Are Local Districts Ready for an All-Online MEAP Replacement?
Recent technology upgrades should allow most Macomb Township districts to test their students entirely online by 2014-15.
Called Smarter Balanced, the exam was produced by The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a state-led effort to provide consistent and comparable standards, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, in English language arts, literacy and mathematics.
The new test will replace both the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) and the MEAP in all subjects except social studies and science.
Although districts will have a paper and pencil option for the first three years, the state's goal is to have as many students as possible taking the test online by 2014-15.
While a district does not have to test all its students at the same time–there is a 12-week window–some will need to make significant technology upgrades.
So will Macomb Township's school districts be ready by 2014-15?
New Haven Community Schools
"Regarding MEAP, yes, we're ready technologically. Because we're a small school district, we have a much better ratio of computers to students," said Superintendent Keith Wunderlich. "In the past two years we have added a tremendous amount of new technology.
"Unlike the MEAP, the new test doesn't have to be done at the exact same minute in every school. So, we have some time to move students in and out of labs, or to move lap top carts. Our wireless was upgraded this year, also. I don't see any problems doing this for New Haven. We're ready right now."
Utica Community Schools
"There is funding for this project available to districts as part of the governor’s budget that is working its way through the legislative process," said Tim McAvoy, director of community relations. "Providing that funding (is) available, we are hopeful that we would be able to move toward the implementation of the on-line assessments."
L'Anse Creuse Public Schools
In recent years, L'Anse Creuse has made significant technology upgrades, but community relations director Michelle Irwin said the district won't know for sure if it can make the full transition in 2014-15 until all details regarding the new test are finalized at the state level.
Chippewa Valley Schools
Although Superintendent Ron Roberts could not be reached for comment Monday, the district has made significant technology upgrades in recent years to increase its computer-to-student ratio.