Nine-week tests used as state testing benchmarks | Schools
CLINTON — Beginning this school year, the Clinton Public School District is using nine-week tests as benchmark assessments leading up to state tests.
“We are sending out letters to parents next week about this change,” said Assistant Superintendent Tim Martin.
CPSD is in the process of changing its curriculum from the old Mississippi standards to the new, more rigorous Common Core national standards. When Common Core is fully implemented, Martin said, it will include benchmark testing throughout the school year leading up to the end-of-year state tests.
The change in nine-week testing this year will impact students in grades K-8 and the subject area-tested courses in grades 9-11, he said. Benchmark testing will be done throughout the year to help measure student learning as they go along.
“If you wait until state testing at the end of the school year, it will be too late to tell if a student has fallen behind,” Martin said. “Giving the benchmark tests throughout the school year helps teachers know what subjects their students have mastered and areas of weakness that need to be addressed.”
CPSD began transitioning to Common Core last year with students in grades K-2. This year, it will impact students in grades K-8 and next year, students at all grade levels will be taught the Common Core curriculum.
“For the nine weeks testing, children won’t be asked to memorize a study guide and recall facts,” Martin said. “They’ll have to apply knowledge and skills they’ve mastered from the current year and from previous years. It’s thinking at a different level.”
The Common Core State Standards are being adopted by 46 states as a way to better prepare students for college and careers. For the first time, students in Mississippi are learning the same lessons at the same pace as their peers in Massachusetts, Florida, Michigan and nearly every other state.
“This is a major change for us, and for every other school district across Mississippi,” Martin said. “We are training our teachers and we have published on our Web site a series of guides for parents showing grade-by-grade what the new curriculum means for students.”
For example, third-graders will be expected to write paragraphs on a range of topics, drawing on an expanded vocabulary. In math, third-graders will need to master multiplication, division and fractions.