Reach was created in 2019 to be our main assessment for providing detailed data on student performance. Our test development team used our past experience with the paper version of ICAS to create sets of tests with known difficulty.
For 2021, we are relaunching Reach online and with added flexibility including an extended testing window. A modern assessment, suited for full cohort comparisons and designed for the needs of today’s students and teachers. With this fresh start we want to introduce some new features to the way we report on students’ capabilities. Our key innovation this year is to provide a new way to give schools, students and parents a sense of how well a student has done. within each subject area.
In the past ICAS provided a simple comparison with a state or regional average. That worked well with a competition but makes less sense for Reach. This year we are introducing a set of achievement bands based on test scores. Our test development team had constructed each test form to an appropriate level of difficulty at each year level. We then divide student performance in the test up into five bands. The boundaries between bands vary for each year level and subject but they can be given as the percentage of the test the student has answered correctly.
Participated 0 <25%
Satisfactory ≥25% <45%
Good effort ≥45% <65%
Commendable ≥65% <80%.
Outstanding ≥80% <100%
For a typical test with 40 questions, the bands would look like this:
Students who are in the ‘participated’ band did not answer enough questions correctly for the test to give a fair assessment of their performance. It might be that the test was too difficult for them or it could be that they just had a bad day. The role of a teacher in making sense of assessment data is vital!
Likewise, a student in the ‘Outstanding’ band has done very well but this also indicates that the assessment may be too easy for them at this time and they are performing beyond the level typical of their grade. That’s also an interesting challenge for the teacher!