First year of online testing proves challenge for local schools - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

First year of online testing proves challenge for local schools

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Students work at Clark County Middle School. Students had to move to the high school to take MAP tests last year. Students work at Clark County Middle School. Students had to move to the high school to take MAP tests last year.
KAHOKA, Mo. (WGEM) -

A new school year comes with new results, as scores are in for the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, test. But with changes in this past year's test, those scores have area schools questioning how well MAP measures skills.

Katrina Nixon has taught at Clark County R-1 Schools for ten years, dealing with changing standardized tests.

"I feel like, for the students, they are always the guinea pigs at some point with the testing changing," Nixon said. "And that's not fair to them."

Her sixth-graders took the Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, test online for the first time this year. From bussing to computer sights to changing passwords to the test's content, there were challenges.

"The test changed, even up until spring," Nixon said. "Some of the practice items that we looked at and got our students into and were working with were not as similar as what they were saying they were going to be."

Superintendent Ritchie Kracht says those changes have consequences.

"Well, if you don't have keyboarding skills, it makes it more difficult to type," Kracht said. "And the problem is, it might have been more of an issue of being able to run the technology than what the kids knew."

Kracht saw lower scores this year than in the past year for the district's standardize test score. Overall, state averages in English were 59.7 percent proficient, and math averaged about 45 percent according to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Clark County Schools averaged a 56.7 percent proficiency in English and just over 38 percent proficiency in math. But is it a fair comparison between years?

"Grades three through eight, you can't compare them," Kracht said. "They're a completely different test, different standards they're tested over, a completely different testing format."

And as a mother and teacher, Nixon is frustrated.

"Can we really judge in two hours what a student has learned in that whole year or their whole educational career?" Nixon said.

Kracht said MAP scores also dropped state-wide this past year. He added that standardized testing would be undergoing more changes for the current school year.

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