collaboration,  MYP,  Teacher Reflection

MYP Next Chapter for PHE – initial thoughts jumping in…


Cliff Jumping by Barney Moss CC BY

Last August, Yokohama Int’l School (YIS) transitioned into the MYP‘s Next Chapter.  Our PhysEd department has set itself the task of taking 12 months to digest the four new criterion.  We are finding this is not an easy task, as the new criterion at first look appear straightforward but half way through the year we are finding this task rather daunting.  I would like to share some of the work that we have been doing and ask others to comment on the way in which they are using the four criterions in their schools.

Below are the four PHE Criterion.  I have listed the headings, then the top band for the Grade 6, Grade 7/8 and Grade 9/10 criterion.


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At first glance, the new PHE criterion are easier to explain to students, here are a summary of my observations:

  • Each criterion are out of 8 and have 4 strands, this is so much easier to explain to students and their families.
  • The bands appear more streamlined with less text or prescriptive requirements.
  • There are vertically aligned strands in each criterion that work towards culminating assessment in Grade 9 and 10
  • The criterion are much more semantic, and although all MYP subjects are now using the same verbs, initially it has taken a while just to unpack the language to our students.  However we hope with time the students will have a broader understanding of these command terms in each subject, it just takes time to get used to them.
  • There is more written work to do inPHE, for students to reach the top band, they must:
    • explain factual, procedural, conceptual knowledge; apply knowledge, analyse complex issues set in unfamiliar situations
    • design, explain, justify, analyse and evaluate a plan for performance
    • demonstrate and apply complex skills and movement strategies; analyse and apply information
    • explain, demonstrate, develop and apply and analyse and evaluate their interpersonal skills
  • Teachers need to ensure that students have the opportunity to complete Formative and Summative tasks in ABCD twice in each Semester, as they did with the previous criterion but each strand is a full assessment in itself, so often the challenge is to ensure that students are assessed on each strand, and to map this as a Department.
  • Criteria C is about Applying to Perform and the other three are based on conceptual, factual or procedural work and completing written tasks to demonstrate understanding.
  • Some of the criterion are tasks in themselves (e.g. Planning for Performance is a task to complete in PHE)
  • A lot more time needs to be taken on each criterion strand for students to have the chance to reach the top bands in their rubrics, and it is not possible for all of these tasks to be summative – careful unit planning is essential to enable students to work to their potential.

Our department is keen to see how other MYP schools have started using these new rubrics and to see how the semantics have translated into assessment tasks in classes.  I would like to spend some time discussing each criterion in different blog posts over the next few months.  I look forward to some conversation from those who are also working on this change.



  • mhamada

    Hello Dom, this is an interesting question to ask, I suppose that for me the answer is that I am writing assessment tasks that have at least 1/2 or 2/3 strands for the task. I have not yet completed a task that only has 1 strand, I am not sure that you really could. I record all grades and then give an overall grade at the end of the semester. For our Dance unit, I assessed the Performance (Crit C) work for the kids 3x during the unit with feedback to allow them to update/change/keep to their planning for Crit B and I gave them feedback and a tentative grade for their B work as well. I found that with this that I didn’t need to watch and give huge summative feedback for either task, and in fact when I asked the Students to self assess both tasks, we ended up mostly with the exact same grade and feedback. I suggest that the grade that you give on the report at the end of a semester or whenever you need to report should be made up of many of these snapshots of criterion, rather than one big mark for each unit, then you have a really strong grade made up of multiple opportunities for learning in your space. I find that a one-mark moment is not effective, especially if kids miss that class or can’t complete that week as they are off on a school trip or something. It isn’t easy though and I appreciate you taking the time to share your question here. I am like you, trialling new things to see what works. But I have found that an assessment conversation with my students is far more interesting and rich and is reducing the need for summative tasks. The issue is that this is very time intensive and planning units is much harder as you need to have all hands on deck earlier rather than playing catch up (sometimes I start a new unit and have no resources ready as I am still scrambling to finish the last units paperwork – does this happen to you?)

  • Dom Dalais

    A question I have been meaning to ask is when you assess the strands separately how do you report this back as a full mark for that criterion?

    We use managebac. When we assess a summative piece, we have to put a mark in. Managbac shows the full assessment criterion strands. So when students and parents see the comments and the marks, they will see (or assume) that the assessment task has been assessed by all strands.

    Are we doing something wrong? If you assess only one strand, how do you represent this as a full mark?

    I am used to assessing all the strands in the criterion and have always done this in MYP. Surely it will mean a lot more work for you is you assess them separately throughout a semester. How do you represent the whole criterion marked separately as a mark, if assessed in different units?

    I am trying to create tasks that meet all strands. We also try to only assess two criterion if we can for each summative task. Occasionally we do three and we have also only assessed one criterion for mini units.

    I am currently assessing Criterion B and C for my Creative Movement unit. The students are writing up a plan, the describing the effectiveness of their plan after they have watched their final performance. I will film their final performance and allow them to have access to it. I will also assess their performance with criterion C.

