I remember it well.
I was a young curriculum director and the girls (Courtney and Amber) were in elementary school. They're both in college now, so you can gain perspective of how long the MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) test has impacted all of us.
I reminded Lori that I had a meeting that evening for parents regarding … the MEAP. Our message at Vestaburg back then was that the MEAP is a snapshot of how students are doing at this specific time. At this specific time, the MEAP was given in the spring so it more effectively measured the current learning year. (It's no longer that way as it's given in October and measures the previous year's learning — after a three–month break). At least, I thought that's what our message was, anyway.
Young Amber threw her backpack literally down the hallway and scream/shouted, "MEAP! MEAP! MEAP! I'm so tired of hearing about the MEAP. I don't ever want to hear it again."
It was then that I discovered how stressful the annual test is for kids … and teachers. I called together the superintendent, the principals, and some others and expressed my concern that we shouldn't be stressing everyone out. We shouldn't be doing extra special breakfasts and orange juices just because it was MEAP time. If an extra special breakfast or juice is good during MEAP — it was good every day.
I'll be quoted in the Cadillac News today regarding MEAP. My message has remained the same. The MEAP is a snapshot. It's a view of where our kids are in their learning on a particular day on a particular test. We also use AimsWeb, NWEA, and teacher created pre– and post–tests among other checks on learning (some formative, some summative). Kids are not a product. Kids are our future.
Despite some MEAP anxieties, they turned out okay (Amber, Lori, and Courtney). I don't know if Lori ever had to take the MEAP but she gives it to 7th and 8th graders every year!