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Using State Testing to Close Learning Gaps

Using State Testing to Close Learning Gaps
Using State Testing to Close Learning Gaps

As we navigate through these challenging times, the Northeastern Local School District (NELSD) remains committed to ensuring our students receive the highest quality education possible. The pandemic created learning gaps for some students, and we are dedicated to bridging those gaps. From the 2020-2021 school year to the present, closing the learning gap has been a top priority. Our educators have worked tirelessly to provide innovative instruction and support services to our students to help them succeed.

Our focus on student achievement has always been one of our District Goals, and we remain committed to providing them with the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals. We understand the importance of providing individualized and focused attention to our at-risk students. That's why, for the past few years, we have utilized the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) to hire several teachers who work specifically with these students. These teachers provide personalized and small-group instruction to help close the learning gaps that our at-risk students may have.

Through this program, we have seen significant progress in the academic performance of our at-risk students. By providing them with the support they need, these students gain the confidence and skills necessary to succeed academically and personally. We are proud of our grant-funded teachers' work to help our students achieve their goals and close the learning gaps created during these challenging times. We will continue to prioritize the needs of our at-risk students and ensure that they receive the individualized attention necessary to help them reach their full potential.

As a District, we also believe that professional development is critical to improving student outcomes. That's why we have implemented comprehensive programs that target specific areas of need for our teachers and students.

For our K-3 teachers, we are utilizing a professional development program, Lexia LETRS, that focuses on phonics instruction and strategies to improve reading in early learners. This program provides our teachers with the knowledge and skills they need to help their students develop strong reading skills, which are critical for success in all subject areas.

For our teachers in grades 4-12, we are revamping our Collins Writing Strategies to increase writing in all content areas. Writing is evidence of harder academic work, and it can help our students develop critical thinking and communication skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Our teachers are implementing these strategies in a variety of ways. For example, a history class may start with a writing prompt on what a student knows about the United States Constitution. In a Physical Education class, students may be given a writing assignment on the rules of a game they are playing that day. By incorporating writing into all content areas, we are allowing our students to develop their writing skills while also deepening their understanding of the subject matter.

Preparing for state testing can help close learning gaps by providing teachers and administrators with data to inform their instruction. By assessing students’ knowledge and skills, educators can identify areas of need and adjust their instruction accordingly. 

In the fall, we worked with students to take the  Restart Readiness Assessment pre-instruction tests to evaluate their knowledge and skills in various subject areas. Now, our teachers are retesting their students to evaluate their growth throughout the year. This Restart Readiness Assessment data is used to inform instruction and assessment and shows students' progress in meeting learning expectations. In addition, these assessments help teachers and their students to identify the information they would be expected to know for the Ohio State Tests. 

In addition to the work taking place in the classroom, parents can also have their students practice at home using the state practice tests at:  The testing window for our students starts on April 12, 2023, with the last day for makeup tests being May 12, 2023. 

At NELSD, we are committed to providing our teachers with the support they need to help their students succeed, and we are confident that our approach will lead to better academic performance and increased success for all of our students. We are proud of our students' resilience and determination and will continue supporting them in their academic and personal journeys.