Semester 1 Progress Reports and ISA Testing

Hello from the “Middle”!

Semester 1 Progress Reports

We have completed the first semester of the 19/20 school year! You will be able to view a second report on the academic progress that your child is making here at UNIS Hanoi Middle School on Thursday January, 23rd.

The Semester 1 report will show progress criteria levels in each course. Criteria levels in MYP courses range from 1-8 and there are four criteria in each MYP course. These levels have been arrived at by multiple pieces of formative and summative assessment evidence and represent the progress made by your student during this first half of the 19/20 school year.

Comments are not a regular part of this semester 1 report. Students receive regular feedback in their classes including comments designed to help them improve performance on future assessments.

Parents can continue to view this “live” feedback in the UNIS Hanoi Middle School open Veracross Gradebooks. You will be able to see posted assessment calendars, view teacher feedback, track assignment completion, and see levels of achievement on completed assessments. Clarity on student progress and parent ability to assist their students are goals for the Middle School. If you have any comments, feedback, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher directly.

ISA Testing

Your child will be participating in the International Schools Assessment (ISA), a product of the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER), on February 13th and 14th, 2020. ISA is based on the reading, mathematical literacy and scientific literacy frameworks of the OECD’s Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA).

UNIS Hanoi has been using the paper form of the test for more than 10 years. Students from grade 3 to grade 9 will be tested in Reading, Mathematics, Narrative Writing and Expository Writing.
The school has chosen ISA because it is specifically designed for students in international schools of which instructional language is English. As ISA is not specific to a single curriculum, it provides non-cultural-bias questions that ensure the content is appropriate for students in international schools. Another advantage of ISA compared to other standardised tests is that ISA includes open-ended questions and writing tasks which better showcase students’ thinking process.
Regarding data analysis, the school uses ISA reports as a piece of data to inform students learning. Individual student results are input in the school’s Learning Analytics Collaborative (LAC), a platform for data management. Together with professional judgements and classroom records, standardised testing data is used in grade level meetings, department meetings, learning retreats and is frequently revisited for instructional adjustment and personalised learning purposes. ISA results provide breakdowns in specific knowledge areas as well as learning skills and allow the school to track progress over time. Moreover, ISA is a tool for the school to measure where they are on international benchmarks.
Being an Australian company, ACER is compliant with privacy and data law. Therefore, any school participating in ISA is required to inform parents about the privacy statement which could be found in the attachment.
Should you not hesitate to contact the school for further information.
Thank you for your support –
Marc, JJ, and the MS Team

Cross Country Christmas

Shortly before the Winter Break, fourteen members of the the UNIS Hanoi Cross Country team competed in the Concordia Christmas Around the World 5km race. There was a wonderfully festive spirit on the day, highlighted by the Elfin shirts provided for each runner. As well as getting into the Christmas spirit, our runners delivered terrific results.

High School Girls
Moeka Gaman – 1st
Gaby Chanen – 3rd

High School Boys
Iestyn Rusinow – 1st
Jan Krubner – 3rd

Middle School Girls
Harune Masuda – 2nd
Lily Piggott – 3rd

Middle School Boys
Endric Lotsch – 1st (and 2nd in all age groups)
Graham Abrams – 2nd
Jakub Trent – 3rd

After our Winter hiatus, the Cross Country programme will be starting up again at the end of February. New runners are welcome. If you’re interested, please contact Mr Piggott or Mrs Gibbons.

From the Middle School Team

Hello from the “Middle”! – 

We are so appreciative of our UNIS Hanoi Middle School students!

Looking back on the first part of this school year we can reflect on the many events that have led to their growth socially, academically, and physically.  We have dealt with deadlines, assessments, and relationships. We have seen empathy, grit, and friendship.  

We are all ready for a break! 

Sometimes holidays can be stressful.  Students, parents and families are out of their regular routines, friends aren’t close by, and we may be spending a lot of “quality time” with our teenagers.  

Whether you’re travelling or staying home in Hanoi we wanted to share these tips to keep in mind over the next few weeks.

  1. Pick your battles – It is a holiday!  Allow a little room for loosening the norm.
  2. Set clear expectations (though slightly adjusted) – These should include rules around screen time (phones/TV/video games) and bed times.  
  3. Read a book!  Holidays are made for reading.  Read to each other and talk about what you’re reading.  Students should not have homework from UNIS Hanoi classes over the break, but are highly encouraged to read every day.
  4. Enjoy the time together and with family.  They do grow up so quickly!

From all of us here at UNIS Hanoi Middle School, have a wonderful winter break!  

We look forward to seeing our middle school back in session in 2020!

Marc, JJ, and the MS Team

Posted in MS

Middle School Fun Run

Friday, 14 December 2.00pm. Starting on the sports fields.

On Friday, 13 December, Middle School students and staff will be racing 5km around Ciputra in the annual MS Fun Run.

All students will be issued with a sponsorship form to support Grade Service Learning partners School on the Boat. Please donate generously. Last year we raised 55 million VND, which made a big impact on the children in the School on the Boat education programme. Our aim is to go even bigger this year.

Students should wear a fun costume (and sports shoes). There are prizes for best dressed in each grade level.

