It's Testing Season!

Spring is in the air and so are standardized tests.

What parents need to know.

At the end of each academic year it is vital to our growth that each grade assesses our students on where they are, what they have learned and what gaps we will need to supplement in years to come. Assessments are a good measurement, but we agree, all these tests can be a little bit overwhelming and a lot for our students to handle.

In today's educational landscape standardized testing is a necessary part of the accountability that all public schools face. In this newsletter I would like to clear up any questions you may have about who is taking what and what you can do at home to help out.

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The SAT's are given to 11th grade students nationwide.

  • This test is only taken at the school once towards the end of the 11th grade year.
  • This test assesses English Language Arts and Math. There is a Reading section, Math section and a written essay portion.
  • This test takes approximately 5 hours.
  • This is a free College Entrance Exam and College Readiness Test which can assist students when applying to any college or university.
  • Students do have the option to "Opt. Out" by having their parent or guardian sign a waiver.


The PSAT's are taken by 8th-10th graders

  • This test is a Precursor to the SAT and it is taken once a year for the three years prior to the 11th grade.
  • This test follows benchmarks for college readiness and assesses Math, Reading and Writing.
  • The focus of this test is to help teachers and the school know what to focus on in curriculum and instruction. It helps find the holes in the student's skills before the SAT.
  • Students do have the option to "Opt. Out" by having their parent or guardian sign a waiver.


The Workeys is taken by 11th Graders

  • This test is only taken once
  • This test assesses Career Readiness.
  • Many employers will require the Workeys for employment if a student does not have a college degree.
  • It tests basic math, graphic literacy, and reading comprehension for work materials such as emails, memos, training manuals, etc.
  • Students do have the option to "Opt. Out" by having their parent or guardian sign a waiver.


The NWEA, or commonly referred to as the MAP test is taken by all grades from Kindergarten to 8th grade.

  • The reason we take this test is to track student learning growth and know where our students are in each class so that we can better teach to their individual needs.
  • Teachers have access to a number of class and individual reports, which can tell them everything from whether a student is reaching their goals to exactly what skill each student needs to focus on the second this test is completed.
  • The NWEA /MAP test is taken at Marshall Academy 3 times a year. Early Fall, Mid Winter, and Late Spring.
  • There are two tests, a Reading and a Math test. These are given at two different times.
  • Each test is approximately an hour long and always taken on the computer with the whole class.
  • It is allowable for a student to miss the test, however the goal for the school is 100% participation for best results.
  • This test is used by teachers, coaches, administrators and authorizers all year long because of the amount of valuable information provided.

  • To visit the Northwestern Educational Assessment website click HERE


The Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP is taken in Grades 3-8.

  • Students take this test once a year and only in the Spring.

  • Grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 take two tests. One in Math and one in Reading.
  • Each test is approximately an hour long and is completed on the computer.
  • 5th Grade takes 4 different tests.
  • 5th Grade takes Math, Reading, Science and Social Studies.
  • 8th Grade takes 2 tests.
  • 8th Grade takes Science and Social Studies.

  • This state mandated assessments is the same for all Michigan public school students.
  • It give us information on how students are performing, and how well schools and districts are teaching students compared to those in other communities, around the state.

For more comprehensive information about the M-STEP visit their home site HERE

How can you help from now until that testing day?

We don't have a lot of time left, but there are some strategies you can do that have been proven to make huge gains.

  • Know when the tests are coming and what to expect when they get here. The testing schedule for April and May is posted below. Talk you your student. Chances are they have taken these before and they can tell you what they struggle with and what they can do to improve.
  • Complete the work the teacher is giving. There is a good chance your student's teacher is gearing up for this event. These tests are important tools for the teachers too. Many of the lessons in class leading up to this time of the year are filling in gaps covered later or reviews to jog the student's memories. Completing all the class work is a great way to get ready.
  • Squeeze in a little extra practice once in a while. Please do not spend hours a day slaving over a test. These are not that important. However, it would be helpful to join some of the sites the class is using to practice your student's skills. Most classrooms are signed up with some version of online help. Reach out to your teacher and they can point you in the right direction.

NWEA website has a great Family Toolkit you can get to HERE

How can you help the day of?

We know it takes a village, and we are going to do our best this end.

The morning your student has a test our cafeteria is going to make sure they get a HOT breakfast to each of the testing classes just to get those juices flowing.

A couple quick and easy steps you could do at home can make a great impact on test days.

  • Know when the test is coming.
  • Get a good night sleep.
  • Lay your clothes out ahead of time so you are not scrambling in the morning.

***And always make sure you reassure them how confident you are in their ability to be great.

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