V.        Testing Program

Introduction

Measurement involves both long- and short-term assessment. A.C.E. provides these services through criterion-referenced tests and normed-referenced tests. This two-part section offers a description and application of those two formats. The two types of testing reveal how a student compares with (is measured against) himself on immediate, subject-specific tasks, the PACE Tests, and how he ranks (or is measured) contrasted to many others in a broad field of students having similar variables (age, range, level, etc.).

Subject tests (the PACE Tests) measure the quantity and quality of the student’s understanding, skill, and progress in specific subjects against the absolute standard of 100 percent of comprehension. Standardized tests (ITBS/ITED to measure achievement and CogAT to measure aptitude) reveal whether a student is progressing as expected when measured against a broad population.

Incomplete on a report card not made up by the time the honor roll list is determined will automatically disqualify that student from the honor roll for that grading period.

If a student has two hours or more of detention during any one week of a quarter or is suspended during the quarter, the student will not be allowed to be on any honor roll, even if he completes all the required academic work.

Classroom conduct will have an effect on a student’s grade.

A total of demerits equaling more than 2 hrs. of detention in one week requires a conference.  The child’s grade is not affected.

The second time a student earns demerits equaling more than 2 hours of detention in one week, the student’s grade could be lowered by one letter (A to a B).  If a student has his grade cut below a “D,” then all work will need to be repeated for the quarter in all subjects.

A.  Measurements in the Curriculum

The A.C.E. curriculum facilitates learning. The combination of quality academics and built-in controls enables every student to attain his highest possible level of scholastic achievement. These controls include the Checkup, the Self Test, and the PACE Test. The Checkup is the student’s measurement of his learning of small segments of the PACE. The Self Test is his evaluation of his understanding of the entire PACE. The PACE Test is the supervisor/teacher’s measurement of what the student has learned.

1.  Checkups

A Checkup is equivalent to a unit test and may be completed either in the Learning Center or at home. Although it is not required, students should be encouraged first to complete all Checkups without referring to the PACE text. The student should answer as many questions as he can, then unanswered questions may be researched and answered. Train the student to use the Checkup as a tool to evaluate his learning—that is, whether he grasped or missed the objectives of that section.

2.  Self Tests

Each PACE ends with a Self Test that measures comprehension of the PACE material. When the student has completed and scored all the activities, the supervisor/teacher, checks the PACE carefully (especially Checkups). In checking the PACE, the supervisor/teacher should ask the following questions:

a. Has the student completed all activities?

b. Has he scored it completely? Are “Xs” marked in the score strip boxes?

c. Has he erased and corrected all mistakes and rescored his corrections?

d. Has he studied thoroughly, especially those areas in which he made errors?

Ask him questions from pages with errors. Students who are being careless and miss questions on a Checkup or Self Test should find the page where the correct answer appears and write that page number next to the question. Or, staff may require him to underline the material. This reinforces his learning and helps staff to spot troublesome sections. Before initialing the Self Test, quiz the student on activities marked with “Xs.”

The supervisor/teacher initials in green the Self Test only when he believes the student understands the material. Remind the student to take the test without referring to the PACE. (Shortcuts will show up when he takes his PACE Test.) He may refer to the PACE only after correcting the Self Test. If he needs to look up 20 percent of the questions, he is not yet ready to take the PACE Test but needs additional help from the supervisor/teacher.

A student who is not ready to take the Self Test should be given specific instructions. “Review the vocabulary,” “Memorize the formulas,” “Review this list of items,” etc. The supervisor/teacher may also need to give the student some individual instruction.

The student scores his own Self Test; 90 percent is the minimum passing score. If he did not do well, he should note his areas of weakness and refer to those sections in the PACE. A student who scores 85 percent or under should be required to review and retake the Self Test. When the supervisor/teacher has reviewed the Self Test with the student and both are convinced he is ready to proceed, the student turns in his PACE and is given the PACE Test on the following school day.

3.  PACE Tests

The following school day, immediately after opening exercises, the PACE Test is pulled from the “To Test” tray and given to the student at the testing table (or media station for a computer-based test) with a word of encouragement from the staff.

Students are not permitted to communicate with other students or have reference material while taking a PACE Test. Staff may not provide academic assistance.

Completed Tests are placed in the “Tested” tray for scoring and posting scores after students are dismissed. When figuring scores on Self Tests and PACE Tests, calculate the number of points on questions missed and subtract from 100.

Each test (paper or computer) is a measurement device, not a teaching tool. If a student scores above 85 percent, he advances to the next PACE. A PACE Test score below 85 percent demonstrates inadequate learning or insufficient mastery of skills. The student who scores below 85 percent is not ready to proceed.

