Maywood Begins NeSA Testing
After many week of preparing for the NeSA (Nebraska State Accountability) tests, Maywood students finally got to put their writing skills to the test. The junior and eighth grade classes took the state writing test this week. Juniors across Nebraska write a persuasive essay. The persuasive format requires students to take a topic they’ve been given and develop it into a 5-paragraph essay with a thesis and supporting examples. An example of a topic would be to write about a school rule that you think should be added, changed, or removed. Nebraska’s eighth graders follow the same format only they write a descriptive essay. An example of a descriptive essay would be to describe your favorite season or person. Both grades had two class periods blocked out to write their essays, but they could take as long as they needed. Mr. Heaton, the English teacher, was pleased with how the assessments went this week. “They have prepared for this day throughout the first semester, and I’m confident that most of them will pass this challenging writing test,” Heaton stated.
NeSA was first used in 2009 and now most states use statewide tests. Nebraska’s NeSA is part of a statewide testing initiative to link assessments to revised Nebraska state standards, and provide better reporting on Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as a required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The NeSA scores are a way of ranking, or comparing schools across the state. There can be consequences for schools that continue to score near the bottom of rankings. For instance, if a school consistently scores poorly on the NeSA test, employees’ jobs may be on the line. More importantly, however, performing well on the tests has a positive impact on students’ lives. When students see improvement in their scores on assessments like NeSA and MAPS, it raises their self-confidence, and shows them that hard work and determination can make a difference. Students begin to see their successes directly related to the amount of effort they put forth. That is why it’s very important that teachers, students and parents work together to improve achievement scores. Some simple ways to prepare for big tests like NeSA is to get a good night’s sleep the night before and to eat a nutritious breakfast the day of. This gives your mind rest and energy to think hard for the day’s tests. If you would like to learn more, the following video link provides good information about the basics of NeSA.