The assessment, called Performance Series by Scantron, replaces other tests used between third and eighth grades, according to the district’s website.
“With this test, we are improving intervention efforts,” said Diane Villwock, executive director of testing and program evaluation for the district. “We can identify where the holes are in the learning.”
The new standardized assessment will measure subjects on the Common Core State Standards, which state lawmakers might abandon. The standards drew concern from legislators after passing rates on state end-of-year tests dropped.
“Our school district has dedicated a significant portion of our limited resources — money, time and energy — into ensuring our teachers can be successful with the Common Core,” said Jeff Nash, the district’s spokesman, in an interview earlier this month. “We believe we are making great progress, and we are disappointed in the General Assembly’s decision to move away from it.”
Villwock said having students take the assessment three times a year helps better identify academic levels.
“It serves as a universal screener to help understand which students need more attention and which maybe don’t need as much,” she said.
The assessment will also be used to identify students who test above grade level.
While the district has a positive outlook on the testing initiative, some Chapel Hill parents do not.