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Teachers: MAP testing means more parental involvement

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Updated: 8/20/2013 10:46 pm
ABERDEEN, Miss. (WTVA) -- More than 200 people filled the auditorium at Belle Elementary School Tuesday.

The reason: information that teachers say needs to be passed along to parents and students about what's called MAP testing.

"It starts where the child is instructionally and kind of shows the teacher where they are now and gives us an idea of where they need to go," gifted teacher Sheila Westbrook said.

Essentially what MAP testing does is hold each student accountable for their performance in that grade with four tests a year.

If a kindergarten student doesn't meet the minimum number grade required on the aptitude test at the end of the school year, that student is held back.

That means schools would no longer have situations where, for example, a fifth-grade student would have a second-grade reading level.

The Aberdeen School District, still under state control, is no stranger to that.

"They are trying to raise that level and get those kids caught up. We did have a lot of low-achieving students and we need to get them caught up to the next level," Westbrook said.

Teachers there are fully behind it, but they say they need the parents' support.

"All kids do not learn alike," parent Devonshae Hogan said.

Hogan said she's concerned about these stricter test standards for her child, who has ADHD.

"It's affecting kids with learning disabilities period because they're not looking at the disability," Hogan said. "They're looking at what the state law says. The state law should have come up with something with the kids that have learning disabilities, too."

Westbrook said if a child already has a 504 or IEP plan in place, there are exceptions to the testing.

For the general population, though, the new policies stand.

And teachers say parents will need to work with their children more.

"I think it's great because it's making the kids learn," parent Patrice McMillian said. "You have to start at home as well as in the school."

The testing takes effect for kindergarten through eighth grade at schools in the Aberdeen School District.

Some parents said they were against the change because some students don't test well, and the new requirements might be coming too soon for a district still under state control.

School officials say most parents seemed to appreciate what the state is doing, though.
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