    For this unit we used gymnastics and martial arts within the unit. I blogged on this a few days ago and plan to blog after the unit has finished.

    Please share your comments on this.

  • mhamada

    Iain, thank you for sharing your ideas here – it is always great to see what others are up to and how the criterion are being interpreted. I have had lots of conversations with Ken about this too, it is more marking! I like the way in which you have some breadth in your units and the work on leadership is so important in PE. We have been looking at the AtL strands and which should be PE heavy and which we can not have so explicitly in PE which I am finding is also driving the way in which I am planning my units. I like the idea of CritD videoed and used for analysis, I would be keen to maybe see an example of this for my own learning. We are using SMART goals for CritD at the moment, but I question if this allows for more smaller goal setting in context of units, and am trying to find the perfect blend of SMART goals and lesson based goal work.

  • Iain

    Hi Mel, thanks for the post. Keen to find out how others are getting on. My opinion is pretty much the same as Ken’s. I like the changes and specifically criterion B and D as well as the changes to the descriptors. We are spending more time marking than before but feel the students are getting more out of these learning experiences. We are including all strands in each assessment of a criterion. Interesting idea of smaller assessments focusing on each strand. It will be interesting to see how that works out. I think it will be quite a bit of work though, for you and the students.
    In addition to aesthetic activities (dance, parkour, gymnastics, aqua aerobics) we have used Criterion B for fitness in G8 (designing an exercise circuit)and G9 (designing a sport specific fitness session), as well as in a SEPEP swim unit with G10s (design and lead a training session for your team). We are also planning a games creation unit with our G8s for criterion B. Plenty of leadership opportunities in all of these.
    We use video a lot for criterion D assessments so students can analyse their performances pre (goal setting) and post(reflection) unit. They can either write or voice over their performances. A lot of the students choose these pieces of work to add to their ifolios (learning journals). It also really gets them focused on what they need to do to improve in criterion C for that unit.

  • mhamada

    Hi Tim, thanks for sharing. We are in the middle of looking at SMART goals for Crit D as well, but using the whole year to assess the process of SMART goals rather than every unit. If we break up Crit D 3 strands we can make them into mini tasks for each unit culminating for G9/10 in a SMART goal and evaluation for the last unit or two of each year. Our G6 students will do very basic discussion and mind map type work on this to learn the concept of SMART goals and we are looking at G7-8 students doing ART goals and then working up to evaluation. This is still a discussion on how we will write the TSCS on this, but Alex Thomas in our Dept is really paving the way on this – it is great to have him be leading the way here.

    We have also tried more major assessments with parts and found this more challenging. I can relate to the Movement Comp (Dance) unit, we have tried to do B – plan 32 beats of your creative dance minute using a blackline master. I am hoping to change this to plan 16 beats of your creative minute and teach it to another person in your group – then you could get feedback from that peer and evaluate your plan – I think we could do this in one or two lessons and possibly do it twice if we needed to. We have also had students write an Aim for their lesson (invasion games) with a group focusing on specific criteria for their Aim (eg. Games skills, Games Sense/Tactical and Interpersonal skills and justify why this aim is important and then plan a 15 min session (warm up, mod skill games/ mod skill games) where different students lead each of the sessions but the lesson has the same aim, so the work should be linked and progressive. I observe and then interview each person after their session and they evaluate the work – this has been a great way to see if they do understand the work and where they could improve the plan with practice. I like the idea of having G6-8 plan for a pair or small group and then the G9-10s working to plan and lead a bigger group or class through an activity so they can have more leadership practice. This will culminate in our SEPEP units at the end of the year.
    I am doing some study on Formative assessment and hope to break up some of these tasks into formative practice and then summative finish to allow more time to prepare and changing of assessment too, please keep sharing your ideas, it is great learning from others.

  • mhamada

    Thanks Sandra for sharing. I think it is a rich conversation and even in our Dept of 3 MSHS, we have different ideas to debate and share and to experiment on and give feedback through. We have made the decision to NOT have multiple criterion on the exact same assessment as it usually means that if the students fail that assessment they bomb out in more than one area which is dangerous! We are looking at strand based mini-assessments that allow for minimal writing. The discussion we are having in PE and at our school is that the ATLs are plentiful but that some subjects are more responsible for some than others – eg PE is more about communication and collaboration so we don’t need to focus on Research (as long as other subjects are) so we should stick to what we are about and keep to the integrity of our subject but also not extend our kids in every direction. IF we focus on what we need to and keep to the criterion as now written, the hope is that we can scale back our written work and research ideas (we know they can do it but do they need to?) to keep the ideas and focus on the physical time in our unit. Anyway, hope this makes sense, please keep sharing your ideas.. we can learn a lot from this community.

  • Sandra

    Hi Mel

    This is a great topic to discuss, and as a one person department I appreciate having access to others comments.

    Agreed that assessing in written form makes reaching the top band “easier” for most students. I just like that fact that now we don’t have to do a written assessment for criterion A, and I want to create more assessments especially for my Grade 6/7 students that are oral, or have a oral/written combination.

