Michigan will field test MEAP replacement

Today opens the window period for the field testing of the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests which will replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) next year. More than 120,000 students in 675 schools across the state are scheduled to participate in two field test windows.

Michigan is one of 23 states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium which produced new math and language arts tests that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The tests are computer based, but schools still without the necessary technology can use a paper and pencil version.

The goal of the field testing is to discover any problems or challenges in the questions and the process before the assessment system is launched in the 2014-15 school year. The Consortium will be especially interested in knowing whether a testing group’s technology can handle the amount of Internet traffic that is part of this new assessment process.

Whether or not Michigan will be using Smarter Balanced is in question. The Legislature passed a resolution last year authorizing funding for CCSS. That resolution also required the State Department of Education to prepare a report analyzing other assessment options besides the Smarter Balanced. The Department’s report recommended the use of Smarter Balanced.