Suspending Grade 8 MSPAP Gives Extra Time for Teaching

March 25, 2002
Eighth grade teachers and students in Montgomery County will gain nine hours for quality instructional activities during the week of April 29 now that the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP) has been suspended this year by the state for non-Title I schools.

Since none of the school system's 35 middle schools receive Title I funding, Dr. Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools, informed the Board of Education on Friday, March 22, that he was moving forward with the previously authorized directive to suspend MSPAP in Grade 8.

"Middle school principals have already indicated that the time will be greatly appreciated by teachers who are preparing eighth graders for final semester exams and transitional activities for high school," said Dr. Weast in the update to the Board of Education.

Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, state superintendent of schools, notified all school system superintendents on Friday that the Grade 8 MSPAP will be required only in those districts with middle schools receiving federal Title I funds. She said MSPAP tests for Grades 3 and 5 will proceed as scheduled.

The Board of Education had voted unanimously on March 12 to suspend the administration of MSPAP for Grade 8 this spring, pending a final decision by the state superintendent.

"Nonetheless, the absence of MSPAP for Grade 8 does not remove the responsibility of middle school principals and teachers to provide eighth grade students with appropriate and timely measures of assessment and feedback about ongoing academic performance this spring," Dr. Weast said. "Teachers and principals will use the previously scheduled testing period during the week of April 29 for quality instructional opportunities."

According to the notification from the state superintendent, the state intends to implement a new assessment to replace MSPAP in Grades 3, 5, and 8 next year that will include individual student performance data. It also is planning to assess all students in every grade level, from Grades 3 through 8, for the 2004-2005 school year.

Details about the state's plans for MSPAP can be found at the following link:

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