Members of the Conway Board of Education heard updates on the district’s formative assessments during the regular meeting on Tuesday.
Director of Accountability and Assessment Joel Linn said the administration has spent the first 9-weeks combing through the data.
He gave a refresher to the room and a quick review regarding the two formative assessment programs they use.
“The design of both of those is to simply gather data on our student performance at a certain time during the year that our teachers and our administrators and our curriculum staff can review and analyze to use those results to make adjustment to the instructional program based on strengths and deficits that the kids show at certain points in the year,” he said.
Linn noted that the tests were not for grades or report cards and didn’t impact student transcripts but were “simply for data gathering.”
Kindergarten through second-grade students take the state-required test, the NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association's Measures of Academic Progress), three times a year; the first was in late September.
“We will take these tests again the first week of December so we’ll be able to look at growth between late September, early December, and then we’ll take them again middle of March and we’ll see what kind of growth our kids show,” Linn said.
He said the baseline data for 2018 was a “tick higher” than 2017, which affirmed to them to some of the things, like the power standards, were working.
“We hope to see that trend continue,” Linn said.
One of the focuses of this process was to put that information in the hands of the teachers in real-time but also to communicate to parents that the district wants to be serve its students better and help them be more successful.
For third through 10th, the ACT Aspire, a multiple choice test in math, reading, science reasoning and English, was given in late September and will be given again later on.
“This is different view of testing than we’ve had in the past,” Linn, addressing the board. “Testing used to just be that thing we did in the spring and everybody got all worked up, it threw off the schedule.”
Now, he said, they are using that data to provide better support to students and said he thinks so far, it’s been a “very productive process.”
“We are in a much different place now, I think we’re in a much better place in that we’re making it part of the instructional program,” Linn said.
In other news, the board also recognized the high school’s 6A state volleyball champion team, winners of the recent National History Day Competition at the University of Maryland and Belle Irby, a student at Carl Stuart Middle School who was named as a Time Magazine Kid Reporter.
Principal Chris Barnes introduced the seventh grader.
“Belle is quite accomplished in many different areas,” he said. “She is an award-winning photographer, an accomplished dancer, an avid musician and an excellent student who enjoys reading and writing. Belle recently received a prestigious honor that allows her to further expand her talents.”
Irby was chosen as one of ten kids nation-wide for the selection.
“Being selected as a Time for Kids national reporter is a great honor not only because 4 mill people read this magazine but nine others and I were chosen out of 500 applicants across the country,” she said.
Irby has already produced two articles for the platform and has been asked to put together covering finance classes being taught in middle schools.
“I hope to fulfill this opportunity to inspire kids to never stop writing,” she said.
During the meeting the board:Approved the Conway Human Development Center Volunteer Council and the City of Hope Outreach as opportunities for the district’s new Community Service Learning program. Approved two petitions for transfers: one to Mayflower School District and one to Greenbrier School District. One resignation and three new hires.