At Great Hearts Arlington, we seek to educate the whole person—mind, body, heart, and soul. We believe that education is a profoundly humane task that cultivates intellectual excellence, physical excellence, and moral excellence. When students are viewed in this way, it is clear that scores on standardized assessments could never provide a complete picture of their academic progress. Standardized tests are only one element of our ongoing, organic, and holistic approach to student evaluation rooted in teachers’ qualitative assessment of students’ sense of wonder, depth of inquiry, and participation during lessons. Nevertheless, formal, standardized assessments do provide valuable information to our teachers and administrators on our students’ academic progress, how we might be able to make our exceptional instruction even richer and more effective, and where we may be able to provide individual students additional supports.
At Great Hearts Arlington, we prepare our scholars for standardized tests by filling their minds with beautiful thoughts, their imaginations with beautiful images, and their hearts with beautiful habits. The first priority of this school community is our exceptional course of study and our students’ long-term development as life-long learners, not results on a test. We do not wish for our students to feel anxious about the STAAR or any other test. We ask that you join us in helping your child view the world, their studies, and their accomplishments in this well-ordered way. Rather than emphasizing test performance with your child, we encourage you to do the following:
- Focus on what your child is learning about,
- Focus on what your child is reading, and
- Focus on what your child is discussing in class with their friends and their teachers.
See our Family Handbooks for a more complete description of our philosophy of student evaluation.
DIBELS (or Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) is a series of tasks that scholars are asked to complete under the guidance of a teacher to assess their early reading abilities. It is administered one-on-one through an electronic platform called Amplify mCLASS. DIBELS is administered three times a year to all students in Kindergarten through Second Grade, during the time when it is most crucial for students’ reading fluency to be progressing. Beginning in 3rd Grade, DIBELS is administered on an as-needed basis. DIBELS provides vital information to our teachers in identifying students who may need extra supports to grow in their reading as well as what kinds of supports will be most helpful.
MAP (or Measure of Academic Progress) Growth is an adaptive reading and math assessment given three times a year to all scholars in Grades 2nd through 5th. MAP results are used to identify areas in which a student might need targeted academic interventions.
TELPAS (or Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System) is administered every spring to English Language Learners to monitor their learning and design new strategies for the following year. TELPAS measures the four domains of language use: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Ratings in each of these areas provide helpful information for English Learners’ teachers as we work to help them grow in their mastery of English in an academic setting. Visit greatheartsarlington.org/esl for more information on our ESL program.
STAAR (or State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) is a program of State -mandated standardized testing. In the Lower School, all 3rd, 4th and 5th graders take a Math test and a Reading test annually. 5th Grade scholars also take a Science test. In the 2021-2022 school year, the 5th grade math and reading STAAR exams will be given in April. The 3rd and 4th grade tests, along with the 5th grade science test, will be administered in May.
6th and 7th graders take a Math and a Reading STAAR. 8th grade students also take a Science and a Social Studies STAAR. 8th grade scholars taking Algebra I will take the Algebra I EOC test in place of the traditional 8th grade Math STAAR. An EOC is an End-of Course exam. Texas requires that all High School students pass five EOC tests in order to graduate: Algebra I, Biology, U.S. History, English I, and English II. EOC’s are offered in December and May. A student may take them as many times as needed to pass starting in their 9th grade year.
The 2020-2021 STAAR scores are not yet available. The TEA has clarified that, because some schools are continuing online testing through May 28th, scores for online testers will not become available until the end of May. Scores for students who took the test on paper are still expected to become available sometime in June.
To access your child’s scores, visit texasassessment.gov. Your child’s unique access codes can be found on his/her STAAR Report Card, which will be delivered to the campus and sent home as soon as scores become available. You can also look up your child’s access code by clicking this link and entering your child’s first name, Social Security or S-number, and birthdate.
The most recent STAAR scores for our school and other schools throughout Great Hearts Texas are available on our TEA Report Cards.
The most recent School Report Cards are always available on the TEA website.