Students Will Have to Re-Take Part of MEAP

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

The article at the center at the controversy was a feature story on the front page of the local section of the Cit-Pat Tuesday. It featured a big picture of a little girl taking the MEAP at Hunt Elementary and a headline "Testing Time." It was published on the Internet too.

The real problem was the 2nd and 3rd paragraph of the article--a description of fifth grader James Ransom's essay on "someone he's thankful for". That was the question posed to fifth graders.

The following sentence says the sixth grade prompt was on being part of a team.

"We couldn't take any chances," Michigan Department of Education spokesperson Martin Ackley says of the department's decision to re-test all 5th and 6th graders. He says it's too hard to know who may have seen the article, and it's an unfair advantage. He says it compromises the integrity of the MEAP.

A new test is already in development for re-testing and for districts who haven't taken the MEAP. They have until October 26th.

Re-testing will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The reporter at issue, Chad Livengood, writes about how this fiasco happened on his blog called "Taking Notes."

He admits he was allowed in the classroom at Hunt Elementary school to talk to students even while others were still testing. He says he thought it odd, but trusted the teacher who let him in.

"I feel bad about the problems this simple feature story has caused," he writes. "I apologize for any problems this story created, but I'm not an expert on MEAP rules and I rely heavily on school officials to tell me what the classroom access boundaries are."

Ackley says the state wishes the reporter and editor knew the gravity of the error before they published it, but he says it is ultimately the district's responsibility to follow the rules related to test taking. A photographer should not have been allowed in, the reporter also should not have been in the room, and the questions should never have been discussed.

The state is investigating Jackson Public Schools. A district spokesperson declined to comment.

There are about 260,000 5th and 6th graders in Michigan. It's impossible to know how many have to be retested. That should happen before October 26.

The Cit-Pat's editor Eileen Lehnert spoke only to the Associated Press. She told them, "We had no idea we were doing something that could hurt the school, the district or the state... It was supposed to be a positive story and it's turned into a fiasco." She says the paper didn't know districts had yet to test, and she wonders why that is allowed if a breach of security causes this kind of trouble.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Cathy Location: Mid-Michigan on Oct 13, 2007 at 07:04 AM
    Tests are hard enough for any student as it is. And the MEAP tests just make it worse. My daughter has already taken this portion of the test and is very disappointed that she had to retake it. Now schools are going to waste time restesting, when they could be doing something else with their learning!?! I don't feel that all MI taxpayers should have to pay to reprint the new tests. Why should we all get penalized for something that we had NOTHING to do with? Maybe the teacher, the principal and the reporter should split the cost? I don't see why we all should be responsible for the teachers lack of knowledge and breaking the rules. I think they all owe every 5th and 6th grader in the state an apology in person!
  • by Gary Spalding Location: Grand Ledge on Oct 12, 2007 at 07:20 PM
    are you kidding me! how many students read the news paper the next day. the meap test should be droped anyways I guess the state has a lot of money to spend and the so called state shut down was just a joke!
  • by Matt Location: Lansing on Oct 12, 2007 at 01:55 PM
    The MEAP is pointless, and causes more problems than it is suppose to fix. Mandatory testing is wrong and this whole re-test is even worse. How about you let the kids learn in school instead of wasting another couple days on taking another pointless exam.
  • by Kyle Location: Waverly East on Oct 12, 2007 at 01:44 PM
    I'm a sixth grader and I'm mad because each of the sections take about a hour or 2 to do so that get's in the the way
  • by jacob Location: waverly on Oct 12, 2007 at 12:34 PM
    as a sixth grader i HATE this and i shouldn't have to do something i already did!!!!
  • by Hawkman Location: Bronson MI on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:42 AM
    You would think with a test of this magnitude that it would be given statewide on the same day at the same time, so that if the questions are leaked it will not matter because the test will have already been taken by all.
  • by jason Location: jackson on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:24 AM
    Once more just another example of Mi. about to waste more Money!! And people wonder why we have a state budget crisis!!!!!
  • by Jason Location: Blackman Twp. on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:19 AM
    So retesting will cost Hundreds of Thousands of dollars they say. Who is going to pay that??? Im sure it will be every Tax payer in Mi. With the state already struggling financially how can we aford to pay this??? What are they going to raise our taxes once again?? Be sides that now the schools will have to waist valueable class room time to retaking part of the test. What a shame Mi.
  • by Pam Location: Jackson on Oct 12, 2007 at 11:09 AM
    It is not the first time this reporter or other reporters from the cit-pat forgot to check facts and limits. I am shocked that no one claimed responsibility. If they did, they would be held responsible for reimbursement. What ever happen to the time where it there was expect to apologize for your mistakes and not worry about the courts to deal with the messes.
  • by Tom Location: Holt on Oct 12, 2007 at 07:10 AM
    I didn't know the MEAP test had any integrity to compromise. The test is a joke right from the get go. It is designed to make kids fail. Pushed on the schools by a State Board of Education that only has one member who has ever been in a teaching position in an elementary classroom. What a waste of more state money that could be better used in our schools by real educators.
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