Evaluating progress of students will come in a new form this year to the Milford School District. The Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS) has begun in the 2010-2011 school year. This system is similar to the Delaware State Testing Program which students and parents are familiar with but will allow the information gathered from this testing to be timely and relevant in helping students succeed.
All enrolled students between grades 3-8 will participate in three assessments in 2010-2011; one assessment in the fall, winter, and spring. This online program is designed to measure student growth within a school year (fall to spring) and between school years (2010 to 2011). The new program will allow the data from these assessments to be used in evaluating students at all levels; starting from the district level down to individual students.
Assistant Principal Tricia Martin explains how the results from these assessments are adaptive and valuable to progress of individual students. “This program allows us to measure a student’s strengths and weaknesses and address them, throughout the year. The Delaware State Testing Programs in the past provided year-end results but the new DCAS will allow us to see progress throughout the year and give teachers a chance to assist students on specific areas of study they are struggling with,” Mrs. Martin stated. This new testing will also assist in the accountability of teachers as the results will connect students to their teachers over their educational career.
Individual teachers and grade level planning will focus on student data from several sources including DCAS. Based on student DCAS results teachers will be able to utilize a program called “Learning Point Navigator” to create online assignments for students based on identified areas of weakness. As the student begins to work on these areas of weakness reports can be accessed to measure student progress.
The DCAS will assess grades 3-10 in the Milford School District and focus on the areas of Reading and Math. There are three testing windows for this school year: The initial testing window from October 11- November 19, the mid-year testing window from January 5 – Aprill11, and the final testing window from April 18-June 3. There will also be a final summative science assessment for grade 8 which will take place April 18-June 3.
After the initial testing window has closed (November 19) a letter with DCAS information will be coming home to parents. Attached to that letter will be students’ math and reading results from the initial testing window and Home Access information. Near the end of the school year a printed annual student report will be sent home by the Department of Education’s contractor. Parent Resources for DCAS can be found at http://de.portal.airast.org/ including general information and training and practice tests.