ASSESSMENT POLICY

Rationale

Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning. The purpose is to identify students’ strengths and to build on their needs. This assessment policy is designed to reflect and support the philosophy and objectives of St. George International School & Preschool as a whole.

Assessment enables teachers to:

  • Plan and observe the individual progress of students;
  • Evaluate whether learning objectives have been met;
  • Diagnose students’ strengths and needs;
  • Evaluate effectiveness of teaching and learning;
  • Provide information on individual student achievement.

Assessment enables students to:

  • Evaluate and take responsibility for their own learning in various ways so that they can feel successful and involved in the process of their future learning;
  • Identify their strengths and targets for improvement.

Principles and Practice

In line with its overall aims, St. George International School & Preschool (SGIS) recognises that teaching, learning, and assessment are fundamentally connected, complementing each other in developing high standards of achievement for all students at the school.

SGIS Students:

  • 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 clear, understandable, fair, and 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 (constituting of Bulgarian standards for education and the Cambridge international programme).

SGIS uses assessment to:

    >Measure individual achievements and student progress to produce coherent feedback for student, parents, teachers, school administration, and external institutions;
  • Monitor the effectiveness of teaching and learning across the school;
  • Inform curriculum, assessment review and planning;
  • Inform parents and other relevant parties of the progress being made by students.

Assessment must:

  • Be fair and based on clear, understandable 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;
  • Be differentiated, to provide material for students working at different levels, including children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), English as an Additional language (EAL), Non-Bulgarian speaking and Gifted and Talented (G&T) students;
  • Allow students to develop examination techniques and manage stress.

Forms of Assessment:

St. George International School & Preschool uses a variety of assessment techniques in order to meet the above objectives. Assessment at St. George International School & Preschool should be perceived as a tool to inform future teaching and learning.

SGIS uses a variety of assessment techniques in order to meet the above objectives. Assessment at SGIS should be used as a tool to inform future teaching and learning.

Assessment may take the following forms:

Entrance exams

At the start of each academic year, or/and during the admissions process, students will be assessed using the appropriate baseline testing package delivered by CEM at the University of Durham, alongside a written examination. The CEM tests are adaptive tests, which measure Reading, Maths and other qualities. The score is standardised based on age and makes comparison against current and historical sample size. This testing 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. The results are to be shared with the parents in a report during a Parent-teacher`s meeting at the end of September/beginning of October.

Entry level diagnostic test (Baseline testing) - Statutory

Within the first three weeks of the school year, each student will sit a test in every compulsory subject, part of the Bulgarian curriculum and studied in the previous school year. Where students have not previously studied a particular subject, the baseline testing will acknowledge previous learning. These tests show the student`s current level of knowledge and understanding. The exams are in written form. The exam papers are kept at the school for one school year.

Exit level diagnostic test (Baseline testing) - Statutory

Up until two weeks before the end of the school year, each student will sit a test in every compulsory subject, part of the Bulgarian curriculum and studied the current school year. These tests show the student`s current level of knowledge and understanding as well as the academic progress they have made throughout the year. The exams are in written form. The exam papers are kept at the school for one school year.

Formal Assessment - Statutory

Formal assessment takes place on a regular basis. The tests are designed to demonstrate that the student has made a progress and constitute of various levels of difficulty.

The requirements for the formal assessment`s minimum frequency for each subject from Grades 0 – 12 th are listed in Table 1 below.


Subject Number of grades per term
Subjects taught up to twice/week 2
Subjects taught 2,5/3,5 lessons/week 3
Subjects taught minimum 4 lessons/week 4

Table 1 – Number of minimum current grades per term


The baseline tests are included in the number of minimum grades.

The 0 - 11 th Grade students sit end-of-term tests as part of their formal assessment. The end-of-term test subjects are listed in Table 2.


