It's state testing time...like it or not.
Happy Friday SVA Family!
Allan Here at the VP desk. I'd like to take a moment today to talk about these last few weeks of school headed our way (I can't believe we are this close to the end!!!!), and more specifically about the state testing that will occur during that time.
Starting next week, our 3rd-8th graders will be taking the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). I would like to give you a little perspective on the way that we view this assessment, and the ways that you can help us to prepare your student to do their best.
We believe in looking at multiple measures when assessing student growth. We also believe in seeking
for each individual at a rate that is right for them, not meeting arbitrary targets that are set externally. We look at portfolios and student self-assessment. We look at teacher observations and notes, student work samples, projects that represent research and information gathering. We administer our own computer adaptive tests in spring and fall (Measures of Academic Progress aka MAP test). We also consider social and emotional growth and use of scholarly habits. Teachers use smaller, often internally created, formative assessments on a regular basis to make adjustments to the instruction for individuals and to adjust learning groups in ways that will maximize opportunity for all students. We believe in using assessment to help us make informed decisions that affect student learning outcomes.The state test is just one of many measures that we use to judge student growth and achievement.
The state test takes a "snapshot" of a student's ability in English Language Arts and Mathematics once a year, helps us "take the temperature" of the school. We are able to use this as a way to compare our student's growth and achievement to that of other students all over the state. In fact, it is one of the only ways that we have to compare schools to one another. For this reason, this assessment is important to us as an organization. From the outside-looking-in perspective, this particular measure is widely used and highly valued. It also serves as one of the major points of consideration when our charter is up for renewal.
Here is how you can help:
Let your child know that it is important they do their personal best on the test.
That is, of course what is expected, and what we are trying to see. We are always seeking a balance for our scholars between being undermotivated ("this test is lame and I don't see the point") and having anxiety about the test to the point that they aren't able to perform their best. It's a tough balance!! We want to see what they have mastered, as well as where we might need to provide more support.
Tell your child that we need to know how we are doing as a school, and what we need to improve upon as teachers.
This message conveys a level of importance, but doesn't put all of the weight on the student.
You might also mention that test scores are a common way that people outside of our school can see just how great our school is compared to other schools.
People judge us whether we like it or not and it is good for our whole school community if we do well.
Make sure that your scholar is well rested and well fed on the days when their class is scheduled to test. It's a no-brainer that kids are more focused and ready to give their personal best when their basic needs have been met.