Less than half of Alaskan students "meet standards" for English language arts and math, according to results of the new AMP test.
After weeks of delay, the state’s Department of Education released the results of the 2015 Alaska Measures of Progress tests Monday. The scores indicate the majority of students do not meet proficiency standards in English language or math skills.
Bristol Bay-area students followed that trend, with Bristol Bay Borough School District slightly exceeding the statewide results. Dillingham and Lake & Peninsula students fell just below statewide rates; and Southwest Region School District scored substantially lower.
The AMP tests, given to grades three through ten, were introduced last school year to replace the old Standards-Based Assessments (SBA).
AMP measures students’ proficiency in two areas, English Language Arts (ELA) and math. Student received scores in terms of “levels” – students scoring in Levels 1 & 2 only “partially meet standards” while Levels 3 & 4 “meet standards.”
Statewide results show about 35% of students ‘met standards” for language arts. In math, 31% of Alaskan students met standards.
In the Bristol Bay area, preliminary results for three school districts show students meeting proficiency standards at similar rates to the statewide numbers.
The Bristol Bay Borough School District had rates just above the statewide results. Of about 85 students tested, 36% scored at Levels 3/4 in ELA, and 36.5% in math.
Percentages for the Dillingham and Lake and Peninsula Districts were several points below statewide rates.
In the Lake and Peninsula Borough School District, 172 students in grades 3-10 were tested. 30.2% met standards for ELA, and 25.6% met standards for math.
Scores for Dillingham City School District indicate 25% of students met ELA standards, while 22% met math standards. 266 students were tested.
The Southwest Region School District tested 362 students, and received scores significantly lower than the state overal. Just under 4% of SWRSD students met standards in English language arts and in math.
Alaska Education Commissioner Mike Hanley has said the AMP sets a different, higher standard for Alaska students, so scores shouldn’t be directly compared to previous SBA scores.
Critics of the test say it costs valuable education dollars and classroom time, while failing to provide educators with useful information about where individual students are struggling or excelling.
The Department of Education and Early Development says school districts will begin distributing student-level reports to families later this month.