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HD Beijing School

Behind the Scenes with Our English Support Team

2018 - 12 - 18

This year in HD Beijing, we have been very fortunate to have a team of teachers who have been brought together to support our learners in their English learning journey. In this article, we would like to introduce our English Support Team and give you a “behind the scenes” look at their work in supporting our students.

At HD, we understand that our students come with diverse backgrounds and experiences in English. Therefore, we have put in place an English support team with experienced teachers to ensure that the students identified through our testing processes are supported, or extended, in a way that is adapted to their individual needs.


During the month of September, our team worked hard to administer various assessments throughout the school to determine where the support and extension were required. In Prep, the team facilitated CEM BASE testing and RAZ reading assessments.

The BASE test gave us a baseline standardised score for each student that showed areas in which students needed extra support, as well as identifying areas of strength. BASE will be administered again in early June 2019, to give an indication of progression at the end of the year. This twice-yearly testing regime is specific to students in Prep who are new to school。

In Grade 1, the English support team administered a phonics pre-assessment as well as a PM Benchmark reading assessment. This provided data in order to better inform the classroom teachers of the levels of students coming into their classroom. Grades 2, 3 and 4 were also assessed using PM Benchmark, following the school break.

In November, we conducted CEM InCAS computer adaptive testing. These tests assess students’ reading, spelling, vocabulary, developed ability and attitudes to school. There are some mathematical components as well. Similar to the BASE testing, it gives us a baseline standardised score that we can use to compare yearly progress. CEM InCAS testing is slightly different from BASE, as it is only conducted one time per year. 

The purpose of this assessment process is to generate data to help teachers gain a more comprehensive idea of the capabilities of each child in their class, which will better inform planning and strategies to aid students in achieving individual learning targets.


After the initial baseline testing, analysis of the data, and consultation with homeroom teachers was completed in September, the English support team were commissioned to work across the school; dividing their time between each assigned class to ensure support was provided where needed.

So far, the following support has been provided; Ms. Tara in Prep, Ms. Cheri in Grade 1, Mr. Rudy in Grades 2, 3, 4, and Ms. Helen across the school. They have been working in small groups, as well as with individuals, to ensure students receive the support and extension they need to meet their individual learning targets.

During the support team’s time with students, they have used a range of teaching and learning strategies that are targeted to the child’s individual requirements. This has included strategies to reinforce and increase phonemic awareness, build vocabulary, decode, read with fluency, read to comprehend, structure sentences, and/or pre-teach lesson content to build confidence. 

At HD Beijing, we are very fortunate to have teachers working closely with our students to ensure each student has access to, and success with, the English curriculum.


by Emmanuel Alexander

International Curriculum Coordinator

The English Support Team (EST), led by Ms. Helen Jones, is a new addition to HD Beijing this year. This support team is already playing a pivotal role in supporting students in their attainment of key learning milestones.

Assessment is fundamental in order to ascertain English levels, and thus how best to support individual learning needs. Assessment happens every day in the classroom, and at key points within the year children will participate in some tests and/or projects.


The EST plays an important role in supporting the testing of every child, to ensure that class teachers have an accurate understanding of each child’s progress with regards to their learning journey. This means that the level of teaching and learning is pitched at the correct level in the classroom, including the use of carefully chosen books to stimulate learning, with a definitive awareness of the best means of supporting children in achieving their English reading and writing milestones.

Once this process has been completed, the EST work with teachers in their classrooms; ensuring that the curriculum meets t