If the student failed the PACE test, place the scored PACE in the “Conference” tray. The following school day, discuss the test results with the student. Attempt to determine why he failed (careless scoring, computation errors, failure to memorize formulas). Do not allow him to study his “old” PACE and then retake the Test. A repeat PACE is necessary or he will begin the following PACE with inadequate preparation and will have gaps in his learning. Do not allow students to see their failed tests. Issue the repeat PACE with a word of counsel and encouragement.

4.  Computer Tests

The student should take tests on paper until his computer skills are at a comfortable level. Tests on paper minimize potential for errors. The student may, however, take the Self Test on the computer to help determine whether he should take a computer or paper PACE Test.

If a student seems uncomfortable with computer testing and fails the test, have him restudy and take the paper test. Do not deduct from the paper test score for questionable testing on computer. If the student fails computer testing, allow him to test on paper for at least six PACEs before trying a computer test again. Avoid frustrating him—testing is an important measurement tool.

Once the student is comfortable with computer testing, a failed computer PACE Test should be treated like a failed paper PACE Test. He should repeat the material with a new PACE. Tests for Word Building (Levels 2–9), social studies (Levels 3–8), and science (Levels 3–8) PACEs are available on CDROM. Computerized tests may require more student time for completion. However, alternate tests may be given for repeat PACEs or may be used as original PACE Tests.  

 

5.  Teacher Made Tests

Anything below a "C" goes home - paper signed and returned the following day.

Low students may be offered outside extra credit activities in weak areas (with supervisors help).

Once a week give penmanship grades over specific writing projects. Evaluations of overall penmanship, neatness, etc., will be considered in student's final report card grade.

Papers sent home every week need only include papers that grades are taken from.

Bible test over lessons are one grade, over Bible verses one grade. Do not count off for misspelled words but circle them in red or mark them in some way. (NO ORAL BIBLE TESTS).

Never average less than eight grades per quarter in any major subject.

Test Days. The best “To Test” days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Below-average students often have difficulty with test content on Monday, and taking several tests on Friday can be a hardship for all students. Friday is also usually a fieldtrip day, so less time is available for testing.

B.  Achievement Testing

Lighthouse Christian School maintains a thorough testing program to measure students' abilities and progress. Results of tests are used to help the administration and faculty work more effectively with each student and to make continual improvements to the curriculum.

All new students will be administered a diagnostic test before placement in a grade level.

Students in first through twelfth grades are given achievement tests each spring, along with a mental ability test. It is recommended that seniors and juniors register for both the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test -- commonly referred to as the "College Boards") and the ACT (American College Test). Since colleges prefer one of these tests, a student is assured of adequate test information if he takes both. It is also required that all juniors take the PSAT which is given in the fall of each year. Parents will be notified in advance concerning the times and places of these examinations.

1.  Measuring Through Standardized Tests

Standardized tests serve two primary functions: (1) helping schools objectively assess the students’ academic potential and progress from year to year with quantifiable test data based on generally accepted models of student academic development and (2) providing schools, government entities, and other interested parties with data on academic performance whereby comparison can be made on various levels including comparisons between schools, school districts, counties, states, and even nations.

2.  Basic Testing Services

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Iowa Test of Educational Development (ITED) will be administered in the school each April for Grades K through 12. Completed tests are returned for computer scoring to enhance the credibility of the testing program. The school will receive reports for student records and parent conferences in about five weeks.

Annual testing results demonstrate that students are achieving an education comparable with or superior to education in public and secular private institutions. 

3.  National Achievement Tests—Iowa Test of Basic Skills/Educational Development

The Iowa Assessments have been designed, developed, and researched to support a variety of important educational purposes. These purposes require the collection and use of information that describes either the individual student or groups of students.

Identifying the testing purposes that are most important to your school or district will provide focus and help you determine how best to interpret test results. The following examples of appropriate uses of results from the Iowa Assessments show how the tests can support a broad range of educational decisions. 

Identify strengths and weaknesses - Make relative comparisons by content area of student performance for both groups and individuals. 

Inform instruction - Make student-centric decisions about personalized instruction. 

Monitor growth - Measure change in student performance over time, both at the group and individual level, with a valid and reliable scale. 

Determine college readiness - Compare student achievement levels to established benchmarks, tracking academic preparedness. 

Measure mastery of core standards - Determine the degree to which students have mastered core learning standards, such as Common Core State Standards. 

Implement Response to Intervention (RTI) - Identify students who may benefit from intensive, systematic learning interventions. 

Inform placement decisions - Place students into appropriate groups, levels, and programs. 

Make comparisons - Compare student performance to that of local, state, and national groups according to research-based evidence. 

Evaluate programs - Guide administrative evaluation of the effectiveness of instructional programs, professional development, and curriculum. 

Predict future performance - Apply current assessment results to project student performance on future assessments and adjust programs accordingly. 

Support accountability - Provide reliable and valid data to support district and state reporting requirements. 

National Aptitude Tests – CogAT Eighth Edition:

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) consists of three batteries that provide separate scores for the following reasoning/learning abilities: verbal, quantitative (numerical), and nonverbal. 

