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MSPAP test - Teachers' recommendations

November 15, 1998

Here is the complete list of recommendations made last week by the Maryland State Teachers Association to improve the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program test:

* Ensure developmentally appropriate tests by having independent developmental psychologists review third- and fifth-grade tasks; redesign the third-grade test to create shorter daily testing periods; and implement field-testing procedures.

* Extend time for completion of a task.

* Reduce the impact of five days of testing. Shorten the testing time per grade to three days by creating four testing clusters.

* Provide sufficient personnel to administer the test without the disruption of student learning in classes that are not taking the test. A possible solution is reducing the number of students taking the test to a statistically valid sample.

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* Decrease the effects of a mobile student body. Develop a formula to counter the effects of students moving in and out of schools; study the impact of new entrants on test results; and gather data on the effect of student mobility on test results in other states.

* Do not hold schools accountable for absent students.

* Provide ongoing discussions, including a review of existing techniques used to counter the lack of student accountability.

* Standardize the scoring process by clearly defining parameters of correct responses to decrease subjectivity in scoring; increasing scoring accuracy to at least 80 percent; instituting afternoon checks; providing a third scorer as mediator. Also, increase pay for scorers, especially experienced scorers.

* Return MSPAP results to each school in a timely manner.

* Include traditional basic skill tests are part of an assessment of school effectiveness and student accountability.

* Base the school performance report on a compilation of a number of scores and factors, including MSPAP and other existing standardized tests. Publicize the School Performance Index formula.

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