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Academic Assessment

The key areas assessed in grades K through three are math and language arts, both of which are on-going and continuous. Math assessments include, but are not limited to, end-of-unit tests, skill checks, anecdotal notes, and daily observation of skills mastery and concept understanding.

Language arts assessments include but are not limited to running records, anecdotal notes, spelling inventories, word lists, retellings, daily observation, and the use of portfolios. Formal language arts assessments are given to students at the beginning of the year for placement in guided reading groups. Letter and sound recognition, concept of print, and writing vocabulary inventories are administered at the beginning, middle and end of the primary grades. In addition, third grade students take the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test SDRT 4 each year to measure individual student progress and to evaluate the effectiveness of the HMS balanced reading program in the primary grades.

HMS uses The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) in K-3 to assess and monitor pre-reading and early reading skills. This research-based assessment project developed by the University of Oregon is a set of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. When used as recommended, the results can be used to evaluate individual student development as well as provide feedback for instructional objectives.

The Terra Nova Achievement Test is administered to grades four through eight. An accompanying diagnostic tool, In-View, is given to students in grades four and seven only. The test results assist in evaluating the success of our curriculum and alert us to our students' strengths and growth areas which guides teachers' instruction.

The PSSA, the Pennsylvania state assessment tool, is not administered to HMS students.  While we recognize the need for formal and informal assessment of students, we do not feel that the emphasis on teaching for the test meets the educational objectives of our school. Other forms of general assessment used at HMS include end-of-unit tests, skill checks, anecdotal notes, and daily observation of mastery of skills and understanding of concepts.