Assessment at AISD

American International School Dhaka

Assessment Policy

Purpose of Assessment

Assessment is the planned collection and analysis of evidence about what students know and are able to do. The main purpose of assessment is to provide evidence of learning and timely and descriptive feedback to teachers, students and parents to improve student learning and “to provide a basis for future learning" (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 19).   

The ongoing assessment of each student is crucial to the school’s mission of developing  self-directed learners who “achieve their potential, become life-long learners and contribute to a changing global society" (Strategic Plan 2008-2011 11). Therefore, assessment is essential to all teaching, learning and planning at AISD.

Each member of the AISD community benefits from assessment when:

  • Students can use assessments to demonstrate and share their learning with others. They can use self-assessment and peer-assessment to understand and evaluate their own learning needs and to create personal learning goals as well as select the appropriate learning strategies to further their learning (Making the PYP Happen 46).

  • Assessment results give teachers evidence of learning, which allows them to adapt instruction to meet student needs and to collaborate with students to reflect on and evaluate progress toward learning goals (Making the PYP Happen 46). Based on the evidence, teachers give students timely, descriptive and specific feedback, which allows students to achieve their potential and make progress toward the learning goals.

  • Assessments allow parents to see evidence of their child’s performance and development, thus helping them understand and support their child’s learning (Making the PYP Happen 46).

  • The school administration can use assessment data to evaluate the effectiveness of the academic programs and the whole school curriculum.  

How do we assess at AISD?  

Teachers evaluate student performance and understanding in relation to the learning goals for the units. The evaluation of students’ learning is specific to each division and more specific information can be found in their respective student parent and faculty handbooks.

Teachers collect evidence of student understanding by administering a combination of formative and summative assessments. "It is not the nature of the test that earns the label formative or summative but the use to which that test’s results will be put" (Popham 18). 

Formative Assessment (Assessment for Learning) "is a planned process in which teachers [and] students use [evidence] to adjust what they’re currently doing" (Popham 17) to improve learning.

Effective formative assessment are diagnostic in nature (Churches 3) and occur regularly during a unit to monitor what students know and are able to do throughout the learning cycle. Based on the evidence, teachers adjust their instruction to meet student needs and to give regular and frequent descriptive feedback to students in relation to their performance of the learning goals to help students make adjustments to improve their own learning.


Framework for Formative Assessment


Source: Wiliam, Dylan. "What formative assessment is (and isn't) and practical techniques for implementing formative assessment." N.d. PDF file.  From NWEA web site: <>

"This [feedback] helps learners to improve knowledge and understanding, to foster enthusiasm for learning, to engage in thoughtful reflection, to develop the capacity for self-assessment, and to recognize the criteria for success" (Making the PYP Happen 45).  "Effective learning feedback aims to guide future learning" (Ritchhart 1) by describing students' strengths and areas of improvement in relation to the intended learning goals (Chappuis & Chappuis). Effective descriptive feedback guides students in "a route of action [they] can take to close the gap between where they are now and where they need to be, takes into account the amount of corrective feedback the learner can act on at one time, and models the kind of thinking students will engage in when they self-assess" (Chappuis & Chappuis).

Examples of formative assessments include:

  • using a visible thinking routine or drawing a concept map to check understanding of a topic

  • observing a student during a lab, practice game, etc. and recording the observation using a checklist or anecdotal note (Formative Assessment loc 495)

  • giving students guided practice and constructive feedback on  a project, essay or presentation, etc.; feedback can come from teachers, peers or through self-assessment

Summative or Mastery Assessment (Assessment of Learning) "is the culmination of the teaching and learning process" (Making the PYP Happen 45).

Summative or mastery assessments are often evaluative (Churches 3) and are a snapshot (Churches 7) usually at the end of the learning cycle, an instructional unit or grading period of what students know and are able to do in relation to the learning objectives selected, such as standards and benchmarks. Engaging summative assessments involve "rich real-world tasks, higher-order thinking skills and collaboration" (Churches 8).

Traditional Examples of summative assessments include (Eberly Center):
  • a midterm or final exam with assessment types that require higher order thinking

  • a final project that applies the knowledge and skills learned

  • a paper that applies the knowledge and skills learned

  • a performance, demonstration that applies the knowledge and skills learned

Summative assessment results are used to judge the quality of work or to evaluate learning by assigning it a value, like a scaled score or descriptor. Summative scores are often used to establish what grade a student will receive in the subject area or course for the grading period.  However, "[a]ll available information about a [student's learning] should be used in the determination of his or her final status or his or her summative score." (Marzano)  Summative assessment results can also be used formatively "when students or faculty use them to guide their efforts and activities in subsequent units" (Eberly Center) as well as to "evaluate teachers' instruction" and to "measure program effectiveness" (Chappuis & Chappuis).

Essential Assessment Practices
  • “The assessment system and assessment practices are made clear to students and parents.” (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 18)

  • Teachers take into account students’ learning needs to develop and implement assessments that clearly show student progress toward the desired outcomes.

  • Students’ prior knowledge and experience are assessed before venturing into new learning. (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 18)

  • There is a variety of assessment types that are authentic and meaningful, and there is a “balance between formative and summative assessment.” (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 18)

  • Teachers collaborate to develop common summative assessments.

  • There are planned opportunities for peer and self-assessment. (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 18)

  • There are planned opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning. (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 18)

  • Students and parents are provided with timely feedback as a basis for further learning. (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 18)

  • “Assessment data is analysed to provide information about teaching, learning, and the needs of individual students.” (IB Towards a Continuum of Education 18)

Teachers are expected to adhere to these essential assessment practices as well as to division-specific essential agreements for assessment.

