differentiation between a traditional/local grade and an IB grade. Teachers should notate this in the gradebook. It is important to note that IB grades should inform local grades.


MYP Grading

All teachers will report MYP grades for students at the end of 9th and 10th grade. Teachers will assess each criterion for their subject area for each student a minimum of two times per year. These scores will be reported using Power School and indicate the standard and level attained. Students' scores in each criterion will be looked at to see the trend of their score and award a mark that best matches their mastery at the end of the year. The marks students earned in each criterion will then be added together to create a final mark for the course. These marks will then reflect a score of 1-7 on the IB scale, with the following grade band break down indicated below:


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With this philosophy of assessment, not only do we believe that we will help foster student growth and application of skills to meet state and IB standards, but also aid students in developing critical thinking and twenty-first century skills, and a unique global perspective, that they will retain well after their high school career as they become reflective, balanced, and principled thinkers and citizens in our global community.

DP Grading

The DP uses both internally and externally assessed components to assess student performance. The marks awarded for each course are awarded based on the extent to which students master basic and advanced academic skills, such as:

• knowledge and understanding of content and concepts

• critical thinking, reflective, research and independent learning skills

• application of standard methods

• analyzing and presenting information

• evaluating and constructing arguments

• creative problem-solving

• intercultural understanding and international outlook.

The following grade descriptors are a compilation of the characteristics of performance at each grade for DP courses in general, and are intended to help explain the academic achievement required to achieve a particular grade. Examiners use the individual subject group descriptors when determining grade boundaries for examination papers and coursework components, and when marking student work.

7: The student demonstrates excellent content knowledge and understanding, conceptual and contextual awareness and critical, reflective thinking. Highly effective research, investigation and technical skills are evident, as is the ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize qualitative and quantitative evidence, knowledge and concepts to reach valid conclusions or solve problems. In collaborative exercises, the student works very well with others, ethically and responsibly, and with perseverance. Responses are highly insightful, accurate, clear, concise, convincing, logically structured, with sufficient detail, precise use of appropriate terminology and with appropriate attention to purpose and audience. Responses are creative, make very effective use of well-selected examples, demonstrate awareness of alternative points of view and provide clear evidence of intercultural understanding. 

6: The student demonstrates very good content knowledge and understanding, conceptual and contextual awareness and critical, reflective thinking. Competent research, investigation and technical skills are evident, as is the ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize evidence, knowledge and concepts. In collaborative exercises, the student works well with others, ethically and responsibly, and with perseverance. Responses are mainly accurate, clear, concise, convincing, logically structured, with sufficient detail, using consistent terminology and with appropriate attention to purpose and audience. Responses show creativity, make effective use of examples, demonstrate awareness of alternative points of view and provide evidence of intercultural understanding.

5: The student demonstrates sound content knowledge and understanding, good conceptual and contextual awareness and evidence of critical, reflective thinking. Research, investigation and technical skills are evident and sometimes well developed. Analytical ability is evident, although responses may at times be more descriptive than evaluative. In collaborative investigations, the student generally works well with others, ethically and responsibly, and with perseverance. Responses are generally accurate, clear, logically structured and coherent, with mainly relevant material, using suitable terminology, and are sometimes well developed. Responses show reasonable creativity, use of examples, and awareness of audience and evidence of intercultural understanding.

4: The student demonstrates, with some gaps, secure content knowledge and understanding, some conceptual and contextual awareness and some evidence of critical thinking. Research, investigation and technical skills are evident, but not thoroughly developed. Analysis is generally valid, but more descriptive than evaluative. The student solves basic or routine problems, but with limited ability to deal with new or difficult situations. In collaborative exercises, the student works within a team and generally approaches investigations ethically and responsibly, but requires supervision. Responses are mostly accurate and clear with little irrelevant material. There is some ability to logically structure responses with adequate coherence and use of appropriate terminology. Responses sometimes show creativity, and include some awareness of audience and evidence of intercultural understanding.

