Purpose For Assessment

Assessment is a continuous daily process that allows teachers, parents and students to identify areas of strength and areas that need improvement, as well as the effectiveness of the educational program.

According to the International Baccalaureate, Assessment “is central to the PYP goal of thoughtfully and effectively guiding students through the five essential elements of learning: the understanding of concepts, the acquisition of knowledge, the mastering of skills, the development of attitudes and the decision to take action”. (1)

The assessment process includes various forms to achieve its purposes. Assessment practices must be clear to all those involved in the process. This includes, students, teachers, parents and administrators. They all must have a clear understanding of what is being assessed, the criteria for success and the method by which the assessment is made.

I. Principles of Assessment:

  • Emerge from the classroom.
  • Are connected to teaching and learning.
  • Are student centered.
  • Are clearly understood by the student.
  • Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate higher order and critical thinking skills through presentation and performances that match their learning styles.
  • Are culturally sensitive to the diverse backgrounds of the students.
  • Support student goal setting, decision making, and development in academics and the Student Profile.
  • Enable students to know their own abilities, needs, Learning Profile, and instructional possibilities.
  • Provide evidence of student growth and progress that can be clearly evaluated and understood by all stakeholders.

II. Components of Assessment:

The PYP divides assessment into three components(2):

  • Assessing - How we discover what students have learned.
  • Recording - How we assess and document the students’ learning
  • Reporting - How we communicate essential information to the parties involved in students’ learning.

1. Assessing - How we discover what students have learned

The assessment process involves both formative and summative components, using different examples of student work and performance within a given unit of inquiry.

Formative Assessment (Assessment for Learning)
Formative Assessment is interwoven with daily learning and helps teachers and students find out what children already know, understand and can do in order to plan for further student learning and growth. Formative assessment occurs throughout a learning unit or process. Within the Program of Inquiry, assessment is embedded for progress monitoring of levels of understanding of the five essential elements of the PYP (Concepts, Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes and Actions).

Summative Assessment (Assessment of Learning)
Summative Assessment takes place at the end of a learning unit or process. It is a chance for students, teachers and parents to evaluate progress and demonstrate what has been learned over the course of time. It is a formal ending point to a taught unit or of a process but not necessarily the end of student learning in the areas being assessed. Performance-based assessments are designed for all Units of Inquiry to assess the level of understanding of all Unit skills, content and processes. Rubrics are developed for each assessment with specific criteria to inform students, teachers, and parents of growth and progress.

1.1 How teachers gather information about the learning of students

Teachers use a range of strategies to discover what students have learned.

Students are observed in a variety of settings ranging from the whole class to dynamic groups to individual students. Each context provides a different set of opportunities for the teacher to analyze students’ actions and interactions, some ways of how to go about it:

  • Listen and look (anecdotal records).
  • Chart paper with Post-it notes (to record observation made).
  • Small group where teacher focuses on a specific child.
  • Teacher’s journal (anecdotal records).
  • Taking pictures or videotaping the students in action.
  • Creative writing conferencing.
  • Observing performance activities during physical education activities.
  • Checklist: student profile, attitudes, skills.
  • Observing how children solve problems (skills, manipulative, asking a friend, drawing pictures).
  • Observing children’s social interactions.
  • Observing physical mannerisms when working in class (class chart, anecdotal records).
  • Observing facial expression (interest, understanding, and feeling).
  • Portfolio (compilation of students’ work over a period of time).
  • Teacher led conference.

Performance assessments:
Performance assessments are goal-directed tasks, with established criteria that are situations in which students are presented with a problematic scenario and asked to communicate an original response. They can present in a format of their choice reflecting the many different ways they think and learn (multiple intelligences).

  • Reading response.
  • Research projects.
  • Graphs, diagrams.
  • Surveys.
  • Story mapping.
  • Art projects, illustrations.
  • Role playing, drama.
  • Composing and performing music.
  • Reflections on social and environmental issues.

Process-focused assessments:
The Process-focused assessments are mainly used to monitor the students’ trans-disciplinary skills (social skills, communication skills, thinking skills, research skills and self-management skills).

  • Noting both typical as well as non-typical behaviors.
  • Collecting multiple observations to enhance reliability.
  • Synthesizing evidence from different contexts to increase validity.
  • A system of note taking and record keeping is created that minimizes writing and recording time. Checklists, inventories and narrative descriptions are common methods of collecting these observations.
  • Checklists: for trans-disciplinary skills (ATL) for one task.
  • Anecdotal records on observations made.
  • Reflections on learning styles and strategies.

