Nebraska State Accountability Assessments
Nebraska’s Transition from STARS to NeSA Online Testing
Starting in 2009, Nebraska is transitioning from the STARS assessment program to the new Nebraska State Accountability Assessments, or NeSA. Every Nebraska parent or caregiver will need to learn more about the innovative NeSA system, which allows students to take tests online or with paper and pencil. Nebraska’s NeSa is part of a statewide testing initiative to link assessment to revised Nebraska state standards, and provide better reporting on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
Time4Learning, an online service that teaches many of the skills that these exams test, offers this page to help you understand the transition to NeSA and how you can help your children prepare.
Juggling STARS and NeSA
Over the next few years, Nebraska students will take a combination of STARS and NeSA tests:
The new Nebraska State reading test, known as NeSA-R, was piloted last year in some NE school districts. Starting in the 2009-10 school year, the NeSA-R test will fully replace the Nebraska STARS reading test. NeSA-Reading will be given statewide to 3rd through 8th grades, and high school. NeSA-R will measure progress in new Nebraska reading standards that focus on integrating technology and building critical thinking skills. Student performance on this new online reading test will be reported by a total reading score, reading comprehension, and vocabulary.
NeSA for Math, Science, and Writing
In the 2009-10 school year, students in third grade through eighth grade, as well as high school, will continue to take the Nebraska STARS Math test. Students in 4th or 5th grade, 8th grade, and 11th grade will also take the Nebraska STARS Science test. In addition, fourth, eighth, and eleventh grade students will take the existing Statewide Writing Test. By the 2011-12 school year, the transition to the Nebraska State Accountability System will be complete, and students will take NeSa-R (Reading), NeSA-M (Math), NeSA-W (Writing), and NeSA-S (Science).
Nebraska Test Scoring
Like Nebraska STARS, the NeSA exams are criterion-referenced tests, as opposed to norm-referenced tests. Thus, your child will only compete against him or herself, rather than be compared against the group. Nebraska STARS results place students at one of four performance levels: beginning, progressing, proficient, and advanced. As the new Nebraska State tests are introduced, you will be able to learn more about how the NeSA tests are scored. A good source of information is the Nebraska Department of Education.
Other Nebraska Standardized Tests
Nebraska uses a balanced range of assessments that promote student learning. A statewide NRT (norm-referenced test) is administered to further assess AYP and group students into high, medium, and low performance categories. English Language Learners take the ELDA, a battery of tests designed to measure their English language proficiency skills. Nebraska also participates annually in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, where a sampling of students (from grades 4, 8, and/or 12) are tested in several content areas as part of a nationally representative assessment of student performance.
Preparing for Nebraska STARS and NeSA Tests
For general tips on test preparation, please visit our standardized test overview page. The real preparation for Nebraska State Accountability Assessments, or any standardized test, begins with your commitment to your children’s education throughout their school years. All families should make special efforts to help their students learn, starting with seeing that homework gets done and reading daily becomes a habit. Many families also employ tutors or an online learning program, such as Time4Learning, to build fundamental skills. In addition, families use test prep programs or books to help their children become familiar with test formats and time restrictions, learn test-taking strategies (when to guess, when not to), and practice strategies for different types of questions. For instance, in the case of a reading passage followed by comprehension questions, many test prep programs teach students to scan the questions prior to reading the passage so that they can pay special attention to the areas addressed by questions. Time4Learning is not a test prep program, it is a program that builds the skills that will be tested.
Time4Learning is a new approach that takes advantage of today’s technology. It’s a convenient, online home education program that combines learning with fun educational teaching games.
The online language arts and math comprise a comprehensive program for preschool, elementary school, and middle school. Science and social studies programs are provided as a free bonus for most grades.
Kids like using the computer to learn and to develop their skills. Time4Learning’s educational teaching games give students independence as they progress at their own pace.
Parents like that it tracks progress and helps kids advance by teaching through individualized learning paths that assure mastery of the skills and concepts that makes kids succeed.
Have a child with math and reading skills at different grade levels? No problem, just tell us in the online registration process.
Time4Learning is proven effective, has a low monthly price, and provides a money-back guarantee so you can be sure that it works for your family, risk free!