Assessment Policy

Overview

The primary purpose of assessment and evaluation is to support and improve student learning. To ensure that assessments are valid and reliable, and that they lead to the improvement of learning for all students, teachers use practices and procedures that:

  • Provide a record of student achievement over time.
  • Reflect student mastery of content material and represent a teacher’s professional judgement of performance.
  • Provide information for consideration regarding future course/program selection.
  • Be used to derive student GPA (where applicable).
  • Are fair, transparent, and equitable for all students.
  • Support all students, providing accommodations to those with special education needs and those learning the language of instruction.
  • Are carefully aligned with the curriculum and learning goals.
  • Are communicated clearly to students and parents at the beginning of the course through the course syllabus.
  • Communicate learning goals and success criteria with students to ensure a shared understanding of these goals.
  • Are ongoing and varied in nature; assessments may include homework, quizzes, tests, projects, class discussions, essays, presentations, observations, and internal IB assessments.
  • Are both formative and summative in nature; formative assessments occur during the learning process while summative assessments measure the sum of all knowledge.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate the full range of their learning.
  • Provide ongoing feedback that is clear, specific, meaningful, and timely to support improved learning and achievement.
  • Measure how well a student is meeting the curriculum expectations.
  • Help students develop skills of peer and self-assessment.
  • Create opportunities for reflection, before, during and after assessment.
  • Ensure that grades reflect course mastery and not disciplinary action.

As per the Secondary Grading Handbook as issued by Hanover County Public schools, the IB Assessment Policy is in accordance with Policy 6-6.2 Student Evaluation and Grading.

Teachers shall be responsible for the grading and evaluation of student achievement. The following guidelines shall be used in the evaluation:

1. A student’s grade shall be based solely on achievement.
2. A student’s grade shall not be penalized for any personal action or for any excused absence except as indicated in Hanover County School Board Policy 7-2.4.

Grading Scale

IB rubrics and mark schemes are the basis for grading in all IB classes. Each year teachers review marking notes from IB Senior Examining Staff as well as any subject briefs related to assessment from IB. Past scores are also evaluated. Content area teachers collaborate to adjust IB rubric scores to the equivalent HCPS score. Grade conversion varies based on assignments and proficiency goals. The Hanover County Public School’s Grading Scale is as follows:

A+ = 97 - 100
A = 93-96
A- = 90-92
B+ = 87-89
B - 83-86
B- = 80-82
C+ = 77-79
C = 73-76
C- = 70-72
D+ =67-69
D = 65-66
F = 64 and below

Grading Policies 

All teachers will outline their grading procedures, weights and frequency of assessments in their course syllabus which is shared with all students and parents. All IB Teachers of HL A and HL B courses come to consensus on grading practices, weights, etc. All IB Teacher comply with expectations as outlined in the Secondary Grading Handbook for Hanover County Public Schools.

1. Factors Used to Determine a Grade-
The classroom teacher shall inform students of the factors used to determine the grade for each reporting interval and the relative value of each e.g., classwork, written assignments, tests, special projects, etc. This information shall be provided to students in written form (syllabus) at the beginning of each course.

2. Procedures Used to Average Grades -
The classroom teacher has the flexibility to determine procedures for assigning student grades; however, the classroom teacher shall inform students, through the course syllabus, of the procedures to assign grades, e.g., a) averaging of numerical grades; b) averaging of letter grades; c) another system which is communicated through the course syllabus, e.g., basing grades upon a specific number of points to be obtained within a reporting interval. The selected procedure shall remain consistent throughout the year.

When teachers average numerical grades, the numerical span for each letter grade shall be communicated to students through the course syllabus, and it shall be the span outlined above in this regulation.

When assigning a student's grades, the teacher should consider the impact of isolated, low numerical grades upon the grade for the reporting interval. In reporting students’ grades for interim, nine-week, and final grade reporting procedures, any point system used by the teacher to calculate students’ grades must be converted to the numerical values outlined above in this regulation.
(Amended: February 12, 2003, September 4, 2012, May 10, 2016, May 9, 2017)

REGULATION 6-6.2(C) STUDENT EXPECTATIONS AND ASSESSMENT

Students and their parent(s) or guardian(s) are entitled to knowledge of the criteria for success in a class, special cost(s) associated with a class, and long-term or special projects that encompass the year and require special planning and time management. To provide these conditions, all principals shall ensure that the following occurs:

1. A schedule shall be established which will allow students to have the time to complete major projects such as term papers, science projects, art projects or any other academic projects.

