Assessments
 
 

 

Data-Driven Decision Making

Data analysis takes place at all levels in District 7 – the district level, the school level, the classroom level, and the individual student level. The District has implemented a variety of diagnostic instruments and assessments that together provide a rich source of information that is used when planning for instruction for students. Results from multiple assessments are used when making educational decisions, whether it is at the curricular level, the school level, or the individual student level.

Data-driven decision making ensures that the identification of skill deficits, the action plans that are developed to address those deficits, and the instruments used to monitor the academic progress of children receiving interventions are accurate and based on objective, not subjective, information. This use of multiple data sources instead of a single source of data ensures that the most accurate conclusion is drawn when determining whether or not a curricular weakness or student skill deficit exists and whether or not the solution is working.

Using a medical analogy, a diagnosis is made based on accurate data from reliable tests, a course of treatment is prescribed, regular monitoring of the treatment occurs by the professionals, and changes made to the treatment plan if the problem is not resolved. In District 7, we are approaching curricular and student academic and behavioral problems in much the same way.

Below is a listing of the standardized assessments and diagnostic tools used in District 7:

PRIMARY LEVEL (GRADES K-2) 


INTERMEDIATE LEVEL (GRADES 3-5)
MIDDLE SCHOOL (GRADES 6-8)

HIGH SCHOOL (GRADES 9-12)


Illinois Snapshot of Early Literacy (ISEL)
 

The Illinois Snapshot of Early Literacy (ISEL) is a reading performance inventory that measures early literacy skills. Results from the assessment provide the teacher a snapshot of each student’s literacy strengths and competencies and assists the classroom teacher in developing lessons that meet each child’s needs.  

The ISEL is based on scientific reading research and sound classroom practice. It reflects the research conducted by the National Standards for Reading and the expectations outlined in the Illinois Learning Standards.  

WHAT IS TESTED:

Pre-reading and reading skills

WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT:    

All students in kindergarten – 2nd grade

WHY IS IT ADMINISTERED

The ISEL is used as a diagnostic tool to identify areas of strength and weakness in early literacy skills.

WHEN IS IT ADMINISTERED

Early fall and in winter

HOW ARE THE RESULTS USED

Students are grouped for guided reading, which is small group instruction based on skill deficits outlined by the ISEL. Literacy workstations for individual students are designed using the results from each snapshot.

SCORE REPORTING PROCESS

Parents receive copies of the ISEL summary sheet with the first quarter report cards and again in January.
 

  

BACKGROUND INFORMATION 

There are ten ISEL snapshots. The variety of subtests included in the ISEL provides an opportunity to obtain an overview of the child’s literacy competencies in a short amount of time. An administration schedule is listed below. 

ISEL Snapshots Kdg. 1st Grade 2nd Grade
Alphabet Recognition      
Story Listening      
Phonemic Awareness      
One-to-One Matching      
Letter Sounds       
Developmental Spelling      
Word Recognition      
Passage Reading
(Accuracy & Comprehension) 
     
Vocabulary       
Fluency/Extended Response      

 

This assessment is administered two times per year, fall and winter. The percentile scores that you see on your child’s ISEL cover sheet indicate your child’s performance in relation to a large comparative sample of students from across the state of Illinois. The 50th percentile score indicates that a child is making adequate literacy progress. A performance at the 30th percentile or lower indicates that a student may be at risk for making adequate literacy progress.

 EXPLANATION OF SUBTESTS 

Alphabet Recognition
This snapshot assesses the child’s ability to notice the concept that letters have unique features and specific names. 

Why is this important? With an inventory of known letters, the child is familiar with certain aspects of the visual details of print associated with emergent reading and writing. 

How can I help my child? Provide opportunities for your child to identify, match, and/or sort upper and lower case magnetic letters. Play games such as Lotto, Concentration, and Go Fish with letter flash cards. Read a variety of simple alphabet books. Search for and circle specific letters on a printed page. 

Story Listening
This snapshot assesses the child’s ability to listen to a story read aloud as well as to respond to questions about the story.

Why is this important? Listening to stories is especially important because children develop a sense of story and increase their vocabulary knowledge. 

How can I help my child? Help your child identify story elements such as characters, setting, and plot while reading. Ask questions about the story before, during, and after reading aloud to your child.  

