The Research Department provided an overview of district assessments. The District has an assessment steering committee comprised of teachers, principals, Omaha Education Association members, district administration and research staff. The committee is tasked with outlining, scheduling and planning for implementation of district assessments.
District assessments serve three main purposes:
1) To measure student achievement to meet rigorous curriculum standards and communicate this information to parents.
2) To provide information to staff to improve instructional practices and meet students' needs.
3) To evaluate and to monitor the effectiveness of district curriculum and instructional practices.
The district has a legal requirement to administer some assessments based on state and federal examples. An example is the NSCAS or
Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System, which is required by the state of Nebraska.
In 2017-18, the district adopted the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. The MAP Test is given to all students in grades kindergarten through 10th grade. Students take the reading and math portion in all grade levels. Science is given to grades 3-10. This test was chosen because it met many of the criteria that the district was looking for in a district assessment. The assessment is given on a computer and is considered to be adaptive, meaning that the questions get harder or easier based on how students answer questions. This helps to give teachers and parents a better picture of exactly where a student is performing, instead of just above grade-level, at grade level or below grade level. The goal of the test is not proficiency but instead to gauge each students learning level. The assessment also measures student knowledge at the beginning, middle and end of the year.
Teachers can use the data to create lesson plans based on students learning level. The assessment then sets an individual growth goal for students. It tracks their growth, as well as if they meet the growth goal. The data can also be used for grade level comparison and to review data at the individual, school and classroom levels. MAP also meets the Rule 10 requirement from the state.
Research has taken a train-the-trainer model to ensure that all staff receive training on MAP testing. The Academic Data Representatives (ADRs) for each building are trained and then turn around and share that training and knowledge with their building. In Year 1 (2017-18) the focus was on understanding how to use the MAP system and understanding reports. Year 2 (2018-19) focus has been on informing instruction using MAP data and the learning continuum. Year 3 (2019-20) will focus on growth and student goal setting.
Some of the challenges encountered at schools has been the ability to train all staff, access to technology and the time to complete the test.
2017-18 was a baseline year for OPS students taking the MAP. However, with using the MAP test, teachers and staff can already see the percentage of positive growth and the number of students who are meeting or exceeding their growth goals.
To learn more about the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test,