Thursday, August 16, 2012

Understanding ARMT+ Scores

Have you ever gotten test scores from your child's school and you just totally didn't understand?  I mean the whole "standardized testing" made me so nervous in school that I never did well anyway.  Every year, until high school (where we sat with someone to pick our schedule), my schedule got changed on about the second week of school anyway.  I tested "average" on all standardized tests, as a result was placed in "average" classes, then I would have to be moved to "accelerated" classes within the first week of school.  Big tests just freak me out and I don't test well.

When it comes to my daughter, well she tests well.  Or she always has.  Normally within the 97-99% in math and 80% in reading.  She struggled with her comprehension last year, but after sitting down to help her she got the hang of it.  She has the same problem that I have, if it's BORING I can read it, but don't remember a thing.  But give me a good book that I choose, I can even tell you the clothes the characters were wearing.  It's a "want to/have to" thing.  

This last year they did away with the SAT and switched to the ARMT+.  I wasn't worried because she "tests well."  Then I got the scores in her registration packet for the fifth grade.  And boy was I confused.  I was VERY proud to see the 93% in reading, meaning we really improved her comprehension, but the math in the 78% threw me for a loop.

I wasn't sure how to take it.  Keeping in mind that 78% is not the same as a 78 C, as they use 50% as average, I still couldn't wrap my head around her being in the 78th percentile, when the year before she was in the 97th percentile. That is until I talked to her third grade teacher.

she did test above average :)
On registration day I parked in the back of the school because the front of the school was full.  It was a quick walk up the third grade hall to the fifth grade hall to meet her teacher.  On the way back to the car, she wanted to say hi to her third grade teacher, Mrs. Newton since we were walking right passed her room.  After saying hi, I thought about these confusing scores, so I asked her take on it.

She said, I had nothing to worry about with Lyssa's math that the test was more of a "core" test than what they teach in the classroom and the teachers had never seen the test before and that this year the curriculum would be changing so next year her scores will be better.  She also told me that most people didn't even finish the math, that it's more likely she didn't finish it than she got them wrong.  then Lyssa volunteers the information that she didn't finish it because they only had twenty minutes.  Talk about feeling better.  What a relief!  Again, not that I thought anything was wrong with the 78% because it is well above average, it was the fact that I was confused how she could drop from the 97th percentile to the 78th percentile in only a year.

A special thank you to Mrs. Newton for taking the time to explain it to me, when she didn't have to since Lyssa is now a fifth grader.  She gave me examples of what was on the math part too and it was confusing to me without seeing it written down and I'm a "math whiz" as some people call me.  I'm hoping for a great fifth grade year!
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