This is a very busy and exciting time of the school year. We are pleased to report that our students continue to do a great job! A lot of the attention during this phase of the school year goes into planning and executing successful testing experiences (MCAs, ACCESS, ACTs, Pre-ACTS, and the list goes on). Although accountability measures for public schools continue to change, the mandate of using standardized testing remains as well as other measures to improve educational opportunity and collective student outcomes. We also know there are a lot of different opinions on these high stakes tests. We view these tests as opportunities for students to demonstrate what they know and how hard they have worked. Regardless of the situations our students face, we want them to be prepared to do their absolute best.
Results from high stakes testing and, in our case, the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCAs) are the most known and public measure of student achievement. We will never deny these results are important and we will continue to use these results as an indicator of school success. Educational best practices call for engagement, differentiation, innovation, and creativity. Although we all want to see great achievement gains, it is also important to remember that the practices that lead to achievement will continue to be what we focus on.
Standardized testing and traditional school evaluation tend to focus on a one size fits all approach. That is why we are excited to expand on this by measuring student career and college readiness through Redefining Ready. If you have read previous articles, you may recall that Redefining Ready has many additional research-based indicators that determine if students are college, career, and life ready. Some of these indicators are (GPA, AP courses, Algebra II passing rates, concurrent college credits, industry credentials, attendance, community service hours, and participation in extra/co-curriculars).
We have seen improvements in some standardized test scores. Although improvements are nice to see, we want to prioritize instructional practices that lead to long-term success. Our district aims, goals, and Profile of a Graduate set the foundation for helping students develop the skills needed to be successful lifelong learners. We want to continue to help students develop the academic skills necessary, but to also make sure students have the life and human being skills needed to apply this knowledge appropriately.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and for your continued support.
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