The Maryland School Assessments got underway this week - and students in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties are hard at work with reading and math tests.
The timing may have been a little tough for some, though. The two-week testing window started on Monday, March 12 — in other words, the day after we lost an hour to Daylight Saving Time. Some students are still looking for it, apparently, while trying to stay awake for their high-stakes tests. Montgomery school officials said they’ve heard from parents who were concerned about the timing of the test.
Maryland’s standardized exams are given earlier than others in the
region. Testing doesn’t start until next month in the District and Virginia.
“It is difficult to schedule exams on a statewide basis, and it would be wonderful if we [could] schedule them at a time that pleases everybody,” said William Reinhard, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Education in an e-mail.
“We’d also like to be able to be assured that all students are healthy that week; that they aren’t scheduled to leave on a spring trip with their families,” he said.
The Maryland assessment office only received one complaint about the start time, he said. And school systems had the option to start testing on Tuesday, which Prince George’s County did.
Under the 2002 No Child Left Behind Law, students must be tested in grades three through eight and once in high school.
The results of those tests are used to determine the relative success of schools — based on a goal that 100 percent of students should pass reading and math tests by 2014. How the scores will be evaluated this year may change, though.
Maryland is one of two dozen states that has applied for a waiver for parts of the federal law, which many have called unrealistic, but Congress has not yet revised. Eleven states have already received waivers.
The Washington Post has an on-line database of the passing rates for all Maryland schools on the 2011 state tests in reading and math, if you want to look up your schools scores.