Problems Determining Standards-Based Proficiency Based on Saxon Math Assessments

After analyzing [here] the number of times that lesson skills show up on Saxon Cumulative Tests, it’s apparent that a number of problems have to be addressed:

  1. There are not enough test items for almost half of the lesson skills for students to be able to demonstrate proficiency if the guidelines require three proficient scores to warrant a proficient achievement rating for those skills.
  2. Some of the lesson skills are not evaluated at all on any of the 23 Cumulative Tests.
  3. Many of the Saxon lessons cover more than one skill. If the Cumulative Tests have only one or two questions in the entire course for the lessons with multiple skills, how can the teacher determine a student’s proficiency in all areas of the lesson?  For example, Lesson 29 covers three skills:  Rounding Whole Numbers, Rounding Mixed Numbers, and Estimating Answers. There is only one test item in 628 test questions that addresses that lesson.
  4. The number of Cumulative Tests that a lesson skill is assessed on varies tremendously:

To try to objectively assess a student’s proficiency level of the 132 lessons in Saxon Math based on the Cumulative Tests alone is an untenable task.  To try to create a Standards-Based Report Card using an even further constrained list of combined skills will result in arbitrary and meaningless proficiency levels.

Saxon Math Course 2 Grade 7 Assessments: Ordered List of Times Assessed

Here we have a list of all the lesson skills and the number of times they are assessed in order from most to least.

Current Standards-Based Report Card guidelines call for at least three assessments per skill at mastery level to indicate proficiency.

Clearly, with 42% of the Saxon lesson skills assessed less than three times, other testing instruments are required to determine proficiency.

More thoughts to follow.