The Department and a coalition of education partners have developed a revised assessment plan for the 2014-15 school year designed to reduce the amount of time spent on state testing and the overall cost.
The new plan would allow more classroom instruction time by implementing 30-minute survey assessments in English language arts and mathematics rather than a full seven hours of testing for grades 3, 4, 6, and 7. Students in grades 5 and 8 - the transition grades - would continue to take the full tests in English language arts and math, as well as the current science assessment.
Districts would have unlimited access to interim and formative assessment resources for English language arts and mathematics for grades 3-8. Districts can use those resources at their own discretion to help personalize learning for children during the school year.
End-of-course exams will be maintained in Algebra I, Algebra II (for students taking Algebra I at the middle level), English II, Biology, Government and Personal Finance.
For the first time, the state will provide a one-time administration of the ACT(r) for all high school juniors. This will allow students, teachers and parents to see whether or not students are academically prepared for college courses and will save families the testing fee.
Assessments will be administered online, further equipping students with the 21st Century technology skills they need and providing valid, reliable and quick results. Scores will be returned to districts within 10 business days for grade-level assessments and five business days for end-of-course assessments. Department research shows most districts will be able to meet the technology and device requirements for online administration of the new tests. The revised assessment plan reduces the Department's assessment funding request by $3.5 million to just under $27 million.
"We are committed to raising expectations for students and improving our assessment system to ensure our students graduate ready for college and career," said Assistant Commissioner Sharon Helwig, head of the Department's Office of College and Career Readiness. "This plan represents collaboration between the Department and several key stakeholders, including organizations representing teachers and administrators."
Making sure Missouri students graduate college and career ready is the number one goal of Missouri's Top 10 by 20 plan, which is aimed at placing student achievement among the top 10 states in education by 2020.
I would have an easier time buying this if DESE hadn't spent millions to buy a series of practice standardized tests from McGraw-Hill. This is just a reaction to criticism of Common Core Standards and the ever-growing testing emphasis.