Norwich Free Academy to give placement tests to eighth-graders

Norwich — Norwich Free Academy will ask all eighth-graders considering attending the academy in fall to take a three-hour placement exam in language arts and math next week to give ninth-grade teachers and administrators a benchmark for placing them in classes.

Head of School David Klein informed the NFA board of trustees about the plan during Tuesday’s meeting. Klein stressed that the test is not an admissions test, and no students would be rejected from the academy based on the results.

But the test would be one of several criteria to be used to determine class placement.

Along with the placement test, NFA officials consult with students’ eighth-grade teachers and performance tests administered by their schools for placement.

NFA contracted with Scholastic Testing Services to create the High School Placement Test, and NFA staff will go to the eighth grades of the eight partner districts to administer the tests from Feb. 26 through March 7, with a Saturday session on March 3 at NFA for students who missed the test and for those outside the partner districts considering attending NFA.

Additional test dates will be held in summer at NFA, Klein said.

Klein said all students who have NFA as one of their top two high school choices will be asked to take the placement test.

Previously, NFA administered a placement test dating back to February 2016 for ninth-graders interested in enrolling in the then-new freshman honors classes. Last February, Klein said, about 300 students took the honors placement test, which was created by NFA and administered and graded by NFA teachers.

Test results should be available by the end of March, Klein said, and NFA officials will share the results with the partner school districts.

Klein said the entire pool of students eligible for this year’s placement test is about 750 students, but not all would be expected to take the test. The new test will be created and administered by STS, with a per-test fee. The fee was not available at Tuesday’s board meeting.


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