The Michigan Educational Assessment Program Test (MEAP), isa standardized multiple choice test. This paper will focuson the Winter 1999, 5th grade MEAP test that concentrates onsocial studies and writing. THE PURPOSE OF THE MEAP TEST The purpose of the MEAP test is to provide informationon the status and progress of Michigan essential skillseducation to the State Board of Education. Often the MEAPis used for purposes other than its intended use. ManyRealtors use the scores to help sell houses in a certaindistrict. Districts will jolt to out perform one another. Custody lawyers updated their files, ready to convincecustomers and judges that one school district was betterthan another. The state was also using the MEAP results asthe main criteria for accrediting schools, a procedure thatcan affect state aid. (Columbia Journalism Review pg.).PROBLEMS WITH THE MEAP TEST Our society is made up of many different races, ethnicbackgrounds, religions, etc. It is difficult to make a testthat will have information contained in it that is familiarto all these types of people. Many people feel that theMEAP test is bias against certain ethnic groups (MultipleChoice Tests). This is one of the biggest arguments againstStandardized testing. Many people, including students andparents, feel that the MEAP tests are biased and end uptesting one's social standing rather than achievement andability. Middle-to-upper class white children may experiencevaried situations that poor, lower class whites andminorities do not, such as parents who have the ability to
read. Something as simple as this can have a huge effect ona child's test scores later on. The 5th grade MEAP test was not very culturallydiverse. Most of the questions focus on American History,American Geography, American Economics, etc. However therewas a whole section in the social studies test that focusedon important women in colonial History. Another problem with the multiple choice aspect of thetest is that it is easy for students to be "one off" onevery problem with out realizing it, causing the score to beruined. This is true with all multiple choice tests. Also,by making the test multiple choice it only allows one "rightanswer" so that the individual cannot give reasons tosupport why he or she chose the answer that they did. Thisis unrealistic to real life situations that involveproblem-solving skills. (Should Standardized Testing beExpanded or Restricted?)How the Test is Administered The test is timed and administered by the teacher. This is somewhat bias towards some kids who need a longertime to finish due to slow reading, slow comprehension, etc. The scoring is on a scantron type form as mentioned before,where the kids fill in the correct answer in the providedbubbles. It is standard scoring, every problem marked wrongis -1 point.Conclusion The MEAP test is an efficient way to see how studentsare performing compared to each other and other schooldistricts, but they do not seem to test what they aresupposed to which is to provide information on the statusand progress of Michigan essential skills education asmentioned at the beginning of this report.