Published Online: November 13, 2002
Published in Print: November 13, 2002, as State Journal

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Back to School

It's a perennial question: Could the average adult pass the high-stakes tests that so many states put before their students?

In Michigan, some people will get the chance to find out this week.

During the first-ever "Take the Test" week, several school districts will invite local residents to take a shortened version of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, or MEAP, test. The MEAP gauges what students in grades 4, 5, 7, 8, and 11 have learned in reading, writing, mathematics, and science.

"Take the Test" week was initiated by state education groups representing school boards, administrators, researchers, and public relations officers as a way to inform residents and get them more involved in schools.

"The more citizens know about their local schools and Michigan's high standards, the more productive our discussions about education will be," Ron Koehler, the president of the Michigan School Public Relations Association, said in a statement. "What's being taught in local classrooms and what [students] will be tested on during statewide assessments should be of interest to every resident in a school district."

Instead of the eight-hour exams students must endure, though, adults will be tested only for one hour. The abbreviated test was designed more to give test-takers a sampling of the MEAP questions and not to re-create the students' experience, Mr. Koehler said.

Others who are interested can try out a version of the test online at www.kentisd.org/takethetest.htm .

In Michigan's Oakland County, several districts planned to offer the test to about 200 local educators, businesspeople, members of the clergy, and parents, among others, on Nov. 11. Test-takers will use electronic keypads to answer multiple-choice and true-false questions.

Shelley Yorke Rose, a spokeswoman for Oakland County's regional educational consortium, said many residents might be surprised at their results, which will be available immediately.

"I would guess that many of us will be a wee bit rusty," having been out of the classroom for years, she said. "I'm hoping they will walk away with a greater awareness of the rigor of the testing students go through every year, and a better understanding of standardized testing."

—Joetta L. Sack

Vol. 22, Issue 11, Page 16

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