Uptown School

Uptown School, Dubai
How we used international
standardised assessment data to
drive improvement
Uptown School, Dubai
• IB World School
• IB Primary Years Programme – 9 years
• IB Middle Years Programme – second year
• Broadly Open entry policy – international student
body with wide range of abilities
• Transient student population (10-15% per year)
• Major expansion - 300 new students this year!
Using international normreferenced assessment data to drive
• Improvement in our curriculum programme
• Improvement in planning and teaching
Leading to:
Improvement in Student Learning
Enhanced Student Attainment
Norm Referenced Assessments
National System CAT Cognitive Abilities Test
Progress in Mathematics
PiPS Performance Indicators in Primary Schools
MAP Measures of Academic Progress
GAT General Achievement Test
ASSET Assessment of Scholastic Skills through Ed Testing
TIMSS Trends in Mathematics & Science
PIRLS Progress in International Reading & Literacy
PISA Programme for International School Assessment
International Schools Assessment
International Benchmark Tests
Which Assessments?
• ACER IBT (International Benchmark Tests)
• ACER ISA (International Schools’ Assessment)
• ISA is designed for students in international schools
• ISA bears research-founded reliability & validity
• ISA is used by many IB Programme schools world-
• ISA Provides and allows for easy disaggregation of
Norm Referenced Assessment
- Why?
The prime purpose in most schools
Internal and external
Quality Assurance and
Norm Referenced Assessment - Why?
If we use Norm Referenced Assessments solely for
accountability we are missing a massive opportunity
Using the data…
as a means of driving and supporting continuous
school improvement
Data informed decision-making
Improvement in successful schools as well as those
with lower attainment
IBT and ISA, 2012-2013
Uptown Students were solid in English but were
markedly below Norms in Mathematics – across all
‘Yes, but……..’
Addressing and responding to the
‘Yes, but……..’ phenomena
Building personal and collegial understanding that:
the assessments are reliable and valid
the data is valid and painting a clear picture
= Ownership & Responsibility
Yes, but…………..
• IB PYP is different; it doesn’t lend itself to external
standardised assessments
• Multiple-choice questions/answers are alien to
our students and our approach to assessment
• Our many new students each year and SEN
students impact negatively on our overall
• The IBT/ISA doesn’t assess conceptual
• The IBT/ISA doesn’t assess what our students
are learning at each of our grade levels
• A comparative analysis of Uptown School’s scope
and sequence against expected skills and
understandings within the ISA assessment and
against worldwide national system curricular
Clear Gaps
• Curriculum modification - adoption and adaption
of New South Wales (AUS) Scope and Sequence
• Raising expectations
• Absolute clarity about what students need to learn
during each year.
• The discrete teaching of mathematical literacy Mathematical literacy units created spanning the
school year
• Separate from the IB PYP trans - disciplinary
Units of Inquiry
• Unit plans clearly defining instructional practices
– direct instruction as well as guided inquiry
• The introduction of a home-based on online daily
mathematics practice programme, G1-G9
An explicit leadership focus on classroom
• Good teaching is not enough; students need and
deserve excellent teaching
• Closing the achievement gap requires excellent
It is the leader’s prime and over-riding
responsibility to ensure that classroom practice
is excellent
Ineffective v Excellent Teaching
US state-wide studies of elementary and middle
school students
• The effect on the student of one year of ineffective
teaching lasts up to three years
• The effect on the student of one year of excellent
teaching lasts up to three years
• One year of excellent teaching cannot make up for
one year of ineffective teaching
• Three years of ineffective teaching is irrecoverable
• SMART Goal-Setting based on external standardised
and baseline assessment data, at both the grade
level and individual class level
• Weekly collaborative planning and collaborative
discussion of student products
• Differentiation by need, within the classroom
• Formative assessment and quality feedback
Excellent Teaching
Teacher Supervision and Feedback
• Classroom teaching and differentiation
• Teacher short-term planning
• Regular review of student workbooks and
• Dialogue with students about their learning
An explicit focus on outputs – student progress
and attainment is the measure of teacher
Even if your standardised assessments are:
We need to look beyond the scores
• Data informed decision-making is a must!
• Using reliable and objective data drives school
improvement and enhanced student attainment
This applies to the ‘outstanding’ as well as the ‘good’ –
good to great; but great to greater!
Excellent, data-informed, teaching is what students need
and for what we are all accountable
Employ external standardised assessments that
support disaggregation and interpretation of data

similar documents