Kent ISD Maranda Taking the Test

Parents, Community Members Gather to “Take the Test”

Kent ISD staff recently hosted a group of people interested in learning more about the M-Step and SAT tests. Maranda from WOTV joined them and filmed an entire show about this important topic, called “Taking the Test: Sampling New Standardized Tests”. CLICK HERE to watch.

Every year, thousands of students across Michigan take standardized tests as a way to gauge their learning and to get into college. This April, instead of the MEAP and ACT, students will take the M-STEP and the SAT. And after years of familiar paper and pencil tests, students are now learning to take them online.

The M-STEP tests are new to our students (introduced last year), and in most schools will be administered completely online. In addition, they go beyond the content and the kind of thinking skills most of us remember from school.

The SAT, while still a paper and pencil test, is also a completely new test and, for the first time, given to all of Michigan’s 11th graders.

So why the changes? What do these tests look like? And what does it mean for our kids?

These are the questions the event, led by Dr. Bill Smith, assistant superintendent, and Dr. Dorothy VanderJagt, director of Teaching & Learning, with help from Communications staff, was designed to answer. Participants were invited to “leave your #2 pencil at home and come take a sampling of the tests to see for yourself!”

The group experienced some sample questions from these tests much like students will, online with computers, with actual test questions. No scores were shared, nor individual answers, but there was a great deal of reaction and discussion, as documented in the School News Network article Community Members Sample New Standardized Tests.

IMG_2725Participants were surprised at the rigor of the questions and had a hard time guessing the grade level of the questions. Some expressed concern about the tests measuring only certain kinds of learning and not others, or being heavily dependent on reading ability. A mom said she now saw why so much preparation for the test was necessary.

If your school would like to host a similar event, talk to your administrator or curriculum director. Kent ISD staff have packaged up all the parts needed to host an event (including extensive facilitator notes, the sample test, PowerPoint and additional support materials) and are offering them free of charge.

This post was written by Allison Kaufman, Director of Communications & Marketing at Kent ISD and edited by Amanda Walma Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.

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