Standardized Testing - NWEA

Students in grades K- 8 participate in NWEA tests in the fall and spring of each year. These tests measure what children already know in math and reading and what a child still needs to learn, to better assist teachers in targeting instruction to the child's learning level. The spring tests assess each child's academic growth during the year. Sample QuestionsNational Growth NormsWhen St. Michael School student achievement is compared to the national norm, St. Michael School students were on average two grade levels ahead in math and three grade levels ahead in reading.

NWEA assessments are unique

Students take the tests on a computer. The questions automatically adjust to the child's appropriate level of learning, based on the child's responses. In essence, each test is customized to the student to pinpoint each student’s appropriate instructional level. Students who have traditionally found standardized assessments to be too challenging, and therefore frustrating, find a better balance of comfortable and challenging questions. Students who have traditionally breezed through standardized assessments find more challenging questions. With this testing system, high ability students find there is no longer an artificial ceiling in testing their academic achievement.

Measuring growth

This technology allows a student’s academic growth to be measured more precisely and more efficiently. The assessments are shorter than traditional standardized assessments and use less class time while still receiving detailed, accurate information about your child’s academic ability and growth. Each child spends a total of about three hours in the computer lab completing these assessments during the three week window.

Following the assessments, parents receive a report showing their child’s baseline score for this fall. On subsequent tests (each spring and fall), parents will also see a growth score to help monitor whether each child is achieving a year’s growth in a year’s time. Each report also provides a scale of scores in relation to grade level norms and a Lexile score.

The Lexile score provides a reading level range.

Parents can visit, enter the Lexile range, and receive a list of books, by genre and age, that fall within the child's appropriate reading level. Note for strong readers: Not all content published at your child's reading level is appropriate for the child's maturity level. Books on the low end of the Lexile range are ideal for independent reading and will build reading fluency and speed. Books on the higher end of the Lexile range might be read and discussed with parents, teacher or peers to stretch a students reading skills--especially in the areas of vocabulary and comprehension.

The efficiency of the new testing system will also provide more immediate results for educators. Teachers and principals receive the test results within days of testing, as opposed to months following state assessments.

We are truly excited to begin a new era in assessment that focuses on every child’s individual growth and achievement.

About the test and testing company

Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a non-profit organization that partners with school districts throughout the United States. With the largest norm-reference group in the nation, NWEA reports highly accurate norm-referenced scores. NWEA results, however, go beyond simple percentile ranking of student achievement or indicating grade level performance. NWEA will also measure academic growth over time, independent of grade level or age.

Educators use NWEA test scores to identify the skills and concepts students know and what they need to learn next in order to keep growing. With accurate, timely information on an individual student's needs, educators can target instruction so every student is learning and growing.

NWEA assessments are aligned to Maine Standards and are often used as an indicator of preparedness for state assessments. Most districts administer the NWEA two times each year to allow educators to monitor the progress of students. Student test results are maintained test after test, so teachers and parents can monitor the growth of individual students year after year.