External Assessments

A form of external independent assessment is done by organizations outside AISD. The results of these assessments are used to compare and analyze student performance at AISD with those of similar students elsewhere. This form of independent assessment is done by an organization other than the one that is teaching or training the student. It does not have to take the form of a traditional written exam, though that is the most common.

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)

All students in grades 2-9 take the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), developed and scored by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), two to three times a year. It is aligned with international school standards for reading and mathematical literacy frameworks developed by the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA). The MAP measures student performance in the areas of mathematical literacy, reading literacy and writing.  An individual student report is provided to parents. A copy is kept in the student’s file.

AISD also receives a complete school report consisting of a record of individual results by grade level and sub-group. The school uses this feedback to address curriculum and improve instruction.

Advanced Placement (AP)

The College Board and the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey have developed the Advanced Placement (AP) Exams to be taken in May after completion of specifically designed coursework. There is a fee for each exam. The exams are externally assessed using a grading scale of 1-5. A student must usually earn a 3 or higher in order to qualify for college credit.  Students in Grades 11 or 12 may take the exams and scores are sent from New Jersey in July.

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB Diploma)

Grade 11 and 12 students enrolled in the IB Diploma take IB Exams in May after completing a two-year course of study in each area. There is a fee for these externally assessed and moderated exams. The grading scale of 1-7 is criterion-based; results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student’s position in the overall rank order (Handbook of Procedures for the IB Diploma Programme).

Requirements for a full IB Diploma include a minimum passing score of 24 out of 45. This represents an average of “4” in six courses, plus  (0-3) bonus points for the Theory of Knowledge class, and the Extended Essay.  The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) provides exam results in early July. Students may complete individual IB courses and receive an IB Certificate with a score of 3 or above. IB courses are often recognized for college credit in the selective colleges and universities. (Understanding the IB Diploma Programme Scores)

Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test (PSAT)

The Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) is given in October. Students register in advance for this Saturday exam that is designed to help Grade 10 and 11 students prepare for the SAT Reasoning Test. There is a fee for this exam. In grade 11, U.S. students the PSAT results can be used by to qualify for National Merit Scholarships.

Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT and SAT II)

The Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) is administered to students in Grades 11 and 12. There is a fee for this exam, which requires advance registration.

The SAT measures critical thinking skills proven to promote academic success in college. The exam contains Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing sections. Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200—800, with two writing sub-scores for multiple-choice and the essay. The SAT II exam is an additional subject specific assessment sometimes required for college admission applications. (About the Tests - What is the SAT)

American College Test (ACT)

The ACT is a college entrance exam. It assesses Grade 11 or 12 students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. There is a fee for this exam, which requires advance registration. The multiple-choice tests cover four areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. The Writing Test, which is optional, measures skill in planning and writing a short essay.

ACT identifies the number of correct answers on each test and converts that number to a scale score. Scale scores have the same meaning for all the different versions of the ACT Assessments even though they may be administered on different test dates.  A student’s Composite Score and each Test Score (English, Math, Reading, Science) ranges from 1 (low) to 36 (high). The Composite Score is the average of the four Test Scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. (ACT FAQ: What is the ACT?)

ACT/ Plan

The ACT/Plan test is administered to students in Grade 10 as a career planning and achievement assessment tool. It is also designed to prepare students for the ACT college admissions test. The results from the career inventories are used to help students develop a career planning portfolio on the ACT Discover career planning website. It also gives a comprehensive career/interest inventory that is useful in helping students with college planning.


ACT, Inc. "ACT FAQ: What is the ACT?" ACT, Inc.: A Student Site for ACT Test Takers. ACT, Inc., n.d. Web. 29 May 2012. <>.

American International School Dhaka. Strategic Plan 2008-2011. 2008. PDF file.

Chappuis, Stephen, and Jan Chappuis. "The Best Value in Formative Assessment." Educational Leadership 65.4 (2007/2008): 14-19. ASCD. Web. 10 Nov. 2012. <>.

Churches, Andrew. "A guide to formative and summative assessment and rubric development." N.d. PDF file. From <>

The College Board. "About the Tests - What is the SAT." College Admissions - The SAT - University & College Search Tool. The College Board, n.d. Web. 29 May 2012. <>.

Eberly Center. "What is the difference between formative and summative assessment?" Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence. Ed. Carnegie Mellon University. Carnegie Mellon University, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <>.

International Baccalaureate Organization. "A1.2 The Diploma Programme." Handbook of   Procedures for the Diploma Programme 2011. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2011. Web. 29 May 2012. <>.

International Baccalaureate Organization. "Making the PYP Happen" IBO OCC. OCC, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2010. <>.

International Baccalaureate Organization. "Towards a continuum of international education" IBO OCC. OCC, n.d. Web. 25 Aug. 2011. <>.

International Baccalaureate Organization. "Understanding the IB Diploma Programme Scores." The IB Diploma Program: Preparation for University in the 21st Century. International Baccalaureate Organization, 2010. Web. 29 May 2012. <>.

Marzano, Robert J. Classroom Assessment & Grading that Work. Alexandria: ASCD, 2006. Print.

Marzano, Robert J. Formative Assessment & Standards-Based Grading. Bloomington: Solution Tree, 2009. N. pag. Kindle file.

Popham, W. James. Transformative Assessment. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2008. Digital file.

Ritchhart, Ron. "Language of the Classroom_V2." N.d. Digital file. From Ron Ritchhart's web site:

Wiliam, Dylan. "What formative assessment is (and isn't) and practical techniques for implementing formative assessment." N.d. PDF file.  From NWEA web site: <>

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