Proposal would link GPA to MAP

Proponents say the idea might push students to do better on the MAP test.
Thursday, January 22, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:55 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — MAP test scores and grade-point average could be adjusted under a measure reviewed by the state House Education Committee on Wednesday.

The proposal would include a student’s MAP test score in the formula for figuring grade-point average.

Supporters say that making this link will personally motivate students to take the MAP test — one key measurement of school progress in Missouri — more seriously.

“Educators from around the state said that high school students weren’t performing as well as they could (on the test),” said the bill’s author, committee chair Rep. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield.

Results of the MAP test are becoming increasingly important under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which can determine the amount of federal funding a state’s schools receive.

“We’re concerned that teachers are being held accountable for a test that students might not be taking seriously,” said Rep. D.J. Davis, D-Odessa. “It’s a difficult thing to try and solve.”

Under the current system, school districts can link standardized test results with GPA, but supporters of the provision say that codifying the measure would make it more well-known to administrators statewide.

Some are skeptical about the effects of linking a standardized test such as MAP to something tangible like a grade-point average.

“We would urge caution because codifying it tends to create a sense of force,” said Otto Fajen, who represented the Missouri branch of the National Education Association at Wednesday night’s meeting. “It could put districts in a position where people are saying, ‘Other people are doing it, why aren’t you?’”

Also, a one-time event like the MAP test does not always produce reliable results, its critics say.

“We don’t think a student should be penalized on a single test,” Fajen said.

The committee will meet next Wednesday to vote on the bill.

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