Holy Family average test results better than nation

Holy Family Catholic School students on average performed better than their peers throughout the United States this fall on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

While Colorado’s public school students are required to take Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests each spring, private schools like Holy Family can select a different assessment. The K-8 parochial school uses the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in part because the test compares local students with peers nationwide, according to Holy Family Principal Jake Aubert. Aubert said he also likes that the test can be taken at any time of the year, so Holy Family can administer ITBS each September and have the results by mid-October.

“The first thing we do with the results is we see if any students aren’t performing as expected and our intervention team meets to discuss if we need to change something or if the status quo is working for them,” Aubert said. “We’ve already implemented interventions where needed” since receiving the scores Oct. 15.

Students receive a score based on how well they demonstrated knowledge of concepts compared to other students. Each test includes questions that address concepts at- or above-grade level, so if a third-grader grasps the same concepts mastered by the average fourth-grader taking the test, a student will receive a 4 on the test. A ninth-grader who performs as well as the average student three months into the 10th grade will receive a 10.3, and so on.

Because more than 2 million students take the test throughout each year, the sample size is large enough for students to be measured against other students who take the test during the same time of year.

In the core subjects of reading, math and language, Holy Family third- through eighth-graders on average performed five months to two years and four months ahead of peers starting the same grades when students took the tests Sept. 10 and 11. ITBS subjects also include science, social studies, geography, vocabulary, listening, word analysis, and sources of information, a category that tests students’ ability to find and use research materials.

Holy Family teachers cover all main subjects daily but decided to increase math instruction this year, according to Aubert. Starting this fall, all classes have 90 minutes of reading and writing instruction and another 90 minutes of math, which is sometimes combined with computer and technology lessons.

Aubert said he is already proud of the school’s test scores being above the national average but hopes to help more students reach their potential within the school, no matter where they are when they start school.

“The highlight for me is to take average students and do above-average things with them,” he said.


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