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Is your district prepared for all new changes demanded by the federal DOE and your state DOE?
Contact Test and Data Associates to make sure that you are prepared!
There is no doubt that districts are under a great deal of stress from many fronts. Federal and state mandates are piling numerous demands on districts and districts are frantically adding programs and strategies to try to meet these demands. Decisions are hurriedly being made and little time is allowed to make new programs fit with existing programs and best practice synergy. Professional development is rarely sufficient to meet the demands of solid program development. The present climate in education is not allowing districts to “connect all of the dots” of curriculum, assessment, transparency, best practices and delivery methodology. Test and Data Associates is the answer to your district’s needs. Allow us to help your district to “connect these crucial dots”!
Test and Data Associates is an organization made up of professionals from across the country who have a unique set of skills in working with school districts. Our educational team contains a blend of curriculum, assessment and research experience that is hard to find in any one district. Test and Data Associates has worked in districts around the US and helped them to implement programs that have produced sound education for thousands of students. We have worked with state departments as well as districts of every size. Test and Data Associates professionals have worked with every type of stake holder involved in education. We have proven experience with school boards, school administrators, teachers and their aids, students and parents.
Test and Data Associates founders are leaders in the Virginia Test Directors Association, several research associations and have vast experience in assessment and curriculum publishing. Test and Data Associates is a company of experts you can trust to take your district to the next level. Find the right solution, contact Test and Data Associates today.
Test & Data Associates is here to make your district a success. We offer real and affordable school and district improvement.
Getting started with industry leading best practices is as easy as filling out the form below. When you reach out to us, we'll be in touch shortly. Test & Data Associates is headquartered in the Washington DC area, but services school districts across the country.
Remember the adage that has been true for too long:
"We want to change and revolutionize education so long as we don't have to change anything."
This is no longer acceptable. Districts are now expected to change and to show real growth. Prepare your district for real and measurable improvement. Call or e-mail TaDa today!
Test & Data Associates
Contact Test & Data Associates Using the Form Below
The Problem with Testing
From “The New Essential Rules of Testing"
- 1. Tests are tools not punishments
We need to develop the type of classroom where students see tests as part of their learning process. This needs to be done as soon as a child enters school. If testing is treated as a fearful event, students will create their own “test anxiety” and it will grow as they move into high stakes tests. To create this new view of tests, we as educators, must change our own attitude toward testing. Face it, nobody likes tests. Why? We don’t like tests because we never saw them as learning tools. We remember our own test anxiety. Were we ever told that tests are tools so our teachers could do a better job of teaching us? Probably not! The view of testing has become even more negative now that our state and federal governments have entered the picture. The daily news is full of stories that foster test anxiety. This anxiety is not exclusive to students. It has spread to parents, teachers and the general public. We have to look at testing with a fresh new outlook and make testing an integral part of our teaching strategies. We also need to bring the public back to trusting the validity and good use of teacher made tests. If we as educators don’t take control of testing, we’ll doom ourselves to teaching to tests that are written by people who have never met our students and who have had no contact with our schools at all!
Testing is a key component of every student’s educational life. It is really meant to be a communication of what has been mastered or needs to be mastered. It is also a student’s way to tell a teacher where he is in the learning continuum that lies between mastery and yet to be mastered. Tests, quizzes, observations need to lead instruction and to be treated as a tool of good teaching!
What is the Remedy for This Problem?
Districts need to take control of testing. Much too often, teachers are trained wonderfully in the delivery of their respective subject areas but leave college with little or no instruction in sound testing practices. There is also little instruction for teachers in the incorporation of solid assessment practices in following the mastery continuum of each student.
Let the experts from TaDa come and design a Custom TEST AUDIT for your district or school. We can create an extremely effective suite for any district or school budget!
Components of a TEST AUDIT: (may be purchased separately or as a complete package)
- Determine and /or create district assessment policy
- “New Essential Rules of Testing” workshop
- Audit and determine efficacy of all district mandated assessments
- Audit use and best practices of all mandated assessments
- Sample teacher made tests for best construction and use
- Workshops on the fundamentals of testing
- Work with curriculum specialists to create a more positive and useful assessment atmosphere
- Board and Administration training workshops
- Making Better Tests workshop for faculty
- Better assessment for better teaching workshop(s)
- Understanding testing- PTA/Parent Workshop
- Test Taking Skills Workshop(s)
- Testing Budget Audit
- Writing Test Workshop (can be done for all types of writing assessments)
- Grade Versus Mastery workshop for boards and administration
- What a board should know about testing workshop
Call TaDa today to discuss a CUSTOM TEST AUDIT for your school or district. Don’t let poor assessment practices undermine your district or school improvement!
