Dreamcatcher has an established battery of 3 student assessment components built into all our instruction programs to collect evidence of what a student knows and is able to do; as well as to measure a student’s academic progress:
- Pre/Post Assessment
- Placement Testing
- In-Program Mastery Tests
Our assessment program is a complete package. We use the norm-referenced Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) to determine baseline and end results, and we have precise placement to maximize instructional results. By using a pre/post assessment Dreamcatcher can identify a students’ weaknesses, achievement gaps and to build an individual student plan and learning goals. Furthermore, our assessments are able to identify an overall gain score which is communicated to students, parents and school administrators. Below is an expanded description as follows:
Assessments – Direct alignment of assessments….Dreamcatcher uses the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) for its pre and post testing. This is a nationally normed and recognized test, which meets Colorado State approval. We have 2 versions so that post testing results are an accurate reflection of achievement, and not inflated due to test familiarity. These test versions are developed to be comparable, and an accurate measure of change in achievement levels. We get norm referenced data, and not just content data, as some pre/post tests only provide.
Placement Testing – We do placement testing with every student we serve. Research has shown that teaching students that are as homogenously grouped as possible will yield the highest achievement results in the shortest amount of time. Even the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that “skill grouping” was the most effective way to teach students in a case involving “skill” vs. “ability” grouping.
All of our curriculums that we use have a placement test. These are used to assess whether a student has the minimum number of skills necessary to begin that level. This way, we ensure that each student is taught at his/her instructional level, allowing for maximum progress for each student we serve.
In reading for instance, not only is the difficulty of words considered, but also the number errors and fluency rates are assessed. This way, we obtain a fairly accurate placement of all students. In math, we assess not only facts for the various mathematical operations, but problem solving and mathematical concepts are also assessed.
In-Program Mastery Test – To ensure a student makes adequate progress, there are in-program mastery tests approximately every 10th lesson to ensure the teacher is teaching to mastery, and the student has gained the skills taught thus far. If at any point a student(s) are not making progress, our curriculum has built in remediation procedures to follow. A student is then retested after the remediation to ensure he is indeed now at mastery.
The following is a descriptive summary of the WRAT. Also see (www.wpspublish.com).
Purpose: Designed to measure reading recognition, spelling, and arithmetic computation.
Population: Ages 5-75.
Score: 3 scores: Spelling, Arithmetic, and Reading.
Author: Gary S. Wilkinson
Publisher: Wide Range, Inc.
Description: The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) is a brief achievement test measuring reading recognition, spelling, and arithmetic computation.
Scoring: Norms provided for the 1993 edition include standard scores with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15, percentile scores, and grade levels. The standard scores are scaled based on the norm group; the grade levels are arbitrarily assigned and can be interpreted only as rough references to achievement level. Only standard scores should be used for comparisons among scores.
Reliability: The manual reports split-half reliabilities of .98 for Reading at both levels, .94 for Arithmetic at both levels, .96 for Spelling I, and .97 for Spelling II. During the norming study, both levels of the WRAT were administered to children ages 9 through 14. Since there is overlap in skills tested between the high end of level I and the low end of level II, this provides another estimate of the reliability of both. On Reading and Spelling, split-half reliabilities ranged from .88 to .94 for different age groups; on Arithmetic they ranged from .79 to .89. These results indicate that overall the reliability of the WRAT is excellent.
Validity: The test most similar to the WRAT is the Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT), another short, individually administered test which covers comparable material. In general the WRAT correlates very highly with the PIAT. The WRAT correlates moderately with various IQ tests, in the range of .40 to .70 for most groups and most tests.
Norms: The 1993 WRAT norms are based on a national, stratified sampling involving nearly 5,000 individuals nationwide. The data was analyzed using the Rasch model for item analysis and scaling.
Suggested Uses: Recommended uses for the test described in the manual are to use the 2 alternate forms for pre and post testing, or to use both forms for a combined score. We use them as pre and post testing.