The Criterion Reference Tests ( Crts ) Essay

The Criterion Reference Tests ( Crts ) Essay

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Criterion Reference Tests (CRTs) are tests in which scores are referenced, or compared to, some set of criteria such as a curriculum, that provides a common standard to assess students’ proficiency in a specific subject area (Department of Education, 2012d). In Newfoundland and Labrador, students across the province complete CRTs in grades 3, 6, and 9 and the information obtained from these assessments is used to compare student achievement to curriculum outcomes. This information is then used to improve student achievement, to evaluate the effectiveness of provincial programs, to inform parents and students of performance based on curriculum outcomes, and to set expectations of what students should know by the end of these grades (Department of Education, 2012d).

CRTs in Newfoundland and Labrador are used to assess a variety of subject areas, including English Language Arts (grades 3, 6 and 9), Mathematics (grades 3, 6 and 9), Science (grade 9), and Core French (grade 9). At the primary and elementary levels, CRTs in English language arts have been used to assess student’s performance in reading, writing, listening and speaking (Department of Education, 2012a), although speaking is no longer part of the provincial assessment. CRT scores from the demand writing sections of this assessment were the focus of this study. The writing assessment is called demand writing, and evaluates students’ written compositions to two different prompts (Department of Education, 2012c). An example of one of the grade 3 prompts was, “Think about something you would like to see improved in your school or community. Write a letter to Premier Williams expressing your concern. Include the problem and how you and Premier Williams could work together to ...


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Cummins (1996) uses the threshold hypothesis and the interdependence of language hypothesis to explain the impact of learning a second language on the first language. Cummins’ interdependence of language hypothesis (1979, 1981, 2001) is particularly relevant to IF as it refers to the interdependence of first and second literacy skills. Cummins hypothesized that skills learned in one language transfer and support language development in a second language. So strong first language skills help in the development of second language skills just as strong second language skills have a positive impact on first language skills. He believed that everyone has a “common underlying language proficiency” (1983, p. 116) such that specific parts of the brain are positively impacted by the learning of any language and this positive impact is transferable to another language.

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