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

Jewish Academy of Orlando students score two and three grade levels ahead of their peers compared to national norms


September 7, 2018

Jewish Academy student Liann enjoys her classes at the day school.

For the fourth straight year, on average, students at Jewish Academy of Orlando performed at least two grade levels ahead of their peers nationwide. Each April, Jewish Academy students take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, a nationally standardized achievement test for K-12 students. The test allows schools to compare students' scores to national norms in Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science.

This year, the upper grades at Jewish Academy outperformed their past achievements, with average scores of three grade levels ahead of their peers.

The Iowa Assessments rank the students' scores by grade level equivalents. As a general guide, a score of 8.4 for a 5th grader means the student is testing on an achievement continuum at a level equivalent to an 8th grader in their fourth month, or also indicates they are 3 years and 4 months ahead of their current grade level.

"We are always thrilled to see our students' scores and even more delighted about the upper grades' performance," Alan Rusonik stated, who is beginning his fifth year of Head of School. "The scores show the nation that Jewish Academy of Orlando is a top-ranking school, not only in Orlando but in our country."

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

While many schools focus on "teaching to the test," Jewish Academy of Orlando focuses on the love of learning and high achievement through innovative, differentiated curriculum based on students' individual needs. "We use this test for a variety of reasons. One is to get a glimpse of how our student body is performing against national norms. It is one of many indicators teachers use to gauge how well students have met benchmarks at each grade level," Rusonik said. "We are proud of our students, and we truly believe that our dedicated teachers ensure that our students reach their fullest potential."

To learn more about the Jewish Academy of Orlando, please visit https://www.jewishacademyorlando.org or follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JewishAcademyOrlando.


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