Maine students will take a new standardized test this spring
Maine students will take a new standardized test beginning this spring.
State assessments were initially paused about three years ago because of COVID-19 disruptions. And in recent years, the state used the NWEA Map Growth test as an emergency tool.
Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin said the new test will have several improvements over previous state standardized assessments.
She said high-stakes federal assessments often take up valuable learning time and are administered solely to align with federal standards.
But she said the new "Maine Through Year" assessment will be briefer and provide scores faster.
"This new type of assessment is an activity that provides use to educators, to improve educational practice in real time," Makin said.
The tests will be administered two to three times a year for students in certain grade levels.
Krista Averill, with the Maine Department of Education's assessment team, said that while the latest tests should be more useful, the scores are just one small representation of a student's knowledge.
"So that's something, as an assessment team, we've really been trying to emphasize. Is that it's just a snapshot," Averill said. "And you really need to look at the other factors that impact student learning."
Averill said scores from the new test can be compared to those from the old test, so schools can keep tracking students' progress, even as the tests change.
Commissioner Makin said that the department is looking at ways to work with business groups about how to test and measure for the skills that employers are looking for from high school graduates.