Mehlville to save $47,000 by eliminating Tungsten testing at middle school level

By EVAN YOUNG

The Mehlville School District will save roughly $47,000 next year by discontinuing Tungsten testing for middle school students.

The Board of Education recently awarded a contract for an amount not to exceed $60,000 to EdisonLearning to provide Tungsten testing in grades two through five for the 2011-2012 school year.

However, because the district’s middle schools are close to achieving common assessment goals, the administration did not recommend contracting with EdisonLearning — for an estimated $47,024 — to provide Tungsten testing in grades six through eight in 2011-2012.

And Deputy Superintendent Eric Knost told the board last month that elementary Tungsten testing likely will not be recommended after the 2011-2012 school year.

Tungsten is a computer-based assessment system the district uses to predict how students will perform on the annual Missouri Assessment Program, or MAP, test.

“Our research shows us that any student who receives an 80 percent three months or more is going to score ‘proficient’ on the MAP test,” Assistant Superintendent-Supervision of Instruction Vicki VanLeare told the board at its May 12 meeting.

Students are given the Tungsten test monthly in communication arts and math, and educators use the data to adjust their instruction as needed. The district began using Tungsten roughly seven years ago.

Knost said, “We’re trying to get to common assessments, and our secondary schools are much farther along … They’re very close to getting there, so we’re not recommending Tungsten for the middle school at this time. We think we’re close enough …

“Of course we’re always looking for ways to save money, and the consensus of the elementary principals — there’s a continuum, if you will, of thoughts on it — but predominantly they would like to get closer to common assessments and we feel a year will get us closer to common assessments …”

Knost continued, “So the recommendation is that we stay one more year on the elementary end, go ahead and part ways on the secondary or middle-school end and most likely we will not be recommending (Tungsten) to you next year.”