We give standardized tests at James River Day School to obtain an objective, independent assessment of our students' progress.
In grades K-5 we use the NWEA computerized adaptive achievement testing program (Measures of Academic Progress or MAP) to track student progress in reading and mathematics and to help teachers plan instruction. We give the OLSAT in grades 1 and 3 to measure academic aptitude.
In grades 5-8, we give the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) IV, designed by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), for four reasons:
- They provide James River Day School with an independent, external assessment of our students’ progress. The ERB tests are taken at most good independent schools, so they give us a way to compare our students’ performance with the performance of students in other schools like ours.
- They provide our teachers with useful information about how well our students are mastering the material we teach. Analyzing how our students answered individual questions gives us an independent check on our students’ mastery of individual facts, rules, and concepts. This type of testing is limited, first of all, because we do not “teach to the test” (our curriculum is not determined by this test), and secondly, because it is multiple choice, not allowing students to demonstrate or explain in writing what they know and understand. Nevertheless, it is useful to obtain an outside check on our curriculum.
- They provide parents with a record of their student’s progress on standardized tests, over time. An individual test, taken on a particular day, may not be a reliable indicator of a student’s achievement, but a series of similar tests, taken over a period of time, will show trends in a student’s development and will highlight a student’s relative strengths.
- They provide students with the opportunity to practice taking standardized tests. When students take the PSAT and SAT tests in high school, it is an advantage to have already had experience with taking this type of test.
The 8th grade ERB CTP Spring 2016 National Median Percentile Report
Verbal Reasoning - 96th percentile
Vocabulary - 89th percentile
Reading Comprehension - 92nd percentile
Writing Mechanics - 83rd percentile
Writing Concepts & Skills - 90th percentile
Quanitative Reasoning - 93rd percentile
Mathematics 1 & 2 - 91st percentile