High school may STOP proficiency exams

Graduation requirements being revamped by school officials

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School officials have decided it's time to do away with the Student Outcomes and Proficiencies (STOP) test, which is used to measure whether Moffat County High School seniors have met proficiency levels necessary to graduate high school.

But now officials have the task of creating a new system of measuring student proficiency levels.

Assistant Superintendent of Moffat County Schools, Joel Sheridan, said the district will likely come up with a new system that draws from three areas to measure student efficiency, instead of just relying on one test.

Those areas include:

Colorado Student Assessment Program Tests (CSAP).

Measures of Academic Progress Tests (MAP).

Classroom assessments aligned with the local curriculum.

"We do not have the details of the new system yet," Sheridan said. "We decided in the meeting that we will be working on that."

Right now the Moffat County School system requires that students earn 23 credits to graduate from high school.

In addition to earning enough credits, students must score proficient on the STOP test given to them at the end of their junior year of high school.

If a student scores proficient he or she earns a "guaranteed diploma," if the student doesn't score proficient, he or she must take remediation classes recommended by high school staff.

"If you're a little weak in writing you have to take another class," Sheridan said. "You have to meet the standard or comply with remediation."

One reason the STOP test is being removed, Sheridan said, is because of a testing overload that is occurring at Moffat County High School.

The STOP test was implemented in the district before the state mandated CSAP testing in 1997.

This is in addition to SAT and ACT tests that many students aspiring to continue on to college must take.

"Now that we have the other tests this is just more on the pile," Sheridan said.

Moffat County School Board member Steve Hafey agreed.

"It's gotten to a point where we've found ourselves testbound," he said. "Kids are getting tested all the time instead of being educated."

Sheridan said the opportunity for remediation would not be discarded, the way proficiency is measured will be changed.

"We've decided we'll go with one diploma but still have staff decide what would be appropriate proficiency levels," he said. "Now we'll be looking at a body of evidence before they relied on one test."

Moffat County High School Principal Jane Krogman said that there are other ways to measure proficiency without a separate test.

"The prevalence of CSAP and other standardized tests are bringing this change about," she said. "We want to continue to remediate and set high standards, we just don't want to continue STOP testing because we have a body of evidence beyond the STOP."

Hafey said school administrators face a daunting task.

"What we don't want to do anymore is over test," he said. "It's up to the administrators to figure out what needs to be done to measure proficiency."

As for how this and next year's senior class members will be measured, Sheridan said the administrative team needs to figure out what to do fast.

"The next two years will be significant transition years," he said. "Right now we're in the process of determining what that will be like."

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