Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday phasing out the annual spring round of STAR tests covering math and English language arts in California schools, and authorizing school districts instead to run field tests this spring of new computer-based assessments aligned with the incoming Common Core academic standards.
Associate Superintendent Clark Bryant of the Davis school district described aspects of the changeover in assessments at Thursday night’s meeting of the Davis school board. Bryant said the new computer-based exams are known as MAPP — for Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress. He added that it will take students about 3.5 hours to complete the test, which will be given in three sessions of about 45 minutes each, with some added time for set-up and breaks.
“We don’t plan to do any of the MAPP testing with students using paper and pencil to fill in bubbles on multiple-choice questions,” Bryant said.
The MAPP tests will be “computer-based, but not adaptive,” Bryant added. Students will fill in blanks and do some dropping-and-clicking to provide their answers. In future years, the MAPP tests will become adaptive — meaning that in some cases, the testing software will pick the next question based on the student’s response to previous questions, allowing students to “go down somewhat different pathways (through the exam) depending on their answers,” Bryant said. But this year, all students will see the same version of the online MAPP tests.
This spring’s test results will be used primarily to “tell us about our technology readiness” for the new era of online assessments, and “give our students and teachers an opportunity to see what the new assessments are like,” Bryant said.
This spring’s test results will not be used to rate a school’s performance as part of the Academic Performance Index. In fact, under the law signed Wednesday, the state-issued API will go on hiatus for two years as the changeover from STAR to MAPP tests takes place.
One aspect of the old STAR tests will remain for a bit longer — students will continue to take a STAR test for science, which is given only at three grade levels.
Bryant said further details about the changeover will be announced as the California Department of Education provides more details about how MAPP testing will be conducted.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055.