    I like Ken have been working with the new criterion for a while as we were a MYP PHE pilot school so ive had a few attempts tat oral assessments and found some successful and others not worth the time/effort.

    Ive been playing around with assessments that split the criterion up by the descriptors, but combine descriptors from the 4 criterion. Like Ken its a challenge to get one assessment to hit more then one criterion.
    Criterion Aii Apply PHE knowledge to explain issues and solve problems is one that I would only assess in written form.

    I hope this makes my thinking clearer.

  • Tim

    Hi Mel,

    Thanks for blogging about this. We have been having lots of discussions about these same topics. The information from Ken has been useful as well, thanks.

    We have also been working through a number of different ways to address the criterion. Below are three examples we have tried this year. We have tried some larger (massive) tasks that have multiple stages to them so that we can try to hit 3 – 4 criteria in the one task, this was really tough. We tried this with a dance routine planner for grade 8 and it was a massive task. We tried to combine use of terminology with a routine planner, then their performance and reflection on their performance.

    However the aerobics unit we are doing at the moment with grade 9 is much better. The students worked in groups of 4 to create a routine. Task 1 was to select a theme for their groups routine, then each member selected a part of the routine (warm-up, main set 1, main set 2 and cool-down) that they would plan for. Each section needed to be approximately 2 minutes long. Part of this task was for them to select appropriate movements, explain them and justify how they fit the theme of their routines. We assessed criteria A and B. Task 2 was to lead the rest of the class through their routines and we assessed them on Criteria D.

    We have also tried a fitness training program assessing criteria B. It worked ok, but we have already looked at changing it for next year so that we assess their SMART goals as a criteria D assessment, their plan and justification becomes their criteria Bi assessment piece and their end of program reflection becomes their criteria Bii task.


  • mhamada

    Thank you Ken for taking time to share, I am interested in hearing your point of view as you have had more time to work with the new criterion. I also appreciate you insight into how you are assessing – I am finding that almost every strand in each criterion is its own assessment item, and so instead of doing 4x assessments (ABCD) I am almost doing 8-10 (Ai, Aii, Bi, Bii etc) which seems a lot of work to me. We are looking at a vertical map of G6-10 at YIS to see if we can map out criterion. For example, Crit D could be a natural scaffold over a year starting with being about to come up with strategies for interpersonal skills and then the next unit could be goal setting and the third unit could be justifying the goal and making explicit the ways to demonstrate it in class and unit 4 could then have the evaulation assessment, so that each strand is hit in the year but not all in every unit. Still a work in progress, and we have experimented with using SMART goals this year to see if they will naturally align into CritD. What I am finding is that our MS students are much more able to complete high grades/bands in the Crit D then our G9/10 students – I suppose this is what happens when puberty and hormones hit and the ways in which we inter-communicate can suffer, but I almost can see the argument for swapping the G7/8 modified TSCs for the full on G10 TSCs for Crit D. More discussion to come.

  • mhamada

    Thank you Sandra, I agree that B, D and A do not have to be written, but with the semantics of the 7-8 band, it is hard to have students have time to fully explain, analyse, evaluate and justify their work in a conversation, it requires alot of front loading and I would argue that the teacher really needs to have a great list of questions to extend and engage students in this type of assessment. I am presently working on a Professional growth plan with a small group from my school where we are looking for alternative Tiny Tasks, this is something I hope to blog more on later to see if other PHE people can share how they promote tiny tasks (of any description) to allow students to reach the top bands in a variety of ways and reduce the need for summative assessment and homework for our students. I look forward to hearing more from you about what you are doing in your MYP classes.

  • Sandra

    Hi Mel

    you raise some good points about the MYP next chapter changes. Criterion A, B and D do not have to be assessed through written tasks, this is also one of the changes. Criterion A can now be assessed orally, B and D do not stipulate how they are to be assessed. As MYP PHE teachers I thinkwe now need to try to look at assessment differently.


  • Ken Forde

    A good post Mel, here are a few initial comments.

    I have been working with the changes in the IBMYP Next Chapter for a few years now, being part of the initial trial. I have found the framework to work well generally, especially since there is much more consistency between subjects with the alignment of criterion values, number of criterion and command terms. Helping both students and parents better understand the command terms and how they connect across subjects I posted this on my Grade Level blog at the beginning of the year, have a look and use if you are interested.

    A quick summary of my experiences:

    – The revised criterion are interesting, particularly ‘B’, which creates an opportunity to be applied to a much wider range of activities than the previous “movement composition’ criterion that created very narrow opportunities for student learning.

    – The indicators within each criterion are more clearly laid out with specific command terms guiding both the teacher in developing tasks and the students in writing assessments.

    – There is less opportunity to effectively combine criterion into single assessments, rather to effectively assess the criterion it requires a stand-alone task focused exclusively on that criterion.

    – Not everyone will agree, but I prefer the revised criterion D and the focus on improved performance and interpersonal skills and less emphasis on personal engagement, which I always found a little too subjective to effectively assess.

    I will continue to think about this and will add some further thoughts later.

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