2. A syllabus shall be developed and distributed for each secondary course. The syllabus shall clarify what is expected of the students and shall include a) an overview of general content and/or major objectives, b) procedures for assessing students including type of assignment and their relative value in deriving nine-week grades, c) information on long-term projects (e.g., term papers) including grade value, time of year availability of library materials, and cost of materials, and d) other information pertinent to the course (e.g., safety requirements and performance requirements). Teachers should make certain that materials and resources are available before requiring projects.

3. A plan shall be established to ensure coordination of homework, classwork, assignments, and continual communication with parents regarding student progress. (Remember that the home is the first classroom and the parents are the first teachers.)

4. Opportunities for tutorial assistance shall be available to students.

(Amended: February 12, 2003, May 10, 2016)

Homework

Teachers assign purposeful homework designed to supplement, reinforce, and enrich skills taught during the school day. Homework assists the student in becoming an independent and responsible learner. The amount of time that a student must spend to complete assignments is determined by the nature of the assignment and the student's ability to meet course requirements.

Frequency of Assessments

Teachers assess student work weekly, in either formative or summative exercises. While not all of these assessments will result in grades recorded in PowerSchool, teachers are evaluating student understanding and progress and adjusting teaching as needed. The suggested number of formal/major assessments per 9 weeks marking period is 2. Additionally, teachers typically assess students with 10-20 minor/quiz grades to measure understanding, track progress, and measure mastery. These numbers may vary depending on circumstances with the calendar (snow days, breaks, etc.) and on units taught in that time frame.

College-Readiness

IB courses receive weighted credit. Classes are consistent with university-level coursework, both in workload and in subject matter. College credit may be earned based on successful performance on IB assessments, though each college has its own credit policy.

Reporting

Teachers regularly enter grades into an internet-based gradebook, which serves as a legal record of student performance. Students and parents can access this gradebook at any time. Printed interim grade reports and report cards are issued quarterly.

Professional Development Regarding Assessment

Teachers participate in periodic professional development to reflect upon assessment practices. Using specific data and feedback from the previous assessment sessions in tandem with Subject Reports and Examiner Reports from IBO, teachers adjust instruction and assessment as needed. If appropriate, they collaborate with teachers who teach the same subject, though many of our classes are singleton courses.

Teachers also work in vertical teams to scaffold the curriculum framework across grade levels. Each teacher is formally IB trained. Teachers also network in Mid Atlantic Association of IB World School (IBMA) sessions as well as county learning groups for networking and collaboration with other professionals outside of the building.

End-of –Course Testing

At the close of each course, students are required to take examinations. These examinations are in addition to IB testing during the May testing window. Taking an IB exam does not exempt student from the class exam. Exemptions are included in the Regulation 6-6.2 from the Secondary Grading Handbook.

All students must earn state-mandated verified credits in order to obtain a diploma as issued by the School Board of Hanover County Public Schools. The IB coursework enhances student knowledge in preparation for state assessments – the Virginia Standards of Learning in English 11, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Modern Global Studies, World History I and II, and Virginia United States History. Students must sit for these SOLS regardless of their IB status.

Finally, all sophomore students participate in PSAT testing as provided by Hanover County Public Schools. Some students also take the W!SE testing which measures Economics and Personal Finance Credentialing. Students enrolled in IB Economics do not have to sit for the W!SE test, though some may elect to do so.

The Atlee IB Assessment Policy is in agreement with REGULATION 6-6.2(A) EXAMINATIONS – ADMINISTERING Secondary (Grades 8-12)

These guidelines shall be followed when administering final exams and cumulative assessments at the secondary level:

  1. For secondary school students, two exams shall be scheduled on each of four days.
  2. Exams shall be scheduled for a minimum of one (1) hour and forty-five (45) minutes and a maximum of two (2) hours.
  3. Eighth graders shall be required to take final exams in English, mathematics, science, and social studies and in courses for which Carnegie Units are granted.
  4. Sixth or seventh graders enrolled in courses for which Carnegie Units are granted shall be required to take final exams in these courses.
  5. Final exams may be used to determine appropriate grade level/placement for students transferring into Hanover County Public Schools. Any awarding of credit shall be in accordance with Policy and Regulation 6-4.3.
  6. Students enrolled in a semester course during the first semester may be required to take a culminating assessment during the regular school schedule.
  7. Teachers will utilize authentic, cumulative assessments throughout the year, including at midpoint, to measure progress towards mastery of curricular objectives. Once examinations are scheduled, no exceptions may be made for the convenience of individual students. Students shall not be permitted to take examinations out of schedule. To receive credit for a course, a student must take the final exam. The only exception to this is the student who meets exemption requirements as outlined below.

