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Jordan-Elbridge Middle School Assessment Policy

You can find a copy of the below document available for downloading here.


At Jordan-Elbridge Middle School (JEMS), assessment is an ongoing holistic approach to developing rich teaching and learning. Our assessment strategies are diverse and rigorous and are designed to facilitate student inquiry, invite student and teacher reflection on the learning process, and galvanize students to apply their new knowledge in unique real-world contexts. Assessment at JEMS is carefully aligned with the MYP course aims and objectives and also supports local external requirements.

Purpose of Assessment

The purpose of assessment in the MYP is to support and encourage student learning through the collection and interpretation of information about student performance. We also use assessment to:

  • provide thoughtful feedback to students during the learning process
  • support the holistic nature of the programme by aiming to develop the whole student
  • make student-centered decisions about teaching and learning
  • promote the development of critical- and creative-thinking skills
  • develop globally-conscious thinkers through a variety of cultural and linguistic contexts
  • encourage a growth mindset with each new learning experience.

Principles of Assessment

  • Assessments engage students in authentic performance and real-world application.
  • Assessments emphasize not only on the product, but the process of learning.
  • Assessment expectations and examples are made available to students before, during, and after the assessment process.
  • Formative assessments are used as practice opportunities encouraging student reflection and improvement.
  • Summative assessments are used to evaluate student performance after practice has occurred.
  • Assessments offer opportunities for students to embody IB learner profile traits.
  • Assessment fosters student inquiry, action, and exploration.
  • Feedback is a critical component of assessment.

Grading in the MYP

Each MYP subject area has four (4) subject-specific assessment criteria with criteria strands that more specifically explain the learning outcomes. All 4 criteria must be assessed each marking period. Each criteria strand must be assessed twice by the end of the year. A student’s course grade each marking period is determined using a number of assessment methods. Essentially, students will be graded on what they actually know and are able to do by the end of each marking period, rather than behavioral or compliance assignments.

The subject-specific criterions for each course are explained below.


Subject Area

Criterion A

Criterion B

Criterion C

Criterion D

Language and literature



Producing text

Using language

Language acquisition





Individuals and societies

Knowing and understanding



Thinking critically


Knowing and understanding

Inquiring and designing

Processing and evaluating

Reflecting on the impacts of science


Knowing and understanding

Investigating patterns


Applying mathematics in real-life contexts


Knowing and understanding

Developing skills

Thinking creatively


Physical and health education

Knowing and understanding

Planning for performance

Applying and performing

Reflecting and improving performance


Types of Assessment

In keeping with a holistic approach to assessment, JEMS employs assessment for, of, and as learning.

Formative assessment for learning: Formative assessment for learning: Formative assessments involve the ongoing process of collecting and interpreting evidence of student learning before, during, and after a learning experience. Formative assessments shape the learning and teaching experience. Teachers use formative assessment data to provide criteria-related feedback directing students’ reflection on performance. Students use formative assessments to build knowledge and skills in preparation for more complex understanding and performance. Both teachers and students use IB rubrics to best understand the various levels of achievement on formative assignments. Formative work is scored using feedback language rather than graded using a numeric score. This is to encourage a process of growth and reflection before a summative performance is to be completed.

Reporting achievement on formative assessment: Teachers use SchoolTool, a data management and gradebook system, to monitor and report student progress in each of the subject- group criteria. In SchoolTool, formative assessment performance is recorded for students and parents using a letter code that indicates a student’s progress on a given criterion.

The SchoolTool formative assessment codes are as follows:

L - Limited

Produces work of limited quality or understanding and/or rarely makes use of the concept or skill

E - Emerging 

Produces work of basic quality or understanding and/or begins to make use of the concept or skill with guidance

D - Demonstrating

Produces work of good quality or understanding and/or makes substantial use of the concept or skill

S - Sophisticated

Produces work of perceptive quality or understanding and/or makes extensive use of the concept or skill 

NA - No Attempt

The student did not attempt the work or did not participate in the learning activity.

EX - Exempt

The student is not required to complete the work.


Summative assessment of learning: Summative assessments involve the evaluation of student learning at the end of a learning period. These assessments take a multitude of forms, including written works, examinations, artistic performances, projects, investigations, and more. The work a
student produces in a summative assessment demonstrates the degree to which a particular criterion has been mastered. Students are summatively assessed at least once in each subject area each marking period.

