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The Principal's Newsletter

IB Authorisation proficiency assessment

By Mr Martin Hughes

Dear Parents and

Futurism lecture. On Tuesday, 15th April we were very privileged to have Dr Lyn Jeffery present a talk on futurism to our secondary school students. Dr Jeffery is head of research in anthropology in the university in Paolo alto, California, USA.  A futurist is a bit like an historian except they look into the future, rather than the past.  They examine trends and developments in all sorts of areas of study from economics to social studies to climatic, and make educated predictions to help steer future policies and inform decisions.  As the world is changing so fast this is a vital, although tricky area.  She discussed maps and models for the immediate future. Of particular interest to our students was the section on future careers. As we are well aware, many of the jobs that exist today will not exist in their present form in the not so distant future so this is a great challenge for students and teachers alike. Dr Jeffery answered some relevant questions on why the future will be a better place than the present. This ties in well with the year 7s and 8s who have recently been learning about futurism and have written essays on the year 2030. A very big thank-you to Dr Jeffery for her insights.

Language Proficiency Assessments in Years 7 to 12. As part of the IB Diploma authorisation process, all Candidate Schools are expected to establish and maintain an ongoing Language Profile of each student in the school. At this point in Hanova’s development, we offer two school-based languages – English and Chinese Mandarin. English is the language of instruction in all Hanova classes and subjects except for Chinese Mandarin. As you know, many students in Years 7 to 11 are working towards entry into Year 12, where they will undertake either the Hanova Diploma or, from August 2015, the IB Diploma. Both diplomas are based upon curriculum content and guidelines provided by IB: therefore it is essential that we have consistent and accurate information as to our students’ English proficiency. This information will allow us to ensure our students achieve language learning targets year by year up to Year 12 when they start the Diploma. The information will also help in establishing what Diploma languages subjects are best for our students. From August 2014, all students joining our Year 12 Diploma classes will have to be proficient in English, with at least MYP Phase 5. Students who meet this requirement will be able to access all Diploma subjects, including English Language and Literature. Alternatively, students who achieve MYP Phase 5 in Chinese will alsobe able to access Chinese Language and Literature. In some cases, students may be able to join both of these classes.

In order for us to establish this Language Profile for our students, we will be undertaking language proficiency tests in both English and Chinese in Years 7 to 11. Testing in Years 5 and 6 will take place towards the end of the academic year. The testing times will be Monday, May 5th to Friday, May 9th 9:00 to 10:30 for Years 7 to 9 and from 9.00 to 12.00 for years 10 to 12. There will also be a testing session on Thursday 2:00-3:30. If a year group is not being tested, they will follow their original lesson schedule. The tests being used are based upon those provided by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). Since these test papers evaluate basic language skills in reading comprehension, grammar and writing. Subsequent to these tests, the students will also be evaluated for their speaking and listening skills that are obviously essential for classroom discussion and oral examinations in MYP and Diploma.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Amy Ranger (amy.ranger@his-xian.com) who is coordinating these language tests.

Middle Years Programme (MYP) Assessment. We do not follow a model of mid-semester and end of semester exams, as in more traditional educational systems.  Hanova follows the International Baccalaureate (IB) MYP, where students are internally and continually assessed.  Therefore, there are 15-30 assessments in each MYP subject throughout the year.  These assessments include formal exams from 'Exam Week'.  These exams are no more or less important than any other of the assessments that happen throughout the year. These all contribute towards their final grades, which will be published on June 13th and will take into account everything students have achieved this year. Final grades are based on professional “best fit”.  Best fit is a concept increasingly used throughout the world to assess student achievement.  It usually specifies statements that describe exactly what the student can do, know or understand.  Rather than adding up all the assessment results and then reading off a score or a result from a table, the teacher uses their professional judgement and all the evidence and results to select the level that best describes the student’s achievement.

Sports Day. As I write (Wednesday) the forecast for Friday, 25th is chilly and rainy.  Forecasts are not always reliable here, but we feel it would be much better to make the decision now.  In order to minimise the disruption to the curriculum, Sports Day will run (haha!) on the day after the May Day holiday on Friday, 2nd May.  There will therefore, as usual, be an assembly on this Friday.

Bus Reminders. If you are picking up (or dropping off) your child or children at school, we would like your help in a number of ways.  It would be very helpful if you could park on the opposite side of the road from Hanova.  This means that our buses can park directly in front of the school. This is very much a safety issue and we would like your cooperation with this matter.  When you pick up your child, please use the main front doors and check with the teacher on duty (usually Mr Van) before taking your child/children from the snack room. This helps with us supervising all of the students.  Only the students taking the school bus will be using the 'back' door next to the snack rooms.

Thank you for your understanding during Monday morning's torrential downpour!  It was a disruptive morning for many of the bus students as they had to sit in traffic for longer than we would have liked.  In order to make the system smoother, it is important that the bus monitor have access to their phone line constantly.  The bus monitors will contact parents (or the office will call some parents) updating you on the status of the buses.  If you have any questions after that, please call the office not the bus monitors as they need their lines free.  We, again, appreciate your help in this matter. 

Parent Volunteer Group. There will be a Parent Volunteer Group Meeting this coming Tuesday, April 29th at 3:45pm in the Staff Room.  The meeting will be conducted by Mr Gallerno with the purpose of discussing the Carnival and the specific ways our Parent Volunteers can help with this wonderful community event.  All are welcome - we hope to see you there!

May Day Holiday. A brief reminder that the school is closed for the students, next Thursday, 1st May, for the May Day holiday.  We will, of course, be at school the following day, Friday 2nd, when we plan to hold Sports Day.

Best regards,

Martin Hughes

 

Forthcoming events

Friday, 25th                                  Sports Day postponed

Tuesday, 29th                              Parent Volunteer Group 3:45pm

May

Thursday, 1st                               School closed for May Day Holiday

Friday, 2nd                                    Sports Day

Monday, 5th to Friday, 9th        Language Profile testing in English and Chinese (Y7-12)

Saturday, 10th                             Carnival and Talent Show


About the Author


Martin Hughes

Former School Principal

Mr Martin Hughes was the founding Principal of Hanova from 2012-15. Prior to his time at Hanova, he already had 23 years of experience as Principal in the UK and China at five different schools - including posts at Wuxi EtonHouse and EtonHouse's flagship Suzhou school. During his time as founding Principal at Hanova, he helped support the initial IB Diploma Programme authorisation (2014) and used his educational vision to help plant our then brand new school on a firm foundation. Under his leadership, Hanova's motto emerged, "Enabling children to become independent, creative and lifelong learners!"


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