Tuesday, April 17, 2018

MDE forms Student Testing Task Force

The Mississippi Department of Education issued the following statement.

MDE Announces Formation of a Student Testing Task Force

JACKSON, Miss. – Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education, announced today she will convene the first Mississippi Student Testing Task Force to examine current student testing on the state and local school district levels and to determine best practices for monitoring student progress in meeting grade-level and subject area learning goals.

The task force, which will meet throughout the summer, will include a diverse group of stakeholders representing educators, legislators, parents, school board members and students from across the state. Senate Education Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, and House Education Chairman Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, also will serve on the committee. A complete list of task force members will be released upon completion, as well as meeting dates.

The goals of the task force are:

§ to determine the types, quality and amount of tests students take on the state and district level;

§ to provide recommendations on ways to ensure student testing is streamlined but measures the learning goals designed by Mississippi teachers; and

§ to discover and recommend best practices for student testing on the state and district level.

“We have heard concerns from parents, lawmakers and educators about the amount of testing on the state and district levels and the time spent on test preparation in schools. We believe that through the work of the task force we can come up with reasonable recommendations that will address these concerns while ensuring accountability among schools and districts to prepare our students for their next step, whether it’s the next grade, the workforce, military or college,” Wright said.

Mississippi First recently released a report on state and district testing and found an array of testing preparation practices in certain school districts studied. Part of the report included recommendations for the Mississippi Department of Education, and the task force will explore those recommendations and others over the next several months.

The task force will produce a report on its findings and recommendations by the end of the year.


Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, isn't MDE the agency that dictates which, and how many, tests are given? If that's the case, shouldn't Wright already know the info that she's forming yet another study group for?

Anonymous said...

The State only requires 1 test each year in Math , and Literacy for grades 3-8 and 1 test in 4 subject areas in high school (so, on average one per year of high school). The problem is that some, or rather most, districts plan tests throughout the year in preparation for the state tests. And prep for these tests are taking up valuable instructional time. So much so that this results in narrowing the curriculum so that many students mainly only take reading and math all throughout elementary school. All of this test prep is taking place because of accountability - teacher and administrator jobs are on the line according to these test scores - rather than looking to see where students are doing well and where they need additional help.

Anonymous said...

While there is much truth to 10:12, I would like to add that "one math and literacy test" is actually four days of testing as each test is two days. There are also science tests given in 5th and 8th grade.

So for the typical 8th grader - two days math, two days language arts, one day science, AND if the 8th grader took Algebra 1, the algebra 1 state test. SIX days of state testing. In addition to all of the "benchmark tests" described by 10:12am.

Anonymous said...

So the school districts are teach students to pass the subject matter tests and not the regular curriculum? Isn't that how school districts are graded and funds allocated? Kind of like rigging the system.

Anonymous said...

None of the curriculum or testing done in Mississippi proves any degree of proficiency in any subject matter. Home schooled students demonstrate FAR better scores and mastery of subject matter, but with only HALF the "class" time. By and large, the great majority of students in taxpayer funded schools are missing so many days of school for unexcused absences that they shouldn't even be passing to the next grade, much less graduating. Public school is a Ponzi scheme to babysit the kids of people who probably shouldn't have had children. They certainly couldn't afford to educate them. If the school districts started holding kids accountable, they parents would be up at school all day and lose their jobs. The entire system is a joke. The kids are entitled beyond comprehension. They have come to believe that if they show up, that's enough, and they should earn a degree. Ask anyone in higher education about the students coming into colleges and universities. COMPLETELY unmotivated to come to class, and COMPLETELY unprepared to actually do any actual work. Ask anyone in the system.

Anonymous said...

The Legislature and the US Department of Education requires testing, NOT the MDE. They execute the law. Get off their backs and on to your politician's.

Anonymous said...

If the legislature and the US Dept of Ed REQUIRE the testing, and all MDE does is execute the law, why waste taxpayer money on a dog-and-pony show. They can determine, discover and recommend all they want, but, from what you imply, they have no control and nothing to do with what can, or cannot, be done. Sounds like just another waste of time and just another photo op.

Anonymous said...

All the bitching about 'over testing' by teachers might be valid, but the testing that is taking up some much time is dictated by the district - not the MDE, or the legislature, or the USDOE.

Some testing makes sense -how else can the students be evaluated; or the district? And testing has been going on for literally decades - at least back to the 50's with the "Achievement Tests".

The idiocy are those that believe the state should not require tests to determine graduation ability - and want to replace those tests with the ACT. Even the company the provides the ACT tests claims that would make no sense, as the ACT is designed for one purpose - to determine college prep. Quickly recognizing that not all MS students are going to college, and many have no business even considering college - using the ACT for graduation requirements is the height of stupidity. But that's what you get when you leave it to those who don't want accountability or evaluation of our wonderful public education system.

Anonymous said...

4:22–local districts add tests and blame MDE

Anonymous said...

Ummmm. . .MDE "recommends" a whole lot of programs like i-Ready that involves constant testing and then regrouping of students. The real problem is that if these programs worked they would be in a district for a year or two and then gone. That doesn't happen there are failing districts that have had the same consultants for five or six years with no appreciable change. We will continue to use very expensive consultants all the while saying that we can't afford to raise teacher salaries to attract better teachers. Kick the consultants out for three years and use that money to fund teacher raises. I'll bet the farm the results will be better.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this being done simply as a means for Carey Wright to endear herself to those who can retain or fire her? What better way to appear to be engaged than by forming a committee to 'meet through the summer'. That's simply code for, "No, we do not get three summer months off."

The only positive outcome will be the business that gets the lunch-catering business for these meetings.

Unknown said...

In my NYC elementary we regularly had pre-tests, tests and re-tests, so the teacher could better guage, on a weekly basis if and which student were both learning and were able to produce work that indicated that they indeed learned the information, process or concept.

In my technical HS, all of my math classes (three per semester),we took quizzes on a daily basis. We checked and graded each others quizzes. Process took ten minutes.

The phrase, "Teaching to the test", is a red herring because the tests are, or at least should be, curriculum based.

Big difference today is the newly imposed pressure on the kids to "pass the test or else".= high stakes testing,

Testing is only one tool in the box for teachers to keep track of students progress.

Anonymous said...

Agree 100% with 1:58. My oldest graduated HS from one of the most noted metro area schools. She made a 29 on the ACT. She worked her butt off in Public School. My youngest who would be a senior this year, had we kept him in Public Schools for the last 4 years, scored a 30 on his ACT. He was home schooled. My daughter went straight from undergraduate to graduate school and will have her MS degree here in a couple of months. My son is contemplating his next move with regards to his education. I say all of this to demonstrate that our public education system needs help. My daughter had to invest a ton of time for what she achieved. My son much less for his, but he still worked hard none the less. She just had to deal with all of the educational bureaucracy of public education. As their parent, I can honestly say that intellectually speaking, both of them are on the same level with regards to mental acuity.

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