Policies

SPECIAL EDUCATION NEEDS POLICY

The Denver Public Schools Department of Special Education is committed to providing an educational experience based upon the individual needs of each child as prescribed and defined by the federal Individual with Disabilities Improvement and the state Exceptional Children’s Education Act. The Department provides specialized instruction for students to minimize the impact of their disability through a continuum of services, ranging from services provided in the general education classroom to fully contained classroom settings. In addition to special education teachers, students with disabilities may receive support from paraprofessional, nurses, mental health providers, speech language and motor therapists.   The goal of the Department of Special Education is to provide services that will allow students with disabilities to acquire the skill to pursue independent living and post-secondary success.

George Washington High School is committed to providing access to students with disabilities who wish to enter its International Baccalaureate program. With the help of teachers, counselors, administrators, and the school nurse, students identified as having disabilities are provided a range of academic, emotional, social and physical supports enabling them to fully participate in and successfully complete the diploma program.

INTEGRITY POLICY

Personal honesty must be seen as a value and skill that promotes personal integrity and good practice in teaching, learning and assessment. With the development of a continuum of international education, it is intended that teachers, students and parents will be able to draw confidently on a recognizable common educational framework, a consistent structure of aims and values and an overarching concept of how to develop international-mindedness. The IB learner profile will be at the heart of this common framework, as a clear and concise statement of the aims and values of the IB, and an embodiment of what the IB means by “international-mindedness”.

Level 1: These are primarily situations which are dealt with at the classroom level and teacher have wide discretion in what constitutes Level 1 and the consequences thereof.

Occurrences at this level include spur- of -the –moment “heat of passion” wandering eyes on exams and quizzes; repetitive missing of exams, quizzes, class assessments; and infractions involving classroom and homework assignments. Classroom policies may vary, and it is the responsibility of the student to be aware of what constitutes Level 1 in a particular course. The student may receive a warning or loss of credit on that assessment. At the teacher’s discretion, the penalty may be a severe as a “0” score on the work involved. A parent will be contacted and a parent conference may be scheduled. The IB coordinator will be notified.

Level 2: These are situations involving more serious ethical violations

IB regulations define malpractice as behavior that results in, or may result in, the candidate or any other candidate gaining an unfair advantage in one or more assessment component.

Malpractice includes: plagiarism: this is defined as the representation of the ideas or work of another person as the candidate’s own this includes any use from the internet without proper citation and acknowledgement that it is not the students own creation this includes: collusion: this is defined as supporting malpractice by another candidate, as in allowing one’s work to be copied or submitted for assessment by another duplication of work: this is defined as the presentation of the same work for different assessment components and/or diploma requirements any other behavior that gains an unfair advantage for a candidate or that affects the results of another candidate (for example, taking unauthorized material into an examination room, misconduct during an examination, falsifying a CAS record). These include deliberate exchange of information, flagrant copying of a secondary source, internet, web-based information, or any work of another person, use of a “crib sheet,” attempting to obtain points by modifying a previous marked paper, or other serious violations involving academic integrity. The student will receive an “F” for the six week grade. A parent conference will be required. The IB coordinator will be notified and other faculty may be informed.

Level 3: These situations involve serious ethical violations and/or deliberate failure to adhere to IB policy.

            These include second occurrence of Level 2 (previous violations of the level 2 category need not have occurred in the same class.); other forms of clearly premeditated cheating, involvement in cheating conspiracies; involvement in extensive or blatant plagiarism beyond that of a Level 2; theft of assessment, instructional or administrative material; and/or flagrant or repeated disregard of IB directives or standards (including those involving Internal Assessment;, and behavior that is threatening toward faculty or students. If the violation has occurred as part of a class, the student will receive a failing grade for the semester, which may result in the student being ejected from the IB program. If the violation has not been part of a particular class, the student may be ejected from the IB program without grade penalty.

LANGUAGE POLICY

The Denver Public Schools believes that “in today’s interconnected global economy, a truly world class education increasingly means learning to speak, read and write in English as well as other languages. Preparing all students for the demands of colleges and careers now means that students must have the ability to understand diverse perspectives and communicate with people from other cultures.”

