Last Friday, 23rd September 2011, all students from Years 4-10 participated in an external assessment programme called International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) for Science. This assessment is an initiative from Educational Assessment Australia (EAA) of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in partnership with UniSadhuGuna Testing Centre in Indonesia. Class teachers have been preparing students for the assessment expectations prior, but not ‘teaching for the test’.
We go through the considerable logistical effort and costs (GJIS pays for every student to sit the test) because we believe that independently testing the student’s understanding of Science enables us to compare with other students in Indonesia and even against other students around the world. In other words benchmarking our programme. The data we get afterward enables us to know how each year level is comparing nationally and internationally.
With 87 Credit Certificates and 20 Distinction Certificates in 2010 we were well above regional averages at all grade levels, with is a reassuring validation of our Science programme, however, that alone is not enough. ICAS Science Competition also provides us with a breakdown of skills areas.
The test is organised into the following science skill areas:
- Measuring and Observing
- Interpreting Data
- Predicting/Concluding from Data
- Reasoning/Problem Solving
Which matches rather nicely with the PYP Science Skills as shown below.
Skills & Processes of MYP Science Science Skills of ICAS
As you can see the Skills of Science as measured by ICAS are very closely aligned with the Skills & Processes Domain of MYP Science, thus we are able to determine which particular areas our students are good at and which areas our students are weak in. The implication being that we then adjust our Science Curriculum as a result of this data.
We look forward to this year’s results.