What is the ERB CTP4?
ERB (Educational Records Bureau) is a global educational services provider that produces achievement and admissions tests. The CTP4 test (Comprehensive Testing Program 4) is a favorite standardized test among Christian classical schools.
Why do we have standardized tests at all?
“The purpose of the CTP is twofold: to provide extra information about students in order to better meet their needs, and to ‘provide a reality check’ on the curriculum.” - CTP4 Administrator’s Handbook.
“Standardized test results are one piece of information that helps teachers and parents understand how well children are learning. To obtain an accurate picture of a student, standardized test results should be evaluated along with report cards, teacher’s observations and comments, and parental observations. Test results are only one piece of a broad picture.
“Administrators, board members, teachers, and parents are also interested in measuring how well their school is educating students. Standardized tests help schools evaluate their performance.” - Association of Christian Classical Schools http://www.accsedu.org/ERB_CTP_4_test.ihtml?id=228050
What makes the CTP4 a good fit for Providence?
“The subtests that comprise the CTP 4 tests focus on the core curriculum of reading, writing, and math. Listening skills are also tested in younger students. The narrow focus of these subtests helps keep testing times short. The exclusion of other subjects like social studies and study skills that may not match the curriculum is also a benefit. The broader emphasis on Language Arts is a good match to the classical Christian model. Students will likely find the reading selections and content questions to be more challenging and interesting than those on other tests. Eighth grade math tests provide some integration with logic skills.” - ACCS
In addition, not only will we be able to compare our results with other public and private schools around the country, we will be able to specifically compare results with other Christian classical schools through the use of the association norms scoring option.
Why do we test in the fall?
1. Testing in the fall lets us know not only what students have learned, but what they have retained over time. The test measures what students learned the previous year. For example, fourth graders will take the Level 3 CTP4 test in the fall, which covers third grade material.
2. By testing in the fall, teachers are not working towards a spring test. The fall test, then, helps minimize “teaching to the test” or putting undue emphasis on the test (again, a standardized test is only one piece of the educational picture).
What students will take the test?
Students in 2nd grade and up will take the CTP4. Since the test is in the early fall, students will be tested over material from the previous year.
What does the CTP measure?
“All 10 levels of CTP include achievement tests that measure what a student has learned in the areas of reading and mathematics.
Levels 1 and 2 also test word analysis and listening skills.
Beginning with level 3 (introduced in the spring of grade 3), there are tests that measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, certain kinds of writing skills, and vocabulary.” - ERB CTP Portal for Parents and Students
Will I receive a score report?
Yes, parents will receive individualized student score reports from ERB.
How will teachers prepare students for the test?
While they may briefly prepare students for the format of the test (like how to bubble in answer sheets), teachers will not prepare students for test content. “The purpose of CTP and CTP Online is to assess what your child knows and can do at the time of testing. It is based on what has been taught or learned up to that point. This enables your child’s school to identify strengths and weaknesses on an individual and group level. CTP is considered a 'low stakes' exam, intended to help teachers and administrators make decisions about curriculum and classroom instruction. Because of this, there are no test prep materials available for the CTP exam. It is designed to assess what students know and not their ability to identify the probable right answer. Used in this way, the CTP serves as a diagnostic tool and helps yield reliable results.” - ERB CTP Portal for Parents and Students
How should parents prepare children for testing days?
We don’t think students should be stressed about the test, nor do we want to communicate to them that a testing is much more important than a normal school day. (Also keep in mind that students will spend less than half of a testing day taking test. They will have normal lessons for most of the testing day.)
Of course, students perform better at school when they have had good night of sleep and a nutritious breakfast!
While we will have extras, we ask that each student bring two No. 2 pencils and an eraser.