Rewarding results of testing

In mid-April all our students but one brand-new student took the Iowa Assessments Form E. These are national-standard tests, each set for a grade level. We use the tests to assess how well we are teaching, not to rank students against each other. The value for individual students is to see points of progress and areas in which they can improve; their parents see all the detail in the individual reports we share with them.

The results are once again very good, very heartening to the students and to us as teachers and administrators.

* Our students average 2.2 grades above their nominal grade level!

Individual students are as much as 6.8 grades above nominal grade level

These results are particularly noteworthy. First, these are national rankings; we are even higher in effective grade levels in New Mexico, though our state, perhaps tellingly, does not use the Iowa Assessments. Second, unlike some other schools we never “teach to the test,” trying to cover closely all the topics selected in the Iowa Assessments. We give our teachers academic freedom to develop their own curricula that are much wider and richer than those in a typical school. We do not teach “test-taking” that takes valuable time away from real teaching. We only give a few hours of the practice test for each grade before students take the full battery of tests.

* Our students gain an average of 1.8 grade levels per year with us. That is, a year in the LCA essentially advances the average student academically not one year but nearly twice that.

* We are retaining students very well. Of the 37 students at grade 1 or above who took the test, 18 have been with us since kindergarten. This is notable, given the economic upheavals that lead too many families to move on from the LCA. We thank all the parents for their commitment to their children and to us.

* Math percentile scores rose over 5 points from 2021. We reorganized math teaching, and it worked.

Math grade levels rose 1.8 grades, just as did overall academic rankings.

* Social studies, science, and complete composite scores held high and steady.

* Scores for listening for grades K-3 include many very high values, well above those for previous years

The results are rich in detail. We created a separate narrative for parents, linked here.