This April, Freshmen and Sophomores participated in the new statewide standardized testing.
The AMP test, or the Alaska Measures of Progress test, replaced SBAs, shocking students all over Dimond.
Because the state adopted new standards in June 2012, the test was developed to see if students reach those standards.
“Ultimately, this test has a couple of functions. The first one is to provide detailed information about our students abilities in both language arts and math. In addition to that, it provides us with a report card, essentially, about how well we are educating students in English language arts and math,” Frank Hauser said.
Hauser is the assistant principal for curriculum at Dimond.
“I don’t know if the state necessarily wanted the standards to change, but I think they were looking for options for a new test that wasn’t paper based,” Hauser said.
Unlike the SBA, AMP is taken on the computer.
Although we live in a generation where technology is a major part of our lives, some students were not fans of the test being on the computer.
“I think one of the main reasons why it’s on the computer instead is because of the ability to eventually provide computer adaptive testing, which allows the computer to change depending whether the student answers the question correctly,” Hauser said.
Freshman Hannah Goodrum said, “My AMP experience was frustrating. Some of the questions were not specific in what they were asking and a few times they were repeated. I also didn’t like the online calculator or reading off of the computer screen. It made my retinas hurt.”
Freshman Michael Perkins said, “I hated taking the test on the computer. It made everything even more difficult and my calculator stopped working during the math test and I didn’t know what to do.”
Goodrum experienced technical difficulties as well.
“My computer stopped working all together. After I went to the part that teachers can view it, my screen froze and turned black. Waiting for it to be fixed added a significant amount of time to my testing time,” Goodrum said.
In addition to the major difference of not being taken on paper, testers are given several paper tickets throughout the test, which have a different test code for each section.
Both tests consist of several sections. After a student finishes a section, the proctor has to come around and see that the student answered each question, and then gives the student permission to continue.
“The paper tickets were terrible. Although they provided a break it harmed my focus because I would have to stop and wait. One proctor can only do so much,” Goodrum said.
Students are tested on two subjects, language arts and math.
The content of the test was a controversial topic among students.
“This test was much more rigorous than the previous state testing. The math was much harder and I don’t believe that is simply because we are at a higher math level. The questions were very advanced and even surpassed what we had been taught in class. No amount of studying can prepare you if you don’t know what you need to study for,” Freshman Isaiah Mills said.
“For an average student, it was definitely too hard. As an Algebra 2 student, I found myself answering questions I had only learned how to do this year, so it was a really hard test,” Goodrum said.
“I don’t know how the content of the test was decided. It was developed in Kansas City and they provided the content of the test,” Hauser said.
What differences the test will have following this year is relatively unknown, but students at Dimond have an idea about what should be improved.
“They could make it more user friendly and more inclusive to everyone’s skills. They should’ve had better ways of administering the test. The way they did it caused a lot of missed class time and provided an opportunity for students to cheat,” Goodrum said.
“Something needs to change, either with the teaching or testing style,” Mills said.
“I don’t know what will change next year. We’ll provide feedback for what we saw, areas that were successful and areas that could be modified, in both the delivery and test,” Hauser said.
Students can expect to get their results in the beginning of the 2015 school year, approximately around October.