3: The student demonstrates basic knowledge and understanding of the content, with limited evidence of conceptual and contextual awareness. Research and/ or investigation is evident, but remains undeveloped. There is some ability to comprehend and solve problems. Collaborative investigations are approached ethically and responsibly, but require close supervision. Responses are only sometimes valid and appropriately detailed. There is some expression of ideas and organization of work and basic use of appropriate terminology, but arguments are rarely convincing. Responses lack clarity and some material is repeated or irrelevant. There is limited creativity, awareness of context or audience and limited evidence of intercultural understanding.

2: The student demonstrates little knowledge or understanding of the content, with weak comprehension of concepts and context and little evidence of application. Evidence of research and/or investigation is only superficial. There is little ability to comprehend and solve problems.

Responses are rarely accurate or valid. There is some attempt to express ideas, use terminology appropriate to the subject and organize work, but the response is rarely convincing. There is very little creativity, awareness of context or audience and little evidence of intercultural understanding.

1: The student demonstrates very rudimentary knowledge or understanding of the content, with very weak comprehension of concepts and context. Ability to comprehend and solve problems or to express ideas is not evident. Responses are rarely accurate or valid. Organization is lacking to the point that responses are confusing. Responses demonstrate very little to no appreciation of context or audience, inappropriate or inadequate use of terminology, and little to no intercultural understanding.

grading scales

IB Assessments

IB teachers use a variety of formative and summative assessments to support and encourage student learning. IB assessment is criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced. This means that student work is marked in relation to clearly defined levels of skill attainment rather than against the work of other students. The levels of skill attainment for each subject are derived from the aims and objectives of the course and established by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO). They are designed to be fair to students all over the world. The criteria for achievement are explained to students in each course and are the focus of class and homework activities.

Internal Assessment

There are two types of summative IB assessment tools which are used in the determination of final IB grades: internal and external assessments. Detailed IB policies describe the conditions under which these tools must be administered.

IB internal assessments allow teachers to assess some of the students' work during the IB course. Examples include English individual oral commentary, language presentations, historical investigations, laboratory reports, and math projects. IAM teachers mark the internal assessments and this grade counts as a percentage of the student's overall final IB score. The marks for the internal assessments are submitted to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), along with a representative sample of the work marked by the IAM teacher. This sample is then sent to an IB moderator who evaluates how the teacher has applied the IB grading rubric. IBO may then adjust the marks of the assignment up or down.

Internal assessments provide students with opportunities to show mastery of skills outside of final examinations. Students receive significant instruction and practice throughout their courses in order to effectively prepare for these challenging tasks.

In each IB subject, teachers are given a very specific list of criteria to assess and guidelines about how to mark each criterion. To determine a mark, the teacher chooses the level of achievement that best

matches the work being marked. The criteria for achievement are clearly communicated to students well in advance of the internal assessments. IB assessments are graded on a scale of 1 (low) to 7 (high).

External Assessment

IB external assessments are assessments that are completed by students at the IAM while overseen by IAM teachers, but are sent away to be marked by external IB examiners. Final examinations are the main means of external assessment, but work such as the Extended Essay, Written Assignment papers, TOK essays and Visual Arts exhibitions are also externally assessed.

Common School-wide Grading Practices

So that there is consistency across subjects, the following practices will be in place:


  • There will be at least five summative assessments per semester.
  • For 9th and 10th grade students, summative assessments constitute 70% of the grade and formative assessments will constitute 30% of the grade.
  • For 11th and 12th grade students, summative assessments will constitute 80% of the grade and the formative assessments will constitute at least 20% of a student's grade.
  • All courses will have a comprehensive exam.
  • When semester grades are calculated, the semester-end exam will count as 20% of the grade.


Recording and Reporting

Teachers record grades on PowerSchool which provides online, daily access to students, parents/guardians. Grades are updated on PowerSchool regularly. Both written and oral feedback affirm progress, diagnose needs, evaluate achievement, and assist in accountability. Grades are available on the PowerSchool Parent Portal at quarters and semesters. Parent/guardian and teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year. As needed, teachers consult with parents/guardians on an individual basis.

Departmental Grading Practices

Each course will document departmental grading policies in the course syllabus.



http://www.trinityhs.org/pdf/IB Assessment Policy.pdf