Research has demonstrated that the teaching activity with the highest correlation to academic achievement is completed homework that is evaluated thoroughly, returned to the student promptly, and integrated with class work.
Generally, there will be no homework in the Kindergarten. Faculty who teach in grades 1-3 are encouraged to assign a variety of homework that offers practice, application, and extension of the work done in the classroom. The idea is to provide a structured opportunity for reflection, even by young students. Worksheets are discouraged. The frequency of homework should be determined by the teacher in consultation with the Principal but should provide at least two assignments during the regular week. The estimated amounts of time required for the homework should increase with grade level to the point that the average time is 30 minutes by grade 3.
2. Grades and Grading
At Heritage International School the primary concern is teaching and learning for understanding. Every effort must be made in order to persuade students to try, to encourage their active involvement in the classroom, and to provide them with accurate, timely feedback. This process will lead to understanding. Grades reflect that understanding.
Grades should not be used as motivators. The student should not be told that if he or she had worked harder, the grade would have been higher. Rather, what is crucial is that the student works harder in order to learn more and to develop understanding.
As the student works to understand and to apply understanding, he or she will rely on indicators from the teacher regarding the results of the effort made. These indicators provide direction, clarification, correction, encouragement, and a means by which students learn to read the reality about their work more reliably.
In strengthening their students’ learning for understanding, the faculty should offer careful critiques of assigned work and should return all written work promptly (within a maximum of three school days). Care should be taken to protect the individual student’s privacy; grades should not be announced or posted by name. Regular, private communication of grades will contribute to the student’s sense of responsibility and will result in fewer surprises at the end of term or end of year.
Mid of term and final grades should bear a close correspondence to the categories of performance contained in the assessment rubrics for each grade level.
Grading on a traditional curve is strongly discouraged.
Mid-term grades should be computed on the same basis as final grades. They are shared with students but not sent home. However, in all cases where students are lagging behind the quality of performance that can be reasonably expected of them, parents should be notified at the mid-term and given the opportunity to discuss the situation with the homeroom teacher, including a proposed plan for improvement.
At the conclusion of each term, faculty should complete a report of student achievement to parents to describe progress on identified curriculum expectations.
3. Assessment & Evaluation
As a parent, your interest in your child’s learning can have a tremendous impact on his or her learning progress.
You may have questions about how to become involved in your child’s learning. Things may have changed since you were at school; for example, the idea of student self-assessment and the use of portfolios, or the ideas of assessment “for” learning and assessment “of” learning.
What may have remained the same, however, is the importance of providing children with descriptive and constructive feedback about their own learning. In doing so, children begin to understand what they learned well and what they can do to improve their learning. Providing a clear picture about the next steps for learning is referred to as assessment “for” learning.
There are many different methods teachers use to gather information concerning your child’s learning progress. Some of these include
– Work samples.
– Quizzes and tests.
Your knowledge about the variety of methods can help you talk to your child about his or her learning at school.
Assessment “for” and “of” learning:
Providing descriptive and constructive feedback to children and involving them in self-assessment, record keeping, and communication about their learning is called assessment “for” learning. Assessment “for” learning helps students understand whether they need to improve their learning and how they might improve it. Students tend to be motivated to learn more when they know what they have done well.
Sometimes students are provided with evaluative feedback, which tells the learner how she or he has performed compared to what was to be learned. This is also called assessment “of” learning and may be reported using letters, numbers, or other symbols on a report card or within a grading period.
Both assessment “for” and “of’ learning provide useful information. The classroom teacher uses both forms of assessment to help make decisions about teaching and to help students learn more. Sometimes evaluative information provides a picture of how a large group of students is performing within a particular program at a certain point in time. Both forms of assessment provide information that may help teachers, administrators, students, and parents work collaboratively to support a child’s learning progress.
4. Levels of Achievement
The following “Levels of Achievement” shall be assigned to indicate your child’s performance:
Students who attained an assessment of level 4 have consistently demonstrated the expected knowledge, understanding, and application of skills.
Students who attained an assessment of level 3 have usually demonstrated the expected knowledge, understanding, and application of skills.
Students who attained an assessment of level 2 have demonstrated some of the expected knowledge, understanding, and application of skills.
Students who attained an assessment of level 1 have demonstrated limited expected knowledge, understanding, and application of skills.
