Morgan wants to replace MSPAP


Washington County Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan is recommending MSPAP tests not be given to eighth-grade students this year in favor of a 25-year-old test that will provide more details about individual achievement.

Morgan said Friday that the county might as well abandon the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program because it has a new scoring system and is slated to be eliminated next year.

In its place, Morgan said, the county should use the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, a SAT- style test that is already given to Washington County's elementary school students.


On Tuesday, Morgan will present her recommendation to the Washington County Board of Education, which has the final say.

She selected the CTBS because it is a national test that measures individual achievement. The MSPAP measures collective grade level achievement, Morgan said.

Morgan said she made her choice after hearing input from educators and parents. The CTBS has the support of Washington County's middle school principals, said Morgan, who met with them this week.

Washington County schools already give students in fourth and sixth grades the CTBS, so it makes sense to continue the test in middle school to chart their progress, she said.

The School Board was given the option not to administer MSPAP tests next month. The MSPAP tests are scheduled from April 29 to May 3.

Earlier this month, the Maryland State Department of Education gave local school systems the option of dropping the eighth-grade tests, but put the option on hold a few days later after concerns arose that systems that dropped the test would lose federal Title 1 money.

Schools that receive Title 1 money must have in place school accountability measures such as MSPAP tests.

The MSPAP tests have been given to third-, fifth- and eighth-grade students in Maryland State since 1993.

The U.S. Department of Education said last week that middle schools that receive Title 1 money must administer the eighth-grade tests. Washington County has the option of dropping MSPAP for eighth grade because it receives Title 1 money only for elementary schools.

Title 1 provides financial assistance to help improve individual achievement in schools with a high number of poverty-level students.

Morgan said she would not recommend dropping MSPAP if she didn't have an alternate suggestion.

The School Board will maintain its accountability through the CTBS test because of the specific information it offers, she said.

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