The Gateway School District is committed to adhering strictly to research-based/scientifically based practices regarding curriculum, assessment, and instruction. In this regard, multiple forms of assessment are used by our teaching staff as a means of evaluating skill development as it relates to mastery of that which has been taught and also as mastery relates to readiness for new learning. Student interest and learner profile are also assessed to facilitate the development of learning experiences that are engaging to all students. Typically, these types of assessments are viewed as informal and are immersed in the daily student experience.
The district also participates in more formal types of assessment throughout the school year. The most familiar of these assessments is the Pennsylvania State System of Assessment (PSSA). The PSSA is administered annually in all districts across Pennsylvania as a federal requirement of No Child Left Behind. Students in grades 3-8 participate in assessments that have been developed around adopted standards in Reading, Math, Writing, and/or Science, depending on actual grade level enrollment. Districts are evaluated based on PSSA performance, and sanctions may be levied for poor performance on the PSSA, low test participation rates, low annual attendance rates, and/or low annual graduation rates.
Although not as familiar as the PSSA, the benchmark assessments are also used by Gateway and many other districts as a companion to PSSA offers a predictive indicator of PSSA performance. Students benchmark assessments typically are assessed at the same grade levels as PSSA, and results provide valuable insight for districts as to expected PSSA performance in Reading and Math. Benchmark results also help districts to identify skills deficiencies and to develop targeted supports for those who demonstrate need. Equally important, benchmark results help districts to identify curricular gaps.
Other formal assessments used by Gateway School District include:
ACCESS is administered annually to English Language Learners (ELLs). “ACCESS for ELLs is based on the WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards. The main purpose of the test is to help educators, parents, and students better understand a student’s development of English language proficiency on an annual basis. It also contributes to state accountability reporting” (WIDA Consortium, 2011).
ACT “The Plan program" helps 10th graders build a solid foundation for future academics and career success and provides information needed to address school districts' high-priority issues. It is a comprehensive guidance resource that helps students measure their current academic development explore career/training options, and make plans for the remaining years of high school and post-graduation years ( www.act.org.2012 ).
AIMS WEB: AIMS WEB is administered to Gateway students K-2 following a three-tiered model that includes a benchmark feature that facilitates “universal screening for all students” in Math, strategic monitoring “for students who are mild to moderate risk for failure” in Math, and a progress monitoring feature that incorporates “intensive monitoring towards specific goals for students at significant risk for failure” in Math (Pearson Education, Inc., 2009).
CDT (Classroom Diagnostic Tool): “The Pennsylvania Classroom Diagnostic Tools (CDT) is a set of online assessments, divided by content area, designed to provide diagnostic information in order to guide instruction and remediation. The CDT reporting system is fully integrated in the Standards Aligned System (SAS). It assists educators in identifying student academic strengths, and areas in need of improvement, by providing links to classroom resources. The diagnostic reports feature easy-to-follow links to targeted curricular resources and materials, including units and lesson plans found within the SAS system. The CDT is available to districts at no cost” (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2011). CDT is currently used by Gateway School District to support Math instruction in grades 6-12.
DIBELS (Dynamic Indicator of Basic Early Literacy Skills): DIBELS is administered to Gateway students grades K-6 as a means of measuring and monitoring “the acquisition of early reading skills” (Dynamic Measurement Group, 2010).
KEYSTONE EXAMS- Assessments were piloted during the 2010-2011 school year in the content areas of Algebra I, Biology, and English Composition. As of 2012-2013 Keystone Exams are being re-introduced for Grade 11 students in the content areas of Algebra I, Biology and Literature. Junior performance on these assessments will be applied to 2012-2013 Adequate Yearly Progress ( AYP ) calculations for Gateway High School. Additionally, students having completed Algebra I at Gateway Middle School will be registered to take the Algebra I Keystone Exam in the Spring.
INFORMATION FLYER FOR PARENTS ON KEYSTONE EXAMS
(National Assessment of Educational Progress): Each year, individual schools are selected throughout the United States for participation. Results are used to evaluate overall student achievement throughout the country and to develop the nation’s annual report card. Gateway students enrolled in Grade 8 have been selected randomly to participate in the 2012-2013 NAEP.
PASA is an alternate assessment used in lieu of traditional PSSA for select students who meet well-defined eligibility requirements.
Stanford OLSAT: Stanford OLSAT is administered to Gateway students enrolled in grades 2, 4, and 7. The Stanford Achievement Test (tenth edition) measures the development of foundational skills and thinking processes and strategies in the areas of Total Reading; Total Math; Language; Spelling; Science; and Social Studies. The Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT; eighth edition) is also administered to students in these same grade levels. The OLSAT measures reasoning ability as it relates to the learning process. Both assessments are nationally normed and provide a national percentile ranking of student performance.
SRI(Scholastic Reading Inventory): SRI is administered to Gateway students grades 1-6 as “a reading assessment program which provides immediate, actionable data on students' reading levels and growth over time. SRI helps educators differentiate instruction, make meaningful interventions, forecast growth toward grade-level state tests, and demonstrate accountability” (Scholastic, Inc., 1996-2011).
W-APT(WIDA-ACCESS Placement Test): W-APT "is an English language proficiency 'screener' test given to incoming students who may be designated as English language learners. It assists educators with programmatic placement decisions such as identification and placement of ELLs." (WIDA, 2011)
Please access the link below to review Gateway School District’s 2012/2013 Assessment Calendar. This calendar illustrates potential testing dates to facilitate educator planning. It should NOT be inferred that students will be assessed on all dates included in each testing window. Furthermore, it should NOT be inferred that students will test all day on targeted dates. For example, many assessments require only an hour or so of active student participation. The Gateway School District reserves the right to adjust this tentative calendar based on weather delays, cancellations, test vendors issues, etc...
2012/2013 DISTRICT’S ASSESSMENT CALENDAR ( UPDATED April 26th, 2013 )
Please refer any/all questions about district assessments to Dr. Nancy Hines, Director of Curriculum and Instruction; 412-373-5725 or Email nhines at Gateway.