There will be a post-race barbecue to raise funds for School on the Boat. Students should eat a light lunch before the race, and save some space for a sausage or burger afterwards. Please bring some money for the barbecue.

Parents are warmly invited to participate in the run, or to cheer on the runners (the course follows the Ciputra Green Path from school towards the Ciputra Club and back).

Screen Time Management

Managing screen time for children can become a full-time job for parents.  While not always bad, and sometimes necessary, screen time is an issue that should be at the forefront of discussion with our “tech native” students.

This article from the Austrailian government, this one from Empowering Parents, and the accompanying slides from a recent Middle School Parent Session may help to build parent’s understanding and direction around screen time for their child.  It is a topic that takes all of our understanding and support.

Thanks for reading!

From the Middle School Counsellors

Dear UNIS Parents & Community,

Students at the Middle School Level continue to meet regularly with counsellors via counselling classes and individual meeting requests. As we move forward into semester two, please know counsellors are available to support students upon parent request as well. To find out more information about the Middle School counselling programme and other resources please access the following link: MS Parent Resources

These resources can also be found on the Veracross Parent Portal under the “Parent Resource Section” & “Student Success Team Resources for Parents.”


Grade 6
In counselling classes, grade 6 students are focusing on learning styles and organisational strategies.  

Counsellor: Sandra Flores  

Grade 7
In counselling classes, grade 7 students are focusing on further development of organisational skills.

Counsellor: Anwer Kamal 

Grade 8
In counselling classes, grade 8  students are finishing up inquiry regarding gender stereotypes. 

Counsellor: Sandra Flores 

Posted in MS

Supporting Middle Schoolers’ Reading: the Wider Reading Programme

At UNIS Hanoi, we aim to develop engaged, independent and confident readers. In Language and Literature classes, students:

  • are required to always be reading a book – novel, memoir or non-fiction – in addition to the texts we study in groups or as a whole class
  • visit the library at least once per unit to borrow books and hear from Mrs Hodgson about new and exciting titles in the library
  • complete an assessment task which requires them to make connections between their wider reading and the concepts and contexts we are exploring in class
  • spend ten minutes at the beginning of every lesson on wider reading or free writing.

Wider reading in each unit is supported by a LibGuide – a list of further texts available in the UNIS Hanoi library relevant to students work in class at the time.These lists are not exhaustive, and we always encourage students to pursue their own interests in their reading, but the LibGuide can be a great place to look for inspiration. Here are the LibGuides for our upcoming units.

Links to this information can also be found on the Wider Reading page for each grade level on our MS Language and Literature website.

As a Parent, How Can I Support My Middle Schooler Reading?

As a parent, some simple and effective strategies include:

  • recommend your favourite books to your children
  • discuss what they are reading
  • read books they recommend
  • model good reading habits; make sure they see that you are a reader
  • discuss what you are reading
  • be a little flexible about bedtimes if they are staying up a little later to read
  • remove electronic devices from bedrooms
Posted in MS

Middle School Updates

Hello Middle School!

Veracross Gradebook Reminder 

What an exciting time of year!  We’ve done trip week, had an autumn break, and celebrated UN Day!  We’ve also come to the end of the first quarter of the year (October 25th).  It is an important time for families to develop an understanding of how their children are achieving academically at UNIS Hanoi Middle School.

Beginning last year, the Middle School started using the Veracross Gradebook to communicate more fluidly with students and their families.  As a MS faculty, we agreed that through this more dynamic communication, all would benefit.  Celebrations and concerns can be addressed when they arise, rather than waiting, and students see the impact of weekly efforts on their achievements.  

If you haven’t had the opportunity to take a look through your student’s Veracross Gradebook, please do. If you have questions for individual teachers, please do reach out to them via email, and, as always, the Middle School Office Team welcomes your comments and suggestions.

GOA Course for Grade 7 Students 

This week, our Grade 7 students started a Global Online Academy course called Growth, Grit and Gratitude. In this two-week course, students will design a personalised wellness toolkit packed with life hacks that will serve them well throughout their time in school and beyond. They will identify their strengths, use them when faced with a challenge, and explore strategies to change the way they think to affect how they feel and act. 

The course will be framed around three concepts: growth, grit and gratitude. Students will explore and develop their ideas of what it means to live life with purpose, a sense of power over how they think and feel, and the ability to create and sustain a sense of well-being. Students walk away from this module with an understanding of actions they can take to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.  In addition, they will benefit from trying an online course format, something they will definitely experience in their future.

If you are a Grade 7 parents and haven’t heard about it yet, ask your student, check your email, and take a look…really great stuff!

Happiness, stress, and Well-Being 

How happy and content are you?  How do I manage the bad stress I feel from various activities? How does the amount of sleep I get impact my motivation in school?  All of these questions and more are part of our “UNIS Hanoi Middle School Well-Being Tracker” survey that starts tomorrow. Students will be asked to reflect on the past 24hrs to answer the questions. In addition, there will be links included to help answer questions and offer support and celebration. The survey will go out weekly and the data will be used in conjunction with counseling and mentorship activities. If you have questions, please see your student’s email for a copy of the survey or stop by the Middle School Office.

Thanks for your support!
Marc, JJ, and the MS Team