Cut scores set for new state test

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An early look at Mississippi students’ scores on the new state assessment shows they performed similarly to last year’s scores on a different test.

The State Board of Education approved the cut scores for the new test on Monday. The cut scores are the minimum score a student must achieve to be placed in one of five performance levels — minimal, basic, pass, proficient and advanced.

Percentage of students by grade that scored at each level on the 2015-2016 mathematics/Algebra I assessment.

Mississippi Department of Education

Percentage of students by grade that scored at each level on the 2015-2016 mathematics/Algebra I assessment.

The 2015-2016 school year marked the first for the Mississippi Assessment Program (MAP) after the state broke from the Common Core testing consortium PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers).

The MAP test measures student progress in grades 3 through 8 with annual tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics, along with high school Algebra I and English II.

A team of teachers and content area experts met in July to determine the raw cut scores for each test in each grade. For example, an 8th grader must make a raw score of 55 out of 71 to 73 points on the English Language Arts test to be considered “advanced.” A “proficient” cut score falls at 43, a “pass” at 29, and a “basic” at 22. Any score under 22 would qualify as a “minimal” score.

Results from the 2015-2016 MAP English assessments

Mississippi Department of Education

Results from the 2015-2016 MAP English assessments

J.P. Beaudoin, chief of research and development at the state education department, said the MAP results “correlate very closely” to the state’s results from PARCC last year.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the 4 and 5 (proficient and advanced) scores,” state education superintendent Carey Wright said.

Wright noted that schools must use the data to focus on those students who scored at the lowest level. For example, on 6th grade English Language Arts, more than 16 percent scored at the lowest level on the test, while around 24 percent scored basic, or level 2.

“Who are these children?” Wright asked.

The MAP test will eventually be used as the test 3rd graders must pass to continue to the 4th grade. If MAP had been used to determine promotion to 4th grade this year, some 35 percent of 3rd graders would be at risk for repeating a year.

2015-2016 was the second year students have been tested on the Common Core-linked College and Career Ready Standards, which the state adopted in 2010.

School districts will receive the preliminary data on Tuesday for review. The state-level results will then be presented to the state board of education on Aug. 18.

  • Otis

    How much did the state spend on this and how will these scores be used to help the school children who took the test?