St. Mary’s embraces Standards Based Education as a way to align curriculum with instructional and assessment practices. Student centered learning is the focus of activity in the classroom as we strive to develop lifelong learners, true to their Catholic identity. While outcomes are often simply listed by content, St. Mary’s has chosen to present a horizontal description of the curriculum. To demonstrate the flow and integration of the varied content areas, the curriculum has been divided into three levels, Primary, Intermediate and Middle School.
Quality assessment of student learning is not seen as an isolated event, rather it is integrated into teaching and learning. The curriculum requires a balance of assessment methods to address the multiple learning styles present in each classroom. Objective assessment; true/false, matching, short completion, is balanced with performance assessment requiring students to create, produce or do something that involves real-world applications. Observation, oral questions and anecdotal records also provide the teachers with valid assessment. Journals and graphic organizers are used at every grade level and portfolio assessment begins in third grade.
Results of assessment are communicated to parents in a variety of ways. Parents of students in grades 3-8 have access to PowerSchool, an online reporting system showing student progress, current grades and assignments as well as missing assignments. Parents are informed regularly of curriculum requirements and assessment results. They work in partnership with the school and their involvement with their child’s education is woven into the educational process.
Standardized achievement testing is administered in the form of the Stanford-10 in grades 3-8. Standardized test results are shared with parents through a written report as well as an informational presentation.
The St. Mary’s curriculum is a well-defined program, open to review and growth. It is a living document. Assessment and reflective analysis guide future direction, always toward standards of excellence.