Menaul Middle School is a connected community in which we prepare every student for success in mind, body, and spirit. We believe that it is important for every child’s success to be working at or above grade level in math and reading, and we provide extra help for students who need additional instruction, practice, or simply time to reach those goals.

Middle School teachers regularly meet to discuss student progress and social-emotional development

This kind of qualitative information is one way that we make sure that every student in our community is known by the adults around them, but teachers needed a way to gather more quantitative data about academic work. After piloting curriculum-based measurement (CBM) for a marking period in 8th grade algebra, the entire Middle School has now adopted a CBM approach to determining students’ progress through the core curriculum. These tests are standardized assessments developed by researchers at the University of Oregon, and sample from a year’s worth of curriculum to assess the degree to which students have mastered the critical skills and knowledge at each grade level for English and math.

Each year, we begin with a benchmark screening that helps teachers understand where their students have begun the year in reading and math

We will repeat this longer benchmark testing in the winter and toward the end of the school year. In addition, shorter probe assessments help teachers to understand students’ progress through the year and to adjust whole-class instruction.

With results from benchmark tests and probes, teachers are able to target the skills that students need to strengthen, and refer kids for academic support, which occurs at the end of our school day during the physical education period. With small group sessions led by our STEM and Humanities department chairs, students get the extra help they need to fill in gaps and consolidate their learning. Teachers then use students’ progress on probe assessments to determine whether continued extra help is needed.