The Mineral County School District Board of Trustees is considering adding the results of Measure of Academic Progress tests to students’ report cards, in hopes it will spur students to do their best on the exams.
The MAP is a standardized test the district uses to gauge the progress of its students. The test is given three times a year — once at the start of the school year; around winter break; and at the end of the year — so teachers can draw an accurate picture of how much students are learning.
On Oct. 3, the board discussed how to use the results of the tests, but took no action. The most popular suggestion seemed to be to print the results, as well as some data about how to read them, on each student’s report card. There was also some discussion on rolling the MAP scores into students’ grades, but this ideas seemed to have less traction.
“We have to get students and parents to understand how there is a correlation between success on the MAP and success on the state testing,” said Hawthorne Elementary School principal Stephanie Keuhey.
When Walt Hackford, Schurz Elementary School principal, first took up his office in August he collected and organized the results of previous MAP tests.
“The first thing I realized when I started charting the data is that one child could go all over the spectrum from MAPs testing to MAPs testing,” Hackford said. “And the first thing I conclude from looking at data like that is that at one point they take it serious, and then the next time they don’t take it serious.
“And what good is that data for me if I see these MAP scores up and down all over the page?”
The district also briefly considered using the scores to promote students to the next grade. The idea was popular with most of the board members and administrators present, although many seemed to feel the idea had a few kinks to work out, including whether or not the MAP score should be the only factor considered in promotion.
“If we develop a policy that holds students accountable for being at grade level before moving on, that’s going to take a lot of communication at the [schools], by teachers, by the board,” said Chris Schultz, superintendent, of the idea.
“We can talk about it in a board meeting, it all sounds really good, but the practice application of that is that kids that were maybe allowed to go from third to fourth grade now cannot. And if that’s one kid, you’ve got one concerned parent. If you’ve got 60 kids in third grade and 27 don’t go on, what does that do for you? What do you do in your school the following year?”
The board also took several decisions during the meeting:
• A $7,000 agreement between the Nevada Intertribal Council Head Start program and the district was approved. The agreement will allow Head Start to reimburse the district for meals it serves to adults in Schurz.
The deal will inject thousands of dollars annually into the district’s food services program. The program, designed to be cost neutral, ran at a $125,000 deficit last year.
• POOL/PACT, the district’s insurance company, will not help pay to clean up the asbestos, mold, and lead at the historic school on 6th Street in Hawthorne. It’s still not entirely clear how much it will cost to repair the building.
The first stage of the repair will be to fix the roof, to prevent further damage, Schultz said. An initial estimate suggests it will cost $12,000 to remove or encapsulate the asbestos-ridden floor tiles at the school.
No analysis has been done to figure out what kind of mold, or how much of it, is in the school.
The district is working with Cindy Nixon of the Mineral County Council for the Arts, the building’s previous occupants, to find grant funding to make the building usable again.
• The board accepted a $99,000 grant from the Nevada Department of Education to improve its technological resources around the district, with a focus on alternative education.
The grant will pay for 25 new computers and headsets; allow the district to expand testing software; and triple quadruple internet speed in the district, Schultz said.
The grant will also save the district $15,000 during the next two years.
• A request from Tarita Waseta of Schurz to allow her child to go to school in Lyon County was denied by a unanimous vote.