Freshmen and sophomores are now able to receive exemptions on their English and math exams this school year, depending on their Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test scores.
Principal Bradley Roberson developed a new policy that states if a student’s test scores were in the 80th percentile, which would be a score of 235 or higher for English and a 247 or higher for math, or they showed some growth in their scores, then they would be eligible to exempt their semester and/or final exams.
Roberson said that in the fifteen years that he was worked with OHS, students have never been able to exempt a semester exam for a year-long class.
“I think that it (MAP scores) will be the most accurate representation of the reading and math ability of our ninth and tenth grade students that we’ve had since starting the NWEA MAP assessment, simply because now they are motivated to do their best,” Roberson said.
In past years, some students students would speed through the test without worrying about the score, which altered the data of the school’s academic growth, according to English teacher Sommer Husbands.
“I expect to see fewer students simply clicking through the test and finishing in under 10 minutes. Such a practice obviously provides no legitimate measure of ability,” Husbands said. “In order for data to be viable, we need an accurate measure of student ability. We will have a better chance of getting that when students know there is something waiting across the finish line.”
Sophomore Nature Rucker believes that students have not tried on the test because they were not offered anything that would persuade them to.
“The best way to get someone to do something is if they get a reward,” Rucker said.
Roberson noticed this, so he created this policy to prompt students to work harder on the standardized test to give an accurate portrayal of the academic growth at Oxford High.
“We wanted to do something to motivate the freshmen and sophomores to do their best on the NWEA MAP assessment because we had noticed in previous years that it was evident that they hadn’t tried very hard,” Roberson said.
After hearing about the new exemption proposal, students began to get a little more excited about taking their MAP assessments.
“I know already that the policy has made many students pretty happy, knowing that they will not have to take my exam in December and likely will be able to escape the final in May,” Husbands said. “They are definitely more concerned with their performance on the test now.”