At Immaculate Conception School, we use data from a variety of sources. Earlier in the year, I wrote about STAR testing and how that information is used. Today, I am going to take a closer look at the Terra Nova results you will be receiving shortly.
Before we get into numbers, we need to understand that data is a tool. It is a powerful tool, but a single test cannot tell us everything we need to understand about children. That’s why we use a variety of data points. Some things are formal tests such as the Terra Nova. Others are teacher observations. While that may be less formal, it is just as important. The teachers at Immaculate Conception are constantly monitoring students to ensure they are learning. We look for trends in the data. The trends help us make connections and create learning opportunities for the students.
The Terra Nova is a nationally normed standardized test. This means the students at Immaculate Conception are compared to students throughout the county who have also taken this test in October.
In a few days, you will receive your child’s Home Report. The first page has a chart with your child’s national percentile ranking in the tested areas. The easiest way to think of this is that a student who scored in the 71st percentile scored better than 71% of students who took the same test. Percentile scores between 25 and 75 are considered average scores.
The next page breaks the overall subject score into categories to give you more information. They use circles to indicate levels of mastery. The three levels are
- High Mastery – This is considered to be a complete understanding of a topic.
- Moderate Mastery – This is close to complete understanding, but not quite there yet.
- Low Mastery – This is consistently scoring below proficient.
It is very possible to have all three scores in a single subject. A student could easily have a high level of mastery in the computation category while also having a low level of mastery in the measurement category.
The last score reported to parents is the child’s Lexile range. Lexile is a reading level. Students generally progress in reading if they read a book that is understandable, but just slightly above their reading level. The “sweet spot” for learning using Lexile scores is between 100 points below and about 50 points above the child’s actual score. This is why this score is reported as a range.
I encourage you to review these scores when they come home. They will give you a bit of insight into your child’s academic progress.