The Hawaii Department of Education is currently initiating a significant curricular overhaul via revised student standards. These standards are the backbone of the charter contract, and will be under development throughout Hawaii for the next several years. The IPCS student assessment plan is designed to balance the DOE's need for assurances of quality student performance with the ongoing development and adoption of performance standards appropriate for Hawai'i's youth.
Student Performance Assessment System
Assessment is the process of recording and measuring the knowledge and skills students have acquired over a given period of time and using that information to improve curriculum and instruction. IPCS will be judged primarily on its ability to demonstrate student progress toward the outcomes specified in this charter. To support student learning and ensure Innovation's success, IPCS will develop an assessment system that utilizes a broad range of strategies and tools to measure student performance and school success.
As outlined in Part III and detailed in Part V of this document, the Accountability Plan will include sequenced curriculum aligned with Hawaii State Standards, appropriate measurement tools, an internal data management system, and a communication system for reporting assessment procedures and results to the entire school community.
Measurement: Strategies and Tools
IPCS will utilize both external tests and internal assessments. As stated previously in Part III, IPCS students will participate in the Hawaii Assessment Program (HAP) and take the Stanford Achievement Test - Abbreviated Edition. These are standardized, norm-referenced tests used by Hawaii State Department of Education to compare Hawaii students to students across the nation.
In addition to these external tests, IPCS will develop authentic assessments which involve tasks or activities directly related to the curriculum. These internal assessments, developed over the first four years, will be rigorous, valid, and reliable. Internal assessments to be used are:
Performance Assessment: To align our project/inquiry-based curriculum with our assessment practices, we will focus on the use of performance-based assessment tools. Performance-based assessment attempts to bring instruction and assessment closer together to ensure that real world skills are observed, practiced and mastered. Skills such as speaking, writing, listening, reading, drawing or performing are assessed by having students produce an observable example or exhibition. Assessment that is related to performance and understanding, and based on classroom instruction is seen as more authentic than traditional assessments (Perrone, 1991). Performance Assessment will assess students' project progress. During the process of working on their project, students will assess a given situation and devise an appropriate response or solution. Performance outcomes will be determined and demonstrated through exhibitions, investigations, demonstrations, written and/or responses, creations, journals, multidisciplinary projects and live or recorded performances. Performance assessment will challenge students to apply knowledge and skills in the development of a creative approach to a situation or problem.
Electronic Portfolios: Electronic Portfolios help students create a broader view of their skills and accomplishments than traditional methods of assessment. Electronic portfolios allow students to organize their audio and video components, as well as photographs, computer graphics, scanned images, and print materials. IPCS student portfolios will contain collections of a student's work assembled over time and include samples of writing and language arts - showing drafts, revisions, and works in progress. As students create their own portfolios, they will evaluate their own work, a key feature of performance assessment.
Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard university, suggests that portfolios can be assessed on a variety of criteria, such as number of entries; richness of entry; degree of reflection shown; improvement in technical skill; achievement of one's goals; interplay of production, perceptions, and reflection; responsiveness to internal and external feedback; and development of themes. IPCS will use students' electronic portfolios as instruments of learning rather than showpieces of final accomplishments, and as such serve as a means of collecting information relevant to the growth of students over time. .
Peer Assessment: Students will participate in reviewing and critiquing one another's work. Peer assessment helps students learn to value their own and their peer's opinions and how to offer constructive criticism.
Rubrics: A set of rubrics will be developed to guide students and teachers in decision making about what constitutes quality work. The rubrics will clarify and illustrate what a student knows and is able to do.
Internal Diagnostic Tests: Internal diagnostic tests will be administered frequently throughout the year so teachers can collect information about which concepts, skills, or content is giving students the most difficulty. Instructional changes will be made based on diagnostic findings. Quick diagnostic testing will be a means to demonstrate the students' increased mastery over time as well as provide information necessary to adjust curriculum offerings to fit student needs.
Split and Switch: Another dimension of our assessment will attempt to measure the value added to a student's knowledge and skills during a school year. We consulted with testing expert at UH-Manoa, Dr. Morris Lai, who sent us to Dr. James Popham, one of the nation's leading test experts. According to Dr. Popham, there currently is no standardized test for elementary school students that is sensitive to the value added in an academic year. He described a technique he has devised for doing so and suggested we adapt it for our school.
Dr. Popham's technique is called "split and switch" and uses the following procedure:
IPCS staff plans to devise questions which will help us determine the value added annually to each child's mastery of higher level intellectual processes.
In addition to academic achievement, assessment tools will be developed to measure social and interpersonal skills, and community service.
To complete the assessment system and make it useful for curriculum revision, IPCS will develop a mechanism that allows for continual analysis of the data generated from the school's internal and external measurements. The data analysis system will be managed by the school's counselor (or Teacher/Director if no counselor is hired). A list of baseline information needed on all students will be determined and collected. Data analysis will be computerized to assist with data analysis. The school stakeholders will determine what questions they have about the relative performance of particular groups of students, for example, girls versus boys, those whose first language is English and those whose first language is not, students on free or reduced lunch and those who are not. Student demographic information will be gathered and entered on computer.
Accountability to Parents/Community:
Innovations Public Charter School will utilize the following mechanisms for holding itself accountable to its parents and school community.
Parents and school community will be frequently informed of the philosophy and process of assessment. Information on how students are progressing toward their goals will be shared quarterly via newsletters and meetings/gatherings.
Parents will participate in student-led conferences where students share their electronic portfolios and other accomplishments. Following the conference, parents will be asked to fill out a survey that measures parent satisfaction and solicits ideas for change and improvement. A second parent survey will be distributed and collected at the end of the school year to measure continued parent satisfaction. IPCS staff and the Local School Board will collate the information gathered from the survey and evaluate the results. Positive feedback will be celebrated and shared with the community at-large in a variety of formats which will include evening gatherings, newspaper articles, web page updates, and schoolwide events. Changes indicated by survey data will be determined by the Local School Board and implemented by staff.
Charter schools are schools of choice and their success is dependent on the return rate of students. As another means of accountability, IPCS will use an 85% student re-enrollment rate (excluding exiting 5th graders and family moves). Parents of returning and exiting students will be asked to complete a form which indicates how the IPCS program has met or not met their student's needs and/or expectations. This information will be analyzed and reviewed by the Local School Board.
Assistance for Students With Special Needs
Data analysis will help determine which students need special accommodations to improve assessment results. Small learning groups will meet on a regular basis with specified teachers to address special needs and until specific skills or tasks are mastered. The flexibility of Innovations instructional framework makes this small group instruction possible.
Students who require help beyond what the IPCS staff can offer will be referred for Special Education services. For more details on special needs students, see Part III, page 11, "Planned Interventions for Students Not Meeting Expectations," and "Students With Special Needs."
Site last updated October 30, 2000