Take a look at the testing calendar for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and you will get a flavor of the incessant testing that our children endure.
MCPS stopped administering the TerraNova Second Edition (TN/2). The test, according to MCPS,indicates how your child performed on the subtests in reading, language, language mechanics, mathematics, and math computation. However, there is little publicity about the fact that the system used outdated norms for the test.
Another popular test in the MCPS arsenal is the Measures of Academic Progress-Reading (Map-R). Produced by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), Map-R is “a computerized adaptive assessment program that provides teachers, students, and parents with an accurate assessment of students’ progress in mastering basic reading skills.” It is used by the school system to identify and prepare students at risk of failing the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) reading test.
There are indications that in some middle schools, the school system has quietly stopped administering Map-R to all students. Instead, the test has only been administered to students identified as being “at-risk.”
Little known is the fact that TerraNova and Map-R also provide an independent means of testing the claims made by MCPS. For example, MCPS has made claims of exceptional progress on MSA performance. The claim of closing the so called achievement gap in reading, for example, can easily be verified by analyzing at the Map-R data.
Highland Elementary School in Silver Spring, where the majority of students are learning English and are impacted by poverty, the MSA performance has been exceptionally good. Understanding the school’s unique formula for success, at least in reading, requires an analysis of the Map-R data.
Map-R is also a good measure of the system’s differentiated learning paradigm.
TerraNova, on the other hand, even with outdated norms, is a useful indicator the system’s gifted and talented labeling system, and, one could argue, little else.
With little fanfare, fourth graders at select schools took the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) between January 23rd and February 24th. Meanwhile, Map-M and Map-P tests are also being administered at some schools.
If these changes are here to stay, the new superintendent, Dr. Joshua Starr, it would seem, is embracing greater accountability.