School testing


These acronyms can be very confusing to parents and community members who are not part of the education system. So today I would like to unscramble these letters and explain what each one means and how we use these assessments to enrich teaching and learning. Each set of letters represents a test administered to our students to monitor their progress in meeting state standards.

The SAT-10 is the Stanford Achievement Test – Tenth Edition. It is a standardized, norm-referenced achievement test that utilizes a multiple choice format. Students enrolled in first and second grade in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools are administered the Reading Comprehension and Mathematics Problem Solving subtests. The SAT-10 provides achievement data that can be used to compare local students’ performance with the performance of students in the nation.

The SESAT is the Stanford Early Student Achievement Test and is administered to all Kindergarten students.

CELLA is the Comprehensive English Language Learning Assessment. Since the 2006-2007 school year, the District administered the CELLA test to all students classified as ELL – English Language Learners. The CELLA measures growth in English language proficiency through speaking, listening, reading and writing assessments.

The FCAT is the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and it is a criterion-referenced test that measures students’ mastery of grade-level content. Last year, the Florida Department of Education transitioned from FCAT to FCAT 2.0 in reading and mathematics to align with new academic content. All students in grades 3 – 8 take the FCAT 2.0 in reading and mathematics and students in selected grades also take writing, science and civics tests.

The data from these assessments are analyzed by the District and by the individual schools to drive classroom instruction. Teachers meet with the administrative team to review the data and determine the types of materials that are needed, the types of interventions that would be meaningful and the resources that are required to help a child succeed. At NSE SIB K-8 the data on each child is examined in great detail and enables the team to best meet the needs of the students.

Parents frequently ask what they can do to help prepare their children for these assessments. Throughout the year NSE SIB K-8 has conducted workshops for parents to learn about the test and how they can support their children. Parents and students are urged to attend school daily; to pay close attention in class and to complete their home learning each night. Parents and students have also been advised that there are before and after school opportunities for additional academic support.

Now as we approach the dates for test administration for the SESAT, the SAT -10 and the FCAT 2.0, I am asking the parents to ensure that students arrive on time each day and maximize their instructional time in class. Parents should be aware of the testing dates and should insist that students have a good night’s rest before each test and a healthy breakfast each morning before the test. Remember every child is entitled to a free breakfast every morning at school. Our cafeteria opens every morning at 7:45am to ensure a healthy start to each day.

Preparing out students for these assessments is another example of the importance of the home and school working together for the benefit of the children. Rigorous classroom instruction plus good home health habits is a formula for success. I invite you to join us is creating a smooth testing environment for all our children.

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