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HD Beijing School

International Curriculum Assessments

2021 - 01 - 26

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The goal of assessment is to find out the true needs of each student

in order to support them through their learning journey.

Today, Ms Joelle, the International Curriculum Coordinator,

introduces the Upper School streaming process

in HDBJ and explains how we use assessment to group the students

in G3-5 into their English classes to ensure

that every student receives an individualised and targeted learning experience.

This year, we made the decision to stream the children in grades 3,4,

and 5 into ability groups in order to further target specific areas

in their English development.

The upper school teachers selected a series

of UK national curriculum based assessments

to accurately assess the students’ reading,

writing, speaking and listening skills. 

These assessments are designed to prepare children

in the UK for national tests

so they represent the same standards

that we aim to teach as well.

Using the results of these assessments,

we then arranged the children into groups of similar abilities.


We use two assessments for reading.

The first is the PM Benchmarking system

which we use from Prep to Grade 5.

PM benchmark is a series of levelled fiction

and non-fiction texts used in English speaking countries

such as the UK and Australia.

Through this,

we are able to track the children’s continuous progress.

This assessment focuses on the children’s ability

to read words accurately, their fluency and pace,

their decoding skills,

their re-telling ability and their literal

and inferential understanding.

As they progress into high levels,

applied knowledge and vocabulary questions

also become important.

In addition to the PM benchmarking system,

the children are also given a reading comprehension test.

This is a standard assessment that everyone writes.

We use standardized reading assessment

that are slightly below native English level

to account for our bilingual learners.

In this assessment,

the children read the text to themselves,

as well as read and answer the questions independently.


We look at two areas for writing

– grammar and overall writing ability.

All the students complete the same grammar test

which is based on areas covered

in the Singapore grammar lessons

and in the classes.

In addition, students also complete independent writing samples

which we use to assess what types of grammatical, punctuational,

vocabulary and overall compositional features

they are using in their writing.

We are looking to see if they are writing at HD grade level standard,

above, or below.


All the students in the year group

are read the same passage by the teacher.

Following that, they are asked five questions.

Students are not able to see or read the text for themselves,

it is all based on their ability to listen and comprehend.


The last area we assess is speaking. 

Children select a picture prompt and

tell their own story based on the image.

The length and detail of the story is up to them.

While the student is speaking,

the teacher is assessing five different areas which include:

detail of response, sentence structure and grammar,

vocabulary and word choice,

pronunciation and fluency, and communication.


The assessments take place over

a two-week period in the beginning of September,

late November and mid-March.

Some, like the PM Benchmark assessments,

are completed one-to-one, while others,

like the grammar test, are completed as a class.

Once the teachers have all the assessment results,

they start to divide the entire grade based on scores.

The students are placed into groups of roughly,

although not exactly the same size.

When this is done,

the teachers take another look at each child

and discuss their knowledge of them

and if they are in a stream that is supporting their needs

or if they need to be moved to further support their development.

Changing streams is not an indication

of great success or failure.It indicates

that the particular child has needs

that will be better addressed in another grouping.