International School Manila

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Standards, Assessment Beliefs and Learning Principles

Standards, Assessment Beliefs and Learning Principles all support the Understanding by Design unit writing framework used for structuring the curriculum here at ISM. We begin with the overarching Standards – these are transferable and lasting big ideas that can span months or even years of study in the subject and may spiral and be revisited during the learner’s journey at ISM.

In Social Studies, the standard of “Students will understand that both physical and human geography influence people and places over time,” is a big idea that can be discussed in Elementary, Middle, and High School Social Studies lessons. Or the Mathematics standard for measurement of “Students will find appropriate measurements using a variety of tools,” can be useful every year in school as students explore the various ways to measure quantities.

You can view each of the department’s standards by clicking on the subjects on the main menu or by visiting ISM’s Public Atlas site.

Next, teachers plan the major Assessment tasks that will measure how well the students have understood the chosen standards. Below are our eight core beliefs about assessment. Following these beliefs about effective assessment ensures that students will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways.

Assessment Beliefs

1. Effective assessment improves student learning.

  • Assessment is an integral part of the instructional process and crucial for helping students learn.

2. Effective assessment recognizes learning differences.

  • Learning is a complex process that is multi-dimensional, integrated and revealed in student performance over time. Students learn differently and at different paces, and are assessed in ways that show their learning in the best light.

3. Effective assessment measures what is truly valued.

  • Assessment is based on a vision of the kinds of learning we value most for our students and how they might best achieve these. It is aimed to measure what matters most.

4. Effective assessment is valid.

  • Assessment tools and processes are aligned to standards and directly measure what they are intended to measure.

5. Effective assessment is fair and ethical.

  • Assessment is based on clear statements of purpose, the standards which students are expected to achieve and the criteria against which their success will be measured. Students have a clear understanding of what is expected of them from each assessment task. Assessments are non-discriminatory, culturally appropriate and allow for diversity in learning styles.

6. Effective assessment is efficient and feasible.

  • Assessment tasks are clear, appropriate to the learners and well structured. They are achievable in a reasonable time frame for the learner and mainly within the classroom. They are designed so as to allow teachers to give timely feedback to students.

7. Effective assessment promotes learner self-reliance.

  • Student involvement in the nature and timing of assessment tasks promotes self-reliance. There are ample opportunities for students to monitor their learning through self-assessment.

8. Effective assessment is authentic and contextual.

  • Assessments encourage students to engage in the thoughtful application of knowledge and skills to real issues and problems.

Key Learning Principles

The Key Learning Principles help to focus teachers on planning quality learning experiences centered around the following ten core principles of how quality learning happens. These principles have been adapted from the work of Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins in their 2010 edition of Schooling by Design.

  1.  Learning is purposeful and contextual.
  2.  Knowledge is organized around transferable core concepts to guide learning.
  3.  Different types of thinking mediate and enhance learning.
  4.  Learners demonstrate their understanding when they apply, transfer, and adapt their learning to new situations.
  5.  New learning is built on prior knowledge.
  6.  Learning is social.
  7.  Attitudes and values mediate learning by filtering experiences and perceptions.
  8.  Learning is non-linear; it develops and deepens over time.
  9.  Feedback enhances learning and performance.
  10.  Effectively accommodating a learner’s preferred learning style, prior knowledge, and interests enhances learning.