An interesting article summed up with: Teachers have a responsibility to train complex minds that are suited to a complex world. This is at least as important as teaching young people mathematics, biology, or literature. For teachers, at all levels, attention must be paid to teaching that attention must be paid. "Roll up your sleeves and work harder."
NJASK score results are shared with parents in late September. Teachers are able to see the score reports before they are sent home, and I've spent time looking at the results for students currently in grades 4, 5 (my current students) and grade 6 (my students when they took the test).
Scores on the Language Arts part of the NJASK are broken down into 4 parts. There are 2 Writing sections: writing in an informative/explanatory style and writing a narrative. There are 2 Reading sections: reading literature and reading informational text. For more information about the kinds of skills being measured by each part of the test, please click on this powerpoint, borrowed from Freehold Schools. Pages 3-19 deal specifically with the Language Arts part of the NJASK.
One of my undergrad majors at Bucknell was in Sociology- the study of people, how they interact and form societies- and doing this through research and data collection. This might be why I was so interested in spending some extra time analyzing these reports to see if I could glean valuable information about what my current students need. I looked at each individual student's report in each section to find strengths and weaknesses, and also compared each student's score to his/her classmates' progress to find any whole-group strengths or weaknesses. The state of NJ recently released more information comparing my classes' scores with other schools in New Jersey, as well. In Language Arts, Math, and Science, the students in Mrs. Wisliceny's and my classes scored, on average, not only a great deal higher than the state average but also higher than other schools in our District Factor Group.
After you have reviewed your child's report, if you would like to discuss them, please don't hesitate to call me if you think I might have additional insight about the results. NJASK results can be addressed during Parent/Teacher Conferences in November, but that meeting is usually devoted more to your child's progress in class.
The first few school days have both the students and the teachers on our best behavior. Everyone is organized, ready, and following rules and procedures to the letter. This year, like the 14 years of teaching before, I laughed to myself both days about how quietly the students entered the classroom each time they returned. They walked directly to their seats, sat down, and watched to see when I was going to begin talking. Every year I think of this as "the honeymoon phase." While I enjoy the peaceful quiet, I look forward to being able to say, "the honeymoon's over!" When the newness wears off and the routes to their seats become less direct and more chatty, that will signal a comfort, an engagement, a commitment, enthusiasm. That's when the genuine teaching and long-lasting learning -with all the rewards that come with it- will begin.