Ferland's Findings

Friday Newsletter - October 7th

I hope this week’s newsletter finds you all fully rested and beginning to think about returning to school next week. I know you’re not ready, but I do hope you are beginning to miss us. 

The week after we return to school, the third through eighth graders will be taking the NEWEA test. It is a standardized test, required by the State, and taken every fall. I want to mention a few things about this (and other standardized tests) before we begin the process. 

First, it is important to know that teachers generally dislike these sorts of assessments as much as students do.  Educators intrinsically know that a child’s intelligence and understanding cannot be fully measured by a standardized test. We also know that an identical test given to a variety of students can in no way measure the true learning that goes on in a school. We realize that sometimes a student’s greatest achievement and understanding can’t be quantified with percentile rankings and data points. Rest assured that while we administer the tests, and do use some of the information gleaned from the results to improve our instruction, we are fully aware that your child is more than the results of this test. We find some of the information useful but never rely only on those results to inform our teaching. The best teachers get to know their students and build meaningful relationships with them. That goes much further than standardized testing to improve things. 

Secondly, I ask that you take a moment to have a word with your child about doing their best on the NEWEA and tests of that nature. As I said, even though it might not be the optimum way of measuring progress or knowledge, it does provide us with some useful information about our students. So, if our students are taking the test seriously and truly doing their best, we as teachers will have a better chance of seeing where we can do a better job. 

Lastly, preparing your child for the testing week should hopefully look a lot like an ordinary school day. Make sure they are getting enough sleep and have a chance for a hearty breakfast. It is difficult to concentrate on the business of learning when you’re tired or hungry. If your mornings are a bit crazy and you find yourself out of time, remember we offer free breakfast every day, to every student here at school. 

Thank you for taking the job of raising your child so seriously, for supporting their school community, and for helping us here at WDES to prepare them for a future ahead. We appreciate it!