Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Exciting Announcement

The American School is proud to announce a very important addition to our academic program. This enhancement is in the area of student assessment. This month, math students in grades 2 through 10 participated in the first application of the PLATO EduTest, our new formative testing platform. Though we have always assessed student growth, we feel that with the addition of this interactive tool, our students will be able to reach even higher levels of achievement as the results are very student friendly. They will enable students to become active participants in their own growth.

Let’s briefly review the methods used in student assessment. They can be divided into two main types, formative and summative. Though summative is the one that generally gets all of the attention because it is the final measurement at the end of a given period of learning, formative assessment is the more important of the two because it reflects the actual progress that the learner is making during the learning experience. Only formative assessment helps make those important adjustments in instruction which will increase understanding and student proficiency in the end.

Last year, the school used the I-know Test to assess grades 4, 6, 8 and 9 for progress in math. The results were very helpful, but it was felt that there was still room for improvement in getting the full picture of where each of our students were in their progress toward the final desired outcomes of their learning. The teaching staff felt that more information was needed in the areas of math, reading and writing for all grade levels, therefore we began the task of finding a testing platform that would give us more formative data in these areas. The PLATO EduTest was chosen and has proved to be an excellent choice. The platform is keyed to U.S. national standards and is therefore aligned with our grade level curriculum.

This month, the instructional staff administered the first of a year long series of three math assessments, the purpose of which was to set individual student benchmarks against which progress could be measured during the other two testing dates. These will occur during the month of January and finally, the month of May of 2008.

Additionally, a reading comprehension series of two tests will begin in January that will provide information of the level of understanding of middle and high school students. The elementary and kindergarten presently use the Diagnostic Reading Assessment for this same purpose.

Since the goal of both series is formative assessment, teachers and students will be able to make informed adjustments to their methods of instruction or learning in order to gain greater achievement.

It is important to note that this new system is not an attempt to become “test happy” or overly reliant on high stakes testing but instead to more naturally imbed assessment into the learning act so that it guides us all towards a positive learning end.

We encourage you to ask your child about their experience with these tests. Most students were quite pleased with the experience since upon completion of the test, they were able to instantly have it graded as well as to see and analyze the results and their corrected test.

We also encourage you to talk with your child’s teacher concerning the test results and ways that you might be able to increase positive academic progress.

Jo Cochran
Curriculum Director

1 comment:

Melissa said...

TESTING Coments window