ICAS Science Competition : Benchmark Testing

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
  • Investigating
  • Reasoning/Problem Solving

Which matches rather nicely with the PYP Science Skills as shown below.

One of the three domains of MYP Science is Skills and Processes:

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.


About Pak Liam

Living, teaching and traveling in Asia.
This entry was posted in Best Practise, Global Jaya International School, Grading and Assessment, International Education, Science Education and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ICAS Science Competition : Benchmark Testing

  1. Someoneasks says:

    as for you, which one do you prefer, ICAS / PYP?

  2. Pak Liam says:

    What do you mean? They are two different things, ICAS is an external test that can be used for benchmarking, PYP is a curriculum for the primary years.

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