Celebrating Growth

growth

There has been a lot of information, and varying opinions, in the news recently about assessment in the state of Indiana. Assessment is an important tool for educators, parents, and students to measure growth and progress. Evansville Christian School continues to celebrate our school’s “A” rating and student achievement as measured by the 2015 ISTEP+, where 96% of our students passed English/Language Arts and 88% passed Math!

However, what we truly celebrate is the growth we see as students learn and discover their potential, the conversations we have with parents who are excited about their child’s learning, and the collaboration among educators who continually strive to improve their instruction to build relationships with students.

Here is a summary of “what we know” regarding assessment at ECS.

Why is assessment important?

  • Parents, teachers, and students can measure academic growth throughout the year (K-8th grade NWEA quarterly assessments) and annually (3rd-8th grade ISTEP+ assessment).
  • Teachers and principals use the assessment data to create rigorous curriculum and instruction that meets the needs of all learners.
  • In Indiana, ISTEP+ assessment is given annually to all 3rd-8th grade students to assess student performance in English/Language Arts, Math, Science (4th/6th) and Social Studies (5th/7th). The test measures progress on Indiana’s new College and Career Ready Academic Standards, which challenge students to use higher-order thinking skills and problem solving skills.

What do we know about Spring 2015 ISTEP+ results?

  • The spring 2015 ISTEP+ assessment was a new test aligned to the state’s new, more rigorous Indiana College and Career Ready Academic Standards adopted at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year. Since this is the first assessment based on these standards, the scores are not comparable to previous pass rates.
  • Test results were delayed to schools and parents due to defining new “cut scores” for passing, which established a new baseline for student progress towards college and career ready benchmarks.
  • Results of students’ ISTEP+ spring 2015 test are available through the Indiana Parent Network as of January 6, 2016. Parents need to use the Invitation Code mailed to homes last fall.
  • Considering the number of ECS students who passed both English and Math, here are some conclusions:
    – 87% of ECS students passed both sections (you cannot compare this to prior year results since the test is different).
    – ECS is the 27th ranked school in the entire state (out of 1824 schools) – in the top 1.5%.
    – ECS is the 14th ranked school in the entire state of comparable size (removing the small schools).
    – ECS students showed impressive growth, including students that currently work both above and below grade level in the classroom.

What’s next for Spring 2016 assessment?

  • K-8th grade students will take two more NWEA MAP assessments (end of January and beginning of April) which will measure student growth in language arts and math (also includes science in grades 4 and 6). NWEA provides immediate feedback on student learning needs and growth, which ensures timely adjustments to classroom instruction and learning opportunities.
  • 3rd – 8th grade students will take ISTEP+ in two testing windows (early March and late April). This year’s test vendor has changed from CTB to Pearson. Students and parents can see how test items are similar to the actual test by accessing the platform through the ISTEP+ Experience, which can be accessed here. Teachers will also be using this tool in the classroom to provide opportunities for students to interact with the tool.
  • Indiana requires all 3rd grade students to take IREAD-3 in March, which measures student proficiency of foundational reading standards.
  • K-2nd students will no longer take the Terra Nova assessment in the spring, since they are now part of the NWEA quarterly assessment that provides feedback on student learning throughout the year.

If parents have specific questions about their students’ learning or school’s results, they should contact their child’s teacher or school principal, as the partnership at ECS is valued in the learning process. Congratulations to ECS teachers, staff, students, and parents for partnering to create academic success for all learners!

In His Service,

Susie Masterson

PK-5th Principal