Phonemic Awareness
This snapshot assesses the child’s ability to hear initial consonant sounds and to identify words that begin with the same consonant sound. 

Why is this important? Research acknowledges that phonemic awareness is one of the best predictors of reading success among kindergarten children and for reading performance among first and second grade children. 

How can I help my child? Play rhyming games with your child. Pronounce words slowly to highlight individual sounds. Read poems, rhymes, songs and chants together. Match and sort pictures and words according to their beginning sounds. 

One-to-One Match
This snapshot assesses a child’s concept of words as measured by how accurately the child repeats a sentence (after hearing it) while concurrently pointing to each of the words as he repeats that sentence.   

Why is this important? Acquiring a concept of word often is considered a prerequisite for developing an initial sight word vocabulary. 

How can I help my child? Point to the words as you read to your child. Help your child identify the differences between the spaces in a sentence, the letters in a sentence, and the words in a sentence. 

Letter Sounds
This snapshot is intended to determine the number of letter sounds that the child can orally reproduce correctly. 

Why is this important? Children who are in control of letter-sound relationships can use this knowledge to decode unknown words in print. 

How can I help my child? Build three and four letter words with magnetic letters. Read simple alphabet books. Pronounce words slowly and ask your child to identify the first sound of each word.

Developmental Spelling
The Developmental Spelling snapshot is intended to measure the child’s level of phonemic awareness, letter-sound knowledge, and sequential letter production. 

Why is this important? Developmental spelling is a complex task involving three related areas. Teachers use spelling to gain insight into a child’s thinking about words, noting whether or not a child can hear the sound components of a word as well as represent them. 

How can I help my child? Ask your child to write simple dictated words and sentences. (Conventional spelling is not necessary) Play spelling games such as Boggle, Spill and Spell, and Junior Scrabble. 

Word Recognition
This snapshot assesses the child’s ability to determine the number of isolated words a child can read independently.  

Why is this important? Children need a large repertoire of words that can be recognized instantly. These are typically words that are seen frequently in texts. (e.g., a, and, to, the) As the number of sight words increases for a child, less attention may be devoted to word recognition, and the child can shift attention to the meaning of the story. 

How can I help my child? Ask your child to identify simple high frequency words in magazines and newspapers. Make a Bingo game using high frequency words (Your child’s teacher can give you a suggested list of words for your child’s grade level.) 

Passage Reading/Comprehension
This snapshot assesses a child’s ability to read connected text (story) aloud at acceptable levels of accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.
 

Why is this important? A child who can read a passage and understand the meaning of the text shows the integration of all early literacy skills. 

How can I help my child? Read to your child each evening. Ask your child to read books at their “independent reading level.” (Your teacher will share this information with you.) 

Vocabulary
The Vocabulary snapshot is intended to assess a child’s knowledge of vocabulary in comparison to students in the same grade. 

Why is this important? There is a strong correlation between a child’s vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension. 

How can I help my child? Read books to your child that they cannot read themselves. Have conversations about stories read. Ask your child to connect the books you are reading together to personal experiences. Ask your child to solve word riddles, jokes, and play word games.

Fluency
The Fluency snapshot assesses the child’s ability to read at a good rate, with good accuracy and with proper intonation and phrasing. 

Why is this important? Research supports the notion that the ability to read fluently is highly correlated with a child’s ability to comprehend text.  

How can I help my child? Read to your child each evening so that they can hear how reading should sound. Have your child read books at his/her independent reading level each day. 



Instructional Reading Level
 

As part of a comprehensive literacy program, District 7 elementary teachers and middle school Reading Seminar teachers implement guided reading – the core of the District 7 literacy program. Guided reading is a teaching strategy in which a teacher supports each reader’s development of effective strategies for processing texts at increasingly challenging levels of difficulty.  

During guided reading, small groups of students work directly with the classroom teacher using texts that match their individual reading level. To determine the level of text with which a student should be instructed, teachers assess their students to determine each child’s instructional reading level. This information can also be used to determine if a child is reading above-level, at-level, or below grade level. 

WHAT IS TESTED:

Teachers individually measure a student’s oral accuracy and comprehension skills. 

WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT:    

All students in kindergarten – 5th grade and middle school students who are enrolled in Reading Seminar. 

WHY IS IT ADMINISTERED

To determine a child’s reading level for guided reading small group instruction. 

