Test scores for the students at Mancos school have been evaluated by a test called the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test.
The students take MAP tests every fall, and again in the winter and spring. While these are not state tests, they are tests that are created "by educators for educators" by the NWEA, or Northwest Evaluation Association. The data is sent to each school that uses the test and that school is then able to determine how each child is doing on their "unique learning path."
The tests are given on a computer under adult supervision. The MAP tests are adapted to each student's responses, said K-12 principal, Jeanette Allen. "When a student is confused about a question and doesn't answer it right, then the next questions are simplified. When the student answers it correctly, however, the next questions are more challenging," she said. "That seems to cut down on the frustration level."
In last week's school board meeting, Allen shared the scores with the board.
"Overall," she said, "the data suggests that our students are making adequate growth; however, students are not making catch-up growth. In other words, students are not growing at a typical pace PLUS more, in order to catch up or exceed grade level expectations."
Among other things, the data shows that 64 out of 108 high school students achieved a 3.0 or higher GPA in the first semester. (20 achieved a 4.0 GPA.) It also shows that 45 out of 93 middle school students achieved 3.0 or higher GPA in the first semester and 13 of them achieved a 4.0 GPA.
The MAP tests have been given to the Mancos students for many years, but the students have only just begun the process of setting goals and self-assessment based on the scores.
The scores are reported in RIT scores (short for Rasch Unit). It measures the student's progress and gives an estimation of a student's instructional level. They give the students a chance to set goals and share them with their parents during the parent/teacher conferences.
MAP tests are given to the students as a way of measuring how their progress is before they take the long and tedious state tests in March, called TCAP, or the Traditional Colorado Assessment Program. The MAP tests take an hour for each subject, compared to the three hours for each subject in the TCAP tests. Mancos schools did about average on the 2012 TCAP tests.
"We continue to score at the state average," said Allen.
(All the results of the TCAP test last year can be seen at www.cde.state.co.us/assessment.)