Academic Test Scores and Outcomes
For the past five years, students have been taking the ACT Aspire Summative Assessment at the end of the school year. Students are tested in five subject areas: English, reading, writing, math and science. The ACT assessment is designed to determine three important aspects of student achievement:
- Subject proficiency levels that are used to predict college and career readiness
- “Ready,” “Close,” or “In Need of Support” designations, indicating where each child is in terms of being on target to meet ACT’s College and Career Readiness Benchmarks (Students who are “Ready” have scored at or above the benchmark and are likely to experience continued academic success in high school and beyond.)
- “Improvement Ideas” for parents to work on with their child in particular subject areas; these are also based on specific Common Core Standards.
As part of Holy Trinity’s data analysis process, our staff analyzes these results and compares them with the data we are receiving from our quarterly benchmark assessments (Renaissance Learning STAR Reading and Renaissance Learning STAR Math) and progress in the classroom. Because of the new curriculum and new teaching strategies that have been incorporated over the last four years, special attention has been given to the area of mathematics:
Above “Ready” Benchmark
2013-2014 (5th & 6th only)
72% (diocesan average 62%; national average 52%)
The percentage of Holy Trinity students designated at or above ACT’s “Ready” benchmark in math remains commendable. The table below shows the percentage of students that met ACT’s proficiency benchmark for Holy Trinity, for the Diocese of Sacramento, and for the nation.The table also shows group percentile ranks for both Holy Trinity and for the diocese:
As part of our accreditation process, we set a goal of improving writing performance over the course of the next six years. After incredible gains in writing from the 2016 ACT test (36% of students meeting benchmark, 3rd-8th) to the 2017 ACT test (60% of students meeting benchmark, 3rd-8th), we were very excited to see our scores for the 2018 ACT test. Upon receiving the results, we were informed that ACT now includes the writing score into an overall English Language Arts score. 79% of our 3rd through 8th grade students met the benchmark in this area.
Although I am very pleased with these scores, and we have much to celebrate, our school ministry team still sees areas for improvement. For example, while 96% of Holy Trinity student scored proficient in English and 79% scored proficient in the overall English Language Arts subject area, just 65% scored proficient in the area of reading. This year, we have identified Integration of Knowledge and Ideas as a domain within Reading that we would like to improve. This involves helping students understand literary devices, recognize (and make) inferences, and analyze authors’ claims and textual evidence. This domain also requires students to use what they know about author’s craft, point of view, and literary style and connect it with the world, other texts, and personal experiences. These skills are assessed using both fiction and informational texts and are essential for success in the 21st century academic and career environment.
Ultimately, these results are used to help us better prepare students for high school, college and career. 92% of last year’s graduates earned ACT’s highest “Gold Level” designation on the 8th grade exam, indicating that they are on track toward being prepared for 90% of jobs in the workforce.