Welcome to the Montana Alternative Student Testing Pilot Program!


The Montana OPI is working to develop an improved assessment system that will accurately reflect the needs of our students, teachers, and administrators while providing useful flexibility in terms of test administration.  The vision of the Montana Assessment Student Testing (MAST) Pilot is to implement “through year” assessments across the state that can eventually replace the traditional end-of-year state summative assessments and satisfy federal testing requirements.

The ultimate goal with the “through year” model is to support the formative instructional process that is closer to the local decisions required to support teaching and learning needs.  Rather than a single end-of-year assessment, the test will be broken up over the course of the academic year.

The “Through-Year Assessment” design benefits students, teachers, parents, and administrators by providing actionable data at the beginning of the school year and by providing a meaningful model of student growth over the academic school year (i.e., with-in year so teachers can act as opposed to between years).  Another goal for the design feature is to allow districts to flexibly align testing with local scope and sequence offering coherence with the taught curriculum.

To learn more about this initiative follow these links and to learn more about the OPI’s existing end-of-year state summative assessments, visit the OPI Statewide Testing Page.

Montana Alternative Student Testing (MAST) Pilot Program; Map of Participating districts

Participants:  Need Help?

Jump to the Participant Tool Kit

 Questions?

Jump to FAQs

 


About the MAST Pilot Program

Pilot Design, Development, and Delivery

Pilot Design, Development, and Delivery

The MAST Pilot Program has developed pathways to reform the traditional testing system while preserving local control and ensuring that the federally mandated summative assessments can both provide flexibility and meaningful, instructionally relevant data. 

Stakeholder Engagement

The State of Montana and the OPI are highly invested in stakeholder engagement. The serendipitous alignment of goals with Education First, New Meridian, and the Federal Grant system has created a team of brilliant education specialists who are all aligned in improving the assessment system in our great State. 

Stakeholder input is critical to the development of the "Through-Year Assessments" system. It is the duty and responsibility of the OPI to seek public input as the OPI exists to serve the Montana Community. With that in mind, the State of Montana contracted the Center for Assessment to develop a Theory of Action through input from Montana administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other community leaders. Visit the Theory of Action Math and ELA Task Force Google Site for more information. 

The Montana OPI received letters of support in recognition of these efforts from: 

OPI Priorities

Re-imagine the educational system to help each student reach their full educational potential. 

  • Support meaningful innovation in educational assessment through statewide assessments that are closer to the student and teacher and measure student growth over the academic year (or within a year) to drive interventions and accelerate student learning.

 

Create a system that is local-led not state driven.

  • Empower districts to determine what tools are best to measure student learning.
  • Allow districts to identify assessments that best serve their students [on an individual level] and help educators drive necessary supports and interventions.
  • Grant local flexibility to provide more opportunities to focus on learning.

 

Create a formative system structured to continuously improve teaching and learning and to inform education policy [ARM 10.56.101(2)].

  • Provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge and skills.
  • Yield actionable feedback during instruction to help adjust ongoing teaching and learning strategies and improve students’ attainment of curricular learning goals.
  • Allow students to have ownership and autonomy in their learning.

 

Leverage what’s already in place to serve learning and teaching needs and fulfill state and federal reporting and accountability requirements.

  • Provide an integrated approach to meeting both classroom learning needs and school and state-level information needs [ARM 10.56.101(2)].  

 

Yield data that is actionable and timely to serve teaching and learning needs [ARM 10.56.101(2)]. 

  • Provide meaningful and transparent information on learning to students, parents, educators, and principals to understand and address the specific academic needs of students [34 CFR 200.8(a)(1)(ii)]. 
  • Provide parents and teachers information in an understandable format as soon as practicable after the assessment is given to ensure they have the best information to improve outcomes.  

 

Permit data collection that is closest to the classroom [student and teacher] to inform teaching and learning.  

  • Aggregate data up from 3 critical points in time across the school year [e.g., fall-winter-spring]. 
  • Accurately measure grade-level proficiency and progress within the academic year. 
  • Ensure multiple measures of proficiency so that no single data point serves as an indicator of student success.  

 

Ensure the assessments are time-limited to balance instructional time and the need to gather information about student learning.   

  • Districts are overburdened with assessments that don’t yield actionable data, whereas, the “through-year” model is more aligned to the data points that educators require to apply supports and interventions that can drive student learning.  

 

Maintain a commitment to ensuring all students are provided with high-quality access to educational services and needs. 

  • Data must support the mission of serving all students and directing resources where they are most needed.

Why Change the Current System?

The Montana OPI is working to develop an improved assessment system that will accurately reflect the needs of our students, teachers, and administrators while providing useful flexibility in terms of administration. The OPI will utilize a new assessment model that supports “Through-Year Assessment” design. That is, rather than a single end-of-year assessment, the test will be broken up over the course of the academic year.

A “Through-Year Assessment” design benefits students, teachers, parents, and administrators by providing actionable data at the beginning of the school year and by providing a meaningful model of student growth over the academic school year.

SY2022-2023: Grades 5 and 7

New Meridian will implement the MAST Pilot Program starting in the summer of 2022. New Meridian will assist the OPI with piloting the “Through Year Assessment” in Grades 5 and 7 during the 2022-2023 school year. 

This means the OPI will continue to use Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment for the SY2022-2023. It is the OPI’s responsibility to maintain the end-of-year state summative assessment that meets federal requirements until the OPI can demonstrate to the U.S. Department of Education that the system can be fully operationalized across all tested grades, students, and Montana schools.

Funding

This ambitious initiative will be supported by multiple funding sources, including a private grant from Education First that is supporting the first phase of development. The federal Competitive Grants for State Assessments (CGSA) funds awarded to the OPI will put key delivery mechanisms in place, build educator capacity, and accelerate the timeline toward statewide implementation.

In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the Montana Office of Public Instruction the Competitive Grants for State Assessments (CGSA) program. The purpose of this program is to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and assessment systems used by States for measuring the academic achievement of elementary and secondary school students. It is authorized by section 1203(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). 

The Montana grant application focuses on:

Evaluating student academic achievement through the development of comprehensive academic assessment instruments (such as performance and technology-based academic assessments, computer adaptive assessments, projects, or extended performance task assessments) that emphasize the mastery of standards and aligned competencies in a competency-based education model.

MAST Pilot ToolKit

Training Materials


 

Install Guides and Supported Systems


Standards and Manuals:


Support Contacts:

  • Platform and Technical Questions:

    • KITE Support Desk: (855) 277-9752

      • Hours during 2-week live administrations: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. MST

      • Hours year-round: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. MST

    • kite-support@ku.ed

  • Questions about content or program:


Testing Windows:

  • Testing Window #1: November 7-18, 2022
  • Testing Window #2: January 17-30, 2023
  • Testing Window #3: March 2023: TBD
  • Testing Window #4: April 2023: TBD

Frequently Asked Questions

Team

Education First

New Meridian

Center for Assessment

Montana Technical Advisory Committee

The OPI

 


OPI Staff are here to help:

Samantha Walsh, Project Manager

Sharyl Allen, Deputy Superintendent

opipilot@newmeridiancorp.org