Open-ended tasks:
Students are presented with a stimulus and asked to communicate original responses. The answer might be a brief written answer, a diagram or a solution, such as:

  • Drawing a story related to a book.
  • Creative movement activity (choreography).
  • Graphic design or other artwork.
  • Depicting environmental issues through the creation of posters, 3D models.
  • Examples of students’ work in digital format (Power Point; Prezi; NoteBook, etc.).
  • Journal.
  • Writing an original end or a story.
  • Reading responses, drawing related to personal experience.
  • Brainstorming sessions.
  • Dramatic production (skit, or play).
  • Song, music, rap, or poem, video.

Selected responses:
Selected responses are single occasion, one-dimensional exercises that include:

  • Written tests and quizzes.
  • Reading comprehension.
  • Spelling tests.
  • Grammar tests (grammar rules, verbs).
  • Solo performances, oral presentations.
  • Math: basic facts, operational techniques (+,-, x, ÷). Situating events on a timeline.
  • Putting events in the right order.
  • Categorizing elements.

Learners’ reflections:
Students are asked to reflect on what they have learned at the end of a lesson/unit.

1.2 How students demonstrate their learning

Students will have many opportunities to demonstrate learning in a variety of ways over the course of the year.

  • Students’ portfolios.
  • Reflection journals / responses.
  • Class discussions.
  • Performance tasks.
  • Demonstrations.
  • Interviews.
  • Presentations.
  • Posters.
  • Tests.
  • Quizzes.
  • The Exhibition (Grade 5).

2. Recording – How we assess and document the levels of achievement of their students

Teachers use a variety of techniques to measure the learning of students. These include:

  • Rubrics: These are an established set of criteria for rating student work. The descriptors specify what characteristics teachers are looking for in student work and then rate that work on the predetermined scale/criteria.
  • Exemplars: samples of students’ work that serve as a concrete standard against which other samples are judged.
  • Checklists: lists of information, data, attributes or elements that should be present in students’ work or performance.
  • Anecdotal records: brief, written notes based on observations of students.
  • Continuums: visual representations of developmental stages of learning that show a progression of achievement or identify where a student is in a process.

3. Reporting - How we assess and document the levels of achievement of their students

IKNS reports students’ performance and progress in a variety of ways:

IKNS uses PowerSchool as its students management system. The PowerSchool portal provides a channel of communication for students, parents, teachers and the school administration that is easily accessed via smartphone, tablet and computer.

Teachers use the PowerSchool online gradebook to record their students’ grades and attendance. They also use it to communicate standards assessed by each assessment task as well as the type of assessment conducted.

The PowerSchool gradebook provides students, parents as well as the school administration with timely access to the students’ progress. It shows the formative and summative assessment tasks for each Unit of Inquiry independent of the other units. As such, it allows for the ongoing monitoring of the progress of student’s learning over the course of the semester/year.

Scheduled Meetings:
Parents and teachers have the option to set meetings at anytime. Appointments could be arranged via email through PowerSchool or through the Reception Desk.

The Open Day:
Parents gain information about the school from Homeroom teachers regarding the curriculum and classroom routines.

The Open House is usually held in the month of September/October every year.

Teacher-Parent(s) Conference:
Teachers give parents feedback about the students’ progress. Teachers highlight the students’ strengths and challenges. They answer parents’ questions and guide them on how to help in their children’s learning process.

This conference is held once a year and is usually held in the month of January.

Teacher-Student Conference:
Teachers give ongoing feedback to the students on their progress. Both teachers and students reflect on the work done and agree on setting goals and how to achieve them.

Student Led Conference:
Student Led Conferences are formal reporting sessions to parents, led by the students themselves. The teacher's role in this process is to guide and prepare the students. The emphasis is on the discussion between a student and his/her parent(s).

The focus of the Student Led Conference is on students' progress – academic and social. Student Led Conferences are designed to give students ownership of the assessment of their learning, so they can become more actively involved and committed. These conferences make students accountable for their learning and encourage student/parent communication.

Other benefits are that students learn to evaluate their own progress and build critical thinking skills, self-confidence and self-esteem. Parents become an active participant in their student's learning and skills, and have an opportunity to help their child set positive goals. Students are trained to become confident participants and conference leaders.

The Student Led Conference is held once a year and is usually held in the month of March.

