Assessing student progress | ParkRecord.com

Assessing student progress

Megan Yeiter , The Park Record

The National Assessment of Educational Progress test started in 1969 and is the only national test where results can be compared across states. According to Utah State Office of Education NAEP Coordinator Angela Battaglia, the NAEP assesses how much students know at the time of the test. Students at South Summit High School will participate in the NAEP test on Feb. 28.

"We just want to know what they know," Battaglia said, adding that this year, students in fourth- and eighth-grade will be tested on reading and math along with economics for twelfth-graders. She said they are also conducting a long-term trend study, which assesses 9, 13 and 17-year-olds every four years.

According to South Summit High School Testing Director Lanae Ritzman, there will be about 62 seniors taking the test next week. She said the students don’t prepare for the test because it’s an assessment to see what they know at the time of the test. This is the first year the high school has been involved in the testing, she said, adding that NAEP sends its own testing staff so the school is only responsible for completing their testing requirements list.

"In the time that I have been involved with the assessment this is the first time the high school is involved, but over the years at least one of our schools has participated," Ritzman said.

Utah’s scores continue to improve in the long-term NAEP test results and the numbers have gone up each year in the regular assessment, Battaglia said, adding that Utah is ranked just above the 50th percentile after the scores are averaged across the country.

"It is the only assessment that is uniform across the country and that’s a big thing, nothing else can do that," Battaglia said. "When students participate, it’s really important for legislatures, parents, schools and the state office to look at what our kids know."

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Each student that takes the test represents 3,000 students like them across the country, according to Battaglia, who said that they choose schools based on a stratified selection. She said larger schools are more likely to be selected.

"Once the school is selected we take a list of all the students at the school and we randomly select students. We expect that 5 percent of the students selected are with disabilities," she said, adding that the test takes 90 minutes and everything is scripted unless the student has a specific need.

"What’s great about NAEP is that no school or district gets that information back, its strictly state information and so there are no penalties for schools, it’s a no-stakes test," Battaglia said.

Letters have been sent home to South Summit High School parents whose student has been selected to participate in the test. The school encourages students to be on time the day of the test. For questions contact the high school at (435) 783-4313. For more information regarding the NAEP test visit http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard .