MYP Assessment Standardization: what is it and why do we ask teachers to do it?

Earlier this month during one of our Wednesday afternoon Growth and Goals
sessions, the secondary faculty at LCS engaged in standardizing student work
in subject area teams; we did this in order to come to a common understanding
of the MYP subject criteria, strands, command terms, modifiers and levels. In
each department, faculty shared student work, tasks and the criteria. Standardization
is one of the IB Standards and Practices of Assessment and is an essential component
of the teaching and learning process.

  • IB Standard: Learning (04): Approaches to Assessment 0404-03: Teachers
    standardize their assessment of student work to ensure reliable results in
    accordance with IB guidelines.

Objectives of the session were for faculty to:

  • understand the subject are criteria, its strands and levels;
  • promote consistency and build common understandings in subject area groups;
  • apply a common interpretation of assessment criterion strands;
  • understand that each command term has a common meaning;
  • ensure cross-programme understanding & application of assessment criteria.

What was the protocol used to assess student work and why does it use command
Teachers used a protocol developed by me and modeled after the
National School Reform Faculty's Critical Friends protocols. In order to hone
our own understanding of the MYP command terms, these were used in the
protocol. For example, in Step 3 of the protocol, teachers had to complete the
following: STEP 3

    • each member states level;
    • each member justifies level with evidence;
    • group evaluates levels with evidence;
    • group decides on common level for that strand.

One can see the bolded command terms of state, justify and evaluate - all
terms our students use in their MYP and DP classes. Command terms define
a range of learning objectives and assessment criteria in MYP subject groups.
These instructional verbs indicate the level of thinking and type of performance
that is required of students.

Why does the MYP use descriptive criteria to assess student work?

Assessments in the MYP are scored using established subject-specific criteria.
This set of criteria is a tool used universally by MYP teachers all over the globe
and is directly linked to the objectives of each subject. Objectives are the goals
of each subject: what we want our students to know, understand, and be able to
do by the end of Grade 10. Depending upon the nature of the subject, the criteria
will differ. Looking at the overview of MYP subject criteria in the graphic below,
patterns of critical thinking or knowing and understanding or reflecting emerge.
It is important for our faculty to practice the application of these criteria for their
assessments and discuss what those levels look like throughout the programme.

It is imperative that as a faculty we continually discuss the cycle of teaching,
learning and assessment. As part of our LCS learning principles, we believe that
collaboration optimizes learning and teachers need to know what our students
have learned; by discussing student work in our subject groups, we can begin to
accomplish this.

Article by Amber Rhinehart, MYP Coordinator