The Journal Gazette
Thursday, March 26, 2020 1:00 am

FWCS shifting to new measure of achievement

System aligned to district's curriculum, Robinson says

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Community Schools is investing in a new way to measure student progress.

Replacing two existing internal assessments with the Northwest Evaluation Association's MAP/Skills assessments will benefit teachers and parents, Superintendent Wendy Robinson told the school board this month.

“We can't rely on the state accountability, and we have to stop adding things that aren't aligned to our curriculum that won't help teachers with instruction,” Robinson said.

The NWEA assessment is aligned to Indiana academic standards and is an adaptive system. That means a student's answer to a question helps determine the next question asked. Teachers can modify their instruction based on students' skill level, said Tracy Reed, chief academic officer.

The school board March 9 approved the testing purchase at a cost of $235,986, which will be paid from the 2019-20 formative assessment grant awarded by the Indiana Department of Education. The licenses are for reading/language arts and math, according to documents provided to the board.

Implementing the new tests will require professional learning, officials said. Students should begin taking the tests next year.

Board President Julie Hollingsworth was happy to learn that NWEA will replace – not add to – existing testing. She noted that NWEA, which neighboring districts already use, is an established assessment.

“I don't think I've heard anything bad about it,” she said. “I'm just curious – why now?”

The time is right, officials said.

“NWEA has been on the table forever,” Robinson said, “and we've resisted going to anything else because we had so much” other testing and were focused on writing new curriculum.

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