TEACHING AND LEARNING
Characterized by rigor and real-world relevance, the AISL educational program is a balanced approach that supports all students to reach their personal excellence. Our educational philosophy highlights six tenets that guide our educational program: academic excellence, life-long learning, balanced learning, global citizenship, whole child, and technology. At AISL our class sizes are approximately 20 students.
A college preparatory, internationally-minded American international education that challenges and supports our students to achieve their personal best.
AISL students consistently demonstrate high achievement on internationally recognized measures of success. Since 2011, students in grades 2 through grade 10 have taken the NWEA Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) test twice annually, in the fall and spring. Annual testing results in the areas of mathematics, reading and language are analyzed at three levels: whole school, class and/or grade level, and by content area. This in-depth study of individual and collective results guides daily instruction at the class and individual level, and is a contributing factor in curricular decisions school wide. Additionally, students use their MAP results to set personalized academic goals during three-way goal setting in October, and report out on progress towards their goals to parents during student-led conferences in the spring.
Students who employ flexible, reflective thinking with real-world experiences and significant knowledge that create intrinsically motivated learners.
Students thrive when learning is relevant and meaningful with ample opportunity to employ flexible, reflexive thinking skills to solve real-world challenges. At AISL, Project-Based Learning (PBL) is leveraged as a dynamic, student-centered instructional design. The goal? To make the relationship between content knowledge, skill acquisition, and non-cognitive thinking dispositions transparent. PBL units are deep dives that require students to actively explore real-world challenges and problems, acquiring deep subject knowledge while building transferrable life-long skills and dispositions. More than just a culminating project, PBL emphasizes student agency (self-directedness) as a critical component in life-long learning.
Each PBL unit emphasizes two of AISL’s five Global Competencies:
Intrinsically motivated & collaborative team member
Creative problem solver and critical thinker
Critical consumer & producer of information and technology
Globally, culturally and socially empathetic
Taught and assessed school wide, these core competencies are considered critical to students’ success. The ultimate goal? Transferability of the competencies from school, to university, to work, and to life.
Standards-Based Grading and Reporting
AISL teachers have been working on updating assessment practices to align with current research that shows standards-based grading practices contribute to students’ self-efficacy (one’s belief that one can accomplish a given task) leading to greater intrinsic motivation and achievement. In other words, a student’s grade should only be a reflection of student proficiency towards learning standards (outcomes). Our goal? To ensure that our school-wide assessment practices remain rigorous, are designed to develop students’ self-efficacy, and are a true reflection of student achievement.
In essence, a standards-based mindset seeks to accomplish the following:
● Focus on accuracy and confidence.
● Seek the most frequent evidence of learning.
● Repurpose homework as (in)formative practice to guide instruction and the learning process.
● Consider the most recent evidence of learning.
● Use reassessment to allow time for learning.
● Separate competencies (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creative thinking) from academic achievement.
● Separate attributes (behavior, Habits of Mind) from academic achievement.
● Define levels of performance using criteria.