Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Compared to national norms, Jewish Academy students ahead of their peers


October 20, 2017

For the third straight year, students at the Jewish Academy of Orlando are performing at least two grade levels ahead of their peers nationwide. These results are based on the average total scores in each class.

The test scores, from April 2017, were taken using the nationally recognized Iowa Test of Basic Skills® (commonly known as the "Iowa Assessments.") The Iowa Assessment is a nationally standardized achievement test for K-12 students, allowing schools to compare their students' scores to national norms in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science.

The Iowa Assessments rank the students' scores by grade level equivalents. As a general guide, a score of 7.9 for a 5th grader means the student is testing on an achievement continuum at a level equivalent to a 7th grader in their ninth month, or also reads they are 2 years and 9 months ahead of their current grade level.

"We are always thrilled to see our students' scores, but we are not surprised," said Alan Rusonik, who is beginning his fourth year of Head of School. "Jewish Academy of Orlando has a history of ranking top in the nation."

A large number of private schools in various states utilize this test to measure grade-level performance. Further, the IOWA test instrument is often paired with an IQ instrument such as WISC®-IV or the CogAT® for entrance into gifted and talented programs and National Honor Society.

"We challenge every student to the best of their ability. Differentiated learning," Rusonik explained, "adjusts learning, projects, homework and classwork to meet the needs of each individual student. Through differentiated learning, our teachers may increase the speed at which a student covers the material. This could include opportunities for instruction years beyond their current grade level with advanced material."

Teaching to the test is not the practice of the Jewish Academy of Orlando. "We use this test for a variety of reasons, one of which is to measure our student body performance against national norms. It also serves as one of many indicators teachers use to gauge how well students have learned benchmarks at each grade level," says Rusonik. "These tests also allow us to understand where we need to refine and review our accelerated curriculum."

To further support Jewish education and your local Jewish day school, or for any questions, please contact Alan Rusonik, Head of School, at 407-647-0713.


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