TaDa Testing Audit & Workshops
If you want to improve any district, it is vital that you have current, insightful data. Simply having a test or a survey isn't good enough. Good data and the right experts reviewing that data will be a cornerstone of your efforts to improve your district.
When Test and Data Associates was created, we wanted to include the word "data" in our name because we are data experts in addition to experts on public education. Our team has a strong background in primary and secondary education statistics. We can make sure you're asking the right questions, and that the questions are measuring the right variables.
After all, what good is a survey if it's not testing what you're looking for? When the results are in, be assured that we have what it takes to help you implement or adopt policies and procedures. Statistics are the core of what we practice, and it enables us to get effective results.
Any effort to improve a district is a difficult task, and the success of district leadership is measured on the outcomes of those efforts. Test and Data Associates understands this, and is here to help make it less difficult. We take pride in offering the best to our clients.
Systemic Change is crucial for schools and districts to meet all of the new demands of the proposed ESEA Legislation, the mandates of NCLB Waivers and Race to the Top regulations. Your district cannot afford to wait to align itself with all of these mandates. They all carry job and evaluation penalties.
Allow TaDa to share our expertise with your district to help completely fulfill your district vision and to help raise achievement and close any achievement gaps. You need to be the change agent in your own district!
Call or e-mail TaDa today to plan a custom professional development workshop! We will make the workshop fit your schedule AND budget.
Our experts in assessment, research, administration and board governance will enrich any district. When planning your in-service and professional development, add these workshops to your schedule:
1. “What Do Board Members and District Administrators Need to Know About Tests”
THIS WORKSHOP IS A MUST TO KEEP UP WITH MANDATES AND TO MAKE THE FIRST STEP TOWARD DISTRICT IMPROVEMENT!
This is a workshop on the source of most achievement data: TESTS.
It explains the different types of tests most commonly used in today’s schools and helps to differentiate and understand the scores and reporting of these tests. This presentation also will help in the understanding of “High Stakes” testing versus the testing that makes up a student’s report grade. There is also a look at best practices dealing with testing. There is also a discussion about ESEA requirements along with state requirements and “Race to the Top” (where appropriate).
The following topics will be explored:
- Test types- not all tests are the same.
- Are we testing what needs to be tested?
- What do the scores on the different test types mean?
- Shifts in testing due to federal and state mandates.
- Does my local curriculum match what is being mandated?
- How ESEA may or may not change state tests
- Who is accountable?
- Should my district “teach to the test”?
- What exactly does “teach to the test” mean?
- Does my district have any “say” in federal and state decisions?
2. Fedral and State Mandates Concerning Achievement and Data—What’s Important to Whom and Who Must Do What!
This is a workshop that will explain the consequences for school districts in light of “ESEA, NCLB WAIVERS, existing federal mandates and possible new mandates. We will look at the effect of state and federal mandates on the day to day running of your school district. We will help to differentiate what must be taught and retained. We will also look at the power (or lack of power) of the local school district.
This workshop will explain:
- New State Standards
- “Race To The Top”
- NCLB Waivers
- State versus Federal mandates
- Federal Regulations concerning special needs students.
- Possible consequences if ESEA isn’t re-authorized
- Is everyone on board?
- How can our voices be heard in Washington?
3. “Scholastic Leadership—a Team Approach
This presentation looks at what is needed to help raise achievement in any district and looks at the need for leadership and the need for all responsible parties to act as a team. The workshop will make heavy reference to “The Key Work of a School Board” an NSBA core competency guidebook. It will cover these key issues:
- Creating a district vision that includes clear and reachable goals
- Creating community consensus and garnering support
- Insuring district personnel are functioning correctly and as a cohesive unit.
- Creating a positive learning experience for all students.
- Making mastery the key to learning.
- Who is responsible for what?
- Communication as a key to success.
- The “bottom” won’t change until the “top” does first!
