Partager l'article ! Testing at LILA: Every year LILA students sit for a record number of tests. When I talk to people from other private schools, they star ...
Every year LILA students sit for a record number of tests. When I talk to people from other private schools, they stare in amazement at the volume of tests a LILA student will ultimately take. Let’s run down the list. In elementary, kids have traditionally taken the CTBS or the ERB which are the skills assessments. Our 2nd through 5th graders take the week long series of tests to give us a feel of our students’ ability to compete with their monolingual peers outside of LILA. This year, 2nd and 5th graders also take a French evaluation designed to help us see how our kids perform compared to their French monolingual peers in France. In secondary the tests continue, 6th through 8th graders also have taken the ERB. In 9th grade, students begin preparing for the dreaded SATs and ACTs (a part of the university application process in the US) by taking their pre-level equivalents called PSAT and PLAN respectively. 9th grade is actually early as most schools give these types of exams beginning in the 10th grade. We feel the head start is advantageous since LILA students are normally confronted with essay-type testing and tend to struggle with the time constraints imposed by the “multiple guess”-type exams that colleges use for entry.
In addition to these American tests, our students also take the Brevet des College at the end of the 9th grade. The Brevet is a French national exam which, in France, in effect provides a diploma to students before they choose to either go on to a regular high school or towards a system of education that is usually more technical or specific job skill related. Outside of France, participation is, in theory, voluntary although LILA usually presents all 9th grade students whether or not they arrived late and are not typically fluent in French yet. Last year, again, 100% of the class passed. In 10th and 11th grades the students continue the PSAT and PLAN exams and, of course, orient themselves towards the ultimate high school exams offered at LILA - either a French or an International Baccalaureate. We are the only school in the greater Los Angeles area which offers students these options. Both rigorous exam systems, each requiring two years of preparation, are recognized worldwide by universities and have helped open the doors for our students to major schools in the US and abroad.
In addition to these tests, students will ultimately take the SATs and ACTs (we recommend they take both as different students obtain different results depending on which format they are more comfortable with). We also encourage all students to take a French Language AP exam. Many have taken the AP exam as early as 9th grade with very strong results, which helps establish their level for universities.
When you have students take as many tests as this, it is obvious that you have to take a step back and
try to see how productive our assessments really are and if there exist alternatives that may be more useful. A snapshot view of this past year’s
testing is provided in the table on this page shows how LILA does on the ERB test.
Although our students typically do well on the ERBs (better than the results from the “top” American schools I visit as a member of WASC accreditation teams), we decided to change the test we use for our students to measure their performance in English. We made the switch for a couple of reasons:
1. The ERBs are not reflective of our students. The testing is supposed to paint a picture of each child so that we can use the information to adapt the curriculum for any given group. When we saw how our students perform in class and then saw their scores on the ERBs, we did not recognize the students. The results would come back for the ERB and far too often teachers did not feel the test adequately represented the strengths and weaknesses of the kids. We have not experienced this when using other tests and that was disconcerting; it made the test no better than a time-consuming activity that allowed us to ‘smile and file” results.
2. Also, the ERBs are becoming more irrelevant in the types of skills they're testing. For example, they have many analogy questions; although they are seen in class, the children are not drilled in analogies making this a difficult skill to acquire. Also, analogies have been taken off the SAT exams for college entrance. The questioning manner of the ERBs is very ambiguous and unless the school/teachers are teaching directly to that exam, the children have a hard time understanding what is being asked.
For these reasons, we have decided to move to the Stanford 10 testing system. The Stanford Achievement Test (10th Edition)is a nationally standardized assessment of student knowledge, which has been developed based on new content reflecting national and state standards of learning. The purpose of the Stanford 10 is to provide educators with information that will assist them in evaluating the academic strengths and weaknesses of their students and will help guide the content of their teaching. The children will be tested in three categories: Reading Comprehension, Language, and Math.
The Reading Test assesses word study skills, vocabulary, and comprehension.
The Mathematics Test assesses problem solving and procedures.
The Language Test assesses student understanding of language mechanics (i.e. capitalization,
punctuation) and sentence structure.
As with all standardized tests we have used, these tests were given this year in 2nd – 5th grade in early May. The secondary in Los Feliz will be taking the tests the week of the 25th of May (in the four days after Memorial Day).
However, beginning with the 2009-10 school term, we will be implementing the Accelerated Reader / Star Program (a reading assessment program), so we will begin the standardized testing in 3rd grade and will no longer have the tests administered in 2nd grade. This time frame actually follows what is mandated by the State of California.