Michigan Department of Education Plans for New Online-Based Assessments
Changes will take place during the 2014-2015 school year.
Paper and pencil for statewide tests will soon be a thing of the past for Michigan students as they prepare to take a new online assessment detailed during a roundtable Monday by the Michigan Department of Education.
The exam will replace the standardized MEAP and MME assessments in math, reading and writing, beginning during the 2014-2015 school year. The MEAP and MME assessments will still be given in science and social studies.
But unlike the tests students are used to, the new statewide exam will not have a common set of questions. Subsequent questions will be determined based on how a student answers the previous one. A correct answer yields a harder one. An incorrect responce yields an easier question. The goal is to have students get 50% of the exam correct, according to state officials.
The questions will range from multiple choice to essays and performance tasks, similar to assignment students get in class. And students will be given a scale score, similar to the MEAP, but also a performance score which will detail, for instance, how well they research.
Districts will still have the option of using paper and pencil assessments until 2017-2018. But state officials explained that the online alternate will provide quicker and more accurate results.
Michigan is among 40 states that have adopted the new test and is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a state-led effort to provide consistent and comparable standards, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, in English language arts, literacy and mathematics.
The goal is to have more rigorous tests measuring student progress toward college and career readiness and have common, comparable scores across different states.
Joseph Martineau, executive director of the Bureau of Assessment & Accountability for the Michigan Department of Education, said that the computer adaptive technology will be tailored to each student's individual ability and that question difficulty will increase or decrease depending on a correct answer.
"This will be a culture shift for students," Martineau said.
Eventually, it is the hope that the Smarter Balanced assessment will replace the need for students to take the ACT. However Martineau said Smarter Balanced "is going to have to demonstrate its ability to be a college predictor test" before colleges will accept those scores in the place of the ACT.
Meanwhile, as the state readies for the new exam, Martineau said districts will have to determine if they have sufficient student to computer ratios in order to make sure they are technologically capable of administering online assessments.
"That does not mean one to one computing," he said, adding: "Two hundred to one is probably not going to work."
MEAP/MME current assessments
m = MEAP; M = MME
MEAP/MME and Smarter Balanced 2014-2015
m = MEAP; M = MME; S = Smarter Balanced
For more information, visit www.smarterbalanced.org.