Grades Subjects
0 Grade International Primary Curriculum
0 Grade - 4th Grade Bulgarian
0 Grade - 4th Grade Mathematics
0 Grade - 4th Grade English
1st Grade - 4th Grade Science
1st Grade - 4th Grade Man and Nature & Man and Society
5th - 7th Grade Bulgarian language and literature
5th - 7th Grade Mathematics
8th - 11th Grade Bulgarian language and literature
8th - 11th Grade Mathematics
8th - 11th Grade Foreign languages

Table 2 – End-of-term test subjects


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. The end-of-term tests are given according to a schedule, prepared by the school administration at the beginning of each school term. The 11 th grade students When in a separate form of training will sit an end-of-year test for every subject in order to have their year grade determined.

All tests must be sent home, signed by parents and returned to the relevant subject teacher in order to be used for monitoring, moderation and portfolio purposes. The tests are kept by the relevant subject teacher until the end of the school year. The entry- and exit level diagnostic tests will be sent home as copies.

Summative assessment

Summative assessment is a form of formal testing and is a necessary part of the students learning. It is an overall assessment of the student and can take place in many forms, for example: through an exam, project, verbally, or through a piece of coursework. It should result in a final grade or score. The summative testing 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).

Summative assessment can be used in a normative manner to allow comparisons across the cohort or class.

Each department is expected to undertake cross-checking of marking through the selection of random written papers to be marked by a peer.

The results are recorded in iSAMS, Dnevnik and Student notebook to allow quick and easy monitoring by staff.

Formative assessment

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. The tests are designed to demonstrate that the child has made a progress and constitutes of various levels of difficulty.

Formative assessment may form the basis of a plenary during a lesson. St. George International School & Preschool encourages students to be reflective learners, recognizing their strengths, as well as weaknesses. The clear and fair feedback, given by the teachers at the SGIS, is considered vital and constructive part of the education and leads to improved learning.

External Examinations

SGIS students will sit examination according to the Bulgarian educational standards and the Cambridge International programme in accordance to particular educational authority’s schedule.

SGIS students will sit Cambridge Primary and Secondary Checkpoint Examinations, Bulgarian National Examination (NVO) in grades 4, 7 and 10, Cambridge IGCSEs in grade 10, 11; AS-Levels in 11 th Grade.

Mock exams

Students in grade 4, 7 and 10 will sit mock examinations for their NVO, Checkpoint or IGSCE exams in January 2020. The mock examinations should be formed from complete examination papers used in previous NVO, Checkpoint or IGCSEs and Cambridge International Examination (CIE) past papers. The mock examination serves to provide the students experience at sitting formal examinations, as well as identifying areas of strength and weakness to help students and teachers plan for the final examinations effectively.

Student Portfolios

Teachers are to keep a record of assessment in individual student portfolios. A portfolio should include a cover page, formative or summative assessments, checklists, students’ self-assessments and artifacts (samples of students’ best work such as photographs or projects; writing samples). Portfolios should demonstrate both developmental and academic progression as well as give evidence of assessment and student target setting.

Assessment in the classroom should be differentiated, sensitive and accessible to all learners. Students should feel successful, motivated and supported. Assessment will take many forms; such as discussions, questioning, observations, marking of written work, testing, self-assessment and project work. Where applicable, assessments should be shared with the students prior to assigning the assessment task; such as rubrics or checklists related to a project or an assigned written task. Assessment should be sensitive, taking into account cultural, gender, racial and religious differences. Differing levels of English will need to be taken into consideration and assessment should be adapted or modified accordingly.

Awarding grades

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 3 compares the Bulgarian grading scale to the Cambridge International scale. All grades must be awarded according to the Bulgarian grading scales AND in accordance with the relevant criteria according to the subject and the standards set by the St. George International School’s curriculum as approved by the regional inspectorate and the assessment is performed on this curriculum.


Quantitative grade according to the Bulgarian grading scale Qualitative grade according to the Bulgarian grading scale Grades according to the international grading scale (IGCSE + A-Level) Cambridge Checkpoint
6 Excellent A*/9 6 Gold
5.5 Excellent A/8 6
4.5 – 5 Very good A/7 5
4 Good B/6 4 Silver
3.5 Good B/5 3
3 Average C/4 2 Bronze
2.5 Average D/3 1
2 Poor EFG/2-1 0

Table 3 – Bulgarian and International grading scale


Types of Grades

Students should receive the following grades:

Current grades

They are awarded following the completion of an assessment in accordance with Table 1. The results are recorded in iSAMS and in all documentation, according Bulgarian law /Dnevnik, Student notebook/ to allow quick and easy monitoring by staff.

