Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced today the state will not administer the Direct Writing Assessment (DWA) and Direct Math Assessment (DMA) in the upcoming school year.
Superintendent Luna will take a proposal to the Idaho State Board of Education in June to make the discontinuation of these assessments permanent.
“As we move toward the next generation of assessments, we have to look at the value of the assessments we currently have,” Superintendent Luna said. “The Direct Writing and Direct Math Assessments have served their purpose. Now, to continue moving student achievement forward in the future, we must focus on improved assessment tools.”
As part of Common Core Standards Initiative, the State Department of Education is working with 30 other states across the nation to evaluate our current assessment tools and work on developing the next generation of assessments that will be aligned to common core standards in math and reading and better assist classroom teachers in improving student achievement. The Common Core Standards are still subject to approval by the State Board and Legislature.
The DMA and DWA are annual assessments that have been administered each fall for more than 15 years. The assessments require Idaho students to demonstrate their knowledge of standards through tasks. Students in fifth, seventh and ninth grades take the DWA. Students in fourth, sixth and eighth grades take the DMA.
In previous years, the assessments have been used to help classroom teachers identify areas in which students are struggling in writing and math immediately so they can give students the assistance they need. The scores are not part of No Child Left Behind or the calculation of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
The State Department of Education will still make assessment prompts for the DWA and DMA available each year to those local school districts and public charter schools that choose to continue using the DWA and DMA to guide instruction.
In total, the DWA and DMA cost an estimated $250,000 a year to administer and score statewide.
The most recent results of the DMA and DWA show Idaho students are continuing to improve in math and writing.
On the DMA, results show Idaho students are performing better across all three grades. In fourth grade, for example, 64 percent of students are performing at or above grade level, compared to 56 percent the previous school year.
On the DWA, Idaho’s ninth grade students performed better in writing than the previous year with 81 percent of students scoring at or above grade level, compared to 73 percent the previous year.
Please visit the State Department of Education’s web site to review results for the DMA and DWA in your school or district.
~ Melissa M.