This Howard County third-grader recently took the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program test for the first time. Here he compares MSPAP to the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills that he took last year. I HAVE taken the MSPAP and the CTBS. I don't think CTBS tested my knowledge. I only had four choices for each question. The questions were also fairly easy.
The MSPAP was much harder. You could write anything instead of just four answers. Every task has writing in it. More than half the test is writing. I think the extra snacks and extra recess and no homework encourage the kids to do well on the MSPAP. I think they should have a couple of breaks to rest their hands. It should also be spread out over more days and have less testing each day. You get tired of so much work.
The MSPAP also had fun activities like making a pulley, coloring a fish in a pattern and reading stories to do a task. We also get graded on spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation. If you circle a word you think is spelled wrong, they won't put your grade down. I don't think that is fair. A really good speller could get the same grade as a really bad speller just because the really bad speller circled a lot of the words he wrote.
Owen Dresser, 8, is the son of two Sun employees.
Pub Date: 5/18/98