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Engaging Students in Learning

At the heart of the Primary Years Program (PYP) is a commitment to structured inquiry as a vehicle for learning. Six organizing themes help teachers and students explore knowledge in the broadest sense of the word. Teachers and students use key questions that are concept-based to structure the units of inquiry. They acquire and apply transdisciplinary skills while developing an understanding of these important concepts.

The PYP identifies a body of knowlege for all students in all cultures. Six subject areas: language, social studies, mathematics, science, the arts, and personal/social/physical education are interwoven throughout the six transdisciplinary themes:

  • Who we are
  • Where we are in place and time
  • How we express ourselves
  • How the world works
  • How we organize ourselves
  • Sharing the planet

Assessment in the PYP

All the curriculum documents and approaches used in our Primary Years Programme are woven into the program and planning process, and are used to inform and guide children’s strengths, interests and development. Teachers and students at the school assess student work; there are no examinations or external moderation of student work by the International Baccalaureate Organization. Two types of internal assessment are used:

  • Formative

This is interwoven with daily learning and helps teachers and students find out what the students already know in order to plan the next stage of learning. Formative assessment and teaching are directly linked; neither can function effectively or purposefully without the other.

  • Summative

This happens at the end of the teaching and learning process. It gives students opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned.

The PYP requires that individual portfolios of student achievement be kept as an important mechanism for documenting progress. Students aged 10 - 12, in the final year of the program, are expected to participate in a culminating project - the PYP Exhibition. This is designed to demonstrate their proficiencies in all areas of the program.

In addition, Parent/Teacher conference meetings and individualized goals for children are incorporated into programming and are an important part of assessment in the PYP.