State changes the testing that will impact the students

This April, students will once again take End of Course exams for English II, Algebra I, Biology I and Government, but these exams might look a bit different due to a state change in company creating and managing the tests. In addition, all juniors will not be mandated to take an ACT test due to state funding being cut for that program.

  Recently the state has changed the tests at the end of last year due to a fault in the testing blamed on Questar – the main provider for state testing.

 According to information released by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) a committee reviewing test results determined that the 2017 Algebra I and English II tests “are not suitable for establishing assessment performance trends.”

  According to counselor Tyler Richardson, the state replaced Questar with iTester. Questar soon replaced iTester with Nextera. iTester and Nextera both belong to Questar but are different programs in which Nextera is better suited for MO state testing. The school changed the tests because of Questar’s inaccurate tests last year during the EOC’s.

  “The tests have not changed, just the company.” Richardson said. “It will look and operate the same as last year’s.”

  DESE has made the change of the tests. The governor cut the funding for free ACT testing, so the ACT’s are no longer required to take as a junior or a senior. Free required ACT testing was replaced with ACT vouchers that allowed students to take the test any time they wished. Each student is only allowed one voucher their junior and senior years for a total of two vouchers. The average ACT score in 2017 for Warsaw was an 18.5.

  “I think it’s not a good idea because students should have to take it,” junior Brianna George said. “They should have to take it because they might change their mind in careers and the career might need that score when the last career choice didn’t.”

  However, other students believe that lack of mandatory ACT testing is a positive influence.

  “It relieves me from a lot of stress because I would be studying for it day and night,” junior Alli Thomas said. “It keeps me from stressing.”

  The EOC results have not been made yet, according to Randy Luebbert. This is due to the mishap on Questar’s behalf.

  “I am frustrated with the test changing because it’s the same company – nothing changed except the political change. The company Questar changed their name to Nextera so that they wouldn’t get in trouble,” Richardson said.

  The EOC for biology is a pilot test but the rest of the tests are the same.

  Mr. Luebbert stated that the EOC’s are basically based on the Missouri Learning standards and/or science standards.

  The ACT training packets and the ACT’s are given all year now but the EOC’s are only in the spring time.

  “The testing was different so not all the students had the same performance event or multiple choice test, but in all I felt the majority of my students still scored above state average,” math teacher Jowell Roellig said.

  Many students were frustrated with the Government test.

  “The timing wasn’t good on the testing, so some of the kid’s tests timed out for thirty minutes at a time. The students were frustrated but overall not bad; there’s always room for growth,” government teacher Jared Steenburgen said.

  One of the teachers said that the EOC’s from this year will be different from last year.

  “Mostly same except performance event. Blended writing this year requires students to respond to a prompt using more than one form of writing they can blend at least two genres, such as Narrative, expository, and/or argumentary. Now I have to include blended practice so that students aren’t confused about it when the EOC’s come along.

   Warsaw High school only offers summertime EOC only for the seniors that have transfered schools or the seniors that haven’t taken the EOCs yet. D.E.S.E is hiring another company to make the new summer tests, but Luebbert has no idea who the new hired company is. Now, the department of elementary secondary education said that the individual scores were just fine but cannot compare them to each other because of the previous years tests being different from the recent ones.

  For the students that did the EOC for Algebra 1 and English 2, DESE will take the district annual progress report (APR) will not include it in the progress report calculations. Status targets and progress calculations will be adjusted to accommodate the loss of two EOC’s.

  The state MSIP (Missouri school improvement plan) will do the cycle of the evaluation on the school. MSIP will take place on September 12. The district is currently on the sixth cycle.