August 21, 2013, A variety of Assessments for a Diverse Student Body

Posted by The Tablet on 21 August 2013.

by Diane Phelan

During the 2012-2013 academic year, teachers throughout the state implemented instructional shifts in their classrooms to meet the demands of the New York State Common Core Learning Standards, which provide a clear understanding of what students are expected to learn. These standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that students need for success in college and careers.

Over the course of a school year within the Diocese of Brooklyn, students are assessed both formally and informally in our schools to guide the instructional cycle. Teachers and students benefit from assessments, but no one test or assessment can tell the whole “story” regarding student achievement. To this end, schools and academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn use “multiple measures” of assessment to determine what students know and are able to do and to redirect the learner and lead students toward higher achievement.

In October of 2013, schools and academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn will be using CTB McGraw-Hill’s latest standardized test, TerraNova, Common Core which tests students in reading, language and mathematics subtests in conjunction with InView, the cognitive abilities test that measures academic aptitude. TerraNova, Common Core has been developed to include more rigorous questions that test students at a greater depth of knowledge. These test results will provide our teachers with the tools they need to formulate instructional programs that will help our students meet the Common Core State Standards. Schools receive a variety of reports that allow them to report achievement information to parents via the Home Report, while administrators and teachers are able to view classroom performance reports, which identify strengths and weaknesses of individual students and classes. Administrators have the ability to analyze valuable information to help guide them in evaluating a school’s instructional program and to provide professional development opportunities for teachers. When testing in the fall, TerraNova is not only used as an achievement test but as a diagnostic tool as well, which affords teachers time to remediate student and/or classroom weaknesses prior to the state tests in the spring. TerraNova also allows teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students at every ability level along with providing longitudinal data for each student in our diocese.

Earlier in August, State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. released the results of the spring 2013 English Language Arts (ELA) and Math assessments. This year’s state assessments were aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards for the first time for students in New York State. These tests focused on the skills students will need to become college and career ready. Students throughout the state will receive a Parent Report for the ELA and Math assessments in September. The Diocese of Brooklyn will publish our aggregated New York State assessment results when available.

The diocesan test results for the TerraNova and New York State Testing Program are shared with our benefactors and the general public on an annual basis.