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June 10, 2005

Student Assessment

Students in Cobb County have a variety of assessments of progress. Sometimes understanding all of the assessment types and the information they yield can be a bit overwhelming. Here is a broad-strokes overview of the kinds of assessments.

Nationally Normed Tests
We have two types of nationally normed tests:

These two types of nationally normed tests compare student progress or ability to other students in the nation as a whole. One typically gets results like: "I scored better than 82% of the students my age that took this test." For ability tests, one might get a result that indicates "I have slighlty better ability than the average student." I just made up these examples.

Our students typically take 2 nationally normed tests:

Remember that nationally normed tests offer a good comparison with how an individual student compares to students of the same age on a broad national level.

Criterion Referenced Tests
These tests test how much students know related to a specific criteria: the state-mandated curriculum. The test given in Georgia is the CRCT. This test is very important as the results determine if a student is below grade level (a score less than 300), on grade level (a score between 300 and 349), or above grade level (a score of 350 or higher).

These tests are given each year in middle school in each subject. Presently, if a student in 8th grade does not earn a score of 300 or higher, by state law, the student will be retained in the 8th grade. These scores are used by the federal government to determine what schools are labeled as "passing" or "failing."

Local Assessments
The final type of assessment are tests that are given locally. These tests and quizzes are most frequently made and given by teachers to determine if the students know the state curriculum the teacher is teaching.

In Cobb County we also give another local assessment that the county pays for, the Performance Series, a nationally normed test that provides teachers with immediate feedback about a student's progress on more broadly defined curricular objectives. Complex formulae have been used to predict from these scores what students may need remediation in order to help ensure they pass the 8th grade CRCT.

Posted by Dr. Tyson

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