Effect.org regularly conducts “baseline tests” to assess how well our students are progressing. It is important for us to get a temperature check of how students are interfacing with the curriculum. We asked Sonia Agarwal, our Chief Academic Officer, to break down what the tests are and how the results are unfolding. Check out this short interview.
Effect.org: Can you tell us a bit about what they Baseline tests are?
Sonia: At Effect Schools, each academic year begins with a baseline tests for all classes starting Kindergarten. Baseline assesses the learning level of the child before beginning a new grade and clearly explains the efforts needed to help each student grow. – such as reading. It also helps to the plan remedial sessions for children.
Effect.org: How is it different from other ongoing assessments?
Sonia: There are lots of ways baseline tests are different! Here are two main points that separate our baseline tests from other assessments:
The main purpose of other assessments is for providing mentoring and formative feedback to schools and teachers. The main purpose of baseline tests is to create a central and in-depth assessment of each student’s learning levels.
The biggest difference about baseline tests is that there is no concept of good or bad judgment associated with performance. Instead, these baseline tests help our teachers and curriculum team improve so that we are meeting each student where they’re at and helping them continue down the path of success.
Effect.org: What do baseline tests mean for Effect Schools?
Sonia: For Effect Schools, the baseline tests are based on various skills which are also embedded in the curriculum. The skills remain the same for baselines and end lines. Most organizations only consider reading, writing and numeracy skills as the foundation of building blocks. We at Effect Schools firmly believe there are more than just these skills needed to build a child’s learning path.
Effect.org: So, what do baseline test results actually mean?
Sonia: Keeping these tests in mind, we have created the curriculum for each class very carefully and with a lot of research. No two classes have similar skill levels – for example in English, one class is tested on letter recognition, phonemic awareness, correlation of sounds and objects and vocabulary proficiency wherein another class is tested on Phonemic awareness, letter writing, reading comprehension, listening and speaking. What is taught in each class is dependent on the syllabus for that grade’s age and skill level – and these baseline tests help us better understand what is needed so that we can better serve our students.