The Total Score in Terra Nova
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
Q: I recently received my student's Terra
Nova Scores and am concerned about the Language score in particular. His
scores were as follows:
Total Battery: 51
Social Studies: 88
My concern is of course his language portion but also his total battery.
If you can explain what the "total battery" consists of or is
representative of, I would appreciate it. Also, are there any exercises
I can do to help my student improve in language esp. during the summer
Please note the principal of my students school did mention that boys
typically did score lower than girls and in addition there were concerns
with the entire schools performance in the reading/language sections as
a whole. He stated that there was a tornado warning and testing not only
started later than planned but there was some antsy/anxiousness
throughout the day for the students.
Lastly, he is scheduled to go into the sixth grade next and I do have
the option to retain him as he was skipped a grade when he was in
kindergarten (moved ahead to first grade).
Thank you in advance for your assistance and your time.
The Terra Nova is a standardized achievement test used to provide
consistent, accurate, and objective information about students'
achievement in various areas of the curriculum. Being a standardized
test, standard testing procedures (with exact directions, time limits,
and scoring criteria) ensure that testing conditions are the same for
In the administration of the test, individual or group scores may be
compared with a criterion or with the scores of other students in the
class, school, district, or national norm group. Test results can also
be compared over time intervals, which is one indication of growth for
an individual or group of students. These tests determine strengths and
weaknesses of a student and thus enable the school to provide academic
The average in scores is defined as 50 percent of students nationally,
consisting of the 25th through the 75th National Percentiles. In this
case, your son scored average in Reading and Math and below average in
Language while above average in Science and Social Studies. The total
score/battery is average. Total Score consists of Reading, Language, and
Mathematics and does not include Social Studies and Science.
For language, the Terra Nova looks at Sentence Structure, Writing
Strategies and Editing Skills. Sentence structure is an understanding of
writing complete and effective sentences. Writing strategies is
knowledge of information sources, outlines, and other pre-writing
techniques while editing skills requires appropriate use of
capitalisation, punctuation, nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and
adverbs in existing text. Language activities should help him in these
aspects. It would also be a great idea to discuss with his language
teacher on areas of language that need attention and suggestions on how
to go about it after school hours.
I am not sure how much the tornado warning may affect scores of children
but unless the child in overly anxious, the impact should not be very
huge. Additionally, he may be doing work ahead of his peers which may or
may not affect his achievement. It would be better to speak to the
school authorities whether to retain or allow him to continue to the
next grade. Hope that has shed some light to your concerns. Good luck!