Board Suspends Grade 8 MSPAP Pending Final State Decision

March 12, 2002
The Montgomery County Board of Education today [Tuesday, March 12] unanimously suspended the implementation of the Maryland School Performance Program (MSPAP) this year for Grade 8, pending a final decision by the state superintendent on whether the test can be suspended.

Last week, Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools, gave school districts the option of suspending the test. Yesterday, Dr. Grasmick urged school systems to delay taking final action pending ongoing activities between the state and federal government. The Board’s vote today allows the school system the flexibility to act on the state’s final decision whenever it comes.

The Board also urged the state superintendent to pursue a federal waiver that would suspend MSPAP in third and fifth grades next year in favor of assessments that provide individual student data. That action was taken in light of a disclosure by Board members today that MSPAP is made possible by a federal waiver granted in December 2000 that released the state from requirements to provide assessments of individual student progress. MSPAP provides only group level data.

The school system currently administers a variety of other tests in middle school that provide individual student data, including the state functional test in writing in Grade 8, the functional tests in reading and mathematics in Grade 7, and the Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills in Grade 6, in addition to countywide semester exams in algebra and geometry.

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