This spring our students will join students throughout Colorado in taking a new set of state tests called the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS)/Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). These are not additional tests - the CMAS/PARCC replaces the TCAP, using next generation technology that will provide more meaningful feedback to help teachers and parents ensure students master the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.
The new tests will give teachers and parents a more accurate picture of what our students have learned because they ask students to show and apply what they know, instead of just picking the right answer from a multiple-choice question. The new tests are aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards, which replaced 20-year-old standards. The new standards, in use at our school since the 2013-14 school year, update our community ís expectations for what students must know to be ready for college level courses or a career after they graduate from high school.
We live in an increasingly complex world, and the knowledge and skills students need to succeed is challenging. By using more advanced questions, the CMAS/PARCC tests will allow students to demonstrate their critical thinking, analytical writing and problem-solving skills. Tests are not the most exciting part of learning, but they are an important part. Just as we take our children to the doctor for regular well-child checkups, these tests tell us how students and our schools are doing. Parents should know if their children are on the right path, and these new assessments will provide an “academic checkup” to help us know if our students are ready for what comes next.
We need your full participation in these tests. That means making sure your child gets a good night's sleep and arrives to school on time. Just as the tests provide meaningful information about each student's progress, the CMAS/PARCC is a critical tool for reflecting on our work as a school. Strong participation is critical to understanding if our school is doing all it can to help our students prepare for success in college, a career and in life.
Your child's participation is really important to us. By participating in the tests we will have a full picture of your child's academic progress in relation to the state's expectations. That information also gives you beneficial insights about how much value our school is providing to your child, such as determining if we helped your child achieve at least a year's worth of academic growth in a year's time.
Teachers can more clearly see if the school's programs and classroom lessons are netting the results you expect. Having consistent, accurate and fair testing results allows us to measure our overall academic health of our school and district.
I welcome the opportunity to visit with you further about our school's process of testing and how we use the results to benefit your child and the rest of our student body. I respect your decision-making on your child's education, and I look forward to working together to create the best and most useful educational experience for him/her.