Chicago Public Schools claim to have reduced standardized testing by 15 tests this year. However, five tests said to be eliminated are still being given, and new tests have been made obligatory for all students. The full district assessment schedule can be found here. (And note that some schools are giving additional standardized tests on top of the Office of Assessment list.)
In spite of announcing that the NWEA MPG test has been eliminated, approximately half of all CPS K-2nd graders will be given the MPG test in both reading and math three times each this year:
The new assessment policy builds on the District’s April announcement of eliminating the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress for Primary Grades (MPG) assessment for kindergarten, first-grade, and second-grade students.
A devastating firsthand account of administering the NWEA MPG to a class of CPS kindergartners from a RYH parent last year can be found here.
Schools are required to choose either the NWEA MPG or the mClass TRC exams to assess literacy for K-2, and CPS recommends schools use it for an optional math assessment as well. Schools can choose different exams for K-2 literacy and numeracy, but CPS will only pay for the costs of either NWEA or mClass.
In addition, schools are more likely to choose to administer the NWEA MPG rather than the mClass exams because all children can be tested at once. The severe budget cuts this year mean little or no funding for using substitutes to allow teachers to test children one-on-one. And, even though CPS presents the choice between MPG and TRC as either-or, schools that do not give the TRC reading exam for a literacy test must still administer the mClass DIBELS test along with whatever other literacy test they choose.
Second graders will actually take more exams at many schools this year, rather than fewer. In addition to the K-2 literacy and numeracy assessments, the NWEA MAP test will be given to 2nd graders in the spring, and possibly in the winter. And so, many second graders will be taking literacy/English Language Arts (ELA) exams 13 times this year, along with 10 numeracy/math exams, and an undetermined number of REACH exams in other subjects (art, music, etc.).
In addition to not eliminating the MPG exam for K-2 and adding the NWEA MAP for 2nd graders, CPS has now made Common Core benchmark performance task tests required rather than optional for the winter and spring quarter exams; these are administered for all grades in reading (ELA), and some grades in math, social science, and science.
More Than A Score is encouraging all parents to get a detailed testing schedule for their child from the school principal. If you have the testing for your school, please consider sharing it with MTAS. We are hoping to get a better idea of how truly “optional”, optional district exams are, and whether additional standardized tests are being administered above the Office of Assessments’ own schedule.