Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cut scores set for Missouri's first Common Core tests

The smart thing would have been for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to declare a moratorium on testing while we have groups working out new Missouri standards, but it is full speed ahead on the state's first Common Core standardized tests.

DESE issued the following news release this morning:

At its January meeting, the State Board of Education approved achievement level cut scores for the spring 2015 English language arts and mathematics portions of the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) for grades 3-8. The scores were determined through an inclusive process that involved teachers, parents, higher education faculty, business leaders and other community members in member states of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Educators who work with English language learners and students with disabilities were included to help ensure that achievement levels would be fair and appropriate for all students.

“These scores provide students, teachers and parents with insight into a child’s depth of understanding early enough to provide extra support, if needed,” said Sharon Helwig, assistant commissioner for the Office of College and Career Readiness. “When children score in the proficient or advanced range, we know they have a greater chance at avoiding remediation in higher education.”

Achievement level setting, also known as standard setting, makes it possible to create categories of performance on an assessment. Missouri educators were integral in providing feedback on this work as well as the design and development of the assessments.

Four achievement levels indicate a student’s demonstrated understanding and ability to apply subject matter as defined by the Missouri Learning Standards:

Below Basic (Level 1) – minimal understanding

Basic (Level 2) – partial understanding

Proficient (Level 3) – adequate understanding

Advanced (Level 4) – thorough understanding

The levels define student performance based on yearly English language arts and mathematics assessments for grades 3-8 in Missouri public and charter schools.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

DESE and Missouri Legislators,
I want you to know that as a parent and teacher I am tired of how you are hurting education.
As a parent, I do not want my children tested seven different ways over one area just to make reports under the guise of ‘data driven instruction.’ I don’t care if they can take your tests! All these tests accomplish for my children is raising their anxiety levels. I want my children to read and write, think and enjoy all of that. I want them to be able to learn math skills so they can solve problems and be able to contribute to society. I want them to learn about what a great nation we have and all the people and sacrifices that made that happen. Your tests are not making that happen.
As a teacher, I do not want my children (and yes, my students ARE my children) subjected to anymore of this testing nonsense. I do not like to watch them as they feel so frustrated and defeated. I want to help them learn and grow. I want them to love reading and problem solving. I want them to have all the tools they need to succeed in life. The things you are mandating are not helping them to learn or love learning. These mandates are NOT appropriate for children. They are children, not miniature grownups or even small versions of older students. Each age group has specific developmental steps to go through. You cannot hurry or skip these steps. Not only is each age groups’ needs different, each individual child is different and has different needs.
As a teacher, I am trained to work with these children. I am very highly trained. I continue to learn and find new ways to reach my kids. I work to understand each one. I am their instructor, their encourager and one of their biggest fans (they have parents, after all). For some, I am the one who makes sure they have the things they need that their parents can’t provide. For some, I even have the privilege of being welcomed by their family. For some, I am the one who makes sure they are safe.
Could you explain why you don’t ask us or anyone else who knows about children and how to work with them to work on all these things you keep mandating? And who are all these supposed teachers and parents that you have asked about all this? How can you believe that this assessment that you want children to take will actually help teachers catch students who are behind? Believe me when I tell you that we all know which kids are behind and need extra help.
It would be best if you just left us all alone. We, as parents and teachers, know what our kids need. As teachers, we know how to do that. Please do us the courtesy of letting us do our jobs as no one else can because you obviously do not know our children as we do. Leave education to educators and let us raise our kids.