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February 26, 2016
by: Ted Hamm

Implementing the College Work Readiness Assessment at IDEAS

Measuring Student's Critical Thinking and Communication Skills

Dear Parents, Students, Staff, and Friends:

One of our strategic goals as an organization is to develop a comprehensive method for assessing our students. While we value the information that traditional, standardized tests give us, we recognize it is a very limited picture of what a student is capable of. To move this work forward, we will be having our 9th and 10th grade students participate in the CWRA+ (College Career Readiness Assessment) on March 2nd while our 11th graders take the state mandated ACT Workkeys.

The CWRA+ is a national assessment that is intended to measure critical thinking and written communication skills including: analysis and problem solving, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical reading and evaluation, critiquing an argument, as well as writing effectiveness and mechanics.The assessment itself takes 90 minutes and consists of a performance task and selected response questions.  For a brief overview, please take a look at the Student Guide, I recently shared with our students.  I encourage you to take a look at the sample assessment and see how you do. After you take it, I would be interested in your thoughts.  

This assessment, like all others, will inform what we teach and how we teach it. We review all of our assessments and determine what we are doing well, as well as what we need to improve on. This specific assessment will provide us feedback on how our students compare against other high school students in the country in the areas of critical thinking and written communication. Additionally, we will use this assessment to gauge individual student’s growth over the years having our students take this assessment again as juniors. These results will be shared with parents and students.

The CWRA+ is only one step towards our larger goal of finding a more comprehensive way of assessing our students and our schools. Over the next year we will be working with Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center to find other ways to assess our students and our schools. We are committed to our students, their achievement, and to our continuously improving as an organization. As we take these steps forward, we will keep you informed.

Sincerely,

Ted

 

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