How do you earn a grade?”
Each subject area has 4 different Criteria with different grade level expectations for Grade 6, Grades 7 & 8 and Grades 9 & 10.  Each criterion is worth 8 points.  While they vary from subject to subject, Criterion A is usually knowledge based, Criterion B investigation based, Criterion C communication based and Criterion D thinking or application based.

How come we don’t get many number grades?
In the MYP, as in many programmes, there are two different types of assessment: formative and summative.  Most of your assessments are formative, which can also be interpreted as practice.  Just as players go to soccer practice before playing a competitive game, students need the time and opportunity to develop the skills they need before they are formally assessed.  Some formative assessments are very short and others can be quite lengthy.  Formative assessments are not scored against the subject criteria.  

The MYP requires that each criterion gets formally, and thoroughly, assessed at least twice a year.  The final grade will then be based on a trend, rather than an average.

So formative assessments don’t count, right?
Formative assessments do count, in more ways than one.  First, formative assessments allow the teacher to see what you know and adjust his/her teaching to improve learning and help you better succeed.  Second, formative assessments can also be used in making the final Criteria scores, especially if you are between two levels.  The teacher will read the descriptor for each level, look at your summative work, and then think about the work you did in your formative tasks and in class to determine the final grade.

What’s a good grade?
In the MYP, instead of using A-F, final scores range from 1-7.  Many people make the mistake of changing the scores into a percent.  For example, changing the 4 into a percent score of 57%, which would be a D or an F in many systems.  The MYP is criterion-related, which means that each level has a descriptor that goes along with it.  

Breaking the descriptor for “4” down, you will see that a student who achieves a 4 has

  1. good quality work
  2. basic understanding of most concepts and contexts
  3. few misunderstandings and only minor gaps
  4. basic critical and creative thinking skills
  5. Some flexibility in applying knowledge and skills in familiar classroom situations
  6. Only needs some support in unfamiliar situations

Another very important thing to remember, is that the criteria are for the end of the year.  Therefore, it makes sense that you may not be achieving at the highest level midway through the year but will still be able to achieve a high score, perhaps the highest level, by June.

Jennifer Montague
MYP Coordinator