Examination of Special Education Students

It is strongly recommended that coordination between regular and special education teachers take place prior to examinations to determine if accommodations should be made for students with disabilities. The purpose of modifications is to ensure, insofar as possible, that each disabled child receives maximum individual consideration of his disability without changing the nature or integrity of the test. Based on the disabling condition and individual needs of a special education student as outlined in his Individualized Education Plan, the special education teacher should make recommendations as to appropriate modifications in the test or testing situation. Such modifications may include, but not be limited to:

  1. Schedule modifications - time of day, length of testing time;
  2. Setting modifications - in special education classroom, administered by special education teacher;
  3. Modality modifications - oral administration; and
  4. Recording modifications - oral responses.

Exemptions

Exemptions from examinations will be allowed for following:

Seniors:

1. A senior (a student who is a candidate for June graduation) who makes grades of not less than "B" on each nine-week report period in a given subject during the second semester shall be eligible for exemption in that particular subject. (No nine-week report grade, as recorded on the report card for the second semester, may be less than "B" in the subject for which exemption is sought.)

2. Additionally, the following conditions apply:

a. A student must not have two office referrals for misconduct;
b. A student must not have received an out-of-school suspension from school in the second semester;
c. A student must not be absent in excess of four days during the second semester.

3. Teachers of seniors reserve the right to require all seniors to take exams. Examination requirements shall be clarified at the beginning of the course.

4. Seniors eligible for exemption may, if they choose, take any of their examinations.

5. The same exemptions apply to students enrolled in a semester course during the first semester. It is hoped that this examination policy will provide incentive for seniors to apply themselves to their full capacity in order that they may become eligible for this exemption Privilege.

All Secondary Students:

1. Students enrolled in a course that requires them to take a Standards of Learning (SOL) test may be exempt from their final examination if they have earned a passing score of 400 or better on the SOL test.

2. Students enrolled in Career and Technical Education that requires them to take a credentialing exam during the current school year may be exempt from their final examination if they have earned a passing score on their credentialing exam.

Final Examination Grade Values

Secondary

First semester grades are computed by adding the two (2) nine-week grades and dividing by two (2). Final examinations administered in the secondary schools normally should be valued as one-seventh of the second semester grade. Second semester grades are computed as follows:

a. Count each nine-week grade three times;
b. Count each exam grade once;
c. Divide the sum of the above grades by seven.
d. Grade computations apply to students enrolled in a semester course during the first semester, as well.

Final course grades are computed by adding the two (2) semester grades and dividing by two (2). There may be circumstances whereby the examination may include an assigned project or a demonstration of mastery skills.

Non-Attendance During Examinations

Attendance policies shall be in effect during exams. Students shall not be excused from an examination except for emergencies. Students absent for an exam who do not follow the prescribed procedure for missing an exam due to an excusable circumstance
shall be subject to the same disciplinary action as if a regular school day were missed, and a grade of incomplete (I) issued until the disciplinary action is satisfied. Students absent for a portion of an examination period who do not follow the prescribed procedure for missing a portion of a class due to an excusable circumstance shall be subject to the same disciplinary action as if a class were skipped and a grade of incomplete (I) issued until the disciplinary action is satisfied.

Re-Examinations

Only seniors may be permitted to take re-examinations. They may be permitted to take only one re-examination. When a subject is passed by re-examination, the final subject grade shall be recorded at a minimum passing of "D."

(Amended: February 12, 2003, September 9, 2003, May 10, 2016, November 1, 2016)

Policy Review

This policy shall be revised in accordance with policy changes as designated by the IB, Hanover County Public Schools policies, or yearly. Policies are reviewed by IB Faculty, made up of the IB Coordinator, Principal, Director of School Counseling, Academic Teachers. Policies are also evaluated by and shared with stakeholders via the School Improvement Committee which consists of teachers, parents, students and community stakeholders. Policies are also reviewed by and shared with Atlee Senior Staff and Hanover County Public School Leadership.

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