Dear Parents, assalam-o-alaikum.
At Huda, we have chosen to use the Stanford Achievement Test for the past 3 years. It’s the oldest and most widely used of a half dozen or so nation-wide standardized tests, which virtually all do the same thing. ITBS, CAT, Terra Nova or Stanford all give us an idea of how our students are scoring in comparison to students throughout the entire country. Though each test is slightly different in its approach, no test is ideal and all contain bias elements, especially regarding particular curricula and methodologies.
Though we have chosen to use the Stanford, it does have certain weaknesses in regards to our curriculum. For example in grades KG- 2, the test is administered orally by the teacher, and the children are not provided a written copy of the test questions. This limits the use of the strategies and clues they’ve been taught to use regarding how to tackle math word problems and reading comprehension. This skews the test results against our children doing as well as they could if they were given the questions in writing. It really ends up being a listening test rather than a true math test. For reasons like this and more, we have to realize that the test scores are only one indicator of a school or child’s success, and at times the scores reflect a limitation in the testing, not the student’s lack of ability or skills, or the quality of the curriculum.
Conversely, 3rd grade onward, students are given the test booklet, general directions are given, and the students read the test questions themselves, moving through the test at their own pace, independently. So beginning in third grade, children who lose focus or have trouble with reading comprehension or math word problems may find the test much more difficult than in previous years. Standardized testing is one useful tool to further assess the school’s programs as well as individual students, but not an accurate assessment to try to evaluate the value of a program, a teacher, or a student’s learning based solely on one test that may be affected by many variables. One use of the test is if we find that across the board our test scores are lower than we would like in a particular subject area, we may examine new curricula from several publishers to see if a change is in order.
Also we want to be careful because test results can be misinterpreted or invalid conclusions drawn from them. Interpreting scores takes some knowledge of scaling. I hope the attached explanation of the various scores will help you understand and interpret your child(ren)’s individual performance. We have also included a comparison of the students’ performance as a whole in each of the 3 grades (1st, 2nd & 3rd) for the years 2010- 2011 vs. 2011- 2012. Since, KG took this test for the first time this year, we have included their cumulative results that will serve as a baseline for future comparison.
I hope the information has been informative and will be useful to you in reviewing your child’s Stanford- 10 results. We are delighted and proud to report an across- the- board improvement in scores in all domains and in all grades. This is testament to the strong educational leadership and immense hard work and dedication that our teachers put in for upholding the mission of the school. We owe a debt of gratitude to our teachers who have made 2011- 2012 an educational success.
If you do have other questions, please feel free to contact the Principal Mrs. Huma Baig.