EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
The school’s vision in raising the whole being of every individual compels all stakeholders to observe the students on daily basis in all levels. Students’ participation, conduct, class work, project, and assignments are overseen by teachers along with the continuous following up of disciplinarians, social workers, and counselors. These inspections are registered through teachers’ daily anecdotal records and daily supervisor’s logs and finally revealed through the workshop literature on the student’s monthly and term progress report.
Another feature of caring for students’ achievement at GAI is the assessment system. Evaluation is only stepping stone in the school’s comprehensive plan. Learners are assessed in many different ways. It is of a three- dimensional aspect that starts with diagnostic test, proceeds to the formative and ends with summative assessments. Before getting admitted in our school, students sit for an entrance exam that would outline those students’ academic strengths and weaknesses. Prior to lesson explanation and class work, teachers typically conduct a form of diagnostic test which enables them to set a proper starting ground upon measuring the degree to which students know about the topic the class is moving toward. When this is established, a lot of class time can be saved as the teacher would be surprised by the amount of knowledge student might have latent in their reservoir before addressing the subject matter at hand. Such positive realization can ultimately lead to modifying the action plan and increasing the number of lessons that drill the knowledge or skill and maximize their achievement. In addition to all the multiple methods teachers attempt to gather students’ feedback on the lesson, teachers, after the lesson has been fully covered, expose students to formative assessment that will always give teachers a more honest version of the students’ understanding and ability to use the new knowledge accurately without the results affecting their scores. The last of all three dimensions occur with the summative assessment, the type of evaluation that will formally communicate students’ results and achievements to the students themselves, parents and all other stakeholders. All the three previous types of assessments may come in a myriad of forms that can be classified under written or oral.
To further guarantee a sustained development in the students’ achievement and a special attention to learners of different learning styles, needs, and capabilities; the faculty at GAI puts each of the stages of Bloom’s taxonomy into practice. Starting at the bottom up to the top, each of the stages is allocated some time of the teaching and learning process of each acquired skill, concept, or knowledge. Once a teacher obtains the evidence that his or her students are comfortable at a certain level of the taxonomy, he or she upgrades their students to the next level until the highest plateaus of thinking are reached and achieved. Knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation all come together to form the framework of our teaching-for-achievement methodology. This is how we rest assured that the knowledge learned on campus will not remain there and that the student will achieve a lot more using it in daily living and beyond the school walls.
Upon collecting data and analyzing it, teams comprising teachers and coordinators at each department put their heads together to come up with recommendations for the betterment of the student performance and achievement benchmarks. Thus, yearly plans and improvement plans are taken to higher scale to suit the results and to add another significant value to the student academic achievement. Allah’s providence has endowed us with continuous improvement that is mainly conspicuous when comparing the amount of skills and concepts taught in the scholastic 2007/2008 to that of today in 2012/2013. What we struggled to cover five years ago requires a lot less effort to accomplish today. This blessing is chiefly due to the fact that over the passage of terms and years, our students are becoming more academically fit for a bigger dose of knowledge. What a seventh grader can easily assimilate today, a seventh grader in 2007 had to make great effort to attain.
This sustained academic amelioration at GAI is palpable in our students’ results at PISA and PEARLS. Although our students receive little training on TOEFL, ILETS, ACT, SAT I, and SAT II test taking skills and strategies, they score really high in those university entrance exams. This phenomenon is a clear evidence of the extent to which GAI cares for the academic development of its learners. Our devotion is even more deeply substantiated in our system of communicating results to all stakeholders namely parents. Teachers are regularly asked to submit progress reports particularly on students who are not as academically competent as others. Those reports are handed to coordinators who will eventually communicate the report to parents by calling them and organizing a meeting should there be any need thereof. Twice per term, amounting to six times per scholastic year, report cards are given out to offer parents a comprehensive scope of their children’s academic achievement.
Surveys play another essential role in determining students’ learning needs and difficulties. These questionnaires/surveys that are used by either parents, students, or teachers attempt to collect information and descriptive feedback on students’ learning to design schemes for the betterment of the students.