Mississippi Students Set to Begin New Statewide Testing Program
Beginning April 25, 2016, the majority of Mississippi students will take new assessments aligned to the state’s learning goals. The Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP) will ask students in grades 3-8 and in high school Algebra I and English II to demonstrate and apply their knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in areas such as critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem solving.
Although it’s a new test, these concepts will be familiar to students. Our teachers have done an outstanding job of helping students meet higher academic guidelines for the past five years. MAP will measure what students are learning and inform parents and teachers whether students are meeting expectations for their grade level.
MAP replaces the PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test. Mississippi ended its membership in the multistate testing consortium. As a result, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), in collaboration with educators from around the state, worked hard to develop a test for our students. This was no small feat considering the tight timeline to design a statewide online assessment aligned to our standards. In April 2015, Questar Assessment was awarded the contract to administer the assessments, and the test needed to be ready for students by December for high schools on a 4 by 4 schedule.
To provide some context, a statewide assessment that normally takes up to 18 months to develop had to be ready in slightly more than a third of that time. In December, nearly 19,000 students took the MAP assessments in Algebra I and English II.
We anticipate approximately 295,000 students will take the MAP assessment in the next few weeks. With the rollout of a new online assessment, we expect some technology glitches, and we have plans in place to address those should they arise.
While no single test can give a complete picture of achievement, when combined with student grades and teacher reports, annual assessments provide important information about student progress. We also realize students are more than test scores. Assessments should be used as a tool to determine if students are on the right track for college, the workforce or the military.
We know that too many students are not prepared to do college-level work—or to compete for skilled jobs after graduation. The MDE and school districts across the state are working to close the “skills gap”—and ensure our children graduate ready to succeed.
We have raised standards to reflect college and career readiness in the 21st century because we want students to be successful. Today’s colleges and employers seek young adults who can:
Analyze and solve problems,
Apply math, science, and technology in real-world settings, and
Write and think clearly.
We are committed to student achievement, and MAP sets a high bar for our students. We are confident that with the quality instruction delivered by our dedicated educators, and support from parents, our students can meet and exceed these expectations.