Guest post from Mrs. Elizabeth Green, FWC Elementary Principal

FWC Elementary Principal - Mrs. Elizabeth Green

Test”, “assessment”, “standardized assessment”.

Words that incite fear into many.

Some adults suffered from test anxiety as students, and some have children who suffer from test anxiety currently. Maybe you’ve experienced a school setting that appears to spend more time in test prep than in actual instruction. Sadly, in today’s educational setting, student assessment is getting a bad wrap. The pressures of high-stakes state testing (such as the STAAR, or “State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness”) and the resulting school ratings based on student performance on these tests has led to increased anxiety over testing for children and educators alike. The truth is, assessing a student’s learning is vitally important. “Assessment” is simply a measurement of what students are learning.

  • Teachers use formative assessment, such as teacher observation, discussion, asking questions during a lesson, or giving quizzes during a unit of study. Formative assessments provide an educator with information used to adjust instruction while their students are learning concepts. Think of it as evidence collected to show what a child is understanding. Formative assessments often have little or no “point value”.

 

  • Summative assessment is used to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit or grading period. Some examples are unit projects, unit exams, mid-terms, or final exams. These are usually associated with high-point value grading.

 

  • A standardized test is one used so that questions, conditions of testing, etc. are “standardized” so that scores can be compared to normative data. A standardized test gives educators and parents a method to compare their learner(s) to peers across a school, district, state, nation, or internationally.

Each of these tests, or assessments, serve an important part of teaching and learning by providing educators and families with information on how a child is progressing in their academics.

At Fort Worth Christian, we utilize all forms of assessment. Currently, our Elementary and Middle School students are assessed using MAP® Growth™ beginning in Kindergarten for standardized testing. The MAP® Growth™ tests are computer adaptive, meaning questions become more or less challenging during the test to pinpoint a student’s performance. At the Elementary level, the MAP® is given three times a year, twice a year in the Middle School. It is a “normal” part of school, which reduces the anxiety caused by the disruptions of most standardized testing.

Teachers and families are able to see how a child compares to students in his/her grade level at FWC and how they compare to students across Texas who have taken MAP® Growth™ at that grade level. As an entrance exam, we are able to compare a future student’s knowledge with our current students, giving families and teachers information on how a child will likely perform in our classrooms. Individualized results are available within 24 hours, however for comparative data we have to wait until all students have tested and the “testing window” has ended.

For more information about Fort Worth Christian, please contact us at 817-520-6200 or email Shirley in Admissions at satkinson@fwc.org  – we would love to share our Christ-centered education with your child!

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One of our Elementary families recently made the move from public school to FWC. Cal Smallwood, father of 2 current Elementary students, shares his analysis:

“Fort Christian School has been a true blessing to our family. Our daughter attended a public Elementary school in Colleyville through second grade. We were so discouraged by the learning environment there. Teachers there focused their entire day on teaching a handful of students who were significantly behind and centered there efforts on teaching those students to pass the STAAR test. As a result, the rest of the students were left to a TON of free time after they completed their assignments which led to a classroom lacking structure and discipline. I witnessed this first-hand through volunteering through the Watch DOGS program. When I returned to the office from my volunteer day in her second grade classroom, I immediately called Fort Worth Christian to set up a tour. We enrolled our daughter at FWC in February of her second grade year, a week after touring the campus. In the past, our daughter never looked forward to going to school, especially after a long break. Now, she looks forward to every day at FWC. She has learned so much and feels so engaged in the classroom. We are so grateful!”