Mastery Learning

The academic program at KIS uses a Performance-Based/Mastery Learning approach to learning. This model insures mastery of specific skills and knowledge involving both individual and group instruction. The educational philosophy is founded upon the premises that: 1) All students can succeed, 2) Success breeds success, and 3) It is the responsibility of the School to provide the conditions for success. This is a tested, highly successful academic program.

Grades at Kyiv International School

Mediocre or poor work is not accepted; students are required to engage in essential curriculum units until they achieve mastery. Mastery (B) is meant to indicate that a student has “mastered” the skills and competencies of the unit at a very good level.  A student may also attain a grade indicating Beyond Mastery (A), i.e. noteworthy achievement particularly in higher order thinking skills. Students who do not achieve mastery of all required courses during a school year are required to re-engage incomplete units in a subsequent school year.  The following marks may be given:

P – In Progress     The student is currently working on the unit.  
B – Mastery    The student has mastered all parts of the unit.
A – Beyond Mastery   All essential parts of the unit were mastered at appropriately high level. The student consistently demonstrated noteworthy achievement of a high quality, particularly in the higher order thinking or performance skills.
D – Deficient    The student is not being successful in the unit because s/he is not putting forth appropriate effort.
H – Hold   The unit is on hold and the student will return to it at a later time.
E – Exposure   The student is in class to be exposed to the language and the subject specific terminology but no grade will be awarded.  This can only be given in Elementary and Middle School for non-core courses.
W – Withdrawn   The student has withdrawn from the unit and will no longer work on it.


Deficient Effort (D)

  1. Demonstration of Deficient Effort (D) is indicated through repeated missed work, unsubmitted work, incomplete make up work or grossly insufficient/poor quality work/
  2. A warning (teacher communicated by letter, email or MOODLE comment) will be sent to student AND parents with deadline, assignment(s) and intervention strategies (Plagiarism results in an automatic D).
  3. A D can be given DURING a unit or AFTER instruction for the unit is complete.
  4. If work is not completed or progress is insufficient by assigned due dates, the Unit Grade changed to D status on unit card/status report.
  5. Parents are contacted (by Director of Instruction) to resolve the issue.
  6. Student is Ineligible for ALL sports and activites for a period of 5 school days, even if work is completed. After 5 days, D can be changed to P/A/B or extended until work is complete.
  7. Detention and other consequences that limit participation in regular activities may apply.

On Hold (H)

Students that are unable to complete a unit due to extended absence or ability level may be put on Hold (H) to complete the later. Accumulated Hs may require a change of placement.  

Feedback on Student Achievement

Timely feedback on student progress is an essential part of setting the conditions for success.  Parents may find feedback online and/or contact the teachers through their KIS emails at any time to discuss areas of concern.   Faculty emails are listed in the faculty section of the KIS website.  Furthermore, we have several formal reporting tools.  These include the following:

KISMET (Kyiv International School Mobile Education Technology)

All Middle School students will have a school email and MOODLE account associated with the KISMET site where they can access their courses through the Internet.  At the site, students can get current information about their grades, homework, assignments and assessments.  Furthermore, parents may access their child’s online gradebook through the Parent Gateway in order to monitor progress at any time.  This information should be the most current in terms of student progress in assignments.  The feedback offered in KISMET is meant to be formative not summative. This means that comments and grades are meant to be a gauge in how the student is doing on assignments.  It is not meant to be a prime indicator of mastery of units.

Status Reports

Student “Status Reports” are sent home five (5) times a year and indicate the current status of the students in the assigned courses.  A parent may request a current status report at any time.

Parent Conferences and Narrative Reports

Three parent conferences are scheduled during the academic year.  Formal, written narratives are sent home two times a year in between scheduled Parent Conferences.   Unlike the KISMET comments, these narratives will provide an overview of the student’s success in the class. 

Parents may also request a conference at other times during the year if the need arises.  Please contact the Middle School Office to schedule an appointment for general concerns.  If a parent has a concern about a specific subject, s/he should contact the teacher directly.  If the meeting does not resolve the issue, the parent may then contact the Middle School Director.  If concerns still exist, parents may request a formal meeting with the School Director.

Student Records

No information will be released by the school without written/verbal permission from the Parents/Guardians of a student.  Requests to examine records should be made by appointment at least 24 hours in advance to allow proper and complete gathering of all materials.  Appointments may be made by calling the school office.

