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.
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.
Each year, freshman and sophomore students will take the NWEA assessment in two different "windows": fall and spring. Juniors will test only once during the winter. 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 to set a new record each time!
The NWEA assessment is given twice in each window in order to assess a student in the areas of Reading and Mathematics. 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.
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.