What is the CTBS and why do we do it?

If you have a student in grades 3-8 you may have heard them talking about the CTBS test this week. LHCS participates in the CTBS (Canadian Test of Basic Skills) every two years with all of our students from grades 3-8 writing the test. The CTBS is a norm referenced test which compares the results of our students to the Canadian norm for their grade level. On average our students perform 1 – 1.5 years above grade level. The most important function of this test is for our school to measure our program rather than the individual test scores of students. We also are able to compare our results to other OACS (Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools) who participate in this testing at the same time.

students writing test

Some parents may wonder why we don’t participate in the EQAO testing that is mandatory for all publicly funded schools in Ontario; there are a couple of reasons. One is that this test only tests students in grade 3 and 6; the CTBS does 3-8 every two years. This gives us a snapshot of the whole 3-8 program. We also see how a class or individual is doing 3 times while they are at LHCS (i.e. gr. 3, 5, 7) the EQAO only offers two. The majority of OACS schools take the CTBS between Oct. 15 and Nov 16 which also gives us the opportunity to compare our scores to the OACS averages.

students writing test

Grade 8a writing the CTBS

The CTBS tests a number of different areas such as: reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, math concepts, problem solving and computation. We can then compare class averages in these areas to the Canadian norms and the OACS averages to ensure our curriculum is covering these areas well.

We also use the results of these tests to aid us in identifying at-risk and gifted students, plan instructional emphases, measure growth of learning, evaluate effectiveness of instruction and report back to parents on student progress. This testing tool is helpful, but is not perfect; therefore, this is but one way of assessing students and programs in our school.

This is the last year this edition of the CTBS will be used, the publisher (Nelson) has indicated to the OACS that they will be doing a complete update of the test and the norms used.

Any other questions or comments about the CTBS or standardized testing feel free to add them to the comments below, and I will respond.

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