The Dwight-Englewood School has re-examined the ways in which we assess our students and program. Through this analysis, we began to question if the standardized tests that we were administering enabled us to answer the important question: Does the Dwight-Englewood School fulfill its Mission? We found that the standardized assessments we administer allow us to examine one aspect of our curriculum but missed some significant components of our program.
In recent years, many discussions in the field of education have shifted the focus from only teaching basic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics to also focusing on the “21st century skills” and “non-cognitive skills.” In order to better understand our program’s success across this more comprehensive array of skills, we are implementing changes in the types of standardized tests we use and how we use each.
We will continue to administer academic tests such as Educational Records Bureau (ERB) tests: Comprehensive Testing Program – 4 (CTP 4) and the Writing Assessment Program (WrAP). The CTP-4 will be administered to grades 3, 5, and 7. It is a standardized test of reading, vocabulary, writing, and mathematical achievement, as well as verbal and quantitative reasoning. The WrAP will be administered to grades 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8. The WrAP is a two day process writing assessment. These results will provide us with ways to examine our academic curriculum and to further support students.
We have also decided to administer two new standardized assessments that are connected more closely to “21st century skills” and “non-cognitive skills.” First the Mission Skills Assessment (MSA) will be administered to all middle school students. The MSA assesses skills including teamwork, creativity, ethics, resilience, curiosity and time management. Individual students do not receive a score but the School receives a report showing its performance on these constructs that provides us ongoing evaluation of our efforts. In grades 9 and 12, students will take the College and Work Readiness Assessment (CWRA) which is a performance-task based assessment. It measures critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem solving, and written communication skills. Again, a measure we will use to evaluate what we do so that we can best ensure ongoing program improvement.
The Dwight Englewood School is excited about this shift as we hope to further examine the ways that our curriculum is achieving the School’s mission including fostering a passions for life-long learning and to meeting the challenges of a changing world.