In keeping with this philosophy, George Washington’s IB Program believes that all IB teachers are language teachers. A very important goal for us in the development of written and oral expression skills in English. Our entrance requirements include English language proficiency, and reading and writing in English are strongly emphasized in all grades. English is our language if instruction; all students sit English A1 at the higher level. We’re also dedicated to our students’ acquisition of other languages. Several of our faculty (beyond the Language B teachers) speak a language other than English and share their linguistic interests and abilities with our students. In Group 2, we offer French B SL, Spanish B SL, and French ab initio.

In the last decade we have seen an increasing number of students enrolled in our honors 9th and 10th grade classes who speak another language at home. This trend is certainly also true of the district as a whole. At last count, students in the Denver Public Schools speak one of more of 170 languages, and English learners make up over 40% of the total population. Given the number of English Language learners, the district has mandated all teachers at GW (and at many other of the schools in our district) receive extension training enabling them to better meet the needs of all students but particularly of English Language learners. As a result of this training, all teachers:

  • Adapt instruction to support students as the simultaneously learn content and increase levels of English proficiency
  • Intentionally engage students in the use of academic language
  • Make use of culturally and linguistically responsive teaching techniques that honor and reinforce students’ mother tongues while at the same time increasing English proficiency
  • View students using an asset-based point of view, understanding the social-emotional aspects of learning and the power of positive relationships

To address the language needs of IB students, the IB program also:

  • Counsels students who demonstrate need of additional support, offering tutoring and mentoring
  • Counsels parents (in translation if necessary) regarding the importance of academic language instruction
  • Provides additional and ongoing professional development for IB teachers, emphasizing scaffolding techniques for support of these students
  • Provides opportunities to honor and affirm each student’s native language through TOK, CAS, and in other classes, as applicable

ASSESSMENT POLICY

PHILOSOPHY AND PRINCIPLES:
In accordance with the Denver Public Schools Academic Strategic Plan, George Washington classrooms:

  • Excite students to explore, think deeply, solve problems, create and have fun.
  • Engage students in active discussions, rich debates, and deep learning about math, literature, science, social studies, the arts and other compelling areas of study.
  • Individualize content and instruction to meet the needs of each learner.
  • Celebrate the diversity of our students.
  • Ensure that every student is known and appreciated for the gifts he/she brings.
  • Empower students to own their learning and challenge them to achieve goals they never dreamed possible.
  • Ignite a passion for learning.

Effective assessment is fundamental in creating the kind of learning environment envisioned above. Assessment is defined in education as a variety of methods, tools, and processes teachers and others might use to measure and evaluate student growth. Assessments allow teachers to monitor student progress, and to guide and differentiate instruction. They can (and should) take on many different forms to allow effective measurement of broad range of skills and abilities; chosen assessments should reveal what students know and understand. Assessments can provide students and parents with information about areas of strength and areas where growth is needed and can guide students in developing effective strategies for learning. Assessments allow all members of the educational community to analyze and evaluate student progress and performance relative to local, state, national and international outcomes. Assessment in George Washington’s IB DP is criterion-related rather than norm-referenced.

It is expected that GW teachers will use a variety of assessments, both formative and summative, to monitor student progress and to inform instruction.

TYPES OF ASSESSMENT AND PRACTICES:
In GW’s IBDP program, students demonstrate learning through formal, IB-required assessments that result in final IB marks issued the July following the completion of the course. They are also assessed, using formative and summative measures, throughout their IB courses and receive classroom grades. Using a wide variety of assessment formats including, but not limited to, exams, papers, presentations, field work, discussions, investigations, class discussions, and quizzes, DP teachers are expected to use subject-specific objectives and a criterion-related approach to assessment (as published by the IB) whenever possible in evaluating student progress.

FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT
Formative and summative assessments are defined by the IB as follows:

Formative Assessment informs both teaching and learning. It is concerned with providing accurate and helpful feedback to students and teachers on the kind of learning taking place and the nature of students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to help develop students’ understanding and capabilities. Formative assessment can also help to improve teaching quality, as it can provide information to monitor progress towards meeting the course aims and objectives.

Formative Assessment in GW’s IB DP takes on many forms including homework, class discussion, informal checks for understanding (exit tickets, questioning at varied levels, etc.), quizzes, self- and peer-assessment, practice presentations, etc. It is an ongoing process, allowing teachers to determine student progress and to adjust their instruction accordingly. Based on these types of assessments, teachers can communicate levels of progress to students and parents and provide opportunities for students to reflect on their own learning.

