IB Evaluation Visit: An Opportunity for Growth

IB World Schools are part of a strong community and network of schools and educators who collaborate around the world. As each school grows in their implementation path with the IB, each IB World School is regularly evaluated to ensure that the IB Standards and Practices of the programmes are being upheld with fidelity. It is a process of formal reflection involving all stakeholders within the school community. The main areas for assessment are philosophy, resources and support, and curriculum.

The IB self-study is a process that schools engage in to assess their own implementation of the programme. They identify major achievements during a five-year period under review and the outcome is a detailed action plan for the following implementation period.

In terms of the curriculum, each IB World School reviews collaborative planning, the written curriculum, teaching, and assessment. In 2017-18, ASF engaged  in a 16-month self-evaluation process. All faculty and leadership were actively involved in the process, where there was ample discussion around these standards and evidence collected to guarantee that our self-assessment was authentic.

Part of the assessment is to review what we’ve done, to analyze what steps we need to improve each practice and to provide evidence of the actions we are taking. This is the first time that we have done a K-12 self-study, which basically involves all three programmes being evaluated at the same time. Before, the PYP and the MYP would be evaluated every five years in different years, mandated by the IB, and the DP would be evaluated upon request by ASF or the IB. I requested the review of all three programs in the same year, to provide an intentional self-assessment, analysis and understanding of the action we must take to improve the K-12 ASF experience for students. Our analysis has helped us to be critical and to take actions to close the gaps between transitional years - K3 & grade 1, grades 5 and 6, grades 8 and 9 and grade 10 MYP and grade 11 DP - when students decide their path and choose whether they want to be a full IB student, take some IB courses or choose the AP path, UNAM path or ASF certificate path,” - Diego Zaragoza Tejas, Director of Academic Affairs.

The IB Primary and Middle Years Programmes and the Diploma Programme

The great part of the self-study is that every faculty member is involved. “We took 16 months from beginning to end, because the Academic Deans and myself needed to coordinate logistics that guaranteed 100% of faculty participation and that we were covering every standard and practice and collecting the right evidence for our evaluation. Ultimately, I find the self-study is the best part of this whole process because we’re able to be self-critical, and are able to understand where to prioritize our efforts for improvement and to know what are strengths are to continue building on them. When we had the evaluation visit in September 2018, we were cognizant of what the feedback would look like,” expressed Diego.

There are mandatory documents which help drive our instruction by establishing parameters of practice, these are:

  • A language policy - we develop this document to define how we use language to construct learning in every environment.

  • An assessment policy - this policy outlines our assessment philosophy, principles of assessment, definition of internal and external assessments and how we grade and report back to students and parents.

  • An inclusion policy - the inclusion policy defines how we create an inclusive learning environment for all students regardless of background, learning needs or styles.

  • An academic honesty policy - we outline the principles we must all exude when learning and showing our learning. We educate and hold everyone to high standards on respecting intellectual property and being principled in our recognition of others’ work.

These are the policies that directly support our mission statement and help everyone to build the IB learner profile and international-mindedness.

“In the end, we know what we need to do, and the Academic Deans and I are working on the action plan for the next five years. My plan is to have the action plan reflect a three-year process with actions and deliverables, so that the fourth year we engage in the next IB self-study, and have the actual evaluation visit during the fifth year. That way, all our needs can be planned for and acted on within a three-year span, with a fourth year being used for whole faculty reflection prior to the fourth evaluation,” added Diego.

The takeaway of the evaluation visit is to understand our purpose and for us to be able to define how the purpose builds internationally-minded students that fit our mission statement; to build a culture of learning and collaboration among all areas of the school, create an environment where respect and teamwork is underpinning of everything we strive for.

We refine our purpose, we strengthen our culture, we rethink our environment and we strengthen our learning.

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