Grading and Assessments
Standards provide a K-12 progression of expectations in a variety of areas. These expectations serve as a roadmap for educators to help understand what students have mastered and what they are ready to learn next. Adams 12 Five Star School District and Hulstrom use a method of grading called Standards Based Grading (SBG). SBG communicates how students mastering given standards:
1 - Does Not Meet Standard - The student is significantly below the grade level standard
2 - Approaching - The student is making progress towards meeting the grade level standard, but is not yet consistently meeting the grade level standard
3 - Meets the Standards - The student is consistently meeting the grade level standard
4 - Advanced Understanding - The student is consistently demonstrating understanding beyond the grade level standard. This could be achieved in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, acceleration and applying the grade level standard to solve a novel problem.
It is not atypical for students, even those identified as gifted, to not yet have mastery of a standard they are newly exposed to, so do not worry if your student earns a "2". If you are concerned, please reach out directly to your child's teacher, who will get back to you within 48 hours.
For grade level specific information on standards based grading, explore these links:
PALs (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening Assessment)
Early literacy screening is the key to providing effective literacy instruction and preventing future reading problems. The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) provides a comprehensive assessment of young children’s knowledge of the important literacy fundamentals that are predictive of future reading success. Educators use this data as one piece of a body of evidence to plan individual, small group, and whole group reading instruction to ensure students’ individual growth. This is a Adams 12 Five Star School District mandatory assessment for all students Kindergarten through Third Grade, who take this one-on-one assessment three times throughout the school year. For more information, see here.
MAPs (Measures of Academic Progress Assessment)
MAPs is a computer adaptive assessment, meaning the computer adjusts the difficulty of the questions so that each student takes a unique test. The difficulty of each question is based on how well the student has answered previous questions. MAP is a norm-referenced measure of student growth over time. MAP tests are based on a continuum of skills and standards in Mathematics and Reading from low skill and standard levels to high skill and standard levels. MAP assessments help teachers identify the instructional level of the student and also provide context for determining where each student is performing in relation to local or state standards and national norms. Educators use this data as one piece in a body of evidence to plan individual, small group, and whole group reading instruction to ensure students’ individual growth. This is a Adams 12 Five Star School District mandatory assessment for all students Kindergarten through Eighth Grade, who take this online assessment three times throughout the school year. For more information, see here.
CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success)
The CMAS is the state’s summative tests, which measure students’ mastery of the Colorado Academic Standards and the complex thinking and other critical skills students need to be successful in school and in life. CMAS is required for all Third through Eighth Graders in Colorado and the state directed assessment window is usually in late March through April, but varies slightly with each year. Third through Eighth Graders participate in annual assessments in literacy (reading and writing) and mathematics. Fifth and Eight Grades participate in annual assessments in science. Every three years, Fourth and Seventh Grades participate in social studies assessments. Educators can use the results as a big picture of students’ strengths and areas of focus as well as an evaluation of school-based programming, for instance what programs are effective or not. For more on the Colorado Department of Education’s reasoning behind the purpose and values of state assessment, see here. For general information for parents created by the Colorado Department of Education, see here.
Formal (Summative) Classroom Based Assessments
Formal classroom based assessments include quizzes, assessments/tests, final projects, etc. All formal classroom based assessments are standards-based and designed intentionally to ensure each students’ individual growth across and within the standards.
Informal (Formative) Classroom Based Assessments
Informal classroom based assessments include anecdotal notes on classroom work, whole group and small group discussions, individual conferences, group work, etc. All classroom work is standards-based and designed intentionally to ensure each students’ individual growth across and within the standards.
CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test)
The CogAT is an assessment that measures students’ verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal figural reasoning abilities. This is a common assessment used across the nation for identifying students who are gifted and talented. If a student scores over the 95%ile in any of these three domains, it will be entered into the student’s body of evidence for formal gifted identification. If a student at Hulstrom reaches 6th grade without formally being identified as gifted, the student will participate in a CogAT assessment. Students can also be recommended for CogAT assessment by teachers or parents.
NNAT (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test)
The NNAT is a nonverbal measure of general abilities. This is a common assessment used across the nation for identifying students who are gifted and talented. If a student scores over the 95%ile on this assessment, it will be entered into the student’s body of evidence for formal gifted identification. If a student at Hulstrom reaches 2nd grade without formally being identified as gifted, the student will participate in a CogAT assessment.