The academic program uses a Performance–Based/Mastery Learning approach to learning. This model ensures mastery of specific skills and knowledge involving both individual and group instruction. The educational philosophy is founded upon the premise 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 through challenge and support.
QSI does not accept the mediocre grade of C or the poor grades of D or F. Traditionally the grades of A or B are considered to be Mastery Grades. The evaluations given in the written status reports are defined as follows:
- A—All essential parts of the unit were mastered at an appropriately high level. The student consistently demonstrated noteworthy achievement of a high quality, particularly in the higher order thinking (analysis/synthesis/evaluation) or performance skills.
- B—All essential parts of the unit were mastered at an appropriately high level in which the student successfully engaged in higher order thinking or performance skills.
- P—The student is “in progress” in the unit.
- H—The unit is “on hold” for a legitimate reason. (The student has begun the unit, but is currently not pursuing it.)
- D—The student has not made a reasonable effort and is therefore “deficient” in attaining mastery of the unit.
- E—Exposure. The student made a reasonable effort in the unit and attained a level of mastery consistent with his/her capabilities. (Elementary classes only, but not in the areas of mathematics, reading, or language arts.) The E grade indicates that a student is being successful at his/her level, but is unable at this time to master the entire unit.
- W—The student has withdrawn from this unit.
Evaluations, called Status Reports, are issued to all students five times each year (at the end of each “Quintile”). Personal narratives accompany the second and fifth status reports. If there is a need or reasonable request, a status report can be issued at any time. Evaluations for student progress are digitally recorded as soon as possible after mastery is demonstrated for each unit.
QSI International School of Minsk encourages all students to pursue a challenging academic course of study, learning all subjects to a level of mastery. Although students have more than one chance to achieve mastery in each unit, we expect most students to master the unit during their first opportunity.
The Difference Between A and B Grades
As explained above, an A is a grade that demonstrates consistent achievement, particularly in the higher order thinking skills. In order to better understand what this means, it is helpful to look at Bloom’s taxonomy. In it, Benjamin Bloom created a hierarchy of tasks that range from lower-order thinking skills (such as remembering rote facts) to higher-order thinking skills (creating and evaluating ideas). As one moves up the scale, tasks become more difficult, and require deeper student thinking.