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Michigan lawmakers stall plan to replace MEAP with new exams

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G.
Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.

One of the many decisions made by state lawmakers during their budget actions last week was to keep the MEAP in place for another year.

The more than 40-year-old MEAP exam stays put even though Michigan adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. And the state's education department has been working for the past three years to bring in the new testing that is aligned to the Common Core. That new test is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

The state lawmakers' recent decision could mean that educators and students have to hit the reverse button and go back to MEAP. But State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in April that the MEAP was simply “not an option."

Brian Smith has been reporting on the Common Core and Smarter Balanced vs. MEAP tussle. He said that as the issue moved forward, the Department of Education started to talk to testing vendors and see what could possibly be done.

“Lawmakers had said that they understood this was not necessarily going to be the MEAP everyone’s been taking in the last 40 years. It is going to have to be a new MEAP that reflects some of the new changes."

However, Smith pointed out some lawmakers are hesitant about adopting the new Smarter Balanced test because of the way the test is administered and its content.

Because Smarter Balanced uses a computer adaptive format, its technology requirements, such as computer devices needed and Internet bandwidth, can mean that the new test will twice as long to administer compared to the traditional MEAP test. Legislators are also concerned how much control Michigan will have over the content of the new test.

Smith says next year the Department of Education will have to figure out how and when to give out the test.  

*Listen to the full interview above.

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