SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — School districts are hopeful they’ll see improvement in standardized test scores this year.

Schools saw Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, test scores drop last year during the pandemic. 

It’s the time of the year that students across the state are starting to take the tests again. 

Springfield Public Schools started this week and Nixa Public Schools started taking the tests last week.

“The MAP test is given to the 3rd grade through 8th grade students, and then we have some end of course exams that our high school students take,” said Dr. Josh Chastain, the Executive Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment for Nixa Public Schools.

While district leaders said the tests are important, they are focusing on more than one way to measure student learning throughout the year.

“As we look ahead to next year, the district will be implementing a universal screener,” said Stephen Hall, SPS Chief Communications Officer. “For all grades, we will be measuring how students progress at various times in the year using the same type of assessment.”

“Any time that we can have different benchmarks or pitstops across the year to really assess growth, that really is the best way to say are students learning throughout the school year and is it as successful as we want it to be,” said Chastain.

Teachers said they must keep the whole school year in mind.

“At the end of the day, we believe that our students are much more than what that test reports,” said Mandisha Hocklander, a Nixa 5th grade teacher. “We get excited by what we see day-to-day in the trenches. The little celebrations.”

“To test a student on a single day, over what they’ve learned throughout multiple years at school, is really tough to say that it really hones in on what have they learned,” said Joe Shaughnessy, a Nixa 5th grade teacher. 

School leaders said parents can help during testing by making sure students come to the tests rested and with a positive attitude.