The Research and Curriculum and Instruction Support departments provided a review of the recently released NeSA and ACT results.
NeSA English Language Arts
In 2016-17, the new English Language Arts (ELA) Assessment was given for the first time, making it a baseline year. The changes were based on the new college and career readiness standards from the Nebraska Department of Education. The changes in the test brought increased rigor, relevance and higher expectations of all students. OPS is taking many steps to increase student achievement in ELA including implementing a district-wide reading intervention, resource adoption for ELA/writing, coaching support for teachers and more. The NeSA English language arts assessment is given to students in grades 3-8.
This year a new math assessment will be given. It also will be aligned with the college and career ready standards, increase rigor and have higher expectations for all students. OPS is taking steps to increase student achievement in math through monthly district math coach meetings, updating A+ OPS reading curriculum guides, a focus on concrete-pictorial-abstract approach in math instruction and more. The NeSA math assessment is given to students in grades 3-8.
Students have shown growth on the NeSA science exam over a six-year period. The NeSA science assessment is given to students in grades 5 and 8.
NeSA to Become NSCAS
Beginning in 2017-18, NeSA will now become the Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System (NSCAS).
In 2016-17, all juniors across Nebraska were required to take the ACT instead of the previous NeSA tests that were given. Across the district 97 percent of OPS 11th grade students took the exam. The ACT exam increased rigor for students. Since this was the first year the test was given to all students, it is considered a baseline year. When comparing this years data with previous years, it is important to note that many students who took the ACT before were college bound seniors. Since the test was given to all juniors, many previous students had nearly another year or courses they had taken to prepare for the exam.
OPS is working to prepare students for the ACT by providing earlier access to ACT online prep. OPS is also obtaining examples of student essays to provide evidence to teachers and students. OPS is also evaluating course sequencing and content exposure to ensure students courses are aligned with preparing them for the exam.