New Tests Bring Challenges

Due to the new AMP (Alaska Measures of Progress) testing, this year’s standardized testing season could prove to be one of the more unfamiliar and difficult.

The AMP tests will replace the Standards Based Assessments and instead of taking a pencil and paper type approach, the AMP tests will instead be electronic and taken online.

Another interesting fact about the AMP is that it will eventually use a new type of mechanic called Computer Adaptive Testing.

Adaptive testing is where depending on the answer chosen by the student, the next question will either be easier or more difficult, which most Dimond students had never been seen before.

Since this is the first year the Anchorage School District has implemented the new testing, there are many questions that will no doubt be asked.

Frank Hauser, the Dimond Assistant Principal for Curriculum, was willing to answer some of these questions.

Hauser mentioned that due to the fact that not all students are able to take the new computerized tests at the same time, the Anchorage School District allocated more money in order to provide the new ChromeBooks needed for testing.

According to Hauser, “The estimated costs of these new devices amounted to an estimated $1.3 million dollars.” An even bigger hit to the budget cuts already performed this school year.

Hauser also mentioned that this year’s testing window for the AMP tests is two weeks per grade, with a one-week overlap between ninth and tenth graders.

Hauser said, “This year’s tests will, however, not be computer adaptive and instead will resemble the former SBA’s way of choosing questions, which consisted of all test-taking students to answer the same questions.”

Hauser said, “Since this year is the first to have this new type of testing, this test will serve mainly as a ‘baseline’ for future tests, and will likely be used to compare with forthcoming tests.”

Dimond counselor Robert Hartley lent his knowledge as to what the AMP scores will be used for.

Hartley said, “The AMP test scores will go on the Zangle website, similar to the SBA scores from previous years, but will not appear on a student’s transcript.

“The usage of the AMP scores will be similar to what the SBA scores were used for, such as class-level placement, but will be somewhat influenced by outside forces.”

Hartley said.

By “outside forces,” Hartley meant factors such as how well a student is performing in his/her classes, their overall GPA, and so forth.

From this, Hartley implies that while the new tests will move to a modernized environment, their purposes will be comparable to those of past tests.

Hartley also mentioned that even though the AMP tests will replace the SBAs, current sophomores will still be required to take the science SBA at a different date from the AMP testing window.

“Each subject of the AMP test, both mathematics and language arts, will take an estimated 90-150 minutes, comparable to the length of SBA testing days,” Hartley said.