How can Leman Academy be Tuition-Free?
Pretty nice for our families, right? As a public school, Leman Academy of Excellence is funded by your taxpayer dollars from the state and the per pupil revenue passes through our authorizer, DCSD. All public schools in Colorado are required by state law to take the standards-based summative assessments that correspond to their grade level (3-8). The Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) is Colorado’s standards-based assessment designed to measure the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS) in different content areas. On April 8th to the 26th, grades 3-8 will take the CMAS English language arts (ELA) and math assessments and scholars in grades 5 and 8 will take the CMAS science assessments.
Will state testing take away from learning?
It’s truly minimal. While we give ourselves this window of dates in which to administer the assessments, the total time a scholar will actually spend testing is between 7.5 and 13.5 hours per year, depending on grade level. This year Douglas County School District has allowed our scholars to take the test using a combination of paper and pencil and electronic formats, which further helps us to complete the assessment in an efficient manner.
What can my scholar expect?
We want our scholars to feel prepared and comfortable. As you can see below, our schedule is designed with scholars in mind in a way that will flow smoothly. Regular learning within our program will continue when scholars are not taking an assessment, however, teachers will decrease the homework load for their classes around testing days.
Does this threaten Leman Academy’s Unique Classical Curriculum?
No way, Jose. We welcome accountability and the state standards actually help our teachers make sure that we are giving our scholars the skills they need each year (especially in math, reading, writing, and grammar) that will prepare them to be college-ready. We use our rich classical curriculum as the focus for building such skills.
Will the test results even be useful?
Yes, they really will. As a classical charter school, our teachers and staff will put all the data gained from these assessments to good use. Specifically, the results of these assessments will provide us an individualized picture of the extent to which each scholar has been able to apply the skills learned through our program. We welcome this additional layer of accountability as evidence of the viability of our rigorous classical program.
Is the state test the only standardized assessments LAE uses?
Our charter contract includes nationally-normed progress monitoring assessments for every grade level, but the state test is designed only for grades 3-8. Grades K-3 uses DIBELS for monthly progress checks of Literacy skills. Further, our teachers in grades 2-8 monitor their scholar’s growth and gaps in Math and English Language Arts using NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress as an internal “dipstick” throughout the year. All this data is utilized to guide the focus of scholar hours, intervention groups, and math crash courses so that we keep each scholar learning and growing within our program.
What about other subjects?
Not a concern for us … at least not this time around. In accordance with Senate Bill 15-56, social studies assessments will be administered on a sampling basis to scholars in grades 4 and 7, and with about one-third of schools administering the assessment each year. LAE was not chosen to test in social studies this school year. We will continue to teach our rich, classical history curriculum every year, regardless.