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Standardized tests have many functions. Some exist to provide an assessment of a student's knowledge, which teachers can then use to shape instruction. Others are designed to assess the student body as a whole in order to evaluate the performance of the school. Others are used for admissions.
Here are some common assessment tests used in private schools:
Henry Tyson, superintendent of St. Marcus Lutheran School in Milwaukee, chose the TerraNova for his school. "At the time MPS [Milwaukee Public Schools] was taking it, and we wanted to be able to compare ourselves to MPS. We stuck with TerraNova because we wanted five years of uniform data."
Common admissions tests used by private schools are:
Admissions tests are not given by the schools themselves - just as college admissions tests, the SAT and the ACT, are not given by colleges. To take the SSAT or the ISEE a student must register with the testing company. The school you are applying to will let you know which test to use. Then simply call or go online to register.
By Marian Wilde , GreatSchools Staff
Tyson acknowledges that releasing isolated test scores can be problematic. "Test scores must be publicized in a way that makes sense - the data needs to communicate value added by the school and be supported by other information like attendance rates, graduation rates and expulsion rates," he explains.
Tyson is currently in discussions with other private school principals in Milwaukee about the possibility of publishing their scores. "The problem is that it's hard to reach agreement about what information should be reported," says Tyson. "Sadly, some schools, public and private, make the discussion more complicated than it needs to be simply because they don't want to report any information, because they are not performing and they know it."
Meanwhile, trends toward more data collection and analysis, making information available to the public and using test scores to compare and evaluate schools continue to gather strength in the public sector, nationally and internationally. This no doubt will eventually impact private schools around the nation.
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