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Data & Assessment

The Joseph Sears School is committed to continuous growth and learning for all students through a comprehensive liberal arts curriculum. Standardized, as well as, adaptive measures allow us to monitor each child’s progress toward grade level benchmarks, as well as each child’s individual achievement and growth goals.

The assessments outlined in this guide represent part of a multi-layered assessment system which includes classroom assessments, observations and individual inventories of skills and competencies relating to all academic areas. This system of gathering evidence of growth and achievement supports the work of educators at the Joseph Sears School to make our educational environment appropriately challenging for each of our scholars each and every day.

AIMSweb Plus

  • Grade: K-4
  • Administered: Fall, Winter, Spring
  • Results: Shared at Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • Time: Approximately 20 minutes per year

The AIMSweb Plus assessments of early literacy and numeracy are measures of foundational reading and math skills. Some measures are individually administered and some are given to a whole group of students at once. Some of the skills assessed through these measures are:

  • Letter Naming Fluency
  • Letter Word Sounds
  • Oral Reading Fluency
  • Word Reading Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Number Naming Fluency
  • Quantity Total Fluency
  • Quantity Difference Fluency
  • Number Comparison
  • Mental Computation Fluency

These assessments help us to identify students who may need additional support or enrichment. Giving these assessments multiple times over the course of the year allows educators to monitor students’ progress in reading and math in the core curriculum, as well as in interventions.

These are nationally normed assessments, which also supports an understanding of how students in Kenilworth are performing as compared to students across the country.

Benchmark Assessment System

  • Grade: K-2
  • Administered: Fall, Winter, Spring
  • Results: Shared at Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • Time: Dependent on the reader

Throughout the year, teachers in these grades will be assessing all students using this system of running records. A running record is a tool which assesses students’ reading behaviors. Running records provide information to teachers on reading comprehension, accuracy and errors that children make while reading aloud. Students must demonstrate a certain level of fluency, accuracy and comprehension at their current reading level before they are assessed at the next level.

When conducting a running record, students read a selected book or passage aloud. As the child reads, the teacher listens for errors and corrections the child makes. The teacher will then ask several comprehension questions which include both “right there” and inferential questions. After the child is finished reading, the teacher calculates the student’s fluency, accuracy and comprehension in order to determine the child’s reading level.

The reading level provided to the teacher through the use of running records does not define a child as a reader, nor should it limit the types of books a child chooses to read. Instead, the level indicated provides the teacher with information on the child’s reading behaviors at that moment in time. These behaviors may be present every time a child reads, or may be present only when reading certain types of texts. This quick assessment supports a teacher to design differentiated instruction for each student in order to support their growth as a reader throughout the year.

Please read with your child at home when you can, so that you also become familiar with their reading behaviors as we partner with you to ensure that students love reading for life.

Illinois Assessment of Readiness and the Illinois Science Assessment

  • Grade: 3-8
  • Administered: Spring only
  • Results: Sent home in October
  • Time: Approximately 8.5-14 hours depending on grade level

Students in grades 3-8 take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness in reading and math every spring. The Illinois Science Assessment is given to all students in grades 5 and 8 each spring, as well.

These tests are standardized assessments given to all students across the state to measure student achievement on the Illinois Standards for Learning. Illinois belongs to a consortium of states which designed this assessment to measure the standards, which are the basis of our curriculum.

The assessments are administered over the course of a three-week period and are taken on the iPads. Students are given opportunities to practice on the digital tools and question formats of the test, prior to the assessment window.

The results of this assessment are used primarily for accountability across the state. The results are disaggregated by student subgroups which have been identified by the state of Illinois. Schools and districts which have an achievement gap between the majority group and any subgroup are identified by the state as having a priority area of focus.

The data from these assessments can also be used to evaluate a district’s core curriculum with regard to the standards and adjust programs to ensure that all standards are being addressed for all students.

For more information on the Illinois Assessment of Readiness or the Illinois Science Assessment, please visit the Illinois State Board of Education website:

Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) Test

  • Grade: 2-8
  • Administered: Fall, Winter, Spring (Fall, Winter only for 8th Grade)
  • Results: Sent home with report cards and shared at Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Time: Approximately 120-180 minutes (untimed)

The MAP test is a nationally normed test, which means student growth over time can be determined, but also, student achievement compared to peers across the country.

This adaptive assessment is taken on the iPad and begins with questions addressing grade level content for each student. The difficulty of each subsequent question is based on the student responses. If students are answering grade level questions incorrectly, the questions become easier, and if they are answering questions correctly, they get more difficult.

As an instructional tool, MAP provides educators with many resources designed to support differentiated instruction in the classroom. Teachers are able to access the MAP data system to look up student scores and determine areas of strength or weakness based on those scores. This information can used for a period of time in order to design instruction that is appropriately challenging for all students. It is also part of the matrix utilized for placement in math courses for 6th grade.

The MAP reports also provide students with a Lexile level, which is similar to the reading level provided through the Benchmark Assessment System. This level can be used to support the appropriate selection of texts for student instruction, however, should not be a limiting factor for student book selection.

The MAP assessment, just like other assessments, provides a “snapshot” of student growth and achievement on a given day and does not define in total the achievement and growth profile for a student.

CogAT Cognitive Abilities Test

  • Grade: 3 and 5
  • Administered: Fall only
  • Results: Kept on file
  • Time: Approximately 90 minutes

The CogAT Abilities Test assesses the cognitive domains of Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal reasoning which have been associated with school success traditionally.

This assessment is taken with paper and pencil and has different forms to enhance test security. It is the most widely used test of cognitive ability in the nation.

The results of this assessments can be used by educators to inform differentiated instruction. They are also used as a part of the math matrix utilized for placement in math courses in 6th grade.

One last note on assessment…

The Joseph Sears School strives to gather evidence from a variety of sources in order to make the best educational decisions for our students. As your child’s first and most influential teacher, we are committed to seeking out and valuing your thoughts and observations regarding your child’s learning style, preferences, strengths and challenges. We believe that the best academic results for students start with a strong partnership between home and school and will do all we can to ensure that this partnership stays strong throughout your child’s years at the Joseph Sears School.

Specific dates and times for the assessments listed in this guide, as well as, information on those assessments which are unique to your child’s classroom will come home in communication from your child’s teacher. Please support your child by providing them with a great start to any day of assessment: a good night’s sleep, a healthy breakfast and a word of encouragement from you! Thank you for all you do to support our students and our school.