Letters of Recommendation

Teachers and administration take pride in the quality of letters of recommendation. It takes time, reflection and concentration to write letters that best reflect a student’s strengths. Please plan ahead and allow for a minimum of one week for your request to be completed.

Testing Policy

Students in a mastery learning program should have various opportunities to demonstrate mastery of objectives, including formative (interim) and summative (final) assessments, and informal and formal evaluations. Tests remain a valuable part of final evaluation.

Students must demonstrate preparation for summative assessment before attempting. This may take various forms including homework, class work or other formative assessments. If the evaluation demonstrates that all objectives (TSWs) are not mastered, a retake assessment should be offered after additional instruction, practice and demonstration of preparation. Retake assessments should focus only on non-mastered objectives. Material/skills that have already been mastered need not be tested again.

Students are allowed to retake assessments or re-submit work based on conditions provided by the teacher, which may include required attendance at safety-netting sessions or demonstration of understanding (though homework), and scheduling for retakes requires mutual agreement and prior planning. Units may be put on H (Hold) or D (Deficient Effort) depending on the student preparation and performance.

A second retake (or 3rd test) can be considered after review by the teacher and Director of Instruction, and will involve communication with the parent.


Students who are having difficulty in a class may be assigned to a safety-netting session by and with the relevant teacher.  This may take place after school or during lunch breaks. 

Students who have missing units from previous years are assigned to a safety-netting class in order to work on those units.  Students may be required to finish a prerequisite course before moving on to another.

Intensive English

The Intensive English program is for students at KIS who are in need of special English language assistance and for whom English is not a first language. The main goal of Intensive English is to bring students as rapidly as possible to a level of academic English, including oral competency, which allows them to be transferred to regular classes. Students are assigned to levels that best meet their needs. 

  • Placement in the Intensive English Program

 Students with limited English proficiency will be tested and placed appropriately into the Intensive English Program.

  1. Students in the 6 through 13 year-old classes whose English skills are below grade level with respect to literacy may be admitted to the Intensive English Program. Tests administered by the Intensive English Coordinator or other school personnel will determine placement.
  2.  Students in the Intensive English Program work on the same Essential Outcomes as those students in mainstream English classes whenever possible.
  3. There is no intensive English program for the secondary school. Students at this age are expected to function in a fully English academic environment. 

Academic Promotion

Students at KIS come from over 50 nations, and bring with them a variety of languages, customs, educational abilities and experiences. Understandably, it is the school’s desire to create classes that reflect this diversity, making class populations as heterogeneous and balanced as possible. In so doing, many factors are considered. Gender, nationality, primary language, academic abilities, special needs, learning styles and personalities are all considered when combining students to create balanced classrooms. Teachers and Administrators work together to place students in classes and groups that have the best plan for success.

In the event that you wish to give input based on the needs of your child, a form will be provided for you to list specific strengths or difficulties your child has, or a certain learning style or environment that suits your child well. All valid comments made by you on the form will be considered, but the final decision for student placement is made by the Director of Instruction, based on the philosophy of creating heterogeneous classrooms with respect to all students’ needs. 

  • Transition Plans for all students and courses

0 to 6 Complete Units   Continue (Repeat) course the next year
0-6 complete units in 3 or more subjects  

Repeat all courses for age level AND  Contract for Success

7 to 10 Complete Units  

Promote to next course with Safety Netting AND/OR other intervention


  • 10-12 Year Old Transition

Reading level    NOT MORE THAN 1 level below
0 Incomplete Units   Regular Middle School schedule
1-5 Incomplete Units (in several courses)   

Middle School Safety Netting AND Contract for Success

6-10 Incomplete Units (in several courses)   Intervention (change of placement, 1 on 1 assistance, Special schedule, etc.) AND Contract for Success
11+ Incomplete Units (in several courses)   

Repeat grade AND Change of placement as appropriate for individual classes AND Contract for Success

Consideration for IE students with different levels of progress


  • 13 Year Old Transition to Secondary 

On-level Reading level   Successful Writing Prompt
0 Incomplete Units   Regular Secondary schedule
1-5 Incomplete Units  

(Secondary) Safety Netting AND Contract for Success

6-10 Incomplete Units  

(Secondary) Safety Netting (up to 2 periods) AND Contract For Success

11+ Incomplete Units    Middle School Schedule (no promotion) AND change of placement as appropriate for individual classes AND Contract for Success

 Consideration is made for IE students with different levels of progress (Genre Studies, Safety Netting, Secondary IE, etc.).

