The past year of the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a whirlwind of changes that often left admissions professionals spinning, challenged to meet old expectations while reinventing current practices and adjusting to new norms.
Yet just as April showers bring May flowers, we are hopeful that the storms are clearing — which means we can all use a little spring refresh.
This season of renewal is the perfect time to reset your pace, refocus your energy, and return to strategic planning. And one of the best ways to do that is with some spring admission assessments.
This year, assessments are more critical than ever. With many curriculums interrupted and standardized tests optional for many schools, it’s crucial that enrollment offices benchmark new students and plan for success prior to the 2021-2022 school year.
There are many benefits to using the assessment tools in your enrollment toolkit to create a strategic spring assessment plan:
#1: Better Understand New Students and Their Needs
If you’ve admitted a new batch of students without the usual standardized testing, assessing your students’ current skill levels is the best way to set them up for success in the coming school year.
Tool to Use: The SSAT can help you better understand the academic preparedness of test-optional, newly admitted students, as well as prepare current students for fall testing.
#2: Prepare Current Students for Fall Testing
Spring is the perfect time to begin preparing students to test in the fall — and one way to do that is to have students take the actual test for the first time. Becoming familiar with the format and timing of the official test is the best way for students to determine the areas on which to focus their practice and study.
Tool to Use: The SSAT. Using the SSAT itself to assess students’ test-taking acumen will help students understand the type and quantity of questions on the SSAT, the setup of the sections, and the overall experience of taking a standardized test.
#3: Support Families (+ Retention!)
After such an unpredictable and disrupted school year, families are eager to better understand the current strengths and emerging skills of their students. Providing families with insight into their student’s essential character skills can help them better appreciate your school’s impact while preparing them to find the right-fit for their next educational stage.
Tool to Use: Character Skills Snapshot. The Snapshot (which students automatically receive when they register for the SSAT) is an innovative online tool that gives both families and schools a more complete picture of a student. Use it to measure a new student’s preferences, attitudes, and beliefs about their own character.
#4: Give Students a Head Start
Offering students standardized test-prep materials in the spring is another way to assess student strengths and areas of focus for the upcoming year. The more students practice for tests like the SSAT, the more confidence they will have in their testing abilities.
Tool to Use: Official SSAT Practice Materials. EMA offers both printed SSAT Guide Books and Online SSAT Practice. Many member schools have decided to purchase these materials for their students as a bonus for families to demonstrate their commitment to student preparedness.
Spring assessments will provide your school with the information you need to best serve your student population in the fall — and it will give your families confidence in your school’s outcomes and impact.
Want more information on how to set up a strategic spring assessment plan at your school? Contact us to schedule a meeting with your EMA team member.