WHEN IS IT ADMINISTERED

At the beginning, middle, and end of each school year and whenever a teacher needs to determine if a child’s level should be modified. 

SCORE REPORTING PROCESS

Parents will receive this information at parent-teacher conferences. 

HOW ARE THE RESULTS USED

Students are grouped for guided reading (small group instruction) based on skill deficits and guided reading level. 
 

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
To help teachers match books to a child’s reading ability, every elementary student and middle school students who are reading below grade level, are assessed up to three times each year, in the fall, winter, and spring, to determine his/her individual instructional reading level. Children who receive reading instruction tailored to their individual abilities make quicker gains in the reading process.

A child’s reading abilities can be organized three ways:

  1. Independent Reading Level. Independent reading is easy reading. Children should read books at their independent level when they are reading alone.
  2. Instructional Reading Level. This is the best level for students to learn new vocabulary and apply reading strategies. Children reading a text at their instructional reading level would require the assistance of a teacher or parent to move through the text. Children should read books at their instructional reading level when they have the support of their teacher or parent.
  3. Frustration Reading Level. This text is too hard for the reader. There is no sound reason for having a child read a text at his/her frustration reading level.
There are many factors that determine a text’s difficulty level:
 
  • Word count
  • Number of high-frequency words
  • Sentence complexity
  • Predictability
  • Language patterns and repetition
  • Illustration support
  • Concept load
  • Topic familiarity
  • Print size and spacing of text on the page
  • Themes
     

Instructional Reading Level Text Gradient

Grade

Months of the School Year 

Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb March April May

K

-

-

-

A

A/B

B

B

C

C

C

1

C/D

D

E

E/F

F

G

G/H

H

I

I

2

I/J

J

J

J/K

K

K/L

L

L

M

M

3

M/N

N

N

N

O

O

O

P

P

P

4

P/Q

Q

Q

Q

R

R

R

S

S

S

5

S/T

T

T

T

U

U

U

V

V

V

6

V/W

W

W

W

X

X

X

X

Y

Y

7

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y/Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

8

Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

Z

9-12

Z

Z

Z

Z+

Z+

Z+

Z+

Z+

Z+

Z+

Adapted from the Benchmark Asssessment System, Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnel, 2009

As a way to organize this system, text levels are placed on a text gradient. This chart shows the expected instructional reading level by month for a typically developing child. Each letter in this chart corresponds to a specific level of text difficulty.  A text’s difficulty level is indicated through the use of a letter system: A-Z.  

Example 1: Most typically developing kindergarten students read at the “A” level in November and exit kindergarten at a “C” level. 

Example 2: A 3rd grade student reading at an instructional reading level of “N” in November is considered to be reading “on” grade level.



COGNITIVE ABILITIES TEST (CogAT)
 

The Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) is an assessment designed to measure a student’s learned reasoning abilities in the three areas most linked to academic success in school: Verbal, Quantitative, and Nonverbal.  

WHAT IS TESTED:

Verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal skills.
 

WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT:

3rd – 5th grade students recommended for the District 7 gifted and talented program (Challenge). 
 

WHY IS IT ADMINISTERED:

To determine eligibility for the gifted and talented program. 
 

WHEN IS IT ADMINISTERED:

In the spring of a student’s 3rd grade year or any time during a child’s 4th or 5th grade year if the student is recommended for gifted services. 
 

HOW ARE THE RESULTS USED:

To determine eligibility for the gifted and talented program. 
 

SCORE REPORTING PROCESS: 

Parents are notified of eligibility for the program in early summer. 
 

 



WILLIAMS TEST OF DIVERGENT THINKING
 

The Williams Test of Divergent Thinking measures a combination of left-brain abilities along with right-brain visual perceptive abilities. The Williams assesses fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration of thought.  

WHAT IS TESTED:

Fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration of thought
 

WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT:

3rd – 5th grade students recommended for the District 7 gifted and talented program (Challenge)
 

WHY IS IT ADMINISTERED:

To determine eligibility for the District 7 gifted and talented program.
 

WHEN IS IT ADMINISTERED:

In the spring of a student’s 3rd grade year or any time during a child’s 4th or 5th grade year if the student is recommended for gifted services.
 

HOW ARE THE RESULTS USED:

To determine eligibility for the District 7 gifted and talented program.
 

