Christian Brothers College High School

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NWEA Testing Program

Measuring Academic Progress at CBC

Since 1850, CBC has been dedicated to the Lasallian mission of providing a Christian education focused on individual students' unique strengths and needs. In the Fall of 2012, CBC began using the Measure of Academic Progress Growth assessment from NWEA in order to evaluate how students of diverse abilities are growing academically over their high school careers.  This is an online, adaptive assessment that CBC students take three times per school year.  As the student responds to questions, the assessment responds to the student, adjusting up or down in difficulty. Thus, each time a student is assessed, the questions will be different even if the same skills are being assessed.  The student's performance results in a score that reflects the student's unique academic knowledge, skills, and abilities.  By looking at a student's scoring history over time, we can get an accurate picture of how students are growing.  Teachers can also get instant feedback regarding what students already know and what they are ready to learn.  Since implementing the NWEA assessment, the data has shown that our students of all starting levels and abilities are growing at or above twice the national averages.  We are tremendously proud of the growth our students have shown and we remain committed to ensuring that future generations of Cadets continue to grow at extraordinary levels.

Frequently Asked Questions


How is this different
from other standardized tests?

While NWEA does assess students on the same standards as a standardized or "high-stakes" test, its purpose is radically different. Most state or high-stakes tests measure what students already know based on what is expected at their grade level and are typically given at the end of the school year as a way to measure grade-level proficiency.  Additionally, the results from many standardized tests take months to deliver, so it is not really actionable data.  The NWEA assessment, however, serves as a continual measure of growth throughout a semester, a year, and a career.  Think of it more like marking height on a growth chart so that you can tell how tall your child is at various points and how this has changed over time relative to objective norms.  Furthermore, the NWEA assessment yields actionable data immediately, showing teachers exactly what students know and what they are ready to learn. The results can then be used to help personalize lessons at the appropriate level for individual students.  One final difference is that most standardized tests are unique to each grade level, offering no real basis for objective comparison across grade levels.  The "RIT" scoring scale used by NWEA, however, is entirely independent of grade level, so comparison over time and across grade levels is reliable and objective.

When is my son taking these assessments and how can I see my son's results?

Each year, Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior students take the NWEA assessment in three different "windows": fall, winter, and spring (Juniors will only test in the fall and winter and Seniors do not test).  Prior to the start of each window, you will receive a letter with the dates of upcoming assessments as well as a progress report showing you your son's score history going into the upcoming window.  Of course, his goal will be to improve upon his previous best scores.  Please encourage him to put his full effort forth in an effort to set a new record each time!

How many different tests are there?

The NWEA assessment is given three times in each window in order to assess a student in three different areas: Reading, Mathematics, and Language Usage.  Thus, at the conclusion of a testing window, each student will have a new score in each area.  CBC does not attempt to combine these scores into any sort of comprehensive or compiled number.

I see my son's scores, how do I interpret them?

Each one of our young men has unique gifts and strengths, so while some may want to look at how a particular score compares with national or school-level norms, we only look at a score in relation to that student’s unique history.  Simply put, a “good score” is a score that shows improvement from a student’s previous score history.

Are testing accommodations made available for students on the NWEA assessment?

Many of the most common accommodations allotted to students with unique learning needs are in fact “built-in” to the NWEA assessments.  The tests are untimed, taken on the student’s own computer, and given in a carefully proctored environment.  On the Mathematics assessment, the only questions for which a calculator is not provided are questions specifically assessing a student’s ability to do mental math.  Beyond this, CBC generally does not offer further accommodations on the NWEA assessment.  Any more specific questions regarding accommodations may be directed at any time to Mr. Tom Eichwald ’07, NWEA Testing Program Coordinator, at eichwaldt@cbchs.org.
 

What if my son’s score doesn’t show an improvement from his previous test?

We have seen over time that when students give their best effort on every test question, they tend to grow, and they do so at exceptional levels.  This being said, a student’s learning (like his physical growth) is rarely going to be in a straight line.  He may occasionally show drastic improvement and sometimes less so—this is normal.  A student who has not practiced Mathematics over the Summer months, for instance, may not score quite as well in the Fall as he did in the Spring when he was actively enrolled in a class.  Our primary interest, however, is in the big picture of how a student grows over the course of his entire career.
Exploring Colleges with NWEA Data
 
NWEA has linked their Measure of Academic Progress Growth assessments to ACT data and college admissions data to help you identify colleges that might be an ideal fit.  Check out the College Explorer tool today!
 
(Note: NWEA currently only offers projections based on Freshman and Sophomore scores.)
 
 

 

Want to learn more?

For more information, contact NWEA
Program Coordinator:
Mr. Tom Eichwald '07
 eichwaldt@cbchs.org
(314) 985-6064