Remember, test scores and measures of achievement tell you where a student is, but they don’t tell you where a student could end up.
– Carol Dweck, Mindset, 2006
Assessment is an integral component of the teaching and learning process. It is through assessments, both informal and formal, that teachers learn about what students know, what they find challenging and what the next steps are for student learning.
Suffern Central teachers are experienced, certified professionals who use assessments to learn more about their students. Early in the school year, students take diagnostic assessments, such as the DRA, NWEA MAP, content-specific assessments and/or a writing sample. Teachers use the information from diagnostic assessments to focus their instruction on what students are ready to learn next.
During the year, teachers use various assessments to provide a measure of progress, or growth, for students. These may include vendor products such as the DRA and NWEA MAP, as well as teacher-created quizzes and tests, and District-wide common assessments.
Later in the year, assessments that are more summative in nature, meaning they reflect what a student has learned over the course of the year, are used. At the secondary level these include APs, Regents and final exams. In the lower grades these include the New York State 3 – 8 ELA and Math tests, vendor products and District-wide common assessments.
The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is a standardized reading test used to determine a student’s instructional level in reading. The DRA is administered individually to students by teachers and/or reading specialists. Students read a selection (or selections) and then retell what they have read to the examiner. As the levels increase, so does the difficulty level for each selection. The DRA and its associated components are used in grades K – 3 throughout the District, and in some cases in grades 4 and 5.
MAP® Growth™ is an adaptive interim assessment that students take 2 – 3 times a year. As an adaptive assessment taken on a computer, the MAP assessment adjusts the difficulty of the questions based on a student’s prior answers. It provides an accurate view of how much each student has grown over time and what students are ready to learn. This provides teachers the opportunity to plan instruction and group students based on their specific needs. All Suffern Central students in grades 2 – 8 take the NWEA in fall and spring. Some also take it in the winter. Several of our elementary schools are also piloting its use in Grade 1, and even in the spring of K.
A lexile measure gives information about a student’s reading level and the complexity of a specific text. The NWEA MAP and Achieve 3000, used at Suffern Middle School and some of the elementary schools, provide lexile levels. Lexile levels are not used to compare students reading levels, but rather, to match students to texts that they will find appropriately challenging. www.lexile.com provides a search engine where students can match their lexile level with their reading interests. While recognizing the role of lexiles to match readers with texts, it is our belief that ultimately the volume that students read is the most important factor in growing their literacy development. We encourage students to read what interests them, and for teachers and parents to support students reading interests and provide opportunities and resources for reading.
Grades 3 – 8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics
Each spring students in grades 3 – 8 take the NYS assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. These assessments are aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS). In their current format, they were first administered in 2013.
To help with the transition to the new curriculum and assessments, NYS has provided the following website as a resource for parents and families: http://www.engageny.org/parent-and-family-resources. Additionally, NYS provides parents and students guides for understanding the ELA and Math reports.
Last year the District sent the following communications regarding the NYS assessments:
NYS Regents Exams
The first CCLS aligned Regents Exams were offered in June 2014. Since then, new Regents exams in English, Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2 have been phased in. Changes to the Social Studies Regents are planned over the next several years. For more information on the timeline and content of these changes, please click here.
Academic Intervention Services (AIS)
In accordance with state regulations, the District’s AIS plan is posted here. This plan outlines district-wide procedures used to determine the need for AIS, a description of the services provided, and the evaluation tools used for measuring student progress.
District and School Accountability
New York State Report Cards for the Ramapo Central School District and each of our schools can be found here.