Students finish up MAP testing at Cassville school district
Test completed online for 1st year
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) reported Missouri students have completed more than 1.8 million Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) online testing sessions since the assessment window for the yearly tests began March 30, accounting for more than 75 percent of all expected MAP sessions.
This year's assessments contain several new features including higher expectations in math and English language arts, as well as new computerized assessments for grades three through eight. The online exams are interactive and allow students to use tools to solve problems, bringing a real-world element and helping students develop the skills they will need in their future careers.
"We started our testing April 20th and most of our students are finished," said Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent. "Fifth and eighth grade have a more demanding test, so they took a week. Seventh and fourth grade took two days, and third and sixth grade took two more days. Now, we're just finishing up with makeup tests."
LeCompte said with MAP testing in the rear view, teachers are relieved because testing time is always a stressful time.
"It's when they put their kids up to shine from all the hard work all year so they really hope the kids do their best," she said. "And, we want to thank all the parents who make sure the kids get their breakfast and a good night's sleep as that makes it better for us and the school."
This was the first year the test format changed to online testing. LeCompte said she had heard other districts were having lots of technical difficulties with the new format, but they had no problems.
"We had very few hiccups," she said. "We were shocked at how smoothly it really went. "Our counselors which are our site test coordinators did an outstanding job," she said.
The online testing seemed to go smoothly for the students, too.
"Most students we visited with on all grade levels said they liked the new online format," LeCompte said. "There were only a few who would've rather taken the booklet test."
From a staff view, LeCompte said the preparation for online testing was much easier than getting the booklets out, read and packed back up. "Our students and teachers are to be commended for their hard work in the last few weeks," said Margie Vandeven, Missouri commissioner of education. "Our districts should be recognized for providing 21st-century test-taking opportunities."
The Springfield Public School District, the largest in the state, is more than 94 percent finished with this year's assessments. The district has administered more than 63,000 sessions.
"I have been in a number of schools over the last few weeks. As I've had conversations with staff about how it is going, I've heard very positive reports," said John Jungmann, Springfield superintendent.
Michele Herbert, principal at Eldon's Upper Elementary School, said she was pleased with the transition to computers as well. She said there were only a few minor issues with technology.
"The computers worked out, and students said they liked testing online better," said Herbert. "It went smooth, a lot smoother than I could have dreamed."
Schools and teachers also no longer have to handle, store and process paper test books, and had positive comments to share.
"I think it was a calmer
testing environment," said Diamond Superintendent Mike Mabe. "There wasn't paper shuffling."
"I like the listening part for the students," said Julie Winborn, testing coordinator in the Portageville School District. "That was a better representation of what we do in the classroom. From the academic standpoint, that was better than just reading stories."
MAP is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Missouri Learning Standards. Goal one of Missouri's top 10 by 20 initiative calls for all Missouri students to graduate high school college and career ready.
MAP testing measures progress in English, Language Arts and Math for all students grades three through eight, and high school students grades 9-12 complete end of course testing only for students taking for Algebra I, Biology and English II. Fifth- and eighth-grade students have an additional activity called a performance event. It is an activity in English and Math that is announced at the end of the day, students are given the evening to think about it, then spend the next day writing an essay.
"It takes a long time, and is quite lengthy, LeCompte said. "The start the next morning and work on it all day."
LeCompte said once the No Child Left Behind initiative began several years ago, DESE really started to gauge student progress with measures like MAP testing.
Results will be delivered in late June, and from that point, LeCompte said staff will get together to see how the kids did, then make instructional changes as needed to beef up any areas.
"If they didn't score well in a certain area or question, we will change how we teach it so we can get better scores, which we do every year," LeCompte said.