- Creating a true “learning community”
4. “Differentiated Instruction—Reaching All Students” Will this work in our district? If not how do we reach everybody?
This presentation looks deeply at delivery methods of instruction and how they reach students. There will be a discussion of learning styles and learning preferences. Strategies for reaching all learning styles will be discussed. A plan for teacher training as well district staff will be presented. A self- evaluation of present delivery methods in the district will be shared. Differentiated assessment will be discussed also.
This workshop will explore:
- What is differentiated instruction?
- What are the alternatives to differentiated instruction
- How can we make the change?
- What are learning styles and learning preferences?
- Can differentiated instruction fit into a “traditional” classroom?
- Is my district using any of the pieces of differentiated instruction?
- A plan to become more differentiated.
5. “Grades Versus Mastery- What Does a Grade Scale Really Mean” Steps That a District Must Take To Comply With New Mandates and Still Improve Education!
There is a constant battle over district grading scales and systems. The cut points on the 100% scale have created a continuing headache for boards, administrators, teachers and most importantly our students. Can we move to another way to report student progress? We will look some possible and much needed solutions to this problem.
This workshop will explore the “meaning” and use of grade scales. It will delve into the following concepts:
- What is my present grading system and what does it mean?
- Is there a difference between a grade and mastery?
- Are all grades equal?
- What should constitute mastery?
- Making the public aware of grade scales and mastery.
- The learning continuum- what needs to be retained and how do we make it “stick”?
- Should “descriptors” be used in reporting?
- Should we change our present grading system?
- What should or shouldn’t be used to create a student’s grade.
- How do grades translate from academic year to academic year?
6. “How to Test Proof My District- Changes Needed for Maximum Achievement!”
This workshop looks at present practices dealing with learning and educational strategies and how they relate to state and federally mandated testing. It explores the role of daily teaching practices, the perception of “teaching to the test” and district grading policy. Best practices to create a positive learning environment will be discussed. The workshop also looks at the role of educational leadership and the systemic change that is needed to bring a district to its maximum achievement level.
This workshop will explore:
- Educational Leadership.
- Why change from present practices?
- Why do we test?
- District grading polices versus a test policy
- Have you really changed to the “New State Standards”?
- The need for a district curriculum audit.
- Are our teachers giving the best tests?
- The need for a district test audit and help with “best test” creation.
- What are test taking skills and can they be developed?
- An action plan for becoming a higher achieving district.
- The definite need for consistent and meaningful professional development for ALL district personnel AND board members
Test and Data Associates is made up of highly credentialed leaders in secondary education, people who have helped districts across the country succeed, achieve, and perform their best. If your event needs to have a speaker, consider the leaders at Test and Data Associates.
Test and Data Associates' Monte Dawson has had direct involvement in evaluation, research, and planning activities in public k-12 education. His entree to this field of endeavor was with the Superior Court of Los Angeles as it monitored the vast Los Angeles school system. For example, he coauthored a report on a desegregation transportation program called Permits with Transportation which directly resulted in 14,000 students being removed from pedagogically unsound circumstances. His significant involvements continued with a planning report that he wrote for St. Louis Public Schools which served as the blueprint for their comprehensive development of preschool education programs (the report also won a national American Educational Research Association award). From 1988 through 2012 within the Alexandria City Public Schools, his department wrote reports that ushered in full-day kindergarten, led to the demise of the Transition 1 program, developed criterion-referenced tests in advance of Virginia's state tests, revamped Summer School, prefigured the Kindergarten Preparation program, as well as many other substantive improvements. Perhaps, more importantly, he has continually educated colleagues and others to the power of systematic data use in helping students to achieve. Between employment and consultant efforts, he has visited more than 300 schools (California, Missouri, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia) and written more than a hundred reports. Some of these consultancies include the Department of Defense Schools, Howard University's Dental School, Prince William County Schools, Baltimore County Schools, and various private sector firms such as Riverside Publishing Company.
