A s a parent, you are the most effective advocate to make sure that your child In Michigan... gets the education to which he or she is The Michigan Educational Assessment Program entitled in the public schools of your community. (MEAP) was initiated in 1970, making it one of the oldest statewide assessments in the nation. Tests used to make important decisions about the Currently, students are tested in English/Language future of a student, a teacher, or schools are called Arts (in grades 4, 7 and 10), Mathematics (in grades 4, 8 and 10) and Science and Social Studies A Parent’s high-stakes tests. High-stakes tests have become (in grades 5, 8 and 10). MEAP tests have evolved as much a part of education as chalkboards and significantly in scope and complexity, and are aligned textbooks. To help your child succeed in school, Guide To with the Michigan curriculum frameworks, known you need to understand how high-stakes tests nationally for high content standards. affect your child. All parents need to know how Education YES!, Michigan’s school accreditation high-stakes tests are used in their particular schools, school districts, and communities. program, uses MEAP data to evaluate school performance; MEAP scores and yearly improvement High Stakes Testing Parents need to know how to communicate with rates make up 67% of a school district’s annual teachers, principals, school board members, and grade. Schools that meet MEAP targets (and eleven other officials about how high-stakes tests affect other quality indicators) are given an A, resulting their children’s education. in summary state accreditation. Schools receiving B through D grades are on “interim” status, and TERMS, LEGISLATION unaccredited schools are so labeled. MEAP data AND TIPS TO HELP This guide is designed must also be reported in school’s annual reports, and is widely disseminated in the press. YOUR CHILD SUCCEED to help you learn more about high-stakes Students do not have to pass the MEAP to be testing. It includes promoted to the next grade, nor do MEAP scores definitions of affect graduation from high school. High school students who score in the top two achievement levels important testing Made possible by on all four MEAP tests are now eligible for a “Merit Ford Motor Company Fund terms, guidance on Award”. what you should State Resources on high-stakes tests: know about the tests your child MEAP tests: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/ takes, how tests 0,1607,7-140-22709_22878---,00.html relate to your child’s school, and how Education YES!: http://www.michigan.gov/ you can help your child learn to do better on tests, documents/Education_YES!_13524_7.pdf including ones that have high stakes. Great Lakes Center Further information on each section in this guide 147 S. Putnam | Williamston, MI 48895 Office 517.655.4400 | Fax 517.655.1100 can be located on the Center’s website at www.greatlakescenter.org www.greatlakescenter.org. Background research provided by the Arizona State University Education Policy Studies Laboratory Terms You Should Know What Parents Can Do Achievement Tests are tests designed to measure 3. Help your child prepare. Parental support how much a student has learned in a particular for student learning has always been important; High stakes testing is a reality that has an important subject or group of subjects. now it’s even more so. Make sure your child has impact on virtually every child’s education, including High Stakes Tests are achievement tests that an adequate place, and adequate time, to complete yours. What can you as a parent do to help your child have specific, serious, consequences attached to homework each day. Spend time reviewing learn and succeed in this environment? their results. homework and engage your child in conversation 1. Stay informed. Ask your child’s teacher and to make sure he or she understands the material. Standardized Tests are achievement tests your school principal what tests are given each year Encourage your child to study regularly over time in which all students are scored and their in your child’s school and which of those tests may instead of “cramming” for tests. Encourage your achievement calculated according to a common have high stakes attached to them. Ask what sort of child to understand test-taking mechanics and standard. High stakes testing programs use preparation will take place in your child’s classes for strategies: standardized test results to judge the performance each of those tests. Are certain days being set aside to of students and sometimes of teachers and drill for tests? Ask how testing in general, and high- administrators. stakes tests in particular, are shaping decisions about Test Taking Strategies Norm-referenced standardized tests compare what is being taught in your child’s school. Are tested an individual student’s test performance with subjects getting a more intense focus? If your child the performance of students in a sample group. ✔ Relax and stay calm before and during tests. has a documented, diagnosed learning disability, Criterion-referenced standardized tests report find out whether an accommodation is appropriate ✔ Read and listen carefully to all directions and follow how well a student performs against a fixed and contact your school’s special education office to them closely. standard. advocate for your child. ✔ Budget time. Make sure to leave enough time to answer Results of norm-referenced tests are typically 2. Understand what test results mean. First all questions, or as many as possible. reported as percentiles. A percentile rank tells of all, it’s important not to judge your child on the ✔ Check work carefully. you how your child performed in relation to the basis of a single test. How your child is performing children in the sample group and others who took ✔ Answer easy questions first, and come back to more day to day -- in class, on homework, and on tests the test. Results of criterion-referenced tests difficult ones. for classes -- will tell you more about how well he or report how well your child did in accomplishing ✔ Read questions and all answers completely. she is learning. If a test seems to show your child is a desired learning goal. Typically, results are reported using words such as “not proficient,” doing poorly in a subject in which you thought he or ✔ If the correct answer isn’t immediately obvious, figure “satisfactory,” or “proficient.” she was doing well, speak with your child’s teacher. out which answers are definitely wrong, then see if you If the test report shows your child’s percentile score, can choose from those that are left. the test is a norm-referenced test. Ask if criterion- Current Federal Regulations referenced scores also were obtained, and if so, what they may show about your child’s performance. Keep No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: The When you talk to children about tests, don’t in mind that standardized tests are given in a limited popular name for the 2001 reauthorization of the overemphasize test scores and try not to be amount of time. Some students may find it easy to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), anxious. Listen to your children’s anxieties and “race against the clock” to complete the test, but signed into law in early 2002. This act included concerns, and try to reassure them without other, equally intelligent students may find for the first time a requirement that states test discounting their feelings. the time limit to be very stressful, students in grades 3 through 8 and to show certain test score results in return for federal so that it actually interferes with 4. Find resources to help you understand high- funding. Under the act, schools whose average their concentration in taking the stakes tests. There are a number of agencies scores do not improve enough may lose federal test. In reviewing your child’s and organizations listed on the Center website aid; parents of children in those schools may test scores, consider whether (www.greatlakescenter.org) that may be able receive the right to transfer to other public the time pressure of testing may to provide you with more answers on the subject schools or to hire private tutors using have affected the score. of high-stakes testing from various points of view. federal grants.
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