Boston Catholic Schools Introduce 2 Comprehensive Assessments

The Catholic School of Office (CSO) of the Boston Archdiocese has announced it will introduce two comprehensive assessments into the schools under its auspices, the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th Edition (Stanford 10) and Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, Eighth Edition (OLSAT 8), both published by Pearson Assessment and Information. All students in grades 2 through 8 will required to take both tests annually at their respective grade levels.

The Stanford 10 exam assesses students' abilities in five key subject areas: reading, language arts, mathematics, natural science, and social studies. In addition, the exam includes sections on spelling and listening comprehension. The OLSAT 8, in testing several basic cognitive skills, measures a student's fundamental abilities of perception, conceptualization, reasoning and analysis, and memory, all as they pertain to an academic environment. The skills tested include detecting likenesses and differences, recalling words and numbers, defining words, following directions, classifying, establishing sequence, solving arithmetic problems, and completing analogies.

"Academic excellence has always been a core part of the mission of the Archdiocese of Boston's Catholic schools, and we are excited to be working on a new level with Pearson, whose curriculum programs for reading and math are also used in some of our classrooms," said Archdiocese Secretary for Education/School Superintendent Mary Grassa O'Neill.  "Pearson will help us build a comprehensive connection between assessment and instruction that will greatly benefit students and teachers."

The benefit to teachers, said a spokesperson for Pearson, will come as the results of the assessments are applied to the individual instruction needs of the students. The Stanford 10 "is supported by a powerful data reporting and analysis tool that will allow CSO educators to make timely, targeted instructional decisions." The company also said it plans to use the "train-the-trainer" method, working with teachers in the Archdiocese to prepare them to administer the tests and to apply the resulting data to optimize the effectiveness of their classroom instruction.

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