Current grades can be formed using a variety of assessment techniques including:

  • Oral examinations;
  • Coursework;
  • Written examinations;
  • Written assignments;
  • Project work;
  • Homework;
  • Preparation for class.

The weight of the techniques listed above is determined by each teacher, in accordance to the specifics of each subject.

Mechanisms for changing grades are described in Appendix B. Any requests to change grades outside of the scenarios mentioned in Appendix B shall not be entertained.

A student awarded a grade Good (4) or lower may be required to attend self-preparation or consultations with a teacher until the teacher is sure that the student has met the requirements for the subject.

End-of-term grades

End-of-term grades provide 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 no later than two school days before the end of the respective term. It 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%). These percentages are indicative and may vary according to the specifics of each subject and its requirements.

For a subject, taught for only one term, the end-of-year grade is formed based on that grade. If the student 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 student should sit an exam for awarding an end of term grade.

Students who are unable to do Physical Education due to health reasons must preset a medical document for verification. After that, they will be exempt from having a term grade for this subject.

End-of-year grade

End-of-year grade summarises the progress and achievements of students at the end of each academic year. These should be based on an end-of-year exam, taking into account the average current grade as well as the end-of-term grades.

Final grade

A final grade summarises the achievement of the learning outcomes at the end of a stage. They are formed only at the end of the 7th.

Effort grade

Each time an achievement grade is awarded an effort grade should also be awarded according to the criteria in Table 4.


Grade Criteria
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 4 - 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;
  • up to two weeks after the examination – the end-of-year exam;
  • on the day when they are formed – for end-of-term and end-of-year grades.
 

Responsibilities in the Process of Assessment

  • Subject teachers – to assess the achievements of the students 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 (HoD) – 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 St. George International School & Preschool, and provided to students for entry into their planners.
  • Heads of Stage (HoS) – monitoring of the success rate, processing and providing information about the top 25% and the bottom 25% of students 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.
  • Heads 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.
  • Learning support – the learning support at the school constitutes of the school counsellors, psychologist and the speech therapist. They are involved in the personal development of the students, working with all students, especially with SEND and G&T students, training the pedagogical and non-pedagogical staff on issues related to special educational needs, organising and controlling the preservation of relevant students’ documents.

Feedback

Feedback should be considered as an integral part of the whole school assessment policy and is linked to Assessment for Learning. Feedback should motivate students and focus on strengths and achievement and provide students with information which will help them to progress in their learning and achieve their full potential.

Effective feedback requires:

  • Regularity;
  • Sharing of learning objectives with the student and assessment criteria;
  • Is specific and constructive;
  • Can involve the students in both peer and self-assessment.

Feedback should be constructive and used pertaining to effort and/or content. The whole school assessment effort grade criteria should be used, when appropriate, if feeding back on both homework and classwork.

In writing, children should be involved in editing and revising their own work. In the early stages it may be oral, gradually transitioning as learners become more independent. In spelling, teachers’ feedback should target high frequency words and mistakes should be underlined with the correct spelling given. Special attention should be given to text organisation, sentence structure and punctuation. When students become more independent, they will review their own work and will be encouraged to check their spelling, punctuation and grammar by using resources within the classroom. In targeted handwriting tasks, special attention should be given to incorrect letter formation, joining, sizing and spacing of letters and words. Teachers within the Primary School use a checklist to ensure continuity across all stages and subject areas (Appendix A).

The current Assessment Policy of St. George International School & Preschool is written in compliance with the Bulgarian educational legislation which could also be used for all other cases, not described in the current document. All additional policies of assessing process within specific subjects in specific are in direct submission to the current Assessment Policy.

Effective from 15.09.2019

To be revised on 15.09.2020

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