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Find Books by Reading Level and Subject
- To help find books that fit a student's reading level, go to http://www.lexile.com/findabook.
- Or, find just the right books using Book Wizard from Scholastic. You can search by reading level and even refine your search by genre or subject. You can even find a book similar to one you like by using the "similar books" tab on the Book Wizard.
How to Interpret Your Child's Standarized Testing Results
James River’s curriculum is supported by many different tools in order to provide the highest quality education possible for each individual child. One such tool is the periodic use of standardized testing. We use tests provided by reputable companies with years of nationwide data. Our on-staff testing experts administer and interpret the resulting data. We give standardized tests to provide the following:
- They provide James River Day School with an independent, external assessment of our students’ progress. Standardized tests are taken at most good independent schools, and they give us a way to compare our students’ performance with that 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 (with the exception of the WRAP test) 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 these types of tests.
Things to consider when reading your student’s test scores:
Interpreting standardized test scores can be confusing. A percentile rank is not the same thing as a percentage of questions answered correctly. Being in the 60th percentile on one of these tests does not mean the same thing as earning 60% on a classroom test. Being in the 60th percentile on one of these tests means that out of 100 students who took this test, 60 scored the same or lower, and 40 scored the same or higher.
A test score is simply a snapshot. Children rarely perform better on tests than their ability. However, they can score lower than their ability. There are many factors to consider when test results are not what one would expect. Was the child:
- distracted during the test?
- upset by something that happened at school?
- sick or getting sick or recovering from illness?
- upset by family issues?
- anxious about the test?
Human development is uneven. While all children go through a predictable set of developmental events, the rate at which they do so is quite variable. Usually there is a big surge in development, followed by a period of consolidation. Thus, test results that show little growth between fall and spring don’t necessarily mean there is a problem. Likewise, incredible growth rates may be attributable to the teacher but may also simply be the result of a growth spurt. And a high growth rate does not mean the child will continue to progress at that rate--in fact, it’s probably the opposite.
It is not uncommon to have a child who tests at a very high level at a young age and then drops in their level of achievement over time. This can be the case when a child comes from a family that provides many opportunities for the young child, who then gets off to a fast start relative to others of their age. Over time, other children who didn’t have those early opportunities will grow at a faster rate and catch up, thus producing misleading, relatively lower test results for the first child.
Looking at test results over time gives a much more accurate view of a child’s progress. While any one test may give skewed results, a child’s true growth rate is better shown by a series of test results spanning several grades.
Parents who have further questions about a child’s performance on standardized tests, please contact Toinette Staley, our Resource Program Director [email protected] or Peter York, our Head of School [email protected]
Further Standardized Testing Information
- How to upload to Google Classroom using a smartphone: https://youtu.be/qnPVjZZkTbU.
- How to upload to Google Classroom using a Chromebook: https://youtu.be/h19ffLP9bDs.
- Understood.org has helpful articles for families during this unique time, such as:
- Apps to Help Kids Stay Focused
- Managing Anxiety
- GoNoodle Channels
- Education Week, a well-regarded online magazine, is offering Ask a Psychologist: Helping Students Thrive Now. Follow the link to learn more.
- IXL Parent Guide