NDSA vs. ACT Assessment Option

The federal education law- Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) has brought about some changes in how the effectiveness of educational institutions is measured.  As part of this change North Dakota has empowered the School Districts with an option to choose between two assessments to represent how our students are performing academically on Standardized Tests. Our options were: the revised North Dakota State Assessment (NDSA) given to our 10th graders, which is based on North Dakota Standards or the American College Testing (ACT), which is a national College entrance exam administered at the 11th grade.

Our district took a look at the information provided by the state and decided to use the North Dakota State Assessment as our standardized assessment of record.  The primary reason is that the NDSA has been revised to be based on out ND Educational Standards and is given from grades 3-8 & grade 10. This allows us to measure the long-term effectiveness of our instruction and our students’ aptitude. Some additional reasoning includes the fact that the ACT is not a required test for all 11th graders as some choose to take the WorkKeys Test and by making the ACT our assessment of record we would be eliminating that option.  Another reason is the cut scores for what the State has considered as proficient in an educational area (i.e. math) are built into the NDSA, but they were only recently finalized and released to the districts for the ACT assessment.

Based on these criteria and the goal to be transparent and upfront about our academic proficiency with our stakeholders and the ND Dept of Instruction we chose the NDSA. It provided the best picture of how our staff and students are doing with the least amount of confusion. If you have further questions please contact our District Testing Coordinator: Mr. Bollom by phone 701-584-2374 or email jared.bollom@k12.nd.us.

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