Summative Assessment gives an overview of previous learning and is concerned with measuring student achievement. Summative Assessment in GW’s IB DP also takes on many forms including unit tests, semester finals, presentations, essays, etc. These assessments are often used as a culminating activity to a unit of study. Students should be well aware of the scope of the assessment before it is given and of the criteria being used in measuring progress. Published IB criteria are used whenever possible for summative assessments. After analysis and evaluation of assessment outcomes, and analysis and evaluation of the assessment itself, teachers will be able to provide students and parents information about progress and next steps.

Assessment practice at GW, both formative and summative, is guided by the Denver Public Schools teacher performance framework (LEAP), and includes:

  • Monitoring all students’ progress toward objectives throughout lessons using varied, frequent checks of understanding
  • Providing academically focused descriptive feedback, clearly identifying students’ next steps, focusing on students’ strengths and areas for growth
  • Providing criteria for students to assess their own mastery
  • Providing opportunities for students to reflect on their learning, progress and growth
  • Providing opportunities for students to correct misconceptions through peer critique and questioning
  • Supporting all students in identifying how they learn best and in creating/utilizing strategies that support their individual needs
  • Analyzing multiple sources of students’ learning data to identify students’ learning needs relative to standards, gaps in students’ understanding of content and gaps in learning between subgroups of students.
  • Using data to develop rigorous action plans that lead students to growth and mastery of standards.
  • Using data to tailor interventions, content, process, and/or product to meet students’ needs
  • Using student support plans (that include baseline functioning, accommodations and goals) to drive instruction and support.
  • Evaluating the quality of formative and summative assessments in conjunction with students’ performance to identify additional data sources needed for instructional decisions
  • Using multiple data inquiry cycles to inform year-long planning, unit planning and weekly/daily lesson planning.

IB ASSESSMENT

Internal Assessment is a part of most IB courses and counts for a percentage of a student’s final mark in each subject. It measures student knowledge and skills that prove difficult to assess through an external examination, thereby increasing the validity of the overall assessment process. Examples include oral examinations, laboratory investigations, and artistic performances. The IB publishes specific and detailed criteria for teachers to use in assessing their students. To ensure reliability, a representative sample of graded assignments is sent to the IB for moderation. In addition to its counting toward a final IB mark, teachers may choose to give students a class grade for the internal assessment.

End-of-course examinations, extended essays, and written assignments in English and in world languages are examples of IB External Assessment. Teachers prepare students for these assessments by teaching all material required by the published curriculum, familiarizing students with assessment criteria and format, and providing students opportunities to take and to receive feedback on practice exams.

An “Important Dates” calendar is kept with due dates for all major assignments, including IB internal and external assessments. This kind of planning allows students sufficient time to prepare for and complete work without becoming overwhelmed.

In August, the coordinator meets with all IB faculty by group to discuss the previous year’s results and to consider revisions to teaching practices/curricula in response to those scores. Teachers may also consider registering for workshops for practice and/or consultation with colleagues in the larger IB community. Faculty who have attended workshops or have met in global curriculum committees share their perceptions with the IB staff regarding new approaches and coming change.

EARNING AND IB DIPLOMA
Requirements include:

  • A total of 6 subjects studied, 3 at the Higher Level and 3 at the Standard Level
  • A minimum score of 24 points; at least 12 points earned on HL exams and 9 points earned on SL exams
  • A minimum grade of D for the Extended Essay and for Theory of Knowledge
  • Requirements for CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service) have been met

HOMEWORK
Classroom teachers assign homework, in many different forms, throughout the course of the school year. Generally, it is assigned as a way of reinforcing or building on classroom instruction or for preparing for future learning. Its assessment is usually formative and provides another way for teachers to monitor student progress.