For over 30 years, Monte Dawson has had direct involvement in evaluation, research, and planning activities in public k-12 education. His entree to this field of endeavor was with the Superior Court of Los Angeles as it monitored the vast Los Angeles school system. For example, he coauthored a report on a desegregation transportation program called Permits with Transportation which directly resulted in 14,000 students being removed from pedagogically unsound circumstances. His significant involvements continued with a planning report that he wrote for St. Louis Public Schools which served as the blueprint for their comprehensive development of preschool education programs (the report also won a national American Educational Research Association award). From 1988 through 2012 within the Alexandria City Public Schools, his department wrote reports that ushered in full-day kindergarten, led to the demise of the Transition 1 program, developed criterion-referenced tests in advance of Virginia's state tests, revamped Summer School, prefigured the Kindergarten Preparation program, as well as many other substantive improvements. Perhaps, more importantly, he has continually educated colleagues and others to the power of systematic data use in helping students to achieve. Between employment and consultant efforts, he has visited more than 300 schools (California, Missouri, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia) and written more than a hundred reports. Some of these consultancies include the Department of Defense Schools, Howard University's Dental School, Prince William County Schools, Baltimore County Schools, and various private sector firms such as Riverside Publishing Company.
Prior to moving into public education, he served students in university settings. At Penn State, Dawson developed a series of Learning How to Learn courses which assisted minority and other students in making the transition from less competitive high schools into a collegiate setting. He was also instrumental in creating a college work-study program for inmates at Rockview State prison. As Director of Special Educational Services at Washington University, he recruited and nurtured the largest and most successful cohorts of minority students in the school's history. As illustration, Washington University sent successively greater numbers of African-American students to medical school each year during his tenure. Additionally, he established the Career Development and Placement Center, oversaw the Reading Center, and created a tutoring service for students. As a member of the admission committee, he was able to expand the criteria used for admission to Washington University through the use of empirical data that tracked students’ success and failures over time.
Dawson's personal philosophy requires the ongoing development of technical expertise to stay abreast in a rapidly changing field. He believes that evaluation should be a part of a continuing cycle that includes needs assessment, program planning, and program implementation monitoring. This cycle should always focus on human beings as the true catalysts for effective change. Thus, though data-intensive and empirically inclined, Dawson feels that empathy adduces efficiency in human systems.
Glen Miller began his 36 year career in education as a school psychologist and worked in a mental health center and in public school settings. As a psychologist in the schools, he evaluated students pre-school through twelfth grades, consulted with teachers and parents, provided in-service training for teachers, and coordinated pupil personnel services teams in his assigned schools. After working with individual students for ten years, he moved into test administration in Henrico County Public Schools and was the district’s first educational specialist for testing. In this capacity he conducted county, state, and federal testing programs, provided training for teachers on the proper ways to prepare students for standardized assessments, interpretation of test results, and the use of test results to improve instruction. He presented the results of the Virginia State Assessment Program to a number of audiences including individual school faculties, and the School Board. While in Henrico, Glen became involved with the accreditation process of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and was a member of the district’s accrediting team, making school site visits and consulting with principals and their school improvement teams. During this time he also became a SACS trainer for Virginia and provided training workshops in various parts of the state. He also served on and chaired visiting committees in other school districts to assist schools in the SACS accreditation process. Glen spent the last four years of his career in Henrico as an elementary assistant principal and was part of the administrative team at Jacob L. Adams Elementary School when the process was completed for that school to be selected as a National Blue Ribbon award winner.
After 23 years in Henrico, Glen moved to Chesterfield County Public Schools to develop local testing programs that would support the Virginia Standards of Learning assessments. In Chesterfield, he became a member of the Accountability/School Improvement office and was responsible for local and federal testing programs. After a year in that office, he assumed responsibility for research in the school district and managed a survey program that included surveys for the superintendent and the board, school climate surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, and student/parent/staff school improvement surveys. In this capacity he developed several different reporting formats and was responsible for presenting the results to various stakeholders. During his time in Chesterfield, Glen developed a partnership with the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at the University of Indiana, the author of the High School Survey of Student Engagement. This group has highlighted Chesterfield’s use of their survey as exemplary practice. Glen also served as Chesterfield County Schools’ representative in the US Senate and Productivity Quality Award Program and served as an examiner for two years.
Glen has also had a 34-year career in the Virginia Army National Guard. While in the Guard, he spent most of his career in the field of Human Relations and Equal Opportunity. He conducted, designed, and implemented a variety of programs involving personnel administration, equal opportunity, diversity awareness, and human relations. He also served on the master facilitator staff of the National Guard Bureau and assisted in providing training on a variety of human relations topics throughout the United States.
