Assessment is a key part of every school. However, it is also an extremely scary part for most students and sadly, exam anxiety is something that most of us remember from our own school days.
Although BCB is relatively new to formal assessments, BCB staff are experienced educators that know all the requirements of IGCSE and IB exams in detail.
In fact, a few weeks ago we had a mock session for both the IB and IGCSE and although this was tough on the students - some have came to physical school for the first time in almost a year to do the mocks - it has shown students what to expect in their real exams, whether at BCB and even later at university.
The conditions of these exams have to be strict: students cannot bring a pencil-case that is not see-through. They cannot have mobile phones on them and they cannot come late to the session. Students have to stay in the exam hall until the exam is finished and they must remain silent and under exam conditions for the whole duration of the assessment.
As you are aware,on the reports students receive a 1-7 attainment score and a 1-4 attitude to learning. The attainment score is based on a series of formative assessments and a final summative assessment based on the work the students have completed over a term. The attitude to learning targets growth mindset and the students willingness, resilience and positivity towards learning.
However, the purpose of exams is not to judge or scare students but rather to give a fair analysis of how much they have learned. Teachers call this type of assessment “summative” as it sums up students’ learning.
However, this type of assessment is perhaps not as important as “formative assessment” that teachers use every day to analyse what students find challenging and how to best plan a lesson to maximise learning.
As a school, we like to focus on formative assessment as it directly helps students’ learning - exams only inform us about how much learning happened but do not actually help students to improve if they are not reflected upon.
This links to the idea of growth mindset - we believe that good results are only valuable if they are done by an active, reflective and balanced learner that can use them to improve even further.
Therefore, although exams are an integral part of our school - and we will see more of them as the school progresses - we must remember that a grade is just a grade and that it is what students actually take from them that is much more valuable.
Please see this video of Carol Dweck explaining the growth mindset in some detail - it is only 10 minutes long and definitely a worthwhile watch!