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, benchmark assessments are also used by Gateway and many other districts as a companion to PSSA and offer a predictive indicator of PSSA performance. Students benchmark assessments typically are administered at the same grade levels as PSSA. Benchmark results 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.
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: As of 2012-2013 Keystone Exams are being re-introduced for Grade 11 students in the content areas of Algebra I, Biology and Literature as a substitute for the track final Grade 11 PSSA. 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.
MAP assessments are computer adaptive achievement tests in Mathematics and Reading.
The computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions so that each student takes a unique test. The difficulty of each question is based on how well the student has answered previous questions.
MAP is a norm-referenced measure of student growth over time. MAP assessments, joined with other data points, provide detailed, actionable data about where each child is on his or her unique learning path. MAP assessments differ from other data sources used by the HCPSS to inform instruction by being nationally normed, by tracking student progress throughout a year and across school years, and by being linked to software tools which can assist teachers and administrators in planning instruction.
MAP tests are based on a continuum of skills in Mathematics and Reading from low skill levels to high skill levels.
MAP assessments help teachers identify the instructional level of the student and also provide context for determining where each student is performing in relation to local or state standards and national norms. MAP reports allow teachers to better target instruction based on students’ strengths and needs.
Top 6 Questions Parents Ask About the MAP Assessment, https://www.nwea.org/blog/2016/answers-to-the-top-6-questions-parents-ask-about-the-map-test/
OLSAT (Otis Lennon School Abilities Test)
The OLSAT assesses a student's cognitive (e.g., verbal, nonverbal and quantitative) abilities. It is used specifically to measure abilities related to success in school, testing critical thinking and reasoning skills. The OLSAT is intended to test memory, speed of thought and ability to see relationships and patterns. The OLSAT was designed to measure a student’s verbal-academic domain, rather than other more practical and mechanical domains.