State likely to dump new standardized test

JUNEAU — After almost four years of preparation and planning, plus millions of dollars in implementation, Alaska’s new standardized testing scheme appears bound for the garbage can less than two months before students take it the second time.

Lisa Skiles Parady, director of the Alaska Superintendents Association, told the Alaska School Board that a majority of the state’s school district leaders favor abandoning the Alaska Measures of Progress testing scheme. The AMP test was administered to Alaska students for the first time last year under a $5 million per-year contract with the Assessment & Achievement Institute of Kansas.

Parady presented the results of a superintendent survey that found only five of 42 responding superintendents favored continuing AMP testing. Twenty-three of the 42 said they do not support continuing AMP. The 42 superintendents represent about 80 percent of Alaska’s school districts.

Speaking during the meeting, state schools commissioner Mike Hanley said “there’s nobody more frustrated with AMP than I am.”

Hanley, who has been commissioner of education since 2011, oversaw three years of preparation before students took the test for the first time last year. Teachers, administrators and parents helped draft the test, which was prepared for “Alaska’s unique needs” and offered a tougher, more accurate, measurement of students’ knowledge, according to promotional material last year.

While testing went well, problems came afterward.

“We had glitches in the data, we had glitches in the timing,” Hanley said.

State likely to dump  new standardized test