MEAP results set to be released with new cut scores
by DOUG VANDERJAGT
District Assessment Coordinator
Rockford Freshman Center Principal
Within the next few weeks, detailed MEAP results with adjusted cut scores are scheduled to be released to districts as they brace for this highly anticipated event. For years, these results would arrive over the summer, as parents and students relish in three quiet months away from the school system. Now, in the cool winter months, the results are on the brink of full disclosure in the same year in which the tests were administered.
The MEAP is our annual assessment that is used to gauge how our students are performing on state-approved content standards. This test helps us define what students should know and be able to do in English, writing, math, science, and social studies in grades kindergarten through 12.
In the previous years, we would obtain our district scores and relish in the fact that our students score near the top in every area across the board. This will continue to be the case, although the scores may look different for each individual student. New higher cut scores have been set for the MEAP, as well as the MME that is administered to our 11th-graders in the spring. With these new cut scores, proficiency now means that students are progressing appropriately toward college readiness. This could likely change how the public views the performance of districts, schools and students throughout the state.
Cut scores represent a judgment about the percentage of questions that a student needs to answer correctly to meet some type of performance standard. While the cut scores have changed, the actual test has not, thus students’ actual raw scores are not affected.
In the past, cut score levels were set for a manufacturing-based economy. With more students heading to college after high school, and with new national tests on the horizon, state education officials felt that it was the time to revisit what levels of performance would be needed to be “proficient.”
The new cut scores reflect a determination about the point a student will be successful in the next grade or in college. It is important to understand that the “proficiency” label from the MEAP is simply one piece of information attached to a student’s score that should be considered along with other school performance data.
Rockford Public Schools will soon begin to pour over the data and use these recalibrated cut scores to help support higher levels of learning for all students. We will continue to identify the state benchmarks that were met and what standards need to be reinforced. Not only will district benchmark issues be addressed, but also now individual student data will be available to help current classroom teachers identify strengths and weaknesses of students that they have worked with for nearly six months.
The information that districts will be privy to will be invaluable to the school improvement process. Our district will continue to use state test results to help gauge the effectiveness of our curriculum and instruction as we strive for continuous improvement in efforts to increase student learning and performance.
Rockford Public Schools will use the new cut scores as we continue to prepare our students for success in school, college and beyond.