PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE
In line with its overall aims, St. George International School and Preschool recognises that teaching, learning and assessment are fundamentally connected, complementing each other in developing high standards of achievement for all students at the school.
- Have differences in how they learn
- Have different cultural experiences, expectations and needs
- May perform differently depending on the type of assessment
- Need to receive fair, critical feedback including strengths and weaknesses in order to improve
- Should receive feedback that encourages self-improvement
- Are often required to follow two National Curricula in full (English and Bulgarian)
SGIS uses assessment to:
- Measure individual achievements and pupil progress to produce coherent feedback for student, parents and external institutions.
- Monitor the effectiveness of teaching and learning across the school
- Inform curriculum and assessment review and planning
- Inform parents and other relevant parties of the progress being made by students
- Be fair and based on clear criteria
- Allow students to track and monitor their own performance, and provide parents with feedback on their child’s progress
- Allow teachers to monitor the effectiveness of lessons in relation to the desired learning goals
- Differentiated, to provide material for students working at different levels, including SEN, EAL, Non-Bulgarian speaking and Gifted and Talented students
- Allow students to develop examination technique and manage stress
St. George International School uses a variety of assessment techniques in order to meet the above objectives. Assessment at St. George International School should not be perceived as a stressful process, but instead a tool to inform future teaching and learning.
Assessment may take the following forms:
Baseline testing and entrance exams
At the start of each academic year, or during the admissions process, students will be assessed using the appropriate baseline testing package deliver by CEM at the University of Durham alongside a written examination. This will allow teachers to plan their lessons to each student’s strengths, and the long term monitoring of progress throughout a student’s education at our school.
Summative assessment seeks to evaluate student learning by comparing it with a standard or benchmark (i.e. criterion based in accordance with either Bulgarian standards for education or the Cambridge international programme); This can take place through either an exam, project, verbally, or through a piece of coursework and should result in a final grade or score.
Summative assessment can be used in a normative manner to allow comparisons across the cohort or class.
Although summative assessment may be considered stressful by some students, St. George International School encourages students to see this as a necessary part of their learning, provided that information derived from summative assessment is used and acted on in a formative manner.
It is a minimum requirement that students are assessed in a summative manner according to the requirements laid down in Appendix 1, and results are recorded electronically in a central location to allow quick and easy monitoring.
Each department is expected to undertake cross-checking of marking through the selection of random written papers to be marked by a peer.
Formative assessment is assessment that is used to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by students and teachers to improve the teaching and learning process.
Formative assessment should take place on a regular basis and may form the basis of a plenary during a lesson. St. George International School encourages students to be reflective learners, recognizing their strengths, as well as weaknesses. Criticism in itself should not be considered a negative trait, provided it is constructive and leads to improved learning.
SGIS students will sit Cambridge Primary and Secondary Checkpoint Examinations Bulgarian NVO examinations in grades 4 and 7, Cambridge IGCSEs in grade 10 and in the future; A-Levels and the National Matriculation Exam in Grade 12. Some students will have to sit external examinations as ordered by the Bulgarian education authorities on a periodic basis.
Students in grade 4, 7 and 10 will sit mock examinations for their NVO, Checkpoint or IGSCE exams in January. The mock examinations should be formed from complete examination papers used in previous NVO, Checkpoint or IGCSEs, and serve to provide the students experience at sitting formal examinations, as well as identifying areas of strength and weakness to help students, teachers and parents plan for the final examinations effectively.
SGIS is required to adhere to Bulgarian legislation with regards to the format and type of quantitative and qualitative grades awarded. To avoid confusion, Table 1.1 compares the Bulgarian grading scale to the Cambridge International scale. All grades must be awarded according to the Bulgarian grading scales and accordance with the relevant criteria according to the subject and the standards set by the Bulgarian and/or Cambridge curricula.
|Quantitative grade according to the Bulgarian grading scale||Qualitative grade according to the Bulgarian grading scale||Grades according to the international grading scale|
Table 1.1. – Bulgarian and international grading scale
The frequency of assessment grades is regulated by Legislation # 11, Table 1.3. – Assessment frequency – an Appendix to this policy.
TYPES OF GRADES
Students should receive the following grades
- Current grades – are awarded following the completion of an assessment in accordance with the frequency stated in appendix 1. These should be recorded electronically in a shared location.
- Current grades can be formed using a variety of assessment techniques including
- Oral examinations
- Written examinations
- Project work
- End of term grades – Provides an evaluation of the student’s performance throughout each term. The term grade is formed no earlier than one school week before the end of the respective term and is based on an end of term test /20%/, a mean score of current grades /40%/, class work /20%/, presentation of their notebook /10%/ and homework /10%/. The end of term test is conducted for one lesson in mathematics and for two merged lessons in Bulgarian language and literature and in foreign languages.
If the pupil has been absent from more than 25% of the lessons and has not received the minimum number of current grades, the term grade cannot be formed and the pupil should sit an exam for awarding a term grade.
Students who are unable to do Physical Education due to health reasons are exempt from having a term grade for this subject.
- End of Year grade – A grade to summarise the progress and achievements of students at the end of each academic year. This should be based on an end of year exam, taking into account the average current grade.
- Final grade– summarises achievement of the learning outcomes at the end of a stage; they are formed only at the end of the 7th and 12th
- Effort grade – Each time an achievement grade is awarded an effort grade should also be awarded according to the criteria in table 1.2.
|A||Outstanding effort. Exceptional. The student has clearly dedicated an extraordinary amount of effort towards this piece of work.|
|B||Good effort. The student has clearly shown that they have put a sensible amount of effort into their work.|
|C||Satisfactory effort. The student has put an acceptable amount of effort into their work. No more, no less.|
|D||Poor effort. The student has not put an acceptable amount of effort into their work and this is preventing success at fully achieving the learning objectives.|
|E||Unacceptable. The student has put little or no effort into their work and this is having a serious effect on their ability to achieve the learning objectives.|
Table 1.2: Effort grades and criteria
The teacher should personally enter the grades in the obligatory school documentation – class register and student book.
The deadlines for entering the grades in the documentation are as follows:
- On the day of the examination – for current grades in the case of oral examinations
- Up to one week after the examination – for current grades awarded for written examinations
- On the day when they are formed – for end of term and year grades.
RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE PROCESS OF ASSESSMENT
- Subject teachers – to assess the achievements of the pupils according to the Bulgarian standards for education, the international standards and the system for evaluation worked out by the respective department. To record and share assessment grades with staff.
- Heads of department – to monitor teachers’ compliance with the assessment policy and to lead standardisation of grades within the department. At the beginning of the school year each department should plan a schedule for assessment in accordance with Bulgarian standards for the frequency of assessment, which should be ready no later than two weeks after the beginning of the term; the schedule is coordinated by the heads of stage, it is also certified by the Principal of Saint George School and Preschool and is displayed on the website, and provided to students for entry into their planners.
- Heads of stage – monitoring of the success rate, processing and providing information about the top 25% and the bottom 25% pupils with regard to their academic results in order that plans for general or individual support are provided by the coordinating team under the Order for inclusive education
- Vice-principal of a respective school section– monitoring the work of the Heads of Department and the Heads of Stages, the success rate, the regularity of the examinations and the entering of results in the obligatory school documentations during the prescribed deadlines, and ensuring actions planned by HoD’s and HoS’s are being implemented.