UCDS encourages an individualized and multi-faceted approach to learning. Assessment at UCDS is authentic. Students also participate in standardized tests in order to practice more standard test-taking skills. The Educational Records Bureau (ERB) Comprehensive Testing Program is given annually to students in the third and fourth grades. This testing instrument is the one used by most established independent schools. The reasons for this choice are as follows:
- The test is similar in format to the entrance examination that students will take for middle school admission.
- The ERBs are the most challenging of the multiple-choice tests available for elementary school students. These tests simulate for our students many of the challenges involved in future test taking and, with teachers’ assistance, help them develop test-taking strategies.
- Although no multiple-choice test can fully assess conceptual learning, the ERBs have thoughtful and interesting questions.
- The ERBs reflect a somewhat conservative, but nevertheless widely accepted, sampling of skills elementary students need to assimilate for middle school success. The overall results and general trends of the tests allow the school to evaluate some of the elements within our own curriculum.
This experience is the first exposure to such tests for many of our students. Tests are given on a practice basis; individual scores have only limited validity.
In the fall fifth graders may practice test-taking skills to support them as they independently participate in middle school entrance exams