• Tomorrow signifies an important day for the school district and our efforts to gauge student growth and academic proficiencies.  The middle school and high school begin their North Dakota State Assessment process tomorrow with the elementary schools beginning their assessment later this month.  The NDSA is the tool used by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction to monitor student progress and proficiencies levels with the North Dakota State Standards.  The NDSA consists of criterion-referenced assessments for all students in grades 3-8 and 10 in English language arts/literacy and mathematics, and in grades 4,8, and 10 in science.  The results are shared on the North Dakota Insights webpage to allow for comparisons with other North Dakota school districts and the overall state averages.  This comprehensive exam helps to identify students that are novice, partially proficient, proficient, and advanced proficient in all four areas using cut scores identified by NDDPI for each area and grade level.  The cut scores are available on the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction website for review and further explanation.   NDDPI administers all aspects of the NDSA ensuring each assessment meets program requirements for validity, reliability, inclusion, technical quality, and reporting. 

    This one assessment is not the sole gauge of student academic success in our school district, however, it is a significant resource to use in our data analysis of student performance and alignment to the state standards.  The school district’s strategic plan initiative related to academic excellence uses the NDSA as a major data point to ensure accountability and to meet established targets for overall student achievement.  The school district asks for your assistance to reinforce with students the importance in doing their best on this exam as it reflects their knowledge and achievement to this point in the school year.  We request students and families ensure proper rest and mindsets going into test days so we receive the best out of our students and overall accurate results from the NDSA.  The results will be used to address areas identified within the assessment through potential adjustments to our curriculum and teaching and learning processes.  Each building will be performing extra activities these weeks to help motivate students and clarify the importance of doing their best on the exam.  The overall results will be available later this spring and accessed through the website or individually available to students and families. 

    It is also noteworthy the high school will be changing its state assessment to the ACT exam starting 2022-2023.  Most families are familiar with the ACT exam related to college entrance, however, it is an option to replace the NDSA and is viewed as more pertinent and applicable due to its value for those considering post-secondary options.  Also, the test results are easier to understand and compare in regards to overall student academic achievement.  The high school will begin pre-ACT exams to coordinate with preparation for the ACT, as the state assessment, next fall and will be a focus for students and teachers going into the 2022-2023 school year.  The North Dakota State Scholarship is based on an ACT score of 24 and preparation for the ACT as the state assessment will hopefully help students better access this scholarship, which holds a value of $6,000.00 over four years to any ND college or university. 

    Anyone that has questions on the NDSA or ACT exams can feel free to contact their building principal or myself at any time.  Please help us work with students this month to perform their best on the assessment and reflect all the hard work put into their classwork to this point in the school year and their overall education.