  • Verbal abilities covered include verbal classification, sentence completion, and verbal analogies.
  • Numerical abilities covered include quantitative relations, number series, and equation building.
  • Nonverbal abilities covered include figure classification, figure analogies, and figure analysis.

Combining achievement tests and learning ability tests will help you develop reasonable expectations for your student’s progress, based on his or her abilities. Once you discern whether your student is reaching his or her academic potential, you can understand how to tailor your teaching to your student’s learning style.

Helpful Tip: Never underestimate what a child can do or accomplish.

4.  Administering Standardized Tests

Supervisors administering the tests should carefully follow the Directions for Administration (DFA) for each grade level. Personally completing one of the tests will help staff members become aware of potential difficulties.  Several days in advance of the test, inform students and parents of the date and purpose of testing. Testing times and days required to administer the tests vary depending on the level. Each DFA includes a time chart that gives the approximate time for each section and will assist the school administrator in structuring the testing schedule. Since this is an untimed test, times may vary from student to student.

As a basic guideline, kindergarten and Grades 9-12 take two mornings.  Grades 2, 5, and 8 should be administered over a 4 morning period. All other grades should be administered over a 3 morning period. 

If possible, avoid testing on days preceding or following holidays or weekends. Administer the CogAT on a separate day from the ITBS/ITED. Both tests should be administered in the morning while students are mentally fresh.

For both the ITBS/ITED and the CogAT in Grades kindergarten through third, the answers are marked in the test booklets. All other grades have one separate answer document that covers all test booklets. All students should be tested in groups of fewer than 25 per grade level. Grades 9-12 can be tested together and all other grades should be tested individually. The students should be given time to work on each segment as long as they are actively working on answering the questions. However, as an administrator, you may end a child's test if he has gone 30 minutes beyond the estimated time for a segment. Provide a quiet, well-lit, and comfortable environment and eliminate as much distraction as possible. Encourage students to do their best, but reassure them that no one will know all the answers.

Accurate test reports will be obtained by following the Directions for Administration. Students must understand the directions before beginning each test segment. As the test giver explains the directions, he should walk around and observe whether or not students understand the directions.  After starting the test segment, help may be given to individuals only to clarify directions or to find the right place on an answer sheet.  In your records, document any indication that a student may be upset, ill, panicked about the test, or distracted. This information will be useful to school administration and parents if a student does not score well. The school may need to have a makeup session, and this should be done as quickly as possible.

Test givers should watch the students as they fill out identification data.  The student name, date of birth, level of test, and grade level of student cause more delays at the scoring center than any other errors. Also, watch the students during testing and immediately after testing, check the answer documents for correct identification data, extra marks, bubbles that are too light, and double bubbles.

5.  Low Performance on the ITBS/ITED/CogAT

Consideration should always be given to the possibility that a student may not score well on the ITBS/ITED or CogAT when he is progressing well in the PACEs for various nonacademic reasons including the following:

1. He was upset for some reason.

2. He did not feel well.

3. He may have "frozen" on the test and scored poorly.

4. He was distracted.

5. He was given the wrong test for his age.

6. His test was scored with the wrong group.

7. He did not bubble his identification information correctly.

8. He did not make solid marks on the answer sheet, and the computer failed to record the answer.

9. He marked two answers for the same question, causing the entire answer to be wrong.

Law of Learning #5:

The pupil's learning must receive recognition and REWARD for its value, effort, and significance.

10. Extraneous marks on the answer sheet caused a skewed score.

11. His developmental level may differ from his academic level.

12. The ITBS/ITED test is based on the scope and sequence of public educational curriculum. Because the scope and sequence and the philosophy of the A.C.E. curriculum are different from those of conventional schools, the student answered questions incorrectly because he had not yet learned the material or had not been exposed to the concept.

13. A computer error occurred during scoring and tabulation.

Refer to the information given on the Stanford 10 Home Report to assist the parent in understanding what needs to be done to help the student in the future.

6.  Using ITBS/ITED/CogAT Test Results

a. Staff Use.Legitimate staff uses of standardized test results include the following:

• To identify the gifted student.

• To identify the slow learner.

• To determine the potential for academic success and to set student expectations.

• To guide students in career and vocational planning.

• To correct cognitive skill weaknesses that may be affecting student achievement.

b. Parent Use. Understanding the ITBS/ITED/CogAT scores also can be useful for parents. Informed parents can better understand, encourage, and assist their students.

Schedule a conference to explain the results with the student and his parents. Give the parents one copy of the Home Report where each score is explained in detail.  (Ask them to save the report for comparison from year to year.) Answer any questions they have.  Discuss the student’s general performance, praise his achievement, and discuss ways to strengthen his weaknesses. The conference should result in agreement on goals for future academic learning — perhaps additional PACEs or computer software to drill and strengthen weak skills.