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Superintendent Message 3-21-17

Testing. Testing. Testing.

It seems like all we do is testing. Why are we testing so much? Simply stated, we test students to determine if they are learning what is being taught to them. Some of the testing is required by law whether from the Federal Government or the State and we often refer to these tests as “High Stakes Tests.” We also test along the way to determine how well we are preparing our students for the required high stakes tests. Testing has been a hot button topic for several years and one that should be carefully watched by all families and educators alike. As your superintendent I have the privilege of representing the USV community at regional and state meetings to learn and discuss our concerns over testing too much. I sit on the Buckeye Association of School Administrators – Committee of Higher Education; the Northwest/West Central Ohio Public School Advocacy Network (which is comprised of 50 superintendents from 12 Northwest Ohio counties); and the Northwest Ohio Association of School Administrators. Recently we have met to express our concerns regarding state requirements and the new federal ESSA plan (Every Student Succeeds Act) and recommendations to members of the State Board of Education and Senator Hite.

This year, USV decided to utilize the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, and to implement Compass Learning, an on-line computer tutoring program as a way to close gaps with our students. The MAP tests students in Reading, Mathematics, and Language Usage. All of the questions are aligned to the Ohio Learning Standards, and are ability based. When a child takes the assessment, it will raise or lower the difficulty of the questions based upon if the child answered correctly. Once we finish testing, the data is fed seamlessly into Compass Learning, which creates a personalized learning portfolio for each child. When the student logs into Compass, the work that is assigned to them is based upon their scores from the MAP assessment. Students are able to work in Reading/Language and also in Mathematics. As the students move within the activities in Compass, they are being quizzed over the material. The data from Compass is readily available to teachers and staff.

As USV completed our Winter testing of MAP in January, we were able to run the data to determine if the use of Compass is effective. The study shows that the students who worked through their personalized growth portfolio between the Fall and Winter testing session grew, on average, between 8-12 RIT points in the Reading! The same children grew between 11-16 RIT points in Mathematics! This is huge growth for our students! More importantly, the students are understanding concepts and closing gaps in their learning-which is the aim of this program. If you have a child in grades K-8, please encourage your student to work on their Compass folders! We are so proud of the growth we are seeing from our students!

Thank you,

Mike Kis

510 South Courtright PO Box 305 St. McGuffey, Ohio 45859      P 419.757.3231     F 419.757.0135
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