Assessments & Exams
Internal assessment at the Cairo English School is the process of seeking and interpreting evidence for use by children, parents and teachers to decide where a child is in their learning, where they need to go and how best to get there. Assessments should:
- Be part of effective plan for teaching and learning.
- Focus on how your children learn.
- Be recognised as central to curriculum design.
- Be regarded as a key professional skill for all teachers.
- Be sensitive and constructive because assessments affect children.
- Take account of the importance of learner motivation.
- Promote commitment to learning goals.
- Allow a child and their parent know how the assessment will be judged/marked.
- Provide your child with constructive guidance about how to improve.
- Develop your child’s capacity for self assessment so they can become reflective and self managing.
- Recognise the full range of achievement for all children.
Assessment is therefore, a collaborative tool to be used by the child, parent and teacher together to raise that child’s academic achievement.
Every teacher, child and parent must be focused on the last qualification a child at CES will take: the International Baccalaureate Diploma Prgramme (IBDP) or the A Level. It is therefore crucial that from entering Key Stage 3 onwards, every child is assessed with accurate assessments and data which can be used to predict performance at IGCSE and beyond. This will mean that at each stage parents, student and teacher will know exactly what is expected of them to achieve academic success. Most importantly, it will ensure a consistent style of dialogue between teachers, parent and child about academic progress that is clear to everyone and easy to use throughout the school.
In Key Stage CES uses the English National Curriculum (ENC) levels. It will continue to use these until a clear and transparent alternative has been decided upon in the UK. On entering Key Stage 4 our students are assessed against IGCSE standards. It is important to note that at the beginning of this stage students are working towards a final grade over the two year period. Similarly when students enter Key Stage 5 they are assessed against the final criteria for the pathway they have chosen A Level (A*-E) or IBDP (7-1)
In line with the IBDP and the English National Curriculum, there is an emphasis on qualitative (describing the learning taking place) assessment rather than quantitative (reporting information using numbers or an amount) assessment. Qualitative assessments provide teachers, parents and their children with a more accurate description of how a child is developing and what she or he has to do to get to the next level. Developing clearly stated descriptors and rubrics allows children and their parents to better understand and self assess their learning as opposed to assigning them percentages that convey no information to improve learning strategies.
To achieve this, teachers will use authentic assessments. These are assessments in which children are asked to perform real world tasks that allow them to demonstrate the application of essential knowledge and skills in a meaningful way. These types of assessment may include short answer essays, measuring objects, scientific experiments, preparing for a debate, creating a piece of music, presentations and investigations. They are not tests or quizzes. Tests, exams and quizzes will still be used as part of teaching but for the fixed assessment points each year, authentic testing will be used.
Assessment at CES
At the Cairo English School, assessments will be:
- Clear. Your child will know what, when, and how they will be assessed.
- Consistent. The use of descriptors for marking will eliminate subjective teacher assessment allowing for objective assessments.
- Transparent. The grades given will be in line with the descriptors set out below that you and your child can follow and easily understand.
- Formative. Each assessment point will be seen as a mark where the teacher and child can reflect on the learning/teaching taking place and develop strategies to move the child to the next level.
- Summative. Assessments will allow you and your child to summarise how well your child has understood complex issues and concepts
- Moderated. Teachers will work together to ensure they are using assessments in the same way and marking them in the same way.
- Planned. Teachers will space assessments well and ensure they fit in with the curriculum.
- Demonstrate Understanding. Teachers will use a variety of assessments to give your child the best chance to show their knowledge and understanding regardless of their particular learning style and method.
- Reported. Teachers will let you and your child know the results of assessments at regular intervals to ensure progress is being made.
Subject and Grade Descriptors
Each subject has specific grade criteria, but general grade descriptors are also used for assessment at CES. Assessments will take place every two or three weeks depending on how often each subject is taught per week.
These descriptors should help you and your child to begin thinking like an assessor when viewing assessment and your child’s performance. Before responding to an assigned task, your child should ask themselves:
- What evidence must be provided in my response to an assignment to demonstrate understanding? What skills knowledge, strategies and critical thinking skills must be used when I respond to a particular task?
- What do I need to include in my work to show how well I have used the descriptors to demonstrate my depth of understanding?
Using this system of assessment provides you and your child with the following benefits:
- As a parent you will be able to follow your child’s progress clearly and regularly. The colour coding will tell you instantly when your child is passing or failing a subject.
- Your child will be judged objectively and so the assessments will reveal the real strengths and weaknesses of your child.
- Your child will be able to identify where they are going right and were they are going wrong which will allow them to see clearly what they need to do and how they need to do it, to improve.
- Discussions between you, your child, and their teachers will be meaningful and result in a clear set of agreed academic targets for your child.
- These assessments will give a very good indication of the likely results your child will get in their IGCSEs.
- These assessments will tell you very clearly if your child will do well at the International Baccalaureate and in which subjects.
- Your child will understand what is expected of them to complete the International Baccalaureate before they even begin the course.
- Your child will end Key Stage Four with all the skills needed to succeed at the International Baccalaureate.