The Portfolio:
Portfolios are used from Kindergarten upt0 Grade 5. These portfolios include work samples from across the curriculum, some of which will include comments from the teachers about the learning and achievements being demonstrated. The portfolios will also include work samples chosen by the students, and in these cases students will be commenting on why they have selected those pieces.

The Portfolio is an important part of the school's reporting program. It provides a record of student effort and achievement in all areas of school curriculum and life as well as a dynamic means of three-way communication between parents, students and teachers. Each student has his/her own Portfolio and often they will be shared with their parents at the Student-led conference. Additionally the student’s portfolio is sent home after each unit for the student to share her learning journey with her parents.

The Exhibition
In grade five, students participate in a culminating project - The Exhibition. In the Exhibition, students demonstrate their understanding of an issue or opportunity they have chosen to explore. They undertake their investigation both individually and with their peers, together with the guidance of a mentor. Through the Exhibition, students demonstrate their ability to take responsibility for their learning—and their capacity to take action—as they are actively engaged in planning, presenting and assessing learning.

The Exhibition is a powerful demonstration of the student agency, as well as the agency of the community that has nurtured them through their years in the PYP. The learning community participates in the exhibition, supporting and celebrating the development of internationally-minded students who make a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others(3)

Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests
IKNS conducts the MAP tests twice a year in Grades 3 to 9 in English Reading, Mathematics and Science.

The MAP is a unique standardized test compared to other more traditional tests. It is given online and can adapt to the appropriate level of each student’s learning. It is untimed and adjusts in level according to the student’s answers. Teachers use the data that the MAP tests provides to improve the students’ mastery of the learning objectives of the PYP. The results of the MAP tests are reported to parents at the end of each semester.

Written Progress Report
IKNS issues Progress Reports twice a year, at the end of Semester 1 (September to January) and the end of Semester 2 (February to June).

The Progress Reports use a 1 to 5 scale to assess the progress of the students in any of the subjects taught as part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IB PYP). Each step on the scale corresponds to a specific Progress Level (PL) as specified in Table 1: Progress Levels Descriptors.

The Progress Reports are linked to the Units of Inquiry, incorporating information about the Central idea, Lines of Inquiry, Key Concepts covered, and Learner Profiles and Attitudes focused upon within that unit, in addition to the progress in different subjects regarding the outcomes and skills attained.

Table 1: Progress Levels Descriptors

Progress Levels (PL) Descriptors
P L Description
5 A thorough and consistent understanding of the learning objectives. The student independently applies and transfers the knowledge and skills in a variety of classroom and real world situations. The student always produces work of a high standard
4 A good understanding of the learning objectives. The student competently applies the required knowledge and skills in a wide variety of situations
3 A satisfactory understanding of the learning objectives. The student applies the appropriate knowledge and skills in familiar classroom situations
2 A partial understanding of the learning objectives. The student applies some of the basic elements of the required knowledge and skills
1 A limited understanding of the learning objectives. The student has difficulty applying the required knowledge and skills
Ab Student was absent
C Student completed task
-- Strand not assessed in this Unit

III. Outcomes of Assessment (Promotion)

The Elementary School is administratively divided into two divisions: Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary.

The Lower Elementary is comprised of four grade levels, KG1, KG2, Grade 1 and Grade 2

The Upper Elementary is comprised of three grade levels, Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5.

IKNS applies a ‘no-retention policy’ in the Lower Elementary School.

A student in the Upper Elementary is to be promoted to the next grade level if he/she reaches and maintains a satisfactory overall Progress Level (PL-3) in the Unit of Inquiry as well as Stand Alone Arabic as clarified in Table 2, Upper Elementary Promotion Grid.

The overall Progress Level of a student is not based on the average of the student over any period of time. It is rather based on the best progress level he/she consistently achieved over an extended period of time.

Table 2: Upper Elementary Promotion Grid

Unit of Inquiry (UoI)
Overall PL 1 2 3 4 5
1 Repeat Repeat Make up: Ara Make up: Ara Make up: Ara
Stand Alone Arabic 2 Repeat Repeat Make up: Ara Make up: Ara Make up: Ara
3 Make up: UoI Make up: UoI Promoted Promoted Promoted
4 Make up: UoI Make up: UoI Promoted Promoted Promoted
5 Make up: UoI Make up: UoI Promoted Promoted Promoted

1. Make-Up Examinations Policy

The study material that is to be included in the make-up examination(s) will be set by the Elementary School Administration. It is the responsibility of the parents to prepare their children for the make-up examination(s).

