Nashua school staff see tests as key to tracking student growth
NASHUA — Students within the district have made some significant strides in math and reading, but a troubling percent of children, particularly those in middle school, remain below grade level.
Test results, which are available immediately, not only show if a student is on grade level, they also pinpoint specific areas in math and reading where individual children need help.
The tests, developed by Curriculum Associates of Billerica, Mass., also lets teachers compare the improvement, or average point growth of Nashua students with the expected point growth of all students.
According to the i-Ready program, first graders should see a gain of 41 points on math tests. Nashua first graders had an average gain of 42 points.
And the i-Ready test results show that most Nashua students are below grade level in math, and many are behind their peers in reading. According to i-Ready, 94 percent of the district’s seventh graders, and 96 percent of Nashua’s eighth graders are below grade level for math.
In order to be on grade level, students must demonstrate on the tests that they have at least half of the skills expected to be acquired during a given school year.
“What this tells me that the further along students go, the further behind they get,” said BOE member Sandra Ziehm. And that trend is major concern as schools continue to transition to a Common Core Standards-based curriculum which will introduce higher stakes and standards for all students at all grade levels.
“Our kids are a lot more than data points,” said Oden. “To me, we are looking at the ultimate of teaching to the test.”
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