Were those MSAs really shorter?
We received a response from the Maryland State Department of Education concerning the post last week about the length of the Maryland School Assessments now underway.
Yes, those teachers who thought the tests were shorter were right. The reading MSA was slighly shorter than last year by about six to nine minutes, depending on the grade being tested. The state department's spokesman, William Reinhard, said that's because officials did not need to "field test" as many items as last year. Every year the state adds questions that won't be counted in the result to see if they work. If they do, the questions will be used on subsequent tests.
So what was the difference? For third graders, the first day of testing was about five minutes shorter and the second day was four minutes shorter.
There was no change in the length of the math sections.