Chillicothe R-2 students will want to get plenty of rest, eat a well-balanced breakfast, and study hard over the next three weeks.
Today (Tuesday) kicks off the annual Missouri Assessment Program testing at Chillicothe schools. Superintendent Roger Barnes said students, grades 3-8, have been preparing for these tests all year.
“It's pretty much a comprehensive exam from what you've learned all through the course of the year, plus what you've had in past years," Barnes explained. “It builds upon your knowledge.”
According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website, the Missouri Assessment Program testing “assesses students’ progress toward mastery of the Show-Me Standards which are the educational standards in Missouri... The assessment also includes sections from the TerraNova survey, a national norm-referenced test, which is used to compare how well students are performing compared to their peers across the country.”
These standardized tests are required for all Missouri students. Barnes said the tests have taken many names and forms over the years, but they all serve the same function.
"We've had everything in Missouri from Iowa Basic Skills test to the Missouri Mastery Achievement test," Barnes said. "Our scores get compared to other Missouri schools on how well we rank."
According to Barnes, these tests are scheduled to change again in 2015, and will put more of a focus on technical writing.
"It's going to be called 'Smarter Balanced Assessments'," Barnes said. "A lot of the writing will gear more toward investigative and defensive-type writing. Whereas before creative writing may have been more of an approach, now it's more about identifying facts; investigative writing or technical writing, as we call it."
Each year, schools with exemplary testing scores are honored by the Missouri DESE. Barnes said, in terms of MAP test scores, Chillicothe has ranked among the top schools in the state for over a decade.
"Normally, there's a percentile or a number of standards that must be met in order for a district to achieve that honor," Barnes explained. "Chillicothe has done that about 11 out of the last 13 years. We've always done very, very well."