Have you ever experienced the surprise in seeing something that has changed so much over time while you were away? Kids return to school in the fall and appear to have grown a foot since we saw them last. When we see something on a daily basis, it is often difficult to notice the tiny, incremental changes that occur.
At this point in the school year I can't help but think back to the fall and I am in awe of the growth and changes I have seen in our students. Their teachers see the academic growth. From my vantage point, I can see the strides in social development. Today, I had a lovely lunch-table conversation with a student who, at the beginning of the year, hid behind their parent or ducked under the table when anyone would enter the room. Yesterday, I heard a student proudly advocate for himself to his peers. He was clear and firm in asserting his position, politely but definitively. Daily, I see students engage in proper social graces that previously alluded so many.
My stories of growth are anecdotal. As a school, we also need to document that growth and this time of year we do it with the
Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS). It is a standardized test that measures the skill level of students in the areas of Reading, Language, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science. The ITBS is a "Norm-Referenced" test, meaning your child's performance is compared with a nationally representative sample of students who took the tests. These students are referred to as the “normative sample.”
At Crossroads school we teach our students to be proud of their differences. When the standardized testing comes along, it can be anxiety producing for students and parents. It is important to understand that the ITBS is just another tool that provides information for us. It is most important for us to see how each students progresses from year-to-year. It will be helpful to know how your student compares to typical students in the same grade but the more valuable information is how did they do in comparison to themselves from the prior year. These tests offer a snapshot in time and are not the definitive scoring of your child's capabilities.
Testing will take place during the week of April 8-12.
You can help by making sure your child arrives on time each morning and has a good breakfast and along with a good night's sleep. We will provide some extra protein filled snacks and water throughout the week. Talk to your kids about the test but don't over-emphasize the importance. They will do better if they feel confident and calm