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APS excited about new version of NWEA, SEL screener results & personalized learning pilots

Submitted by on November 13, 2019 – 12:56 amNo Comment

The director of K-12 instruction for Alpena Public Schools provided a board of education committee Tuesday, with an overview on a few initiatives that are producing positive results for kids.

Meaghan Gauthier gave the committee an update on NWEA testing, Social-Emotional Learning results and personalized learning pilots at the high school.

NWEA is a computerized program the district uses to test students at least twice a year to gauge progress and areas for improvement. The most recent results from September show signs of improvement. But Gauthier is even more excited about a new version of the test that seems to be having a positive impact on student scores. It allows kids to complete questions without the worry of a countdown timer. Gauthier listed a number of other advantages to the testing style as well, which she says makes kids feel “more comfortable.”

Both Gauthier and Superintendent John VanWagoner believe NWEA results paint a more accurate picture of student learning at APS; and they both believe APS students are performing better in school than state test scores indicate.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) essentially involves a self-assessment survey to develop self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. Gauthier says scores have gone up since last year and the program is being expanded to all grade levels.

Gauthier and VanWagoner also had high praise for a couple of personalized learning pilots at the high school. The elective, digital platform classrooms allow students to learn at their own pace. They also allow teachers more time to focus on kids who really need the help.