Established in 1993, Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH) Lippo Village School is located to the west of Jakarta in Indonesia. Part of a school group comprising five private, Christian international schools, SPH Lippo Village School offers the IB continuum to students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
David also remembers the laborious, manual grading process in place at the time: “Some people loved ManageBac and would use it for different things, but if we did anything with grades or uploading assignments, we had to take that information, download it to a spreadsheet, figure out our grades and upload them to a totally different system on a server located inside the school, so teachers had to come to school to do their grades.”
To streamline this process, SPH Lippo Village School began making use of ManageBac’s Gradebook functionality, before gradually implementing more of the platform’s features.
More than IB
While SPH is an IB continuum school, it is part of a group of five schools all within the same system, some of which offer a mix of programmes from the International Baccalaureate and Cambridge Assessment International Examinations. One thing they all have in common is the government-mandated Indonesian Studies classes that they offer in addition to the international syllabus. ManageBac has proved more than capable of handling the needs of these non-IB classes, for which the school adapts the platform’s Middle and High School modules.
“We’ve appreciated the additions that ManageBac has added, as it’s enabled us to fill in more information and more detail in Unit Plans for non-IB classes,” David explains. In addition, using ManageBac for both IB and non-IB classes has made the learning experience more consistent for students, especially for those familiar with the system from their MYP courses – even down to being able to use criteria to grade assignments. “That’s been really helpful to us, and the customisation of those Unit Plans has as well – especially being able to pick and choose which of the boxes are there.”
When it comes to day-to-day learning, summative assessments are one of the key activities the school uses ManageBac to organise. Teachers are required to post summative assessments, while formative ones are optional. The school made the decision to colour-code summative and formative assessments, enabling students, parents, teachers and administrative staff to easily look at the calendar and see at a glance how many tasks students have in a given day or week. “This means we can make sure students aren’t getting overwhelmed with too many summatives,” David explains.
ManageBac’s calendar feature also comes in useful for inputting different deadlines for Extended Essays and Personal Projects, which the school pairs with grade-level Dropbox links when certain work is due. “This makes it easy for our coordinators to check that students are keeping up,” says David. Deadlines and submissions are not the only aspect of the school’s day-to-day activities made clear by ManageBac: the platform’s in-built attendance logs also make it easy for grade level lead teachers to monitor students’ presence in class.
Project-based and Service Learning – such as the MYP Personal Project and Service as Action, or the DP Extended Essay and Creativity, Activity, Service – are also managed through the platform. “Our CAS teachers love it, because we have all the reflection questions on there and they fill everything out,” David explains. “The Service as Action for the Middle Years Programme does the same thing: they can upload the evidence, pictures, things they’ve done, worksheets related to the activities – it’s helpful to them to have it all in one place.”
Complementing SPH Lippo Village School’s use of ManageBac are its integrations with other platforms. “We have the integration with Turnitin, so written work gets checked with that, and the teachers really appreciate that,” David says. “We also help teachers understand how to change the settings, as we want to encourage the kids to check their own work. There are options to upload it multiple times and see what their percentage is, and rework it before the assignment is due.”
Meanwhile, for practice tests, teachers turn to ManageBac’s sister platform AssessPrep to run assessments. “We used it a lot during the pandemic,” David remembers. “When students were at home, it was good to be able to have their computers locked down, and it was easy for teachers to put assessments on there. Some of our non-IB classes are using it too, and our Indonesian teachers – they really appreciate the features and functions.” David envisages a future in which more assessments will be conducted online, making AssessPrep the ideal way to prepare.
ManageBac also supports parent communications across all schools in the SPH group. Renamed ‘Parent Desk’, the Parent Association function is used to send messages, share a calendar with key dates (such as parent-teacher conferences and holidays), and provide access to school handbooks and policies. Parents are also encouraged to use the ManageBac app to stay in touch and have visibility of students’ activities.
As well as being a communication tool, ManageBac enables SPH Lippo Village School to keep parents informed about their children’s grades. “Following a summative, there’s that wonderful button ‘Send Grade Report’,” explains David. “It sends an email to the parent and student with the grade, and parents really appreciate this – it helps build communication with them.”
Making the Most of ManageBac
“We take advantage of everything that we can now,” says David, summarising the school’s approach to the ManageBac platform. He describes their “next big emphasis” as being a drive towards using it more heavily for PYP classes, particularly for assignments in Grades 5 and 6, as this will help to prepare students for using it fully from Grade 7 onwards.
For schools currently implementing ManageBac, David cautions against being overwhelmed by the platform’s many capabilities: “We’ve been using it for 10 or 11 years and slowly adding to it and learning how to use all these features. Don’t feel like you have to jump in and use every single feature of ManageBac right at the start – maybe pick a few things you want to use and slowly start adding more things in, thinking about what suits your school’s most important needs right now,” he concludes.