Westside Community Schools implements the standards outlined by the Nebraska Department of Education. As additional standards are established, it is our goal to continue to develop highly rigorous standards of learning. Student achievement of the standards is being measured at all grade levels and in all courses through a comprehensive assessment system.
The purpose of Westside’s assessment program is to gather evidence about student learning and to inform the public about the achievement of our students relative to Westside’s academic content standards. Westside uses a variety of assessments – national norm-referenced tests, a statewide criterion-referenced writing assessment, district-wide assessments and classroom assessments. National, state, and local district assessments are among the multiple measures that help us to understand learning. Other important measures include school processes and programs, demographics, and perceptions and values. All of these measures must be considered together to help us know whether we are reaching every student.
National Norm-Referenced Tests
These tests compare Westside’s students to a national sample of students. Westside administers the NWEA Map, ACT, ACT Compass, and SAT. Learn more about these national norm-referenced tests. Learn more about these national norm referenced tests (PDF) and a glossary of assessment terms (PDF).
Statewide tests measure state curriculum standards and are used to compare students throughout the state. Westside administers four Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) tests. All students in Nebraska take NeSA tests during statewide windows. Nebraska has administered a state writing test since 2001 in grades 4, 8 and 11. In 2009-10 NeSA Reading was initiated in grades 3-8 and 11 with NeSA Math beginning at the same grade levels in 2010-11. NeSA Science is administered at grades 5, 8 and 11.
The results of these state assessments are used to compile the District’s State Report Card that is published by the Nebraska Department of Education in October or November of each year. The Nebraska Department of Education also uses these results as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
District assessments are designed to measure student learning in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. These assessments measure progress toward the mastery of Westside’s academic content standards. District assessments, including course specific assessments, provide valuable information about whether students are meeting academic expectations and are also used to inform decisions about instruction.
Classroom assessments are part of daily instruction. Teachers use classroom assessments to make decisions about student learning day to day. For example, students may have a conference with the teacher to receive feedback about their writing or answer a question to show if they understand the concepts in a particular lesson.
Westside’s assessments are held to standards of quality including reliability, validity and the absence of bias. All students are given an opportunity to learn the content of the assessments through daily learning experiences and quality instruction in Westside’s classrooms. The data from the assessments are used to monitor learning trends, to inform school improvement work and instructional practices.
Westside uses a standards-based report card at the elementary level. A report card Parent User Guide (PDF) gives parents more specific information.
State of the Schools Report
Annually, Westside submits assessment results for all national, state and district tests to the state of Nebraska. This data is compiled in the State of the Schools Report. The report contains both district-wide and building results. In addition to assessment data, the report contains demographic and program information.