Determining achievement with summative assessment: Teachers use criteria-specific rubrics to assess student work. Achievement on a particular criterion is represented on a 0-8 scale, with “0” meaning no standard met, and “8” meaning sophisticated demonstration. Scores are broken down
into four achievement bands further elaborated by criteria-related descriptors. If a student’s work on an assignment demonstrates varying levels of achievement, teachers use professional judgement to determine which level is the best fit.

Below is an example of a criteria-specific rubric with 0-8 achievement descriptors.

Assessment as learning: A unique feature of the MYP is the explicit teaching of Approaches to Learning (ATL) skills. In essence, these skills enable students to learn how to learn by practicing communication, collaboration, organization, reflection, research, and thinking throughout a unit. ATL skills are not formally graded and do not appear on a student’s report card, but they do inform the assessment process as students continue to reflect on their learning and improve performance. Students will practice ATL skills each marking period.

Frequency of assessment: Because assessment is ongoing, teachers are expected to assess student achievement multiple times throughout a unit. Formative assessments should be given often so that both teachers and students have ample opportunities to reflect on their achievement and set goals for improvement. Summative assessments should occur at the end of each period of learning. A good measure of assessment is to administer 5 formative assessments and at least 1 summative assessment in a marking period. This may look different for special area classes that do not meet with students every day.

Report cards

IB report cards are issued 4 times a year at the end of each ten-week marking period. Each marking period, the report card shows student achievement in all 4 course objectives using a 0-8 scale. Achievement levels awarded are determined not by averaging grades earned during a marking period, but by determining a pattern of performance or trend in student achievement. The achievement levels reported are thus representative of how well students are meeting the course objectives at the time of reporting. In addition to the 4 criterion scores, students are issued a 1-7 final score each marking period. The final score is a combination of all 4 criterion scores (A+B+C+D) achieved that marking period. The sum of the criterion scores represents a range of success that is then simplified into a 1-7 overall score. The 1-7 score represents a general achievement level relative to what students know and are able to do.

The general achievement descriptors will appear on students’ marking period report as follows:



General Descriptor



Produces work of very limited quality. Conveys many significant misunderstandings or lacks understanding of most concepts and contexts. Very rarely demonstrates critical or creative thinking. Very inflexible, rarely using knowledge or skills. 



Produces work of limited quality. Expresses misunderstandings or significant gaps in understanding for many concepts and contexts. Infrequently demonstrates critical or creative thinking. Generally inflexible in the use of knowledge and skills, infrequently applying knowledge and skills. 



Produces work of an acceptable quality. Communicates basic understanding of many concepts and contexts, with occasionally significant misunderstandings or gaps. Begins to demonstrate some basic critical and creative thinking. Is often inflexible in the use of knowledge and skills, requiring support even in familiar classroom situations. 



Produces good-quality work. Communicates basic understanding of most concepts and contexts with few misunderstandings and minor gaps. Often demonstrates basic critical and creative thinking. Uses knowledge and skills with some flexibility in familiar classroom situations, but requires support in unfamiliar situations.



Produces generally high-quality work. Communicates secure understanding of concepts and contexts. Demonstrates critical and creative thinking, sometimes with sophistication. Uses knowledge and skills in familiar classroom and real-world situations and, with support, some unfamiliar real-world situations. 



Produces high-quality, occasionally innovative work. Communicates extensive understanding of concepts and contexts. Demonstrates critical and creative thinking, frequently with sophistication. Uses knowledge and skills in familiar and unfamiliar classroom and real- world situations, often with independence.



Produces high-quality, frequently innovative work. Communicates comprehensive, nuanced understanding of concepts and contexts. Consistently demonstrates sophisticated critical and creative thinking. Frequently transfers knowledge and skills with independence and expertise in a variety of complex classroom and real-world situations.

Standardization of assessment scoring

Horizontal grade levels and vertical subject area teams meet regularly to discuss assessment best practices and to ensure reliable assessment levels of achievement in accordance with IB expectations.  Teachers use standardization protocols to promote consistent interpretation of student work and to build common understanding of MYP criteria.

Local grading requirements

JEMS complies with New York state’s grading requirements. Teachers thoughtfully incorporate state standards into each IB unit. Any high school credit bearing classes offered in addition to the MYP will be scored using traditional grades (0-100%). Students who take Language Acquisition will receive both an IB achievement score and a traditional score out of 100% to satisfy state reporting requirements.

Review of assessment policy

The policy and other IB policies will be regularly reviewed by the JEMS Steering Committee.

Last revised November, 2021
Superintendent: James R. Froio
Phone: 315.689.8500
Address: 9 N. Chappell St., PO Box 902 | Jordan, NY 13080