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Q&A: How the Australian International School Malaysia uses ISA results to review student and school progress
Australian International School Malaysia campus © AIS

Q&A: How the Australian International School Malaysia uses ISA results to review student and school progress

Feature 5 minute read

Australian International School Malaysia (AISM) is an established international school located in Kuala Lumpur. AISM has taken part in the International Schools’ Assessment (ISA) program for many years, utilising their results to inform programming, track student progress and see the impact of their teaching. We had the opportunity to explore how the school has been using their data, particularly during these disrupted times, with their Head of Individual Learning Enrichment, Katrina Reece.

What is your role and background?

I am a passionate global educator and leader, qualified in both Primary and Secondary Education. Prior to my current role, I resided in several countries, working at a variety of highly reputable schools, including the highly selective King's College in London, UK.

As the Head of Individual Learning Enrichment at AISM, I ensure that students benefit from possible new interest areas into, through and beyond the core curriculum.

Could you share a bit about the context of Australian International School Malaysia?

Founded in 2000, AISM has continued to deliver an excellent education through exploration and Visible Learning, helping every child extend their potential and excel in their chosen paths. AISM also takes pride in being the first Visible Learning School in the world. Our school follows the Australian Curriculum alongside the New South Wales Curriculum Framework, which is both rigorous and internationally comparable. AISM is also a certified CIS school.

AISM has a population of approximately 500 male and female students in the Junior School and Middle Senior Schools. Teachers are predominantly from Australia, with English as their first language.

Why does your school choose to use an international assessment like the ISA?

ISA enables AISM to track, analyse and compare our collective and individual student results annually and year-on-year. This promotes internal accountability and rigour, as well as allowing us to focus on medium and long-term academic development and achievement. It also ensures individual and collective student needs are identified and addressed in a timely manner.

Additionally, the ISA enables AISM to demonstrate the rigour of our curriculum and academic achievement of our students on a globally comparable scale, providing credibility and integrity to our academic offering.

In the current circumstances of a global pandemic, many schools have been disrupted and students have been learning from home. Has assessment data from resources such as the ISA helped you to identify student learning needs and monitor progress?

Definitely. Our ISA data from the upcoming October administration will enable us to review the impact and success of our continuous learning programs which ensured a seamless continuity of our educational offering throughout the pandemic period.

We are confident and assured that because we have such rigorous data, we will be able to see evidence of the overall impact of our teaching and learning at both individual and collective student levels.

How does the data provided by ISA reports inform programming and planning?

ISA data enables us to identify teaching and learning needs and highlights both areas of strength and areas to address to close any learning gaps. By using our ISA data each year, we are able to track and celebrate our successes on a school-wide, subject, phase and individual student level.

Could you provide an example of a time that ISA data provided insights into the needs of your students? 

For 2020, as a result of our school-wide data analysis, we identified that reading was an area for whole school improvement and have made this a focus. For 2019, the identified focus was writing and our approach resulted in excellent improvement in our ISA results school wide.

Once these needs have been identified, what are the next steps for your school?

The first step is communication with staff, and then exploration and discussion of strategies at school (Junior or Middle Senior), subject and year level. Once agreed, these strategies are implemented and regularly reviewed. 

We are excited to see what the October 2020 results will bring. Despite the COVID disruption, our Online Continuation of Learning Program has allowed us to maintain a consistent focus on reading development.

How are ISA results communicated across your school and to your parents?

ISA results are analysed by the Head of Individual Learning Enrichment to review year-on-year cohort progress, individual student progress and value added for teaching staff. The results are shared with all our parents in a formal report, and they then have the opportunity to discuss these in one-to-one parent teacher meetings.

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