Greenbrier Christian Academy has replaced the traditional Guidance Office with a wider encompassing Student Services Office. While mostly academic in nature, the Student Services staff seeks to provide support to students in all areas of their lives by working in conjunction with the divisional offices, principals and discipleship programs.
GCA students in grades K5-10th will be taking annual achievement tests during the week of March 27-31, 2017.
Students in 11th and 12th grade do not participate in spring achievement testing but will rejoin the schedule at the conclusion of the morning testing sessions for classes.
Monday –Thursday (March 27-30) at 10:21 am (Tardy bell rings)
Friday (March 31) at 9:59 am (Tardy bell rings)
Upperclassmen who arrive early to campus without a previously arranged meeting will be required to report to an assigned study hall.
Preschool students in the Beginnings Academy are not impacted by these scheduling changes.
Why do we administer Achievement Tests?
Annual achievement tests allow for a measurement of a student’s academic progress as he or she matures chronologically and cognitively. By assessing the mastery of certain required skills, testing provides information to parents and to teachers that allows for modifications to instructional practices, the content, or the rigor of instruction at various grade levels. Individual results allow determinations about student placement and accomplishment. Collectively, this process provides a wealth of information that promotes informed decisions in terms of effectiveness of the content of “school”.
What tests are used for this process?
The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), one or our accrediting agencies, coordinates the testing for accredited Christian schools through partnerships with testing companies. Through ACSI, Greenbrier Christian Academy administers the Terra Nova 3 battery of tests from CTB/McGraw Hill. Terra Nova is a rigorous testing device, with up-to-date test items reflecting an increased depth of knowledge and the student’s ability to think critically through posed problems. Through this battery of tests, students are able to demonstrate progressing academic achievement.
Additionally, the testing includes the administration of the InView (grades 2-10) and Primary Test of Cognitive Skills/PTCS (grades K5-1). These are aptitude assessments of student thinking and reasoning abilities. The results of this type of assessment, coupled with the achievement scores from the Terra Nova, provide a comprehensive view of the student’s progress and abilities in the academic realm.
What are “Standardized” and “Normed” tests?
A “standardized test” is one administered in the same way across the participating populations and is scored with consistent measures. Specific time limits usually apply, and the results are measured against a predetermined standard or set of criteria.
“Norm-referenced tests” measure basic concepts and skills across general knowledge common to a particular grade in schools across the country. The tests are not specific to any one school or type of school but take into consideration the multitude of populations that make up the whole testing group. The results of norm-referenced tests are compared with the results of students who are representative of the national group or sample. Most often, these scores are reported as a percentile that reflects the comparison of the individual student against his national peers.
My student is afforded classroom accommodations. What happens for achievement tests?
Students that have learning circumstances which require modifications to the regular classroom setting or expectations are provided those same accommodations for standardized testing. These may include arrangements such as an alternative, distraction free testing environment, additional testing time, medical accommodations, or other provisions. These students are identified ahead of time and the accommodations are arranged confidentially with parents to address these needs.
What can parents do to help prepare their students?
Good study habits and the motivation to apply oneself to events such as standardized testing are not easy for some students. This is something that must be encouraged all year round, not just at testing time. Other students seem naturally motivated to do their best. There are things that you as a parent can do to provide the best opportunity for success for your student.
• Be encouraging and supportive while letting your student know of your expectations. Present a positive attitude about testing and be sure that your student knows you have confidence in their ability to do well.
• Help the student to be physically prepared on test days. Maintaining focus and mental energy is hard work. Be sure that the student gets a good night’s sleep the night before and has an adequate breakfast the day of testing.
• Be on time each morning. Students who are tardy must report to the divisional office, as they will not be permitted to enter the classroom once the testing session has begun. Missed tests cannot be made up.
• Have the necessary supplies for testing: two #2 pencils, a few sheets of scratch paper, and an eraser. On the middle and upper school levels, calculators will be permitted for some of the mathematics sections of the testing. Teachers will announce at least a day ahead of time any other materials that students will need to have with them on subsequent days.
