According to our school’s Academic Performance Index (API), CVHS is below the state average in mathematics. Statistically, one out of every ten students in the Castro Valley School District is not proficient in reading and mathematics. Standardized tests such as the STAR test and the CAHSEE are taken to help our district see what areas need most improvement.
In the second semester of last year, CVHS math teachers Michael Rackley and Andrea Eldridge piloted a new assessment to get Algebra 1 students to improve their understanding of the material. Around every other week, they gave their students a standardized test on the California Standards for Algebra 1. Students were allowed to retake the test as many times as needed to pass the test.
“I feel that it not only helps the students grasp the information, but it helps the teacher as well as the students see what areas they need to focus more on,” said Eldridge.
Before the last school year began, all Algebra 1 teachers came together and decided to try this assessment method out. The high school teachers and the middle school teachers looked at all the California state standards and identified the ones they felt were essential for students to understand. Using textbooks and other resources, the teachers developed questions that could be used to tell whether or not the students understood the key standards.
“Allowing students to take the test multiple times gives students an incentive to make an effort to study and understand the material in order to do better the second or third time around,” said Eldridge.
Although it is still in the early stages of the assessment, many teachers have already seen a vast improvement in their students test scores.
“Overall, I think the Algebra 1 teachers have noticed an improvement in test scores. However, students who do not take the advantage of the opportunity to reassess are not improving they scores,” said Rackley.
“Taking these tests has really helped me,” said freshman Nicole Anderson.