How We Assess
It is important that all schools regularly measure students' progress in learning. This has been shown by Effective Schools Research to be one of the most important things we can do to ensure we have high student achievement. Here are the ways we measure student learning at North Central Academy:
- Teacher developed or textbook chapter and unit tests. All teachers routinely give assessments to their students on various lessons and units that they are teaching. These assessments are graded and make up the report card grade that parents receive.
- Reading tests. All students in grades 1-8 are tested several times per year with the Developmental Reading Assessment or MLPP. These are nationally normed tests of reading fluency and comprehension that tell at which grade level an individual student can currently read and comprehend successfully. These results are reported to parents on our report cards.
- Northwest Evaluation Association. Students in grades 2-8 take the computerized NWEA test 3x per year, and we are able to measure academic growth in reading and math. We are also able to show progress school-wide using this test. It is a very effective test for schools to use not only because of the national standards, but because the results are available right away.
- MSTEP, PSAT & SAT. In grades 9-11.
- Cooperative and individual projects in various subjects are frequently assigned and assessed by teachers. These are designed for students to demonstrate learning within our curriculum.
Students are expected to do quality work, demonstrating they have fully learned a concept before progressing to the next level. This works to the advantage of all students. Those who need a bit more support to master a topic will get it. On the flip side, once a concept is mastered, the student will be allowed to move on, eliminating the requirement of simple seat time. The students who seek the opportunity to advance will be given the chance.
In our competency-based grading system, students earn an A, B or N ("not yet') at the elementary level. We believe that lessons important enough to be stressed in our curriculum need to be mastered to at least 80% competency to receive credit. North Central Academy expects all students to develop academic competence, caring and citizenship. To accomplish that, all teachers follow a well-articulated, clearly written core curriculum. This curriculum includes values as well as academic competencies. The curriculum is taught daily, and student progress is reported to parents monthly. Students’ grades include:
- A: Exceeds the standards for competence
- B: Meets the standards for competence
- N: Does not yet meet the standards for competence
- NT: Introduced, but not yet assessed
The grading system for 7-12 is a A-F standard grading system.