The Sitka School Board heard a full report on the results of the state’s new standardized testing this week (12-1-15), but — like everyone else — will bide its time waiting to learn what the new numbers mean.
District co-assistant superintendent Sarah Ferrency delivered the report. Since this is the first year that the Alaska Measures of Progress — or AMP — has been tested, Ferrency says it’s too early to draw much from the numbers.
“The data is not rich enough to come to any big conclusions. The biggest takeaway — the only takeaway — I could really get from it, and I love to analyze data, is that we’re doing slightly better than the rest of the state.”
Ferrency stressed that Sitka — like other districts — was establishing a new baseline with the new state standards and the new tests, which are intended to improve college- and career-readiness among graduating seniors. Students — over time — will be pushed to acquire skills significantly above the grade-level standards of the past.
She said that higher standards are working elsewhere.
“Other states have done this before we have, and they are seeing growth. So it’s a little scary at the outset when we’re making this new baseline. But ultimately, if we continue to support the implementation, and do the implementation really well, then we will also grow.”
Ferrency told the board that the state Department of Education recalled the test results three times, to adjust the presentation and format of the scores. She says it’s still a work in progress.
“It is a first draft. All of these reports are first draft, and the EED (Department of Education and Early Development) recognizes that, and they are actively soliciting feedback on it. So I want to encourage everyone in this room, parents watching, parents who get their score reports at home, if you are interested, to give the EED feedback on the score reports.”
The results of Alaska Measures of Progress testing were released last month. Broadly speaking, just under half of Sitka’s students met the standards — which was not unexpected news, according to Ferrency. Parents will receive score reports for their students within the next two or three weeks.