• Remind students that while these scores are important to them as individuals and to the population as a whole, that they should not “stress” over them, and there is not a need to “cram” or study for them per se. No student will know that answer to every question, regardless of what he may perceive from peers. Some questions will be more difficult than others; the test is designed that way.
• Share with your child the biblical mandate to do our best in each of our endeavors (Colossians 3:23), but remind him that our worth and value is not derived from a test score or a grade; it is only determined by our relationship with Christ. Pray with your student, or let him or her know that you are praying for them as they take these tests.
When can results be expected, and how do I understand the scores?
Additional information will be available regarding testing results upon the completion of the testing week. Score reports will be available very quickly after the testing is over. A great deal of information will be available to you as a parent regarding the interpretation of your student’s results, but please do not hesitate to contact the school if we can be of assistance with this or any other aspect of the upcoming testing.
Anything else we should know?
Testing is completed by mid-morning and students resume their normal school day activities. Homework is minimized for those students who take achievement tests during the testing week in order to allow students to focus on this endeavor, but minimal studying may be required of your student to keep up with the normal activities of the week.
Collegiate Academy Scheduling Information has been sent to all students who have completed re-enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year. Once you receive your student's personalized scheduling forms, click below for more information.
There is a growing trend for high school students to take advantage of accelerated learning opportunities in an effort to prepare for the challenges of college and to position oneself as a prime candidate for college admissions. Two of the most common accelerated learning programs, both available at Greenbrier Christian Academy, are Advanced Placement courses or Dual Enrollment Courses. In many instances, these would seem to be oppositional programs, and are believed by some to split the population of qualified candidates. However, there are benefits and detriments to each that must be carefully examined when making the decision of what advanced classes to take.
The above cliché is often used as a reminder that unless our actions back up what we say, then both (our words and actions) will be made ineffective. As I have walked the halls and visited classrooms, I can attest that students are experiencing the genuine care and professionalism of their teachers each day. Far greater than “informational vending machines,” the instructors at GCA demonstrate on a daily basis what it means to know and follow Christ. Just this past week, I was walking through the elementary wing and saw a teacher out in the hall with one of her students. My assumption that the student was in trouble was proved wrong when I saw the two praying together – specifically for the child’s mom to get better. The teacher didn’t have to step into the hall and pray with her student. However, she understood that her actions would speak louder than proceeding with her momentary agenda.
Before any “words” can be spoken, the teachers of GCA spend incalculable hours preparing for the instructional day. The academic team (consisting of divisional principals, the academic dean, and myself) are focused on collaborating with teachers in developing mastery-driven instruction. Utilizing available technology, cooperative learning structures, and other hands-on activities take learning outside of the textbook and provide the students with varied, academically rigorous experiences. Planning for this type of instruction is not accomplished solely within the designated hours of employment. I know this from personal experience! Late nights, early mornings, and weekends are when a majority of grading and planning is accomplished. How do you and I know this type of planning is happening? The teachers are showing us through their creative approach to instruction.
As a school, we continue to refine our approach to the continuity and delivery of instruction. This process is continual and we definitely appreciate your support of our endeavors. Even more, the administrative team thanks you for your prayers and support of your child’s teacher(s). They are the heroes of GCA.
College often seems like a far-away goal for many high school students and their parents. But, it is not too early to be taking wise actions to position yourself for that all important senior year and the college selection process. What can an underclassman be doing now to prepare for what God may have planned for him or her later?
To plagiarize, by definition, is “to present the ideas or words of another as one’s own.” (Merriam-Webster’s, 1997) Many articles and commentaries have been written over the past number of years underscoring the growing occurrences of plagiarism in academic settings and in the public arena. “Academic Integrity is a fundamental value of teaching, learning, and scholarship. Yet, there is growing evidence that students cheat and plagiarize.” (Clemson, 2010) Entire organizations and websites exist in an effort to counteract the trend toward unauthorized use of intellectual property.