By Mike Moffatt
The Bath-DeWitt Connection
According to the official Michigan school data website, both Bath Township and DeWitt schools performed average on their scores. Students were very proficient in reading and writing, but then struggled on mathematics.
“I feel like this happened because math takes a lot more years of schooling to get good at, while students’ writing improves year after year because they start that at such a young age.” said Lori Webb, the Scott Elementary school principal in DeWitt.
The MEAP test, which started in the 1970s by governor William Milliken, was created to test current elementary and middle schools students’ skills. The skills tested were mathematics, reading, science, and social studies. This test also involved high school students until 2007 when they decided to change their test to the Michigan Merit Exam.
It was announced that the MEAP test will close and the school board is going to try a new type of testing for students next year. The type of testing will be on computers and they will have an adaptive system for the students.
Since the goal of these tests is to have students get more than half of them correct, the adaptive system will adjust to when the student gets a question wrong, the next question will be easier, but if they get the question correct, then the next question will be harder. They are using this new test called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).
“I like this new idea of testing,” said DeWitt schools Superintendent John Dieter, “It’ll really be beneficial to the students to see where they are at in certain subjects depending on the difficulty of questions.”
Others don’t think highly of this change though, because since the MEAP dates back so far, that they wonder why change now?
“I personally liked the MEAP testing,” said Sally Fizzell, fourth grade teacher at Scott Elementary, “I was around teaching when these tests were first released, and even though they weren’t popular with the students, it really gave us a sense of how we are doing as teachers too.”
Now that this change is occurring, teachers and students are going to have to make the necessary adjustments to the new testing system.
Mentioned in this transitional document, the Michigan school district feels that this transition will result in faster results as well as a more simple scoring system. Also mentioned in the document were other benefits, which will include more relevant lesson plans, and featuring more measures of seeing student’s growth in topics.
“After looking at all the pros and cons of this situation, I can’t help but see more pros,” said Keith Cravotta, DeWitt Junior High School principal, “With the advances in technology over the years, why wouldn’t you want to make this process easier to get scores and make the test easier to take?”
About the SBAC
This new test is meant for children in grades third through eighth as well as juniors in high school. It questions their skills in English, math, and reading, with the purpose of meeting each state’s common core standards. According to their website, this test is the best preparation for kids getting ready for college as well as starting a career in whatever field they prosper in. Not only beneficial for the students, educators will be able to compare their students’ score and adjust accordingly with the pace and material that they teach.
“I feel that this new testing system will be tough to adjust to,” said Cammie Jones, a fourth grade teacher at Scott Elementary, “But once we all finally get used to it, it really will help us look at what we need to do to become better teachers as well as making sure the kids are getting the best education they can get.”
Overall, changes have been made and the whole school system of Michigan has to get used to it. This new test system has a four-year, $175 million grant from the United States Department of Education, so it looks like it has national support and is ready to be taken on in Michigan come spring of 2014.
For questions or comments, contact Mike Moffat at firstname.lastname@example.org