Flint, MI —  Most Southwestern Academy high schoolers aren’t showing up for benchmark testing at their assigned time slots, according to Flint Schools district officials.  

Better known as NWEA testing, teachers use these test results to plan lessons and identify gaps in learning, Casey Lester, former president of the Flint Schools Board of Education, said. The tests are administered four times a year. 

Approximately 31% of high schoolers have completed the reading portion of the test while 29% have completed the math portion. Southwestern Academy’s NWEA completion rates are lower than every school in the district. This was the first test given for the school year, Lester said.

“Those numbers are unacceptable,” Assistant Superintendent Kevelin Jones said during a board meeting on Dec. 16. “We have met. We have received communication from our administrator at Southwestern Academy and we’re needing to resolve for our February testing cycle to ensure that these percentages will change.” 

Jones added it is likely the testing times, which are held during regular school hours,that are an issue for the students.

“One of the things that we’re looking to do to do in February’s testing cycle… we are going to change our approach for Southwestern to ensure that we meet the need, depending on when scholars are available to test instead of making a window and saying ‘this is when we’re testing,’” he said. 

Overall, 74% of the district’s student population has completed NWEA testing. District officials are aiming for 100%. 

“We need data in order to inform our planning and to inform us of how to move forward with our scholars with formative assessments and interventions,” Jones said. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...