What standardized testing does Erie Catholic use?

Students in Erie Catholic’s six schools take the TerraNova 3. Developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the TerraNova 3 is one of the most respected and widely used achievement tests, measuring mastery in the core subjects of Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. It provides detailed diagnostic information, norm- and criterion-referenced scores, and performance-level data.


What does it mean that the test is norm- and criterion-referenced?

The test is nationally standardized, which means that it is administered to students across the country. Norm- and criterion-referenced means that it provides information about how a student tested relative to students in the same grade level nationally. Norms are also set for the time of year the tests are taken. Over 40% of the nation’s norm-referenced test users (schools & state programs) use the TerraNova.


Who takes the tests?

Erie Catholic students in grades 2-8 take the TerraNova test annually.


What subjects does the test cover?

The TerraNova tests our students in Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies.


When does testing take place?

The Erie Catholic School System tests students in October.


How are the results used?

Test results help parents and teachers better understand a child’s potential strengths and needs in different content areas. With insight into the specific kinds of knowledge, skill and abilities that are assessed, the results can be used along with other classroom information to set specific goals for a student.


Why does Erie Catholic take the TerraNova and not the PSSA?

While Erie Catholic schools follow the same Commonwealth of Pennsylvania curriculum standards that the public schools use, we do not take the same approach to standardized testing. The TerraNova is an achievement test, while the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is a proficiency test that focuses on language arts and math exclusively. Proficiency tests are those in which students have been taught all the content and are now being tested on whether or not they “got” it. Achievement tests include content students may not have been specifically taught, but that they could be expected to have mastered according to their cognitive ability. In that respect, the PSSA looks back to measure what students have learned, while the TerraNova looks forward to measure students’ capabilities.