As you know, I have only been able to provide periodic updates to this blog. I have decided that this forum will become the way I will house all of my communications that occur through out the district. You will see my presentations to the Assembly, Chambers and other entities. You will see the quarterly updates I provide to the schools and also the weekly updates that are provided to the school board.
I will still conduct periodic updates specifically for the blog when an interesting topic comes up. The interesting topic I would like to comment on now has to do with assessment and the Alaska Measures of Performance, also called the AMP. The State is currently working on setting proficiency levels for this test, which is replacing the Standards Based Assessments. The AMP is the new test that is designed to measure how our students perform on the new Alaska State Standards. You may or may not be aware of the fact that 2 years ago, the State changed the State Standards for students. Since then our teachers and administrators have been working to implement the new, much more rigorous standards in our classrooms. This has been a heavy lift that has required a great deal of time and we still have more to work on.
Last spring the AMP test was administered in an online format. As with all new assessments implemented across the country that are measuring new standards, the results will be lower than we are used to. There has been a fundamental shift in the expectations for what students are supposed to know and able to do from the new standards. In comparison, during the last 14 years through No Child Left Behind, basic skills and procedures were measured. The new standards measure those skills too, but add additional requirements in reasoning, application, analysis, and communication. As our teachers, schools and district make this shift to help our students grow their achievement from this initial, baseline assessment, I encourage you to ask the schools what you can do to support student growth. I am very appreciative of the work our teachers and administrators have put in during this process and am confident that we will make the shift to fully support our students to meet the new standards, especially now that we have the baseline results.
We view this as an opportunity to better support our students as the bar has been raised for them. The higher expectations are designed to prepare students to better compete and prepare them for their future.