Among the many questions that parents ask when enrolling students at School for Children is, “What are your test scores?” What they are interested in is how well the students score on standardized achievement test scores.
The assumption is that high scores reflect the quality of school programs and that the school is doing a better job in preparing their students.
Although students at the School for Children have consistently scored above the national average in achievement tests, we are very reluctant to use test scores as a way of promoting the school. Publishing an average provides a false assumption that all students, including the ones whose parents are thinking about enrolling, will score at the school average.
Educators, and especially those who have a strong background in testing, realize that any school which has higher than average test scores will also have many students that are well-above average as well as some students who are well-below average.
Consider our second grade students. In 2013, they scored 77%, which is well above the national school average for this grade level. Within the second grade group, we have several students who score well above the national average. Within the same group, we have several students who score below the national average. Thus, when average scores are published as a “fact,” the expectation of parents when they enroll their children is that their students’ mean performance level ought to be at least above the average, if not higher. Other parents, who have children with a history of scoring below the national average, may choose not to enroll because they feel that the school work will be too hard for their children to be successful.
It is important for parents to understand that the best educational program for their child is not necessarily a school with high test scores but a school that offers a program that can take their child where they are academically and work with the parents in maximizing their success. A great strength of the School for Children is a diversity of strong programs in all areas. Students coming to the School for Children can start where they are and develop to their full potential!
ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills)
Percentile Rank of Average National Student Norms/50th Percentile is Average
A national percentile rank (NPR) shows a student’s relative position or rank in a group of students who are in the same grade and who were tested at the same time of year (fall, midyear, or spring) as the student. These are “national” percentile ranks because the group of students is a large, representative sample of students in the same grade from the entire nation. The values range from a low of 1 or a high of 99. The number indicates the percent of students in the national group who earned raw scores the same as or lower than a particular raw score.For example, an NPR of 43 for Tad means that 43% of the national sample scored at or below Tad’s raw score and 57% scored higher.