I hope this letter finds you well and recovering from our recent very disruptive weather.
I am writing to tell you about the new spring testing program initiated this year by the Diocese of Bridgeport. One of the biggest trends in education in the 21st Century is using data to drive and inform instruction. The Diocese of Bridgeport decided last spring not to continue with the Terra Nova spring tests but to replace them with two new types of assessments from the Riverside Testing Company to help better inform instruction.
Students in Grades 2, 4, 6 and 7 will take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills which measures achievement in math and English Language. Students in grades 4, 6, and 7 will also complete sections in science and social studies. These nationally standardized tests will provide a comparison for our students locally, regionally, and nationally. They will also provide a diagnostic look at how students are progressing in key academic areas and allow teachers and parents to track student growth over time. The results will provide information that will help inform instructional decision making and provide data to develop personalized learning programs.
Students in grades 1, 3 and 5 will take the Cognitive Abilities Test (Cogat) which measures ability. These tests will measure verbal, quantitative, and non-verbal reasoning abilities that will assist teachers in determining instructional strategies. These results will aid in the differentiating of instruction for students based on the individual profiles showing areas of special talent and areas which are more challenging for the student.
The testing window set by the Diocese for these assessments is March 12 to March 23. The amount of time spent on testing will range from a total of 90 minutes in first-grade spread out over three sections to slightly over five hours of testing broken into ten sections in the sixth and seventh grade. Sixth and Seventh grade students will be administered the tests the first three
periods of the day starting this Wednesday, March 14 and then continue on Thursday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings. Any student who receives testing accommodations as part of an Accommodation plan will receive the same accommodations during these assessments.
These are not assessments that your child can study for. You can help your child do their best by getting a good night sleep and eating a good breakfast during the days of testing. The bulk of the testing will be accomplished this week. No other tests will be scheduled for students on the days of Iowa testing.
The results will be shared with parents as soon as they become available. If you have any questions about these assessments or anything that affects your child's education, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Stanley T. Steele