He believes that school improvement is something that superintendents and principals cannot do alone. The work of school improvement must involve groups of concerned administrators, teachers, parents, and students using valid and reliable data that includes test scores and survey information as parts of the total picture of the school.
Glen continues his love for teaching and learning as an adjunct professor. Now in retirement from public schools, he teaches undergraduate and graduate classes at John Tyler Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Averett University.
Jack Kopcak has a strong and proven background in all facets of education, development and implementation of turn-key programs, of motivational speaking and is a specialist in collaborative training and learning for varied stake holders. He began his career as a secondary English teacher in Aberdeen, Maryland and while teaching received his Master’s degree in educational measurement. As a teacher Jack headed several county wide projects for both reading and writing initiatives. He chaired the committee to restructure the writing curriculum from transformational generative to a traditional “bottom-up” program. He also led a committee for the construction of anchor papers for the holistic scoring of writing samples. He also participated in the county program to pilot differentiated instruction for high school reading.
From teaching Jack moved on to become a marketing specialist with Mobil Oil Corporation and worked in both the Detroit and New York City markets. Jack was involved in the transformation of traditional service stations to the “full self- service, convenience store model”. He served as a market data analyst for the Detroit District and served as the district liaison to the Department of Energy during the gas shortage period in 1979.
Jack’s love of education then led him to become a Reading and Language Arts consultant for Holt Rinehart and Winston Publishers in their northeast region. While with Holt Jack worked on the development of local computer scoring for “Holt Basic Reading” and “Holt Math”. When Holt was taken over by another publisher Jack moved to Houghton Mifflin’s testing division, Riverside Publishing, where he spent the next 20 years as a measurement specialist and consultant in both the Northeast and Southern regions. During this time Jack worked with the development and implementation of state “high-stakes” testing programs in both Virginia and North Carolina. Jack developed and presented training programs for “Test Taking Skills” and “Best Use of Data” for both the “Iowa Test of Basic Skills” and “The Cognitive Ability Tests”. Most notably Jack designed and implemented a series of very well received workshops on “Preferred Methods for Selection of Gifted and Talented Students” for the state of North Carolina. He was a lead trainer for the State Of Mississippi for their adoption of ITBS. He also spearheaded the development and implementation of the “Prince William County Performance Tests” in Prince William County, Virginia. Jack was the lead trainer for holistic and feature analytic scoring of the “ITBS Writing Test”. During his tenure with Riverside, Jack was a featured speaker at several state testing conferences and was a featured speaker for the Arch Diocese of New York.
Jack has also worked as a test consultant for The Princeton Review K-12 division where he specialized in custom test development. Jack was the lead on the largest custom benchmark testing program developed by TPR, the Fairfax County, Virginia, BART (Benchmark Assessments and Reporting Tool). He keyed the development of SOL tutorials in partnership with Chesterfield County, VA. These tutorials were then adopted by the Commonwealth of Virginia and became a cornerstone piece of Governor Mark Warner’s “Project Graduation” initiative.
We Can Make it Happen
Test and Data Associates can serve your district in many ways. When working with a school district, our goal is excellence. We want to help you get there, with cost effective solutions that make sense for any budget. We can help with:
Providing the Best Solutions for Your District
Test And Data Associates is a nationwide education consulting firm based out of the Washington DC area. Our services are designed to bring better statistical analysis to a district and to bring years of experience to the study of assessment data to improve district performance and practices. We stress a complete convergence of classroom assessment with solid teaching practices. Test And Data Associates will bring all of your districts daily activities into alignment to your benchmark activities. We also offer motivational speaking and workshop services to help districts stay informed with the latest federal and state initiatives and trends.
Please take a moment and answer the following key consideration questions in leading your district to become more successful:
- Is your district totally transparent? Are your district’s parents and local businesses a part of your district’s vision?
- Do you regularly conduct surveys with all district stake-holders?
- Do you revisit your district vision regularly?
- Is your board in sync with your district administration?
Have you conducted a district-wide “test audit” recently?
- Do you regularly conduct program evaluation?
- Does your benchmarking program fit your district’s daily activities?
- Is there grade level and departmental collaboration in planning both curricular AND assessment activities?
- Is there sufficient in-service for your programs?
- Have you updated your writing assessments recently?
If you haven’t answered yes to ALL of these questions, your district needs Test And Data Associates!