A Few Thoughts About “Testing”

happy kids

Just one word can probably elicit some strong emotions. Just. one. word. Are you ready for it? Testing.

Some hear the word “testing” and feel fear due to their own negative testing experiences. Some hear that word and feel failure due to the way a test defined them or their child. Some experience frustration due to conflicting information from various sources around the word “testing”.

As parents and educators, let’s take back the word “testing.” At ECS, we believe there is value in what can be learned from a test. ECS teachers use tests as a piece of a bigger picture — of assessment. Assessment provides an opportunity for celebrating student learning growth. Assessment goes beyond “giving a test” and uses the information in a way that creates valuable learning opportunities for your child. Together, let’s reshape how we think about testing and talk about assessment!

Why ECS chooses to implement effective and efficient assessment practices:

  • Quarterly STAR assessments, through the Accelerated Reader program, provide feedback to students related to their improvement in reading and comprehension skills.
  • Quarterly NWEA MAP* testing provides opportunities for teachers to have conversations with students to set learning goals. Testing results also provide information for teachers to design instruction that meets student needs at, above, or below grade level.
  • Teachers use classroom formative and summative assessments in all subject areas on a daily basis.
  • ECS celebrates student success and achievement. From student conferences to AR carnivals, students know their initiative and effort yields positive results.
  • As an accredited, nonpublic school, ECS participates in mandated statewide testing.
  • Regarding assessment data, ECS partners with parents and other stakeholders to acknowledge areas of growth, to create plans to support student learning, and to provide perspective for the learning happening in the classroom.

What ECS wants you to know about your child’s testing:

  • Actual testing time is limited. At ECS, teachers and administrators seek efficient testing practices by limiting the types of tests given, using efficient scheduling practices, and ensuring teachers are equipped with using the information effectively.
  • Testing allows for practical use of critical thinking skills and problem solving. Students demonstrate skill in completing multi-step problems, applying previously learned skills to new situations, and exhibiting literacy skills related to higher level thinking in reading, writing, and comprehension.
  • Students build and practice stamina. Students engage prior knowledge, maintain focus, and respond to rigorous questions and prompts.
  • Students experience technology in a practical setting. At every grade level, students are integrating technology in every area of learning. Whether preparing for high school, college, and beyond, technology use models authentic learning practices used in the classroom and in everyday life.
  • Testing allows students to show what they have learned. It is not designed to trick, confuse, or frustrate students.

Recently, AdvancED released some information about new legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, that replaces No Child Left Behind. AdvancED asked the question, “Are we ready to build a system of continuous improvement that lifts every learner, teacher, leader, and community?”. ECS is already pursuing this in partnership with families and teachers. God’s Word says, “Two people are better than one, for they can help each other succeed” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, NLT). Thank you for your partnership in helping our students succeed!

In His Service,

Tyra Harnishfeger                                                                  Susie Masterson
Data and Resource Coordinator                                      PK-5th Principal

*ECS uses quarterly NWEA MAP (Northwest Education Association’s Measures for Academic Progress) for grades K-8. As a non-profit organization, they focus on helping educators recognize growth in students and identify what skills a student is ready to learn.