Parents learn to map out progress

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:07 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

Parents have two opportunities tonight to discuss coming Missouri Assessment Program tests and the No Child Left Behind Act, a federal act initiated by President Bush that set annual goals for standardized test scores.

The Columbia chapter of the National Education Association is hosting a MAP informational session from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Hickman High School commons, and the MU chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, the professional association for educators, will discuss the federal act from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Lee Room of Dulaney Hall at Columbia College. Both are open to the public.

Speakers at Hickman will address each stage of the testing process, from student preparation to understanding the results next fall. They also will discuss what role the No Child Left Behind Act plays in MAP testing.

“It will be good that parents understand what the scores mean when they come out in the fall,” said Monica Miller, president of the Columbia chapter of NEA.

Craig Diggs, a fourth-grade teacher at Paxton Keeley Elementary school, will discuss how he prepares his students for MAP testing. Diane Audsley, a literacy specialist at Paxton Keeley, scores the communication arts tests and will explain that process. DeeAnn Aull, Missouri’s NEA teaching and learning director will talk about understanding the scores.

Aull will address subgroups, how scores show progress and how they fit into the bigger picture of Annual Yearly Progress goals and standards set by the federal act.

Miller said a few parents volunteered to take the practice test before the meeting and share their experiences.

“I have one parent who’s allowing me to share her scores,” she said.

Parent’s reactions varied, but Miller said the overall sentiment was that they now have a better understanding of how to support their children.

Columbia students in third, seventh and 11th grade will be tested in communication arts. Fourth, eighth and 10th graders will be tested in math. The testing period is April 4 to 22.

Phi Delta Kappa’s meeting will be a round-table discussion of the policies under the federal act. The education fraternity meets at various times throughout the year to discuss issues in the field.

“We’ll be discussing the pros and cons of No Child Left Behind,” said Phyllis Cope, president of the MU chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.

The limit for discussion topics is endless, Cope said, with possibilities both local and national.

Mike Alexander, a representative from the Department of Secondary Education, will speak about current issues involving the federal act and the meeting will split into small groups.

Educators and administrators from Columbia also will be present, to guide discussion and field questions.

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