Learning Management Systems and Assessment at AISAIS Admin
As you may be aware, last year the secondary school moved to Microsoft Teams as the main online learning platform used for teaching and learning by teachers and their classes. This is because Teams, as part of the extensive suite of Office 365 applications, has much more powerful functionality than Managebac as an online teaching and learning platform. This was very apparent during the period of school closure last semester. Teams allowed teachers and students to communicate live. Teachers could talk to and be seen by their classes in video meetings, while students could use the Chat function to message or video call their teachers if they required individual support.
Managebac is still being used for some functions. These include the posting of daily notices, important IB administration and record-keeping (Extended Essay, TOK, CAS) and school reports. However, Teams will be the main online platform for students. They will be in a Team for every subject class. Class work, assignments and resources will all be posted there, and students will submit much of their work on their Teams.
The most important change that parents should be aware of relates to assessment and grades. In order to understand the nature of these changes it is first necessary to explain the grading system used at AIS. The two main grades that are reported in Semester 1 and Semester 2 reports are the Semester Grade and the Classwork Grade.
The Semester Grade reflects a student’s overall performance for the semester based on common assessments undertaken by every student in the year level subject or course.
- These assessments usually take place at the end of a significant unit or period of work – a topic, a term or a semester – and commonly involve formal tests or examinations, although they can take other forms such as lab reports, essays, projects or portfolios. This assessment of learning is known as summative assessment. Ultimately, IGCSE and IB examinations are the two most important sets of summative assessments that students undertake at AIS.
- This grade indicates a student’s level of achievement in each subject/course, relative to the whole year-level, and as such is the key indicator of academic progress. For example, for students from Year 7 to 11, a grade of B for a subject indicates “good knowledge and understanding of curriculum content; effective skills and techniques demonstrated” based on the internationally benchmarked Cambridge grading system.
The Classwork Grade is generated by a student’s performance in a range of class-based activities and formative assessments.
- Formative assessment is assessment for learning and is done during a lesson or unit of work. Its purpose is to allow teachers to identify how well students are doing while they are learning new content and skills. It provides feedback that teachers can use to improve their teaching and students can use to improve their learning.
- A wide variety of class-based activities can be used for formative assessment such as quizzes, short tests, homework, class presentations, debates, essays; just to name a few.
- Students may achieve different grades for their classwork grades than for their semester grades because the activities and assessments are specific to their class, are more limited in scope and include group activities and assignment work.
This year the only grades that will be recorded on Managebac will be for summative assessments. This means that when you check your child’s progress on Managebac the grades that you see will provide a very clear indication of how they are performing relative to every other student studying that subject at that year level. At the end of each semester these grades will be aggregated to determine the overall Semester Grade.
Formative assessment results will be recorded in the gradebooks on Teams. At the end of each semester these grades will be aggregated to determine the overall Classwork Grade. Unfortunately, parents do not have access to class Teams. However, if you wish to monitor your child’s progress in any subject it is simply a matter of asking them to show you their gradebooks in their class/subject Teams. Similarly, if you wish to see any assignments and/or deadlines that they have been set you can ask them to show you their Teams Calendar.
These are excellent ways to show that you are interested and involved in your child’s academic progress. And the research is overwhelmingly clear “when parents play a positive role in their children’s education, students do better in school”.
Mark Vella – Deputy Executive and Secondary Principal