5. Progress Reports
Progress reports are given to parents at the end of each term First, Second and Third. General Guidelines The Progress Report focuses on the student’s development of understanding – what has been achieved, what must now be addressed, and how this next step can be reasonably accomplished. A student’s personal management and teamwork skills, behaviour, discipline, and attitude are part of daily teaching and learning in the classroom. If there is room for improvement, the teacher should indicate what he or she is doing and what the student must do. The parent’s role is that of informed support.
6. School Uniform and Uniform Policy
We expect our students to wear the school uniform, maintaining a modest, neat and clean appearance at all times. We would appreciate it if parents make sure that their child is dressed appropriately. The school uniform must be worn for all school activities including those taking place on field trips and on week-ends.
7. Attendance Policy
Regular and punctual attendance is required of all students on all school days. This is a condition of enrollment at the school. Daily regular attendance is mandatory since our classes are based on active classroom learning. Students must be present in order to participate in interactive and investigative activities; otherwise they will not reap the full benefits of the program. Teachers, administrators and parents should work together to ensure that students miss as little school as possible.
When they occur, absences are defined according to the following two categories:
This category includes illness and important family events such as weddings or funerals. In all cases except illness, the parent must contact the school at least one week prior to the absence to request that the student be excused. Parents are asked to inform the school receptionist every time your child is to be absent. Full credit will be given for all school work that is made up after an excused absence.
This category includes absences that occur without the knowledge of parents or school administrators. Work that is not completed due to unexcused absence cannot be made up and this will have a detrimental effect on your child’s achievement.
8. Disciplinary Procedures
Minor offenses by students should be dealt with by faculty members as they occur. If they occur outside the homeroom, they should be reported to the student’s homeroom teacher. More serious or repeated offenses should be reported to the Principal. In serious cases, the Principal and the School Director will handle the situation together with the parents towards a fruitful resolution.
Minor offenses include:
– Being late to class
– Inappropriate behavior in the hallways, in the classroom, or elsewhere on the school grounds
– Eating in class (except during snack times)
– Chewing gum in class
Major offenses include:
– Lack of cooperation with faculty or lack of respect for faculty and others
– Lying, cheating and plagiarism
– Not attending school or classes
– Fighting, vandalism or stealing
– Possession or use of weapons, cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs
– Repeated minor offenses
When a student exceeds the bounds of acceptable behavior, whether by committing a major offense or by engaging in repeated minor offenses, he or she is issued a Referral. The Referral form (available from the school secretary) is completed by the observing faculty member at the time of the incident and is signed by both the faculty member and the student. The Referral is given to the Principal, who may elect to meet with the student and the faculty member to review the incident and take steps to assure that it does not occur again. In some cases, the student’s parent may be requested to come to the school for a discussion of the incident and its seriousness.
9. Academic and Personal Honesty
An important aspect of a quality school is its attempt to instill in students a sense of honour and high principles that extend throughout and beyond academics. An essential feature of Heritage International School is its commitment to an atmosphere of integrity and ethical conduct. Students learn and practice the personal responsibility of vigorously maintaining a high standard of honesty, truth, fairness, civility, and concern for others. Being regularly in the company of faculty who exemplify these qualities is an obvious asset to that learning and practice. Academic dishonesty is defined to include, but is not limited to, cheating, copying other’s work and representing it as one’s own work (plagiarism), lying, inappropriate collaboration, dishonesty in examinations or the writing of papers, dishonesty in producing homework, deliberate falsification of data, interference with other students’ work, and copyright violations.
Plagiarism is a particular form of academic dishonesty and occurs whenever a student, intentionally or unintentionally, uses someone else’s words, ideas, answers, or data without proper acknowledgment. Students are responsible for knowing what academic honesty and dishonesty are. At the beginning of each term, faculty should inform students of the guidelines that they will use for academic honesty throughout the year, with special attention to cheating and plagiarism. It is vitally important for students to know the difference between cooperative learning, that is, those activities in which working together with other students is permitted and those when relying on another student is dishonest and should not occur.
Penalties for infractions may include one or more of the following: resubmission of the work in question, submission of additional work, and a lowered grade or loss of credit for the work in question. Cases of repeated academic dishonesty should be referred to the Principal. Infractions should be treated seriously, with special attention to repeat offenders.