SCORE REPORTING PROCESS: 

Parents receive a letter indicating their child’s eligibility for the gifted program.
 

 



AIMSWeb - READING 

AIMSWeb is a three-tier system that is intended to provide a quick overview of a child’s ongoing reading development. This assessment, administered by a team of school personnel, is used three ways: (1) as a universal screener for all students (benchmarking), (2) as a progress-monitoring instrument to determine a student’s response to a particular intervention, and (3) as a way to strategically monitor students who have been released from reading interventions or special education services.  

WHAT IS TESTED:

Kindergarten – 1st Grade: Letter-naming fluency, letter-sound fluency, phonemic segmentation fluency and nonsense word fluency. A reading curriculum-based measurement and MAZE assessment for comprehension is administered beginning in the winter of first grade.

2nd – 8th Grade: Reading curriculum-based measurement and MAZE assessment for comprehension
 

WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT:

Benchmarking: All K – 8th grade students 

Progress Monitoring:  Students who are eligible for reading interventions or who have a specific learning disability in the area of reading. 

Strategic Monitoring:  Students who have been recently released from reading interventions or special education services
 

WHY IS IT ADMINISTERED:

AIMSweb is used three ways: as a universal screener for all students (benchmarking), as a progress monitoring instrument to determine a student’s response to a particular intervention, and as a way to strategically monitor students who have been released from reading interventions or special education services.
 

WHEN IS IT ADMINISTERED:

Benchmarking:

• Fall:
All students K-8
• Winter:
Select K-8 students

Progress Monitoring:
Students receiving reading interventions are progress monitored bi-weekly. 

Strategic Monitoring:  Students released from services are strategically monitored one time each month for four months to ensure continued progress is occurring.
 

HOW THE INFORMATION IS USED:   

Assessment data are used to determine eligibility for reading services and to monitor the progress of those students receiving those services.  
 

SCORE REPORTING PROCESS

Parents will receive data charts showing their child’s performance upon completion of administration.
 

 



Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
 

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is the state assessment and accountability measure for Illinois students. PARCC assesses the New Illinois Learning Standards and is administered to students in English language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and at high school according to course enrollment.

WHAT IS TESTED: Language Arts and Math 
WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT:  3rd – 8th grade students and select high school students. 
WHY IS IT ADMINISTERED: The PARCC test is the accountability measure for Illinois students enrolled in public school districts. 
WHEN IS IT ADMINISTERED: In the spring of each school year. 
 
SCORE REPORTING PROCESS: Student scores will be shared with families as they become available from the State of Illinois.   
HOW THE INFORMATION IS USED: Student PARCC scores are used in the school improvement process and curriculum analysis.

 

Grades and Subjects Tested on the PARCC

 

English Language Arts

Mathematics

Grade 3

x

x

Grade 4

x

x

Grade 5

x

x

Grade 6

x

x

Grade 7

x

x

Grade 8

x

x

High School

Jr. American Literature

Algebra 2


 



Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test
 
 

WHAT IS TESTED: Basic pre-algebra skills are assessed through four subtests – pre-algebraic number skills and concepts, interpreting mathematical information, representing relationships, and using symbols.
WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT: 6th grade students
WHY IT IS ADMINISTERED: To assess the student’s level of mastery of algebra skills  
WHEN IT IS ADMINISTERED:  April
HOW THE RESULTS ARE USED: To place students in either 7th grade Accelerated Algebra or 7th grade Math

 



Illinois Science Assessment

The Illinois Science Assessment will be administered to students in grades 5, 8 and once in high school. The high school assessment will be course-based and aligned to the content of Biology I. This assessment is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  
 

WHAT IS TESTED: Science
WHO TAKES THE ASSESSMENT:  5th and 8th grade students, and select high school students.
WHY IT IS ADMINISTERED: The Illinois Science Assessment is the science accountability measure for Illinois students enrolled in public school districts.
WHEN IT IS ADMINISTERED:  In the spring of each school year.
 
SCORE REPORTING PROCESS: Student scores will be shared with families as they become available from the State of Illinois.
HOW THE INFORMATION IS USED: Student scores are used in the school improvement process and curriculum analysis.

 

Edwardsville School District #7 • 708 St. Louis St. • Edwardsville • IL • 62025 • (618) 656-1182
Last updated on: January 20, 2016 at 03:54 PM
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