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Workshop participants explore ways to use CTBS results

Written on May 4th, 2009

OACS looking to publish new test result guidelines

Delegates at the recent Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) spring learning conference had the opportunity to attend a workshop on the Canadian Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) to learn how schools are performing and ways to use the results.

Hugo Marcus, the OACS director of curriculum publications, facilitated the workshop.

“I wanted to demonstrate that the results from 2000 to 2008 have been consistently strong and I wanted to demonstrate what they can do with the data that they have at the local school level,” says Marcus.

Marcus gave a PowerPoint presentation titled “How Well Are We Doing?” that highlighted test results from OACS schools, followed by a discussion.

CTBS testing measures student performance in six areas of academic skills — vocabulary, reading, language, mathematics, science and sources of information — and then provides a composite score. OACS member schools are on a biannual cycle for completing the test.

A benefit from the workshop was a heightened recognition of the need for schools to communicate their best practices in standardized testing delivery, says Marcus.

“There are some pretty good practices that schools are doing that we need to share with each other, whether it’s preparation, whether it’s administration, whether it’s follow-up, whether it’s reporting — what are the best practices that schools have and that we can encourage other schools to do,” he says.

The OACS will be publishing a document or handbook outlining how schools can use the test results and best practices. The organization now has over 10 years of results that can be compared, as well as male and female breakdowns.

The last time the OACS published a major booklet on the CTBS was in 2002, says Marcus. Having a booklet helps schools to interpret their own data and validate the test completion, he notes.

Marcus says the workshop group had very positive feedback regarding the publishing of the booklet and guidelines.

“We are planning to work on putting something together so schools can use CTBS results more effectively at the local level,” says Marcus.