Asst. Prep. Protocol

Assessment Preparation Protocol

A comprehensive, rigorous cycle of assessment is paramount to the mission and vision of NJASCS. In order to measure the effectiveness of the academic program and to monitor students’ progress towards achieving – and exceeding – grade-level standards, the establishment of a culture of data-driven instruction and assessment is paramount to the school’s mission and vision.

By utilizing a combination of diagnostic, formative, summative, and performance-based assessments, (predominantly using computer-based assessment format, complimented by paper-based format for select assessments), clear, holistic, and accurate data is readily available; the assessment system serves as the key component to measure the effectiveness of the academic program and to monitor students’ progress towards achieving and exceeding grade-level standards. Frequent monitoring of student progress and the use of assessment data to set specific learning goals to prescribe individualized action plans for learning are both research-based best-practices.

State-Mandated Assessments – 3-11

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Performance-Based Assessment (PBA), PARCC End-of-Year Assessment (EOY) PARCC Non-Summative Speaking and Listening Assessment (ELA/literacy only)NJASK Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test, NJASK Grade 8 Intermediate Science Test, WIDA ACCESS Test for English Language Learners.

Optional State-Adopted Assessments:

PARCC Diagnostic Assessment, PARCC Mid-Year Assessment (MYA) (2015-2016) College Board AP Exams.

Note: PARCC will create Formative Assessment Tools in Grades K-1 that will be field tested in early 2015 and available for use in the 2015-16 school year. NJASCS intends to incorporate these resources into the testing protocol.

NJASCS currently administers the MAP Diagnostic Assessment upon enrollment to measure the degree of mastery of the learning standards and to evaluate the academic needs of each incoming class. Results will be combined with students’ records from previous schools, along with student interviews and parent-provided data to establish individual student portfolios. Teachers will develop individual learning goals for each student and learning plans for each class based on the results of the MAP Diagnostic Assessment. Moreover, the administrative staff will adjust the curriculum pacing guides to best reflect the needs of the students. As per the NJ Department of Education, this information is vital to establish the targets in the goal-setting process for developing Student Growth Objectives (SGO’s) for the year.

Likewise, the PARCC MYA will serve as a midpoint snapshot of student progress. This assessment will provide critical data along the continuum of grade-level expectations; data garnered from this assessment will be used to drive standards-based future instruction leading up to the PARCC EOY.

Practice Assessments:

Two Full-length, computer-based PARCC PBA and PARCC EOY simulations, one month prior to the testing window for the formal exam.

Two full-length, computer-based practice assessments will mirror the format, content, and style of the PARCC EOY and the PARCC PBA. These exams will be developed in-house by content are-specialists in math, English, and science, with adaptive software (i.e., Pearson, People’s Education, and NWEA). These programs will allow for complete customization of assessments based upon curricula and the individualized needs of the students. As with PARCC, these practice assessments will include a range of item types, including innovative constructed response, extended performance tasks, and selected response tasks (all of which will be computer-based).

School-Developed/Prescribed Local Assessments

Benchmark assessments (unit, final exams), monthly writing exams, digital and traditional performance-based assessments, running records (reading fluency), IEP-referenced alternate assessments and diagnostic tools for students with disabilities (as developed in an IEP team with the student’s district of residence) such as student portfolio assessment, ELL assessments to determine proficiency in English (for identified students) , teacher observations, teacher-prepared assessments, writing portfolios.

The comprehensive assessment program allows for all stakeholders to accurately measure if NJASCS is meeting its mission of academic success. This data, in turn, will inform the decision-making process at the school. Just as teachers use the information to gauge their students’ progress and identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, each school uses this information in the aggregate to do the same.

Once tests are administered and results are available, a variety of software programs compile data into user-friendly reports which provide targeted analysis by grade, class, individual students, and by standard and/or question. The School Assessment Coordinator guides teachers through the compilation of all reports from school-wide assessments, and these reports are readily available to school administrators. Rubrics are employed for all tasks that are project-based in nature. These rubrics are developed by teacher teams under the guidance of administration to clearly reflect expectations of standards-mastery in alignment with the CCSS.

Once provided with the data, the following questions to guide the instructional staff include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • How well did the class perform as a whole?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses evidenced within specific standards/skills?
  • Do results differ depending on question types (multiple-choice vs. open-ended, comprehension vs. writing)?
  • Identify students performing at PARCC PLD’s; How can teachers best create flexible-skill groups for students that have distinguished, strong, moderate, or partial command of the learning standard?
  • How can we utilize our students to best support one another?
  • Targeted distractors: Did students all select the same incorrect answer?
  • Compare similar standards/skills; do results in one domain influence the others?
  • Unwrap each standard and defragment each skill; did students perform similarly on lower-order vs. higher-order questions?
  • Sort data by performance in specific items/specific-standards; do trends in the data emerge?
  • Examine data horizontally by student; are there any anomalies occurring with individual students?

Following data analysis, each teacher (under the guidance of content-area specialists and school administrators) will design individualized, prescriptive action plans for improvement. Teachers will consider standards/skills (based upon the percentage of student mastery) for whole-group re-teach, small-group remediation, and for one-on-one instruction.

Next, grade-level teams will complete similar grade-team action plans. In these team action plans, grade-level teachers will design and implement cross-curricular strategies to support students. Teachers of all content areas will use common academic and content-specific vocabulary in their lessons.

Beginning in Kindergarten, efficacy will be ingrained in the student body. Students will take an active role in monitoring their progress by understanding the S.M.A.R.T. goals for their learning (specific, measurable, attainable, rigorous, and timely); these goals will be prescribed by their teachers. For example, students will be provided rubrics in student-friendly language and images that will clearly identify the necessary components to advance to the next level. Ongoing review of the holistic assessment program will include evaluation and feedback provided by content-area specialists, curriculum supervisors, administrators, teachers, student evaluation, and, where appropriate, peer-evaluation of student work. Centrally-designed benchmark examinations that align to the learning standards included within each unit will allow administration, faculty, students, and parents to track where student progress is being made, and where improvement is needed. As a point of focus, the Board of Trustees will use this data to monitor student progress in reaching the targeted academic goals set by the Board at the inception of the school year.