To objectively assess student growth and achievement and definitively say that we create learning environments that foster success for all learners as defined by the varying levels of ability within every classroom, Pillars places a high priority on curriculum and assessment.
While curriculum is standards based and clearly defines the learning objectives driving daily instruction, assessment in the form of standardized tests enables educators to make informed choices for all students. Standardized assessments are administered three times per year as student progress is measured in the areas of English Language Arts, Math and Science.
Standardized test results can be of tremendous value in terms of student growth as well as program analysis and revision if analyzed properly. Pillars administration and staff use test data to bring about continual growth and progress on several fronts. Data is used to determine students’ current stages of development relative to grade level and peers enabling teachers to challenge all students, at the appropriate level, ensuring continued growth and success. Data is also of tremendous value in assessing the effectiveness of programs. Are programs of study enabling our teachers to bring the curriculum to life in a highly rigorous and engaging manner? Do our curricula and programs align with one another allowing teacher creativity and expertise to excite and motivate all students to strive for their maximum potential? Standard test data analysis unlocks the answers to these questions and allows for ongoing growth and progress of students, teachers and curricula.
To ensure a sound assessment of students, the following are some of the common practices Pillars implements:
- Every student is given NWEA MAP as a placement test during the admission and current students are given the same test 3 times in a year, in the Fall, Winter and Spring, to monitor student growth in Math and Reading
- Standard Based Assessment Tests (Benchmarks) are given at the end of each quarter for each core subject area. Questions in SBATs target and assess learning standards covered during the class.
- End of Year Summative Assessment test is given for each Quality Core Subject. Those 12 subject areas in High School include: Algebra-1, 2, Geometry, Precalculus, English-1,2,3,4, Chemistry, Biology, Physics and US History.
- Data collected from benchmarks and summative assessments drive curriculum writing and revision process in continuous cycle.
- High School students take College Board recommended standardized tests such as PSAT 8/9, PSAT 10 and PSAT. Data collected from these tests help Guidance Counselors to design individualized college prep path for the student.
Students in the High School are given Standardized Practice Tests such as SAT, ACT, TOEFL and IELTS. This ensures students are being exposed to college entrance exam environment well before they take official tests.