Course Commitment

Students are scheduled for courses based on a variety of factors including prerequisite, academic/literacy level, teacher recommendation, gender balance and course/space availability. It is expected that a student remain in a course with the same teacher until it is completed. If difficulty arises, conferences should be arranged with the teacher and Director of Instruction to discuss a plan for success.

Change of Placement

KIS places students by ability. In some cases, students demonstrate a need for placement in a different level class than their age level indicates (to a lower level to develop skills or to a higher level to challenge advance skills). This change is accomplished through a process that involves parent conference, teacher recommendations, and analysis of records. Parents must consent to a Change of Placement. Secondary courses offered in Middle School fall under this category, as well.

Secondary Courses in Middle School

To offer paths of study that lead to the highest IB opportunities, some secondary courses are offered in Middle School. 12 and 13 year old students may take Secondary Language Other than English (LOE) courses and Technology courses. Algebra is offered to some prepared students and Health is offered to 13 year old students.

These courses count toward secondary credits that are recorded on the Secondary Transcript, which is used by colleges to evaluate applications. The grade earned in a secondary-level course will count toward the secondary Grade Point Average (GPA).

Academic Integrity

In general, questions concerning the Guidelines for Academic Integrity at KIS should be addressed in light of an action which “makes a student look more academically able than he/she actually is, by using another student’s or person’s work and representing it as his/her own.”  The following statements address the questions regarding various academic situations and possible questions which students, faculty, parents, and administrators might raise for clarification.  These comments are not intended to be exhaustive or cover all situations.  They are intended as guidelines for working positively with each individual incident.


Homework assignments are learning experiences, used to prepare students for classroom activities, expand classroom learning and to practice skills learned in class.  Consequently, it may be appropriate to receive help from others to complete homework.  However, wholesale copying another person’s assignments to make a teacher think that the student did the work him/herself is considered “cheating.”


Examples of homework activities which do not violate the Guidelines of Academic Integrity include:

  • Working with another person on a cooperative study assignment when both names are affixed to the final submission for grade attribution;
  • Review of a question or problem by another person for the purpose of getting a suggestion of  process or strategy for solution—the solution to which is entirely worked by the individual
  • Work which is assigned and announced by the teacher as un-graded and subsequently collaborated with another person or persons with the knowledge of the teacher.

Examples of homework activities which violate the Guidelines of Academic Integrity include, but are not limited to:

  • Someone solving problems on a math assignment (another person working the problems) for a grade.
  • Copying or paraphrasing another student’s work in whole or in part and turning it in with your name on it to receive a grade;
  • Turning in someone else’s work represented falsely;
  • Allowing/encouraging someone else to copy all or part of an assignment and claim it falsely.


Tests and Quizzes


Obtaining unfair help with tests and/or quizzes is a violation of the KIS Guidelines of Academic Integrity. The following are examples of unacceptable test behavior and are provided to give an idea of common mistakes. 

  • Discussing (in detail) a test or quiz with a person who has already taken it;
  • Bringing hidden notes or using notes during a quiz or test.  The mere possession of such “cheat notes” indicates an intent to use them and as such would be considered a violation of the KIS Guidelines of Academic Integrity;
  • Looking at another person’s work during a test or a quiz;
  • Talking to another person during a test or a quiz unless specifically permitted to do so by the teacher;
  • Allowing another person to look at your work during a test or a quiz;
  • Assisting another person during a test or quiz through noises or silent signals;
  • Possessing, in ANY form, a copy of the test or quiz before it is administered;
  • Doing another person’s quiz or test for them at their request, or your initiative;


Plagiarism is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as “to steal or pass off as one’s own, the ideas, writings, etc. of another.”

Examples of plagiarism are, but are not limited to:

  • Copying specific ideas of an individual author or source; or copying large portions of exact words from any source without both giving proper citation and using quotation marks;
  • Paraphrasing (re-writing using different words) or summarizing (completely re-writing a passage or section) another person’s unique and non-common-knowledge ideas found in any source, without giving proper citation;
  • Downloading or purchasing papers, copying and pasting information from the Internet or electronic sources;
  • Cutting and pasting from any source without citation;
  • Intentionally making other people’s ideas appear to be your own by any means.

Because all violations of Academic Integrity strike at the very core of the nature of the school, the response to plagiarism and cheating is extreme, including the possibility of a letter of Violation of Academic Integrity placed in the offending student’s record.

After School Hours

Supervision is not provided after 3:45 unless the student is in a scheduled activity, with a teacher or in the library to study.