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Upcoming Standardized Testing

March 21, 2019
By Our Lady of Sorrows School

Our students take two standardized tests during the month of April.

ACRE (5th & 8th Grade; April 1-5)
The Assessment of Child/Youth Religious Education (ACRE) from the NCEA (National Catholic Education Association) is a nationwide exam that measures knowledge of the faith as well as beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and practices of the faith. From their website: The NCEA IFG: ACRE edition is based on the Catholic Church’s expectations for an organic, systematic, and comprehensive education in Christian discipleship. Currently, it is the only tool that provides national scores for comparison and processes for tracking religious education program data over time.

The test itself takes about an hour and a half and is taken during their normal religion time over the course of one or two days. Based on the test findings, strengths and weaknesses in our religious education program are evaluated, and adjustments are made to the curriculum as needed.

CogAT (2nd, 5th & 7th Grade; April 1-5)
The CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) is an additional part of the IOWA testing that our diocese participates in. From their website: The Cognitive Abilities Test™ (CogAT) is an aptitude test that measures a student’s general and specific cognitive abilities. It measures learned reasoning and problem-solving skills in 3 areas: verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal, which are closely tied to academic success. It helps private school educators understand their student’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and learning styles.

The test is divided into nine problem-solving sets of questions, and students typically take 3-6 tests a day until finished. The results are included as part of the IOWA testing results.

Iowa Assessments (K5 - 8th Grade; April 8-12)
The Iowa Assessments (formerly the Iowa Test of Basic Skills) are nationally normed standardized tests that offer educators a diagnostic look at how their students are progressing in key academic areas. Available for K-12, the Iowa tests allow educators to trace student achievement growth continuously. 

Students take a shorter, diagnostic test at the beginning of the year, and they take the full battery of tests now during the fourth quarter. The test normally takes three to four days and is generally administered by each child's homeroom teacher. Results are generally sent home from the Spring testing with each child's final report card.

Students enjoy a small breakfast snack during the testing days for the Iowa Assessments, and we ask for them to get a good night's sleep and have a nutritious breakfast to help them do their best!

Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
Asst. Principal

Principal's Report April 2018

April 20, 2018
By Our Lady of Sorrows School
OLS Students Honoring Mary

Principal’s Report to OLS School Community

Earlier in the school year Monsignor Barrera and the school council gave us permission to bring in outside educational consultants to conduct a school improvement study. The purpose of the study is to examine all areas relevant to student achievement, including instructional delivery, testing and curriculum, and strengthen them as needed. The consultants have begun their observations and collection of data in the middle school grades and will continue until the school year ends. We look forward to the final report and implementing their suggestions on how to continue to better our school.

Alliance with Notre Dame University
OLS School is in partnership with the University of Notre Dame and its Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program. ACE program promotes Catholic education among graduate students seeking their Master in Education degree and places those highly qualified graduates in Catholic schools across the country. OLS is fortunate to have two such teachers on campus – Mr. DeSapio and Ms. Sternberg.  Although Mr. DeSapio will be leaving at the end of the school year, a teacher has already been assigned to the position beginning in August.

STEM Education
OLS is applying for participation in the Notre Dame Center for STEM Education program (SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENGINEERING / MATH) through the University of Notre Dame. This competitive program selects, funds, and trains cohorts of teachers who commit to a 3 summers, 2 school years intensive program that focuses on implementing STEM into all areas of the school curriculum. The program collaborates with researchers and practitioners at Notre Dame and across the nation to help all students innovate, engage, and excel in the STEM disciplines. We will update you as the process gets closer to the acceptance date.

In Christ,
Mrs. Luisa DeLeon

SuccessMaker Program

March 04, 2018
By Our Lady of Sorrows School
SuccessMaker (by Pearson) Logo

Program Identification

The SuccessMaker Program provides individualized self-paced instruction for students in grades 1-8 to enhance and reinforce their language arts and math skills. The program courses are designed to help students demonstrate academic achievement and develop confidence in reaching their full potential by allowing them to work on their own level even if that means they are working below or above grade level.  


Two-pronged innovative strategies are employed by SuccessMaker Program. First, the program tracks the Initial Placement that places the students at the appropriate grade level equivalent based on data gathered during this time.  After this initial placement, the Program Facilitator tracks each student’s progress and automatically provides the level of instruction appropriate to each student’s needs. The program also provides additional practice in areas which performance is weak and reinforces the areas in which performance is strong. Because each student proceeds at his or her pace, this allows the student to take a greater academic challenges while building new skills, knowledge and strategies. 

The other innovative strategy employed by SuccessMaker Program is called On-the-Spot Intervention. Each teacher accompanies his/her class to the computer lab and along with the SuccessMaker Facilitator provides one-on-one tutoring as students work.  The teacher interacts with students to work on their weakest academic areas. In addition to this strategy, each teacher also carries the responsibility of reviewing reports provided by the program facilitator and prescribing (with the help of the facilitator) any needed intervention to catch students before they fall behind in math and reading.


Immediate access to on-demand assessment tools is employed by SuccessMaker Program.  Teachers and parents have access to numerous reports which provide immediate and accurate information detailing student performance. Examples of the information available from reports include:

  • Number of correct problems out of the total number attempted and the length of the session
  • Cumulative number of problems, percent correct and total time on system
  • Grade level equivalent gains in reading and/or math to date
  • Specific objectives with which a student or group of students is struggling
  • Projection of the time needed to achieve a certain gain or to reach a particular grade level goal.

These reports are provided regularly by the SuccessMaker Program Facilitator and referred to by subject and grade-level teachers to keep track of academic performance and growth of students and to prescribe any needed intervention.

For further information and explanation, please contact Denia de los Reyes – SuccessMaker Program Facilitator

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