Make-up examinations are conducted before the start of the new academic year.

In the case of a student being unable to sit for the make-up examination(s) as per the date set by the school administration, the parents of this student must submit a written report to justify his/her absence. The Elementary School Administration will review the report to decide on whether to grant the student another chance to sit for the make-up examination(s) or not. In the meantime, the promotion of the student will be withheld.

1.1 Make-Up Examinations Policy in Lower Elementary

A student in the Lower Elementary who does not show a satisfactory level of progress (PL-3) in the Unit of Inquiry and/or Stand Alone English will have to sit for make-up examination(s) as per the Lower Elementary School Promotion Grid (Table 3)

A student who shows satisfactory progress in a make-up examination(s) will be issued a new end of year Progress Report stating that the student sat for a make up examination(s) and achieved satisfactory progress.

A student who does not achieve a satisfactory level of progress in a make-up examination(s) will be promoted to the next grade level, as per the no-retention policy in applied in the Lower Elementary section of the school. In such a situation, the school will provide support to the student during school hours. This support will be provided for a limited period of time and at no additional cost to the parents. While the support aims to help the student to reach a satisfactory level of progress, it also aims to observe if this student requires further assessment through a third party educational psychologist.

If after this period of support provided by the School, the progress level of a student is still unsatisfactory, then the parents of this student will be requested to provide a report from a third party educational psychologist. The purpose of the educational psychologist report is to identify the challenges the student is facing, and work out an intervention plan to support him/her. Based on the recommendations of the educational psychologist’s report, and following the approval of the parents, the school will provide additional learning support to the student during and/or after school hours as needed and according to an agreed upon written plan between the school and the parents. In this case, the parents bear the cost of the additional learning support classes as per the agreed upon plan. If the parents do not want to have their child assessed through a third party psychologist, then it is their responsibility to provide the additional support during the child’s private hours. The School will not be able to provide any accommodations in such a situation.

Table 3: Lower Elementary School Promotion Grid

Unit of Inquiry (UoI)
PL 1 2 3 4 5
1 Make up: UoI & Eng Make up: UoI & Eng Make up: Eng Make up: Eng Make up: Eng
Stand Alone English 2 Make up: UoI & Eng Make up: UoI & Eng Make up: Eng Make up: Eng Make up: Eng
3 Make up: UoI Make up: UoI Promoted Promoted Promoted
4 Make up: UoI Make up: UoI Promoted Promoted Promoted
5 Make up: UoI Make up: UoI Promoted Promoted Promoted

1.2 Make-Up Examinations Policy in Upper Elementary

The promotion of a student in the Upper Elementary to the next grade level is subject to the progress this student shows in his/her make up examination(s). The student must show a satisfactory level of progress in order to be promoted to the next grade level.

2. Retention

IKNS applies a ‘no-retention policy’ in the Lower Elementary.

A student in the Upper Elementary who does not meet the promotion requirements as stated in the Upper Elementary School Promotion

Grid (Table 2) will be given the opportunity to repeat the year if this student meets the following conditions:

  1. The student’s year of birth is a maximum one year less than the year of birth of the cohort group the student is to be joining.
  2. The student’s attendance record is within the acceptable 85% attendance limit, provided that the student does not suffer any major health issues that could negatively impact his/her attendance.
  3. The student’s behavioural record does not show repeated disruptive behaviour that could negatively impact his/her progress and that of other students.

A student in the Upper Elementary School who is assigned to sit for make-up examination(s) may be requested to repeat the school year in the following cases:

  1. If the student absences him/herself from his/her make-up examination(s) without a written excuse that is approved by the School Administration.
  2. If the student fails to achieve a satisfactory level of Progres in his/her make-up examination(s).

Request to Leave IKNS

The progress of students not meeting the minimum academic requirements, will be reviewed at the end of Grade 2 and Grade 4. Students who continue to be challenged academically by the end of Grade 2 or Grade 4 will be asked to leave IKNS. Students who are unable to meet the Promotion requirements in any two school years will be requested to leave IKNS. Students who continue to behave in a disruptive manner will be asked to leave IKNS. Students who are unable to meet the attendance requirements will be asked to leave IKNS.

This document has been updated by the faculty and approved by the Educational Committee in September 2019


(1) Making the PYP Happen: A Curriculum Framework for International Primary Education, pg. 44
(2) Making the PYP Happen: A Curriculum Framework for International Primary Education, pg. 45
(3) From Principles to Practice - The Learner


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