Curriculum-centered Standardized Testing
An interview with The Community School of Naples and Jason Lasnetski, ERB Consultant
Personalization is at the heart of ERB. Each member school has an ERB consultant and educational expert to handle assessment questions, data interpretation, and much more. The goal of every interaction? To take testing results and truly improve learning and enhance teaching for our schools.
Part of our six-part series of showcasing ERB schools and their consultants, this post is a conversation between Amy Moviel, Head of the Lower School at The Community School of Naples in Naples, Florida and Jason Lasnetski, ERB Consultant since 2012.
Amy has been with The Community School for four years but is in the middle of her first year as the school’s ERB coordinator. Prior to joining the ER consulting team, Jason worked for Pearson Education following a teaching career in Florida elementary and middle schools.
ERB Member Services Consultant
The Community School of Naples
Head of Lower School
Q: What makes the relationship between ERB and its member schools unique?
Amy: We use CTP 4 for grades 2-9, WrAP for grades 3-8, and the ISEE for middle school and upper school. Jason has made it easy to develop a rapport and to get answers. The support is fantastic, and my new role has not been as difficult as it could have been. The communication is pretty seamless.
I went to my first ERB conference in 2017, and it was fantastic. I assumed that it was going to be all data focused, but a lot of the sessions were on teaching strategies and social-emotional topics. I enjoyed the combination of the data, which I needed, and the practical classroom tips.
Jason: It’s all about building relationships with our schools. I worked for a competitor, and there was no time to create relationships with schools. ERB’s focus is on independent schools. Each school is a little bit different, each has its own personality. The more I can develop my relationship with a school, the more I can help that school improve its teaching and learning to, ultimately, help a student.
We want schools to go deeper with our data. It’s not just a number on paper – it’s a comparison point for the curriculum. Is the school teaching what it wants to teach? Where are the gaps in learning? How can we use ERB data to pinpoint highs and lows in the curriculum for teachers to make decisions about curricular adjustments or professional development? How can a school track data over time? Most of the time, schools are not surprised by the data. It often validates what they thought. ERB is data-driven decision-making with experienced interpretation of the data.
Q: Are there challenges with standardized testing?
Jason: Many schools will buy a test and “smile and file.” What we’re trying to do is shift that to a practice of what is the most we can get out of the data, and how can we help our teachers the most? My schools are very appreciative of how easy it is to get answers from ERB.
We help [schools] transition from other tests all the time. We make sure the school is comfortable with the product. We try to hold their hand through testing, teach the school how to use the website, and how to order. After the test, we reach out, again and again, to help administrators and teachers use the data for instruction.
For parents, standardized tests can be a hot-button issue. When I do parent educational events at a school, I explain that the ERB test is not a high-stakes test, but a nationally normed test that is reliable, that it’s one piece of the information that parents and the school have to learn about a student.
Amy: Jason has been to our school for the past four years. He starts with a collaborative conversation about what we need from ERB, then breaks it up into sessions for our teachers on math and literacy ERB data. He also does a 360-degree view for administrators. Getting people comfortable with looking at and analyzing data against their curriculum and teaching is important.
I used to teach in Florida public schools, and we did the Florida State test. It’s like night and day. It was very high stress to teach to the test. With ERB, it is more about how we improve the curriculum. It’s a snapshot, day-in-the-life approach. It’s been a welcome change for me.
Q: How has ERB helped with a recent assessment challenge?
Amy: We noticed that our vocabulary scores were lower than we thought they would be. We then looked at the different programs we were using from grades 3 through 5 and realized that we needed to implement a more comprehensive program. In 2016-17, we implemented an intentional vocabulary program using Word Masters. We do spring ERB testing, and last May, when Jason visited, he helped us dig into our data to understand our vocabulary scores.
With ERB, it’s all about getting answers. I’m excited to keep learning and growing. We will transition from paper testing to online with the CTP 5, and I would like to present at an ERB conference down the road. It’s a great relationship and not one that I would have expected from the organization that gives us our testing materials.
|This is the fifth in a series of profiles between ERB and its member schools. Read how Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, PA gets the most out of their relationship with ERB Consultant Beth Cirulis.|