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Standardized assessments in Catholic schools

Standardized assessments are one tool used in our Catholic schools to monitor academic progress. These are considered to be one data point among many that inform us about a student’s progress. We recognize that students learn at unique rates – not every student learns to accomplish the same goal on the same day as others. We strive to find the just-right learning pace and path for each student, and meet that student where s/he is academically. Given this recognition, we know that a standardized assessment is simply a snapshot of where that student is in his/her understanding on that date.
 
Why give a standardized assessment?
A standardized assessment is a tool that can be used across all schools to gain a snapshot of learning. Standardized assessments are validated, research-based instruments that provide information to teachers about the academic progress of students. Both the NWEA MAP and PSAT/SAT series provide data about students’ growth over time.
 
How are standardized assessment results used?
Results from assessments are intended to help teachers make decisions regarding their students’ learning. Results help teachers group students, identify areas of strength and weakness, and set learning goals. Assessment data is examined at the classroom, school, diocesan, and national levels to determine and ensure that our students are excelling academically.
 
Are assessment results linked to teacher evaluations?
Michigan public schools are compelled to link a percentage of the teacher evaluation to a single state-selected assessment. Catholic schools in the diocese do not link a percentage of the teacher evaluation to a single assessment. Standardized assessment results are one point of data among many that are used during the teacher evaluation process.
 
Do schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids give the Michigan Department of Education’s MEAP or M-STEP?
Charter and public schools must give these assessments. As Catholic schools we are not required to give the state assessments and we choose not to give them for several reasons. First, the loss of instructional time would be tremendous in both preparation and actual implementation of the assessment. Second, the assessment results would be returned months after, by which time the students have left that teacher’s classroom and there would be no opportunity to make instructional adjustments in a timely fashion for that student.
 
What standardized assessments are required for all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids?
Does the diocese publish all the Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic schools’ assessment results?
No, we do not publish each school’s results on the diocesan website.  We do publish aggregated diocesan-level assessment data in our annual report which is on the website.  School principals welcome you to visit the school and inquire about student assessment data.
 
 
Are these the only standardized assessments used in diocesan schools?
No, other assessments are selected and offered by individual schools for specific purposes and specific students (e.g. DIBELS, College Board AP assessments, ACT).
 
Questions?
Contact your local Catholic school principal or the Diocese of Grand Rapids Office of Catholic Schools: