Assessment & the IB Program

Philosophy of Assessment

Assessment at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School and Percy Julian Middle School encompasses the process of collecting, measuring, analyzing and reporting data of what students know and can do.  Student progress is monitored using formative assessments that demonstrate their current level of understanding and identifies individualized student learning needs.  In addition, summative assessment measures the synthesis of student understanding and contributes to the level of mastery at the end of a period of learning.  Assessment is managed through an active partnership among all stakeholders: students, teachers, and parent/guardians wherein students become active, compassionate life-long learners.

Assessment Practices

We believe assessment is a continuous tool that provides feedback throughout the learning process, a catalyst for student-teacher conversation, and a representation of the learning that has taken place. To learn more about our Assessment Practices please expand the headers below.

We believe formative assessment is a tool that monitors student progress, demonstrates a student’s current level of understanding and identifies individualized student learning needs. Formative assessment is worth 10% of a student’s overall grade. Formative assessments include, but are not limited to the following: observation, questioning, discussion, homework, graphic organizers, peer and self assessment, and visual representations. Formative assessment is a tool that encourages self-reflection, both for students and teacher, an opportunity for teachers to provide feedback, and a practice that helps shape instruction and allows for teachers to make adjustments (e.g. external practice/homework)

We believe summative assessment is a measurement at the end of a unit that measures the student’s level of mastery of predetermined standards. Summative assessment is worth 90% of a student’s overall grade. Summative assessments include, but are not limited to the following: unit tests, projects, presentations, and research papers. Summative assessments are a synthesis of understanding and new ideas, criterion-based and common across grade-level content areas, and driven by a culminating product.

We believe that all students should complete all assessments on time, but we know that this is not always possible and does not always occur. Formative assessments will be accepted through the end of the unit or longer based on teacher discretion.  Students who chronically fail to complete formative assessments will be referred to each team’s administrative liaison. The school administrator will then facilitate a conversation with the team and the student's family to create an action plan. For summative assessments, students who do not complete the assignment by the deadline will be required to complete it within a pre-determined period of time to earn credit.  In addition, parents will be notified of the late assignment.

We believe the grade given to the late formative and summative assessments should not be punitive; instead, a student’s late score should still reflect their understanding of the assignment or content. (i.e. A student will have their grade reduced by 10% for late work).  Students who continue to have a chronic completion problem will receive additional support/interventions.

We believe that if a formative assessment is not turned in, it will be designated as 50%. The expectation remains that students will complete all homework assignments.  A grade of  50% is utilized due to the fact that it is proportionally more accurate than to simply assign a zero on a traditional grading scale.

The zero distorts the final grade as a true indicator of mastery.

We believe if a student receives a score lower than a 50% on a summative assessment, it will be documented as such (i.e. A student earns a 44% on a math test. This grade would be recorded in the teacher’s gradebook).  This is done to accurately measure student progress towards mastery on the summative assessment.  However, the teacher may use these guidelines for re-teaching in order to maximize student learning.

  • If a student earns a failing grade or a student wants an opportunity to demonstrate improvement, they may be required to complete a reflection. In this, some teachers may require a Parent/Guardian Signature, a verbal notification, and/or a conference with the individual student first. The reflection may require students to:
    • analyze how they prepared for the original assessment.
    • describe why they think they were not successful.
    • complete any outstanding formative assessments prior to the retake date.
    • describe how they will prepare differently for the assessment retake.
  • Re-teaching should occur based upon the needs of individual students. Options could include
    • Corrective instruction during the regular class period.
    • Corrective instruction outside of the regular class period.
    • Corrective instruction offered through online resources.
    • Corrective instruction through a combination of the above options.  (in-person reteach sessions, podcasts/screencast videos, study guides, etc.)
    • Corrective instruction during the regular class period. (in-person reteach sessions, podcasts/screencast videos, study guides, etc.)
    • The retake version of the summative assessment should assess the same skills, but can be presented in a different format.
    • To emphasize that the purpose of assessment is to demonstrate understanding, the teacher can require that the student only be reassessed on specific standards that the student did not demonstrate proficiency on, rather than the entire assessment.
    • Strategy, questions, styles, manners, and formats may all be changes from the original format.
  • The summative assessment retake will serve as the final summative assessment grade.
  • If a student continually fails, teachers may focus on improvement and seek answers to why this student is struggling. Additional supports and interventions may be required.

Formal assessment at the middle schools result in three report cards at the end of each trimester. There are three progress reports throughout the year as well. Report cards and progress reports provide a numerical and traditional letter grade for each subject area. The Grading Scale for reporting remains as follows:

% Achievement Level












Each unit of study will eventually have a summative assessment task. Each summative assessment measures at least one of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Programme (MYP) Objective Criterion to evaluate student progress.  The MYP requires that each objective will be evaluated with a summative assessment at least twice in a year. Teachers may use a variety of formative assessment tasks prior to the summative assessment. The summatives will form the basis for establishing the students' pattern of performance.

We use rubrics as a main assessment tool. Our rubrics are informed by the MYP Objectives published by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) for each year of each subject area. Teachers will add task specific information to these rubrics as the Oak Park Middle Schools progress with the implementation of the IB programme. Teachers record student results in PowerTeacher Gradebook, our school administrative software. Using this software allows staff, students and parents access to student learning throughout the year. Feedback is immediate. It is important to note, however, that this software requires a conversion from the MYP “8” scale to our traditional grading system. Currently, this conversion is necessary to fit our reporting. As we move forward with the program, we will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of our reporting methods as they align with the IBO Standards & Practices and the use of this conversion. The MYP assessment conversion chart is as follows:


IB Achievement Level


% Conversion






























MYP assessment requires teachers to assess the prescribed subject-group objectives using the assessment criteria for each subject group in each year of the programme. In order to provide students with opportunities to achieve at the highest level, MYP teachers develop rigorous tasks that embrace a variety of assessment strategies.    

Assessment in the MYP aims to:

  • Support and encourage student learning by providing feedback on the learning process
  • Inform, enhance and improve the teaching process    
  • Provide opportunity for students to exhibit transfer of skills across disciplines, such as in the personal project and interdisciplinary unit assessments                
  • Promote positive student attitudes towards learning                    
  • Promote a deep understanding of subject content by supporting students in their inquiries set in real- world contexts
  • Promote the development of critical- and creative-thinking skills  
  • Reflect the international-mindedness of the programme by allowing assessments to be set in a variety of cultural and linguistic contexts
  • Support the holistic nature of the programme by including in its model principles that take account of the development of the whole student.     

Formative assessment is:

  • worth 10% of a student’s overall grade
  • Examples: Observations, questioning, discussions, homework, graphic organizers, peer & self assessment, visual representations
  • a tool that encourages self­ reflection
  • an opportunity for teachers to provide feedback
  • a practice that helps shape instruction and allows for teachers to make adjustments (e.g. external practice/homework)

Summative Assessment is:

  • worth 90% of a student’s overall grade
  • examples: Unit tests, projects, research papers, standardized tests
  • a synthesis of understanding and new ideas
  • criterion ­based and common across grade­ level content areas
  • driven by a culminating product