GRADING POLICIES

Denver Public Schools Grading Scale
All students at George Washington are graded according to the Denver Public Schools grading system. In DPS classes,

  • Students with a 93-100% earn an A; those with a 90-92% earn an A-. They demonstrate thorough knowledge and mastery of skills that allows him/her to function independently above their current educational level.
  • Students with a 87-89% earn a B+, an 83-86% a B, and an 80-82% a B-. They demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills that allow them to function independently on all major concepts and skills related to their educational level.
  • Students with a 77-79% earn a C+, a 73-76% a C, and a70-72% a C-. They demonstrate basic knowledge and skills usage but cannot operate independently on concepts and skills related to his/her educational level. Requires remediation and assistance to complete tasks without significant errors.
  • Students with a 60-69% earn a D. They demonstrate some skills and knowledge, but requires remediation to complete basic skills or knowledge sets.

International Diploma Grading Scale (1-7)

  • 7 Excellent work
  • 6 Very good work
  • 5 Good work
  • 4 Satisfactory work
  • 3 Mediocre work
  • 2 Poor work
  • 1 Very poor work

Extended Essay and TOK Grading Scale

  • A Excellent
  • B Good
  • C Satisfactory
  • D Mediocre
  • E Elementary

IB marks are determined using criterion-referenced assessment tools. Detailed rubrics are published for each IB subject offered.

REPORTING

Electronic Access
Students and parents have access to password protected online accounts through Infinite Campus and can monitor grades and attendance. Teachers are expected to enter grades at least once a week. Grading “points earned” should be well communicated and balanced over the course of the semester.

Progress Reports and Conferences
Once every 6 weeks, students and their parents receive a progress report providing information about performance on assignments, exams, etc. for that period. Once a semester, the school hosts parent-student-teacher conferences, so that parents and students are able to meet with teachers face to face to discuss progress. Parent-teacher conferences are available all through the school year at either’s request.

IB Scores
IB scores are determined by the IBO and are based on student performance on IB Internal and External Assessments. Students will be given a PIN in the spring and will be able to access their results in early July.  In May, students can request that official IB results to be sent directly from the IBO to the college or university they plan to attend.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR IMPLEMENTING ASSESSMENT POLICY

 

IB Coordinator Assessment Responsibilities

  • Communicating assessment policies to students, parents, and new teachers
  • Ensuring all teachers have opportunities for continuing professional development focused on assessment including IB training, in-building and in-district collaboration, roundtables, etc.
  • Distributing to and updating teachers on IB assessment materials available through the OCC and elsewhere
  • Registering students for IB exams and supervising those exams
  • Monitoring the assessment of TOK, CAS, and the Extended Essay
  • Ensuring IAs and other assessments are submitted on time
  • Requesting input from students, parents, and teachers about possible revisions of assessment policy

Teacher Assessment Responsibilities

  • Using a variety of assessment tools to better understand and guide student progress
  • Providing and explaining assessment criteria to students
  • Assigning meaningful assessments and providing timely and academically-focused feedback
  • Communicating with students and parents in order to keep them abreast of student progress
  • Accessing the OCC on a regular basis to stay up-to-date on IB curriculum and assessment
  • Collaborating with other teachers to evaluate assessment strategies
  • Knowing and following all procedures and regulations related to IB assessment
  • Knowing and following all LEAP requirements related to assessment (see section on practice above)
  • Providing feedback to the coordinator regarding the assessment policy on a regular basis

All George Washington IB DP policies will be posted on the George Washington website so that parents, students, and other interested parties can access them. All George Washington IB policies will be reviewed by faculty and administration, with input from parents and students on an annual basis.

LINKS BETWEEN THE ASSESSMENT POLICY AND OTHER POLICIES

Language and Special Educational Needs Policies
Students’ language requirements will be accounted for in developing, implementing, and evaluating assessments. Students’ special educational requirements as detailed in Individualized Educational Plans or 504 Plans will be accommodating in developing, implementing, and evaluating assessments.

Academic Integrity Policy
Students will adhere to all the requirements detailed in the George Washington Academic Integrity Policy. This policy applies to all assessments given in the classroom and to all IB diploma assessments. Students sign a declaration of authenticity confirming that all the work submitted for IB assessment is their own work.

RESOURCES

Denver Public Schools. (2014). LEAP (Leading Effective Academic Practice) Framework.   Retrieved from http://careers.dpsk12.org/leap-teacher-growth-and-performance/

International Baccalaureate Organization (2010), Diploma Program Assessment Principles and Practice, Cardiff: IBO.

International Baccalaureate Organization (2010), Guidelines for developing a school assessment policy in the Diploma Programme, Cardiff: IBO.