Assessment Q&A

Frequent Questions and Answers: 
  • Are/were the subject area criteria & scales set by Mesa teachers or IB? 
    • IB develops all criteria and scales. From IB’s published criteria, MYP (Middle Years Program) teachers collaboratively develop interim objectives, based on the year 5 (10th grade) criteria set by IB. 
  • How does Mesa explain the grading practices to students? 
    • Mesa has developed a comprehensive induction program for all students. Specific lessons have been created, for both 7th and 8th grade student, to introduce them to MYP assessment. In addition to re-enforce the whole school induction, classroom teachers, at the start of each course, explain grading practices extensively. 
  • How can a student interpret feedback and affect change? 
    • Students will use task specific rubrics, provided by their classroom teachers, to assess their learning and identify their next steps towards additional growth. Further, MYP teachers use “approaches to learning” to ensure students become reflective life long students with the knowledge and skills to self-assess areas of strength and weakness and built on that. 
  • The grading system seems subjective; how are students to figure out each teachers system? 
    • All teachers operate on a similar system as defined by IB: “Each criterion is divided into various levels of achievement (numerical values) usually appearing in bands, and each of the bands is described in terms of general, qualitative value statements called level descriptors. The levels 1 and 2 appear as the first band, levels 3 and 4 the second band, and so on… The band descriptors describe a range of student performance in the various strands of each objective. At the lowest levels, student achievement in each of the strands will be minimal. As the numerical levels increase, the band descriptors describe greater achievement levels in each of the strands.” – MYP From Principles to Practice. Further, teachers in each department spend considerable time on a process known as “inter-rater reliability” to ensure the criteria are being applied equitably. Inter-rater reliability is the extent to which two or more teachers agree. Inter-rater reliability addresses the consistency of the implementation of a rating system. 
  • What can we expect to see on the progress reports? Is the final grade an aggregate of the 1-8’s from progress reports, or the subordinate received on previous reports? 
    • You can expect to see numbers for each assignment, but also an “in-progress” summative letter grade at 6 and 12 weeks. The final grade is not an average of the progress grades, as teachers in a criteria referenced grading system weigh more recent evidence more heavily. The final grade is based on evidence of a student’s consistent performance against the established criteria. It is important to realize that at the time of a progress report it is possible certain criteria haven’t yet been taught &/or assessed. 
  • If the MYP focuses on what students know, what about what they don’t know or are weak in? 
    • Because IB uses a criterion referenced approach teachers and students grow towards a final outcome over time. By having an outcome in mind teachers and students can identifying what students do know and can do, and then use a rubric to continue learning (what they don’t know) and moving toward the final exit criteria.