For many years we have been trying to find a way to understand where our students stand relative to their own growth and development in order to systematically increase each and every student’s ability to grow, learn, and achieve. We hoped to obtain that information from the NYS Testing Program. Since the inception of that testing program we have found little information to help us strengthen out students’ growth, or to help us understand how to change our teaching practices. In addition, the tests have been changed and cut-points raised, and the tests are about to be changed again.As a result of the Governor’s legislation and the Commissioner’s regulations, we are required to assess our students for the purpose of better informing us in our teaching practice for the purpose of improving student achievement. In response to this legislation and regulation change, we researched and identified a test, produced by a research group called Northwest Evaluation Association. This not-for-profit research group has developed a comprehensive and reliable group of tests that gives us a great deal of data from which to understand our students and chart the path to improving their achievement. The skills addressed are supportive of the content we teach and it is aligned with the Common Core.
In addition to helping us understand what we need to do in order improve student achievement, we also can use the test to measure our teachers’ effectiveness in doing so. In this way we can do two very important things:
- Learn where our students stand regarding college and career skills beginning in Kindergarten and how to develop specific necessary skills
- Learn whether our teachers are effectively developing our students toward college and career readiness
One concern we have heard is the students’ attitudes toward the test. Some students may not take the test seriously. Others may think its purpose is solely to evaluate teachers. The NWEA.org website is full of information that can help us all understand how to handle these issues. Some helpful information can be found at these links:
Please feel free to contact your child’s principal or Dr. Jill Berkowicz, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, for more information.