Missouri education leaders to discuss new way to track student progress

Proposal to offer ‘innovation waivers’ brought by 20 school districts
missouri student tracking
missouri student tracking
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Missouri’s Board of Education is set to discuss a proposal Tuesday that would offer districts an alternative method of tracking and assessing student progress.

Currently, the state uses the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP), an annual standardized test that teachers typically have to dedicate a significant amount of time preparing their students for at the end of the academic year.

“It takes up a lot of time that could be better used for instruction,” said Mark Jones, spokesperson for the Missouri chapter of the National Education Association. “Also, by the time you get that MAP information back from testing, it’s no longer useful for the educator in the classroom; it’s too late.”

Under a policy approved by the state legislature in 2022, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education can issue “innovation waivers,” allowing districts to side-step certain state policies in order to explore a new approach.

“If this is the kind of option that will give teachers the ability to spend more time with their students, more time helping them learn, then there’s a benefit there,” said Todd Fuller, spokesperson for the Missouri State Teachers Association.

The proposal is being brought by a coalition of 20 school districts from across the state, all of which are members of the Success-Ready Students Network.

Mike Fulton is the chief facilitator for the network.

“For a number of years now, educators have been asking for a change in the assessment and the accountability designed to empower this kind of thinking,” Fulton said. “It’s exciting that we’re now to the point where we have a group of districts here to be set free to do exactly that.”

Under the proposal, districts would administer several exams throughout the school year rather than only one large test at the end of the year.

Eventually, the SRSN aims to see the end-of-the-year assessment retired altogether, but that will require a federal waiver.