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Hudson - Litchfield News | September 23, 2011 - 7 NH Releases First Results from New Alternate Learning Progressions Assessment

submitted by NH Department of Education In June of 2010, state educators and administrators were formally notified of the significant changes to the state’s alternate assessment. After a three- year process of revising the alternate assessment the NH Department of Education administered the new NH Alternate Learning Progressions (NH- ALPs) assessment during the 2010- 2011 school year. Administered to 1,400 students in grades 2-8, 10 and 11, the NH-ALPs is New Hampshire’s statewide assessment under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) based on alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive challenges. On September 21, the NH Department of Education released the results of the new NH-ALPs to the public. The NH Alternate Learning Progressions are based on a carefully restructured and accessible set of incremental learning progressions that come directly from the NH Curriculum Framework academic standards for all children in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. This assessment permits students to enter the learning progressions at

personalized entry points. Although the test does not require conventional grade-level performance from this student population, it is structured to provide meaningful information that will support effective instruction for these students. For example, this assessment would allow a student who cannot speak or write in a conventional sense, to use blocks to show they actually know how to solve a mathematical equation. NH-ALPs preserves the original academic rigor of the standards while opening up many options and alternate ways for students to show what they know and can do when they are ready to do so. The results of the NH-ALPs can help teachers and parents track, year-to-year, how students grow from having the most basic skills to a more complex understanding of how to use words, numbers, and science concepts to communicate their ideas and questions, and to make sense of the world around them.

Commissioner Barry said, “For all students, learning is not a question of “if,” it is a question of how.” She went on to say, “The key is to find ways each student can make sense of academic ideas and find his or her own way

of communicating reading, writing, mathematical and scientific concepts. This new alternative assessment does that.” The NH-ALPs is designed to use video evidence collection to document student performance on academic standards in reading, math, and science. The writing assessment relies on student work products to document authentic writing performance. The purpose of using the video for the reading, math and science content areas is to clearly and fairly show how each student in this assessment is able to make sense of academic content and to communicate his or her understanding. The use of video gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their academic abilities given their unique methods of communicating content. The new technique of visually recording students to show academic performance as it occurs provides a much more fair and realistic picture of what they really understand and frees these students from having to use the conventional paper and pencil format. The individual student report of the NH-ALPs will show where each student’s performance is located within the Alternate Learning Progressions

Collins Dentistry for Children Hosting Fourth Annual Children’s Safety Fair

On Saturday September 24, Collins Dentistry for Children will be hosting their sixth annual Children’s Safety Fair at their office, located at 100 Bridge Street in Pelham. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In sponsoring the event, Collins Dentistry has teamed up with DNA LifePrint, who will be present and offering free Child ID Kits to all who attend. Each ID Kit includes a current digital photo, complete set of digital finger prints, and a safety pamphlet that provides important safety tips for children and parents. Parents are given the completed kit to keep in a safe location. Collins Dentistry will be providing Toothprints dental impressions at no charge for all children who attend. The Toothprints dental impression is a new tool that can be used by parents and law enforcement agencies in the unfortunate event of a missing or abducted child. The special material used to make the impression also collects a sample of each child’s saliva, which provides law enforcement agents with a DNA sample and possible scent to be used by

tracking dogs. The impression is taken when a child bites into a special, softened plastic wafer that records the characteristics of the teeth and jaw. It takes less than one minute to obtain an impression.

Children will have the opportunity to play in a bounce house, receive a balloon animal, grab a free hot dog and cider, meet members of the Pelham Fire and Police Departments, and tour their emergency vehicles. As if all that excitement was not enough, mascots from the University of Massachusetts Riverhawks and Lowell Spinners are expected to make guest appearances to meet the public and sign autographs. Grab a friend and come by and visit. Meet

your favorite mascot, get a chance to blast the siren on the fire truck, and jump in the bounce house! Parents will have an opportunity to pick up some important tools to assist you in keeping your child safe, and who knows, maybe convince your children that a visit to the dentist’s office really can be fun!

Fairview Healthcare and Laurel Place Hosts Art Show to Benefit Alzheimer’s Research

by Doug Robinson The main dining room of Fairview Healthcare and Laurel Place in Hudson had been transformed into an art gallery as residents, staff, and family members showcased their artistic talents in an effort to raise funds for Alzheimer Research. Landscapes, sunsets, and collections of individualism lined the walls and tables of the dining room. Visitors and guests lined up to either pay for an original painting, or to try their luck at a lottery ticket to win one of the beautifully made donated baskets. One basket hosted a sports theme while a second basket hosted a Halloween theme. The third basket was a Margarita theme.

In addition to the selection of art, homemade jewelry, food, and

knitted items were also available for sale. Monies raised from the sale of the Art Show will be donated to

the Alzheimer Association during the September 24 Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Walks of 1.5/3 and 5 miles have been established for the annual

event and will begin at Fisher Cats Stadium, Manchester. For those interested in attending the walk, contact Cindy Rybczyk at 606-6590 or

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, 2011

for each tested content area as well as the level of proficiency this location represents, given the student’s grade at the time of testing. This location within the Learning Progression is called the “Challenge Level.” As children progress along the educational continuum, the Challenge Level becomes more complex and difficult. Growth tracking charts may be created by each student’s teacher to show where and how each student is progressing.

As with all new assessments, a baseline of test scores is determined in the first year to compare against in future years. The NH-ALPs has set a new baseline this year for the NH alternate assessment process which cannot be compared to any previous year of the NH Alternate Assessment System. Comparisons in future years can and will be made against this first year of results for the NH-ALPs. The proficiency levels reported are expected to be noticeably lower than usual in this first year due, in part, to the new and unfamiliar format of the assessment, the development of new achievement level descriptors, and the increased rigor and academic coverage of the test. In spite of these

factors, NH teachers established a very strong basis for moving forward to improve instruction and their input helped further understanding about this diverse population of students. Gaye Fedorchak, State Alternate Assessment Director, said, “This year, our teachers rose to the challenge, showing extraordinary professionalism as they stepped up and dealt with the tremendous demands and change required of them. Yet, despite the demands we had to make, teachers reported that being able to step back and watch themselves with the student as he or she was actually trying to make sense of a book, or to solve a math problem helped them recognize needs for specific interventions they developed as a direct result of seeing the student’s interactive responses on video. We all have so much to learn about this population. We are just beginning to discover how much these kids can grow.”

More information about the NH- ALPs can be found at assess/index.htm.

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