The state is throwing out results from two end-of-course tests from 2016-17, but individual outcomes are still considered valid for students’ grades.
According to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Communications Coordinator Sarah Potter, end-of-course assessments (EOCs) in English II and Algebra I from last year will not be used for school districts’ annual performance report. The APR is a DESE formula for school accountability that includes multiple factors from EOC, MAP and ACT testing to graduation and attendance rates as well as other factors.
“When we looked at results about mid- to late-July, we thought they didn’t look quite right,” said Potter.
DESE subsequently had its Technical Advisory Committee, made up of national experts on testing, review the test and results. The TAC concluded that these tests did not produce year-to-year comparable results, according to Potter.
“Because they’re not comparable, it’s hard to use them in the APR because that’s what we do at the state level - track progress,’ she explained. “It’s similar to two different teachers giving two different tests. The tests are on the same thing, but one teacher may grade harder than another.”
From year-to-year, there were a couple of different test forms used, and per the TAC, they did not equate to each other, according to Potter.
Something that’s important for parents and students to know, however, is that the test results are still valid as raw scores, just not within DESE’s scoring framework of basic, below basic, proficient and advanced categories because this scoring system is comparison method with last year’s scores by different students.
Students can be graded on their standalone performance in the subject from the assessment, but not the district. That makes the scores relevant as a measure of content knowledge so it can be included in a student’s class grade and will not impact a student’s eligibility within the A+ Program.
Because Missouri learning standards were updated last year, this was actually the last time these forms were going to be used anyway, said Potter.
The old forms are not being used this year, and by next year, Missouri will have developed its own assessments, per state law.
In 2016, the Missouri State Board of Education approved a schedule for implementing assessments aligned with the new standards. Initial operational administration of new English language arts and mathematics assessments will take place in the 2017-2018 school year, according to DESE’s website, followed by science in 2018-2019 (with field testing to occur in 2017-2018) and social studies in 2019-2020. Until new assessments are implemented as described, grade-level and EOC assessments are unchanged and aligned to the previous standards.
DESE has a staggered implementation for these assessments as each change requires new material and plans for DESE and districts which takes time and money.