What gets measured gets done. While the old axiom may not always be true, there is no doubt that the type of measurement schools value heavily impacts activities in the classroom. It’s for this reason that at BIS we do our best to avoid overemphasizing traditional testing, especially in the lower half of the school. There are no multiple-choice tests in real life; putting one at the end of each unit only ensures that teachers and students alike drill and memorize in preparation for such an unrealistic assessment. That said, we do need to assess our students’ work, though we prefer to create a variety of more natural assessments that emphasize not just content, but also “the connections between concepts and subject-specific knowledge, skills and attitudes” (BIS Assessment Policy). By deemphasizing standardized testing, we allow teachers and students to focus on learning not for a score, but for the sake of learning, which is actually really fun.

As Ms Bowley and I discussed at the Parent Coffee Morning earlier today, we don’t believe exam scores are the best measure of meaningful learning and true potential – but as long as the best universities in the world require them, we’ll continue to prove that engaged students learn more, no matter how you measure it. We’re extremely proud of the BIS Class of 2018’s IB Diploma results (you’ll be receiving detailed analysis from Ms Marci and can view them on our website: http://bisedu.or.id/results/ ) and believe they reinforce our belief in our approaches to learning and assessment. With an incredible average score of 36 (the world average is around 30), I believe we *may* have the best results in Indonesia. (Not all schools share their results, but the best ones usually do.) Much respect to our graduates for all of their hard work.

While IB Diploma scores are all well and fine, we know that parents also want to know how their children are progressing well before Grades 11 and 12. For this reason, we’ll be running our third round of MAP testing next week (see note from Ms Bowley, below). The test adapts to each student as they take it, only takes up an hour or so of valuable class time, and most importantly doesn’t require any special preparation or pre-assessment anxiety. We’ve had some great early MAP results that we flashed at this morning’s discussion: BIS is outperforming other international schools at nearly every grade level in Math, Language Usage, and Reading. Why haven’t we shared the results yet? Because we don’t want our younger students (and their parents!) to focus too much on comparing themselves to others. They need to enjoy learning for learning’s sake. What we would like to share after this next round is the individual growth of your children over the course of the 3 tests. We hope that parents will also support us in focusing on how much their children improve over time, not according to some one-size-fits-all standard, but in comparison to where they started. Although this assessment measures but a tiny piece of the learning process – and cannot account for much more valuable attitudes and skills such as curiosity, resilience, creativity, or collaboration – we hope that it may help parents to feel confident that a BIS education is preparing their children well for the future, no matter how we measure it.

Stay tuned 🙂

Mr Toomer

August 2018