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Online Campus Assessment

The information on this page is accurate for 2021-22 admissions and will be updated in September with 2022-23 information. 

The academic readiness assessment is a crucial part of how we determine whether the Academy will be a good fit for assessing students for the Davidson Academy online campus.

Students who meet or exceed the published Eligibility Criteria will be invited to complete assessment activities online through our learning management system. Students will also participate in scheduled live discussions and lessons with instructors and other applicants during the testing window. Students meet with an Academy staff member for a 10-15-minute conversation about their goals and interests. These conversations and the live discussions will be held via web-conferencing software.

Assessments run Thursday and Friday. On Thursday afternoon student applicants read and answer questions on a short story, participate in a live discussion, and write a short essay. On Friday afternoon (noon – 4:00pm PT) applicants participate in a small group writing workshop where they receive feedback on and revise their essays. They will also meet for their student interviews during this time. Objective assessments in mathematics, critical reading, science reasoning, and online learning readiness must be completed no later than 11:59pm on Friday.

The purpose of this academic readiness assessment is to determine the goodness of fit between student candidates and the Davidson Academy. This curriculum-based measurement offers a strong indication of an applicant’s likelihood of success at the Academy. Because the assessment directly reflects the daily work of Academy students, it provides information beyond that which can be gleaned from standardized achievement and IQ tests. IQ tests reflect potential, which is of great importance, but academic readiness is about determining which skill sets are already in place. Therefore, the results of this assessment are a significant part of the overall acceptance process.

How is an Assessment Scored?

Assessments are scored based on the student’s performance in the following areas:

  • Math
  • Science Reasoning
  • Language Proficiency Test
  • Critical Reading, Academic Discussion, and Abstract Thinking
    • Skills: making logical inferences, ability to think abstractly, reading critically, etc. (rated both before and after instruction has been given)
  • Written Expression
    • Skills: control of conventions, logical and efficient sentences, word choice, clarity of expression, etc.
  • Affective Traits
    • Skills: social-emotional orientation toward schoolwork, remaining on task, receptivity to instruction,
      active listening, conscientiousness toward work, attention to detail, following directions, etc.

The Academy has been characterized as a “writing across the curriculum” school. Does this mean the assessment is primarily a writing test?

Writing is an important aspect of Academy curriculum because we associate academic challenge with the opportunity for students to present understanding in their own words. The readiness assessment has been designed to accurately reflect Academy curriculum and, thus, written expression is proportionately reflected.

Additionally, the assessment live sessions do include writing because this is the best way for us to assess critical thinking and reading skills.

Are students who have not had good writing instruction e unfairly disadvantaged relative to those who have?

Among our pool of applicants, it has been extremely rare to find students who have received effective writing instruction in exposition or argument. Approximately 2% of our total pool of applicants demonstrate prior access to this kind of instruction. This fact reflects trends in public and private education that value creative writing over expository writing, and it essentially places all of our applicants on a level playing field. Moreover, we have normed our assessment expectations based on the idea that most students have not had this type of instruction.

What does the website mean by “curriculum-based measurement,” and how do you decide which material will be used on the assessment?

The majority of the materials used at assessment have come directly from our own curriculum. In selecting the material from our curriculum, we use the following guidelines:

  • We look critically at potential assessment items to be sure that they were extremely effective when we used them in our classrooms.
  • We only utilize material that has met with universal success when it was presented to our current students so that expectations are crafted in a fair and consistent manner.
  • We opt for materials that will offer the maximum amount of accessibility to applicants who vary widely in terms of academic experience and maturity.

Helpful tips for assessment:

  • Just like in our actual classes, you will receive a great deal of feedback to help you improve your work. Please accept the feedback as our way of helping you…not criticizing you. Published writers always work with editors; substantially revising your work is part of the process of writing.
  • We are looking at not only your academic skills but also your behavior, attitude, work ethic, and ability to follow directions. We look for solid effort and the willingness to ask for help—we want you to take responsibility for producing the very best work you are able to generate.