Fourth and Fifth Grades
In fourth and fifth grades, work from early years comes to fruition. Emphasis on a social curriculum becomes leadership, excitement about learning leads to independent study projects as well as mastery of late elementary school concepts, and opportunities for leadership enrich the academic experience for all students.
These final two years at Free Union Country School allow nine- and ten-year-olds to be children while mastering new and challenging academic content. Even with increased academic demands, they still play outside each day.
Traditions, such as Pizza Fridays, the annual trip to Cooper’s Cove, and the fifth grade trip to Washington DC, give the oldest children in the school special responsibilities and privileges.
The excitement about learning that emanates from the fourth and fifth graders is contagious. Younger children watch as their role models build trebuchets, create models of the human eye, and make board games based on their favorite novels.
Just as in second and third grades, our fourth and fifth grade classes are combined for homeroom, science and social studies, allowing once again for teachers to have children for two years, and for younger students to learn from their older classmates.
2012 Stanford Achievement Test Results
Every year we administer the Stanford Achievement Test, in its tenth iteration now since first used nationally in 1926. It tests academic knowledge in K through grade 12. Why do we offer this test? For two reasons: (a) we wish to gather yet another piece of assessing information that will help us understand our students, manage our curriculum, and inspire a love of learning: and (b) we wish to give our students standardized test taking practice in order to better prepare them for the world of middle school.
The following areas are assessed: word study, vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling, language, math process, math problem solving, science, social studies, and listening.
Fifth graders scored uniformly "above grade level" in every area of study with the exception of one, math process, which averaged at grade level. Bear in mind that the same students that scored at grade level in math process scored above grade level in math problem solving. 98% of our fifth grader performance was at or above grade level. Interestingly, ten of ten test takers scored above grade level on the “listening” criterion.
Fourth grader performance was more "at grade level" than fifth graders, and yet over half the scores earned were above grade level and very few below grade level. In summary, 96% of fourth graders scored at or above grade level.
The scores at right are aggregated for students by each grade level and by all areas assessed: word study, vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling, language, math process, math problem solving, science, social studies, and listening. What these data do not show is the excitement I saw last week (April 2012) among students over negative numbers, or the awe-inspiring twenty new chapters 4/5 wrote and illustrated in an effort to add to the Tao Te Ching, the philosophical treatise written in China 600 years BCE.