Head’s Corner

Why We Do “Standardized’ Testing

In the middle of May, students in grades 3-8  took standardized math, reading, and language usage tests.  Traditionally, Saklan has used the ERB Test to measure the success of our students and program.  The ERB was a paper and pencil test that was the same for every student in their respective grade level.  The data gained from that test gave us information about how we were doing as a school against other schools, but little else. 

In September of 2019, we switched to the NWEA MAP test ( Measures of Academic Progress).  The MAP test is a very different tool from that of the traditional ERB test.  To begin with, the MAP test is dynamic, meaning that as a student answers questions correctly, the test adjusts. The student begins to see more challenging and complex questions, which often take them well beyond their grade level.  If a student begins to struggle, the test will start to ease up on the questions.  Through this process, the MAP test can determine exactly where a student’s strengths and challenges lie.   

The second significant differentiator of the MAP test is that it is untimed.  The actual testing is predicted to take 45-60 minutes, but students can take as much time as they need.  This approach emphasizes knowledge and ability over speed, giving a more accurate indication of what a student knows and taking away pressure that leads to mistakes and inaccurate data. 

Thirdly the MAP test does exceptionally well in giving parents and teachers useable data to help support students and take them to the next level.  Student progress is recorded year on year, giving a picture of a child’s overall growth.  That information is then used to predict future growth as well as college readiness. Moreover, the test breaks down each curriculum standard by what content and skills the student has mastered or needs reinforced.  This information helps teachers differentiate their approach and  individualize instruction.  It also can be used to connect students to educational software such Khan Academy or IXL, helping students narrow in on gaps.  

We will be sending out end of semester grade reports in the middle of June.  At that same time, if you are a parent of a 3rd -8th grade student, you will receive a MAP Growth Report. This report will give information regarding how your child did on the testing as well as next steps we all can take to academically grow.  

Have a great weekend
David

Author: The Saklan School Friday Blog

The Saklan School is a private Pre-K through 8 school located in Moraga, CA. Our mission is to think creatively, act compassionately, and live courageously.