Let the testing begin.
Students in the Jefferson Local School District started school a month ago and are well in the process of drug and academic testing. Swimming through a sea of examination acronyms from MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) to OAA (Ohio Achievement Assessment) and OGT (Ohio Graduation Test), students began MAP testing last week.
Student athletes finished their summer round of mandatory drug testing and started the random testing process. A new district policy regarding random testing was adopted by the school board in 2011.
“We tested 171 fall athletes and we had 171 negative results,” said David Metz, high school principal. “We feel the program is having a very positive impact. We want to put students on the right path.”
Curriculum Coordinator Joan Scofield called attention to upcoming reading assessment and retention changes due to Senate Bill (SB) 316, recently signed by Gov. John Kasich and scheduled to take effect with the 2013-14 school year. The legislation requires all children entering third grade to read at grade level by the end of the year to advance to fourth grade.
School districts are required to assess the literacy skills of all students in kindergarten through third grade, starting this fall, and inform parents if their child is not on track to read at grade level by the end of the year. However, the legislation’s “reading guarantee” component, requiring retention if skills are not proficient, does not take effect until the following school year.
In a letter to parents, Scofield wrote that the district has a strong curriculum including a comprehensive literacy program with regular assessments, intervention and support for students, both in the classroom and by Title I teachers and intervention specialists.
“We’ll be sending home a letter so parents won’t be shocked if they are told their child is below grade level,” said Scofield during the school board’s Sept. 10 meeting.
MAP testing, which provides detailed data regarding a student’s learning level in reading, math and language, has begun.
“When we complete the MAP testing, we’ll be sending home information if a student is not performing at grade level,” said Superintendent William Mullett. “As we focus on the third grade reading guarantee, we’ll be looking at assessments and provide contemplation on areas where we can provide intervention. I know it’s going to be a topic of discussion for the weeks and months ahead.”
Students may be exempt from the SB 316 retention requirement. These include students with limited English proficiency enrolled less than two years, exempted special education students and students receiving intensive remediation for two years who were previously retained in kindergarten through third grade.
Norwood Elementary Principal Gary Bell said MAP testing is not the only method of assessing student progress. He said benchmark assessments also help teachers “quite a bit.” Bell said the district does not use only one test to predict a student’s academic future.
“Parents are an important part of the learning process and Norwood Elementary welcomes their partnership,” said Scofield. “Encouraging your child to read is very important. When parents demonstrate a strong interest in reading, children are more likely to model that behavior.”
For information, contact the district’s curriculum department at 879-7654 or Bell at 879-7642.