Sidney Public Schools Assessment Program Description
There is a strong connection between learning and assessment.
Sidney Public Schools implements curriculum or learning experiences based on the College and Career Ready standards outlined by the Nebraska Department of Education.
As additional Nebraska learning standards are established and revised, it is our goal to continue to grow and develop rigorous standards of learning. Student achievement of the standards is being measured at all grade levels and in all courses through a comprehensive assessment system.
Sidney Public Schools uses a variety of assessments to improve students' learning.
The purpose of Sidney’s assessment program is to gather information about student learning, and to adjust our teaching and learning opportunities to help each student grow and meet these rigorous learning standards. In addition, we use the information to communicate with and inform the public about the achievement of our students, relative to Sidney’s academic content standards. Assessments serve different purposes and can provide information about a student’s strengths and areas of continued growth. We also believe that assessment scores do not tell the complete story of any student, school, or district and should be used as one of the many pieces that help us provide learning opportunities that empower students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to become productive citizens. Other important measures include school processes and programs, demographics, and perceptions and values. All of these measures must be considered together to help us know whether we are reaching every student.
Standardized National Norm-Referenced Assessments
Standardized assessments require all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from a common bank of questions, in the same way, and are scored in a “standard” or consistent manner, which makes it possible to compare the relative performance of an individual. These tests compare Sidney’s students to a national sample of students. At Sidney we administer the DIBELS, NWEA MAP, PreACT, and ACT.
Statewide tests measure state curriculum standards and are used to compare students throughout the state. Like all public schools in Nebraska, Sidney administers the state tests in the Nebraska Student-Centered Accountability System or NSCAS. Students in grades 3rd-8th grades and 11th graders take the NSCAS assessments during the statewide assessment window each spring. 3rd-8th graders take an English Language Arts (ELA) and a Math assessment. In addition, the 5th and 8th graders take a Science assessment. Our 11th graders take the ACT as the Nebraska State test.
The results of these state assessments are used to compile the Sidney Public Schools State Report Card that is published by the Nebraska Department of Education in October or November of each year. The Nebraska Department of Education also uses these results as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
Classroom and District Assessments
District assessments are designed to measure student learning in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. These assessments measure progress toward the mastery of Sidney’s academic content standards. District assessments, including course specific assessments, provide valuable information about whether students are meeting academic expectations and are also used to inform decisions about instruction.
Classroom assessments are part of daily instruction. Teachers use classroom assessments to make decisions about student learning day to day. For example, students may have a conference with the teacher to receive feedback about their writing or answer a question to show if they understand the concepts in a particular lesson.
Students are given an opportunity to learn the content of the assessments through daily learning experiences and instruction in our classrooms. The data from the assessments are used to monitor learning trends, to inform school improvement work, real time instructional opportunities, and instructional practices.
We use all of the assessment practices paired with effective classroom learning opportunities and curriculum to answer these driving questions around student learning:
What do we want students to learn?
How do we know they learned it?
What do we do if they didn’t learn it?
What do we do if they already know it?
Nebraska Education Profile
Annually, Sidney submits assessment results for all national and state tests to the Nebraska Department of Education. This data is compiled in the Nebraska Education Profile site for every school district in Nebraska. The report contains both district-wide and building results. In addition to assessment data, the report contains demographic and program information.