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Actionable Data

January 10, 2020
By Dr. P. Ogborne

Standardized Testing.  The term seems to send shivers down teachers, students and parents spines.  So many perspectives on the benefits, the impacts, the proper way to implement and use the data.  It is important for a school to develop a proper implementation and reasoning for what the data tells us and what to do with it. 

For many years PCS has used the CAT-4 test (Grades 1- 8) to measure the knowledge and progress of our students in several different categories including math sense, vocabulary, reading, etc. We also added the Gates-MacGinitie Reading and Comprehension test (Grades 1-8) to add a more robust focus on our reading progression in conjunction with our F2 program. 

We used these tests instead of the public board’s EQAO test because it was administrable to all grades and the results were obtained within a month of writing them. Being an independent organization, the results allowed us to evaluate our program and gave us a snapshot of the grade level knowledge of our students. This also allowed the school to evaluate the students progress and gave the Administration the time to adjust or fine tune our curriculum for the following year.

In our continued endeavour to have data that is actionable and focused on increasing our level of excellence, we have decided to pilot the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment program for Grades 4 to 8. This program would replace the current CAT- 4 test. Through our affiliation with Edvance Christian School Association, we will be joining with hundreds of other schools who are seeing great results from this assessment method. The data that is collected is used in the same school term and can positively impact the learning goals and process in real time.

These online assessments are conducted 3 times per school year (September/October, January and May) and consists of 3 tests (Reading, Language Usage and Math) for students in Grades 4-8. MAP provides a personalized assessment for each student that adapts to their learning level while they are taking the “test”.

The results from MAP provide the teachers with information showing the growth of each student over the year, regardless of what level they are working at. The information from the tests is then used to help adjust the teaching in the classroom and proactively provide support for students who may require more focus on a specific skill.

It is our hope that the continuous monitoring throughout the year, coupled with the differentiated results for each student, will allow our teachers to pinpoint areas of need and target them throughout the current school year.  For this year we will continue to also administer the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Comprehension test for Grades 1 to 8. Moving into next year we will evaluate the possibility of extending the MAP testing to SK through Grade 8 and potentially dropping the Gates-MacGinitie test altogether. 

Please see the link provided for more information geared for parents regarding the MAP Testing program