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School officials work to develop tests

February 03, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

Washington County school officials say the job of ensuring students across the county are tested on the right lessons and tested uniformly isn't an easy one.

"(It's) not a simple one-day, one-week, one-month task," said Paul Bailey, the school system's director of curriculum. He said test developers have a difficult job making sure tests are fair, valid and measure what they're supposed to.

It's also important that security be built into the testing process, he said.

Over the past several months, content supervisors, department chairs and teachers have put a great deal of time and effort into developing the first four tests, covering Algebra I, biology, modern American history and 10th-grade English, he said.

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At the end of this school year, students taking those subjects will have the new assessment tests as their final exams, said William Ford, assistant superintendent for instruction.

He said those tests will be refined for the 1997-98 school year. New tests will be developed in other subject areas next fall, he said.

The first wave of tests cover subject areas students need to master for the statewide high school assessment program being developed by the Maryland State Department of Education, Ford said. "We knew we wanted to start with the core-learning goals," he said.

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