SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

More Than Half of Students Have Completed the Alaska Measures of Progress


April 11, 2015
Saturday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - As of the morning of April 10, 54.7% of students statewide had completed the Alaska Measures of Progress, the state’s new assessments in language arts and math. Another 9.6% had completed at least one of the sections. The five-week testing window runs from March 30 to May 1. About 73,265 students are expected to be tested.

The computer-based tests provide built-in tools for students to use while they take the test, such as a highlighter, calculator, or sticky note. Students also can listen to the test directions being read aloud on the computer. Further tools are available for students with a demonstrated need. Paper tests are available if computer-based tests aren’t feasible.

Students adapted smoothly to the computer-based tests, said Robert Boyle, superintendent of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District. “We find students almost eager to test.”

Principals and teachers in Metlakatla said testing went smoothly with few glitches, said Eugene Avey, superintendent of the Annette Island School District. The older the student, the more easily he or she adjusted to the computer-based test, he said. Students varied in preferring a paper test or a computer-based test.

“Overall, kids seem to be adjusting to the test smoothly,” said Theresa Hamilton, the technology integration facilitator for the Bering Strait School District, which serves students in 15 communities in Northwest Alaska. Younger students said that testing is more fun on a computer than on paper, she said. Some middle school students had mixed reactions to the test but they didn’t want to go back to a paper test next year, Hamilton said.

In the first two days of testing there were some connectivity issues at a few schools but they were resolved quickly, said Kristen Mashiana, coordinator of assessment for the Bering Strait School District. “By day three we seem to have worked out the kinks,” she said.

“Anchorage is thrilled about how the first week of AMP testing has progressed,” said Jane Stuart, director of assessment and evaluation for the Anchorage School District. “Our technology performance has been outstanding and the support plans utilized are efficient for school staff. Students and staff are overwhelmingly positive about the new testing experience. We are excited to continue testing the next grade-levels.”

Starting this year, Alaska reduced the number of its grade 3-10 language arts and math assessments from three to two, and reduced the total number of test questions. Districts can break down each assessment into four sections and give one section a day of 15 to 25 questions. The tests are untimed but many students will complete each test in 2 to 3 hours.

Students’ AMP scores do not affect graduation, classroom grades, or grade promotion. Instead, the tests help identify students who need additional support to improve their learning. Students don’t pass or fail the tests. Rather, their score places them in one of four levels of achievement.

Department Seeks Educators for AMP Work Groups

The Department of Education & Early Development is recruiting educators to assist with three separate Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP) work groups that will help to shape and improve the assessment. Educator feedback will ensure that achievement levels are appropriate, text passages are authentic and sensitive to Alaska’s cultures, and assessment materials are accessible to and representative of all of Alaska’s students. Educator participation in these opportunities will help to ensure that the new AMP assessment represents the uniqueness of Alaska’s student population.

Educators from across the state will participate in the Standards Setting Workshop to establish the achievement levels of the AMP assessment in grades 3-10 for English language arts and mathematics. The workshop will be held in Anchorage on July 7-10. Panelists must participate in person. Panelists must have experience teaching in mathematics and/or ELA at the specified grade levels, be knowledgeable in the Alaska Standards, and work well as part of a team. Interested educators should complete the application to participate at:

Alaska teachers, authors, and creative writing students are invited to apply for workshops to write passages of text that may be used in the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP), for grades 3-10. The state is seeking passages with authentic Alaska voices and topics, free of bias, and sensitive to Alaska’s cultures. Participants will learn from experienced writing instructors and gain valuable writing experience while creating text passages. The workshops will feature an afternoon training session on writing for assessments, paired with guided practice and independent writing. Each participant will write several short passages and two longer passages that may be used in the Alaska Measures of Progress. Workshops will be held June 15-19 at the University of Alaska Anchorage and July 13-17 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Workshops are free but limited to 30 participants each. Those interested should complete the application to participate at: The application includes opportunities to request $500 stipends, course credit, and free campus lodging (limited).

Educators will review reading passages, English language arts items, and mathematics items that will appear on the new Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP) assessment. Educator feedback will ensure the assessment materials are appropriate and accessible for all students, free from bias and sensitivity, and respectfully representative of all Alaska students while also maintaining the integrity of the assessment content. Reviews will occur remotely via group webinar or conference call and independent, online work. Participants may review items at a convenient time within the scheduled week-long window. The following remote reviews are scheduled in 2015: June 12- 21, August 7- 16, and October 16-25. Interested educators should complete the application to participate at:

For more information about Standards Setting, Writing Workshops, AMP Item Reviews, please email

For more information about the Alaska Comprehensive System of Student Assessment email Elizabeth Davis, Assessments Administrator, at



Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


On the Web:

Parent information on the Alaska Measures of Progress

Information about Alaska Comprehensive System of Student Assessment


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Education


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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