Teachers and administrators at John B. Lange Middle School want students to know what it feels like to take the MAP test — so they recreated the testing environment for a mock exam on Wednesday.
“It’s a scrimmage,” said Tom Schlimpert, principal at Lange Middle School. “We want to put them in a game-day situation.”
The practice test familiarizes students with the test to prepare them for the Missouri Assessment Program tests, or MAP tests, they will take this spring.
Schlimpert said the staff is anxious to get the students to perform well and meet the federal requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act.
All seventh grade students took the test Wednesday.
Sixth grade teachers were offered the option to give the mock MAP test or to teach their students test-answering skills.
Sixth graders do not take the actual MAP test.
A mini-mock test was administered in January to get Lange students used to the MAP format and to answer constructed response questions connected to the language arts curriculum.
Stacy Cooper, Lange’s literacy specialist and co-author of the mock test, said all of the skills on the test are part of the school’s curriculum.
Students have been working with language arts and reading teachers to sharpen their figurative language, mood and constructed response skills.
Teachers have been requiring students to answer constructed response questions in their daily lessons, which connect to both reading and writing objectives in the district’s curriculum.
On the MAP test, students are provided reading passages and then asked critical thinking questions that they must answer.
A constructed response requires a student to think at a higher level, Cooper said.
“Many times the answers to constructed response questions require inferential thinking and must include textual support,” Cooper said in an e-mail.
Staff at Lange have taken other steps besides the mock MAP test to help their students perform better.
Chris Hubbuch, co-author of the mock test, has been working with seventh-grade students to discuss past MAP test achievement data.
“Students spend the rest of the session discussing and analyzing the data in a Socratic seminar format,” Hubbuch said in an e-mail.
A Socratic seminar format is a highly structured group discussion in which students are divided into two groups, with one group discussing and the other listening, he said.
The mini-mock test in January produced varied results, and teachers have used the specific information from their students to work on troubled areas.
The MAP test is scored on a point system created by the Missouri State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
According to the state agency’s Web site, if the question asks a student to “Use details and/or examples from the article to support your explanation,” then a student who responds with at least two details and/or examples from the article that support their answer will receive two points, while a student providing one detail and/or example will only receive one point.
Elementary schools in the district use mock MAP tests geared toward specific grades, and the test created by Lange was passed on to the other two middle schools in the district.
MAP testing will be held April 4-22.