Principal's Press

3/1/2021 - Catherine Pusch, Principal

PEAKs Testing

February 2021


Dear Parent or Guardian,


The Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools (PEAKS) is a statewide summative assessment that encompasses English/language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science. In the spring of 2021, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District will administer PEAKS to students in grades 3-9 and assess students’ understanding of the Alaska ELA and mathematics standards adopted in 2012. The State Science Assessment will also be administered to students in grades 5, 8, and 10, which measures students’ understanding of the Alaska science standards adopted in 2019. Student reports will be available in the fall of 2021.


The PEAKS test window is March 29 - April 30, 2021. Two Rivers School will test during the week of March 29- April 2nd. Check the testing Schedule below for details.


No electronic devices, besides those used for testing, will be allowed in the testing environment. This includes, but is not limited to, cell phones, laptops, iPads, e-readers, smart watches, fitness trackers, etc. Please be mindful of this and ask your child to leave personal electronic devices at home on the days they are scheduled to test. If an electronic device is medically necessary, contact the principal to discuss this.


Procedures have been put in place to ensure schools can safely administer the PEAKS assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students and staff will wear masks, practice social distancing, be instructed to wash their hands, and use hand sanitizer. Testing surfaces, writing utensils, technology, etc. will be disinfected before and after testing sessions. For more information, please contact the school principal.


Parents have the right to make educational decisions for their child, including whether to participate in statewide testing. Enclosed you will find an informative document titled “Why Should my Child Take the State Assessment.” Additional information can also be found on the district website at www.k12northstar.org/Page/8871.


If you have any questions about the upcoming spring assessment, please contact your school or call the Department of Teaching and Learning at 452-2000 ext. 11422.


Sincerely,

Catherine Pusch, Principal

Two Rivers School

Why Should My Child Take State Assessments

What is my child tested on in the spring?

Each spring, schools give the statewide PEAKS assessment. The English/language arts and mathematics assessments are administered to grades 3-9, and the science assessment is given to students in grades 5, 8, and 10 (starting in 2021, the science assessment will no longer be administered to grade 4). These tests provide students the opportunity to show their understanding of important skills in English language arts, mathematics, and science at their grade level.


Why is assessment important in my child’s education?

There are five essential questions that we ask (and answer) in regard to student learning every day in our classrooms:

  1. What do we want our students to know and do? (Effective statewide standards)

  2. How will we teach them? (Effective local curriculum and instruction)

  3. How will we know if they learned it? (Effective assessment)

  4. What will we do if they do not learn it? (Effective intervention)

  5. What will we do if they already know it? (Effective enrichment)


Effective assessment is the bridge between teaching the standards and ensuring that support is available for all students. It is a key part of student learning, and everything we do should work toward this goal.


How is this assessment meaningful for my child?

The statewide assessments is a summative assessment, which is just one piece of a balanced assessment system. Summative assessments are designed to give information on a student’s understanding of the state’s English language arts, mathematics, and science standards. When administered over multiple years, this assessment is even more meaningful because it informs you on how far your child has progressed in their learning.


Why does the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) give a statewide assessment?

First, DEED wants to be able to inform parents, educators, policy makers, the community, and businesses how Alaska’s schools and districts are performing. Second, after DEED has determined how schools are performing, they want to identify schools in the most need of school improvement efforts. Third, DEED wants to ensure there is equity in education. Their mission is to provide an excellent education to every student every day.


Why is it important for my child to participate in the statewide assessment?

Educators make decisions locally about how to teach Alaska’s standards. With this in mind, the summative assessment is a standardized way to determine in a uniform manner how well your child’s school and district are performing. Also, at the state level, we invest a large sum in public education each year, and the citizens of Alaska have a right to know if that money is contributing to increased learning for students.



More information can be found on DEED’s website at https://education.alaska.gov/assessments/peaks. We also encourage you to view DEED’s video on “Assessments: Why Are They Important?” at https://vimeo.com/193465985.


Testing Schedule

Tuesday, March 30th- English Language Arts Testing Starting at 8:30 am.

Wednesday, April 1st- English Language Arts Testing Starting at 8:30 am.

Thursday, April 2nd- Math Testing Starting at 8:30 am.

Friday, April 3rd- Science Testing Starting at 8:30 am. (5th and 8th grade only).

The This Week at a Glance

This Week: 3/1- 3/5

Regularly Scheduled Week


Next Week 3/8- 3/12:

SPRING BREAK


The Week After 3/15- 3/19:

Monday: Students return after break