Purdy R-2 board looks at changing testing standards

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A review of pending changes in education standards provided members of the Purdy R-2 School Board with a view of what will happen after the current round of state testing concludes. Middle School Principal Janet Boys and Elementary Principal Jeff Swadley provided details during the November board meeting.

Changing standards is nothing new, Boys said. Missouri started using the Basic Essential Skills Test (BEST), a diagnostic tool, which was followed by the Missouri Mastery and Achievement Test (MMAT), a criteria test established in 1987 by the Excellence in Education Act of 1985.

The Outstanding Schools Act of 1993 led to the Missouri Achievement Program (MAP) test with more specific standards for what students should know. Initially, the tests showed growth over a span of grades. With the introduction of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, tests were given annually. In recent years the process has gotten more specific, introducing grade level expectations (GLES) and course level expectations (CLES) for upper grades.

Board members received handouts showing the Show-Me Standards developed in Missouri. Boys said teachers have shaped their curriculums around the standards, teaching specific subjects listed in the GLES and CLES so students will be ready at each grade level for tests.

Even though the process has gotten very specific, the entire process is about to be overhauled. Missouri is one of 33 states that has agreed to new standards to pursue as the No Child Left Behind Act expires. The process will result in buying new textbooks and new tests.

Boys expected some states might adopt textbook series for all the schools. Teachers may be expected to pull in other information on their own to cover the required subject matter.

"I'm uncomfortable with the change," Swadley said. "I've spent 12 years to learn how we're doing it now. We'll be learning a process to do it differently. I like what we're doing now."

Board action

Board President Randy Henderson announced filing dates for the April 5, 2011, board election. Filing for candidates will open at 8 a.m. on Dec. 14 and close at 5 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2011.

Darcy Brown, of Aurora, was hired for a speech implementor position. Brown had worked for two years at the Wheaton School District and spent the last three years at Verona Elementary School.

Administrative reports

Swadley told board members the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) had generated approximately $9,000 in its annual fundraising effort for use in the elementary school. Attendance at parent-teacher conferences ran at 94 percent.

Boys reported attendance at middle school parent-teacher conferences ran from 41 to 57 percent. High School Principal Bob Vice's report indicated 30 percent of parents attended parent-teacher conferences. Information letters sent to families were signed by 62 percent of parents.

Upcoming activities include the high school musical, "Cinderella," on Nov. 19 and 20. The all-school bonfire will be at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 23. The assembly to crown Mr. and Miss Merry Christmas will be on Dec. 2. The music program for third through fifth grades will be on Dec. 9 and the band concert will be on Dec. 16.

The next board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 20.

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