What tests will be given to my elementary-school child to measure academic progress?
In all, there are seven types of tests given in elementary school to measure students’ progress. Some are given to all children; others are given to a sample of students. The following list explains the tests, their origin and what they measure.
End-of-Grade tests: Often called EOGs, these are tests required by the state of North Carolina for students in grades three, four and five in reading, writing and math, as well as science in grade five. They are given at the end of each school year and measure a student’s progress during that year. All elementary students in those grades take the End-of-Grade tests, unless they qualify for an alternate kind of test. Alternate tests measure the same subject areas, but make accommodations for specific learning disabilities or other special needs of some students. The three kinds of alternate tests used in elementary school are called NC Extend1, NC Extend2 and NCCLAS.
NC Writing Assessment: This is a state test to measure student progress on writing skills. These tests are given to students at the end of grades four, seven and 10.
Local formative assessments: These tests are given by CMS to measure students’ progress so that teachers can adapt and enhance instruction to best meet students’ needs. All students at all levels take these tests periodically during the school year.
National Assessment of Educational Progress: Often called NAEP or the nation’s report card, these tests are given by a federal education group to a sample of students across the country. The same tests are given to some students in every state, and this allows comparison of performance between states. In addition, the testing group is also piloting city-to-city comparisons by testing students in a small group of urban school districts. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is among this pilot group, and the NAEP tests are given to a sample of students in CMS. In elementary school, NAEP tests are given to fourth-graders in reading, math and science. NAEP tests are also being developed to measure interactive computer science skills and arts skills, and CMS students are among those taking the pilot tests in these areas.
DIBELS: This testing acronym stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy. The test is given by CMS to all students in kindergarten through second grade, and may be given to some third-graders as well.
CogAT6: This test, formally called the Cognitive Abilities Test, is given to all second-graders by CMS. In higher grades, it may be given to determine whether a student is gifted.
ITBS: The Iowa Test of Basic Skills, a nationally used assessment, is used by CMS to determine a student’s level of giftedness in some cases. It may be given to some students as early as second grade, but is also used in later grades.