Friday, Nov 16th

Last updateFri, 16 Nov 2018 8am

You are here: Home Schools Student Learning Through the Lens of Assessment
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Student Learning Through the Lens of Assessment

McIntoshMuch of the October 22, 2018 Board of Education meeting focused on a recent education report prepared by the district, “A Celebration of Scarsdale Learners through Multiple Measures with a Focus on Global Competencies.”

Presented by Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Edgar McIntosh, the report looks at “student learning through the lens of assessment,” and contains information about the ways in which the administration evaluates and benchmarks programs, student learning and engagement in Scarsdale schools.

“In Scarsdale, there is an interest in producing students who are skillful, knowledgeable and possess the dispositions that position them to be informed, ethical, collaborative, balanced, healthy global citizens.” McIntosh said. “We build historical, political, civic understanding and support conceptual understanding through the use of common vocabulary and determined content.”

Generally speaking, the district relies on both formal and informal classroom assessments, and standardized testing. While many believe that standardized tests are the most important measure of student performance, Scarsdale recognizes that they serve as just snapshots of students at single point in time. Quality assessment should consider how children are learning and growing over time. However, even though the district doesn’t place much value on testing, it recognizes that it’s important to consider test results, along with other measures, to evaluate performance of both students and the Scarsdale as a whole.

As stated in the report, “Student assessment includes authentically evaluating students’ abilities, relative strengths and weaknesses, and their ability to apply knowledge to ‘the real world.’ It is an ongoing, iterative process in every classroom and critical to effective teaching and learning. “

Performance Metrics

In measuring students’ “knowledge, skill and disposition,” McIntosh explained that the village uses a variety of benchmarks, including survey data, district and state test results, and college entry statistics.

Recently, the administration asked members of Scarsdale High School’s class of 1968 about their experiences and satisfaction with their education. “They were overwhelmingly positive about the quality of academic preparation received in Scarsdale. Strong evidence is that over 200 of them returned for tours of their elementary schools and innovation spaces,” McIntosh said.

Members of SHS’ class of 2009, 2013, 2017 also were surveyed, and 99.4 percent felt they were as prepared or better prepared than other students at their colleges.

SAT ScoresWith regard to more traditional metrics, McIntosh reported, “We look at end results in terms of placement tests and college acceptance. College acceptance always has been strong and continues to be… Scarsdale’s mean combined SAT scores continue to be the highest among comparable districts.” He also added that, “The percentage of students receiving scores of 3, 4 or 5 on AP exams is 93 percent.” In addition, last year, 99 percent of SHS graduates were accepted to college, with 63 percent accepted by colleges and universities considered among the “most selective” in the US. (See charts for testing statistics.)

AP ScoresMcIntosh then discussed the standardized tests administered by the district, as required by New York State, which provide another piece of information about the district curriculum. He began by stating, “In examining all standardized tests, it’s important to recognize their limitations… they are a poor substitute for the ongoing assessment that goes on in classrooms every day.” With that said, McIntosh noted that 84 percent of Scarsdale students in grades 3 through 8 were “proficient” (scoring 3 or 4) on the 2018 state ELA tests and 88 percent were proficient in math, and outperformed students in comparable districts in both subjects. At SHS, almost all students passed the state regents exams in those subjects tested (algebra, English, biology, global history, and U.S. history and government).

A Global View

student diplomats Good metrics aside, Scarsdale is unique in its commitment to looking beyond this village, state and/or country, and thinking globally. The district continues to seek ways to provide students with opportunities to develop a knowledge and thoughtfulness about their place within global community.

By building global awareness, the district connects Scarsdale to international issues and events, encourages understanding of a wide variety of perspectives and counteracts stereotypes.

Scarsdale offers numerous courses that “explicitly engage global issues,” including, of course, world history and language, and others such as international politics, geology, environmental science, global citizenship, “Food for Thought,” and “City 2.0.” In fact, 87 percent of the student body participates in the district’s world languages program. Students also have the opportunity to take part in international travel, student exchange programs, extracurricular activities with a global focus, programs featuring international experts and scholars, and special events (multicultural days, human rights days, global citizenship days) that help shape their perspective and learning.

One important example of this effort is Scarsdale’s participation in the Global Learning Alliance, a partnership among schools and universities in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe, supporting research and building knowledge about how to promote the best learning in the world.

This summer, Scarsdale High School students took part in the fourth Global Learning Alliance Summit in Helsinki, Finland. The purpose was to finalize their cross-cultural research study on student wellness, a collaborative project with students in Singapore and Finland. Together, the group first reviewed their findings, and then presented their work and recommendations to summit attendees. The Scarsdale “diplomats,” who included Charlotte Kelson, Sydney Mone, Spencer Sheppe and Alexandra Wilson, also explored educational policies and practices from around the world with a close­-up view of the Finnish school system.

To learn more, you may view the meeting via the “Scarsdale Cable TV” portion of the district’s website.

Laura Halligan is a local writer, editor and marketing consultant. She is principal of Pinch Hit Prose and provides communications services to entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop