Test scores, schmest scores.
According to a November 2014 study published by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (UChicagoCCSR):
Grades and attendance—not test scores—are the middle grade factors most strongly connected with both high school and college success. In fact, grades and attendance matter more than test scores, race, poverty, or other background characteristics for later academic success.
Key findings from the report include:
Only those students who leave eighth grade with GPAs of at least 3.0 have a moderate chance of earning a 3.0 GPA in high school—the threshold for being considered college-bound.
Strategies aimed at attendance improvement could likely have as much or more of a payoff for high school and college graduation as efforts aimed at improving test scores because test scores are hard to move and do not show much variability throughout middle and high school. Meanwhile, attendance shows considerably more variation and middle school attendance is much more predictive of passing high school classes than test scores.
What are we doing to ensure that our children maintain a B average (or better) from grades 5 to 8? How do we make sure they attend the most school days possible, year in and year out?
How we answer those questions may very well determine how successful our students are in high school and beyond.