Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The MEAP fails the "timeliness" test

Four months ago the students in grades 3-8 in my school district were given the state MEAP assessment. Students in grade 9 were given the Social Studies MEAP assessment. 

Results are still unknown.

The state of Michigan has not released the results and I have been given no indication of when they will release the results.

This is unacceptable.

The MEAP assessments, along with the state MME assessments, form the basis of our accountability system. 

The system lacks accountability.

In my school district we have an accountability system. The MEAP is not a significant part of it because it is not timely.

The results from the MEAP assessment, taken in October, have little to say about the performance of the students in my district today. My teachers and students have moved on. The results of the MEAP will not shed any light on the performance of my students in January (or February or March or whenever we receive the results.)  

Assessments are an important part of teaching and learning. They help us measure student growth. Assessments give us a perspective on whether or not students are learning the lessons that we are trying to teach. They give insight into the relative strengths or weaknesses of a student.

But the MEAP with its lack of timeliness does not help us. 

In Novi, we are attempting to create what we call a “robust internal accountability system.” We believe that parents want a system that gives them accurate information on the progress of their children. 

Parents will point to the MEAP but we say to them that is not who your child is today. That may have been who your child was but they have had four months of instruction since that assessment was given. The child is different now.

Perhaps some would argue that the MEAP is not about individual student accountability. They might say that the MEAP is about school accountability. Are schools teaching the standards that the state has identified as important? Schools can look at strengths and weaknesses and identify what they are doing right and what they can do better. The MEAP reflects the relative position of the school not the student.

If that is true then why give individual results at all. By giving individual results the state is saying that the MEAP has important information to give to students, parents, and teachers. 

But the information is now at least four months old. My teachers know their students. The MEAP will not shed any more light.

We are required to give the MEAP but I do not believe that it provides much insight. Novi's good teachers know their students. Test results that are four months old will not give them additional insight.

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