LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. —End-of-year standardized testing could soon be a thing of the past for students in four Kansas City area school districts. 

On Tuesday, the Missouri State Board of Education approved school innovation waivers for the Liberty, Lee’s Summit, Raymore-Peculiar and Center school districts. 

Starting in the 2023-24 school year students in these districts, as well as 16 other school districts in the Success Ready Students Network (SRSN), will be exempt at the state level from taking the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test for the next three years.

Currently, school districts that use MAP testing typically get the test results over the summer months, after a student has moved on to the next grade level. 

Beginning this fall, students in these 20 districts will test multiple times throughout the school year, and the district will receive immediate feedback on results. The school districts will then use the tests scores like education benchmarks to determine what subjects students are excelling in and where they may need more help. 

The change comes from a law passed by the state legislature last year that allows school districts to side-step certain education laws and apply for innovation waivers to implement their own unique strategy. 

“Assessment in and of itself in terms of traditional end-of-year- assessment as compared to adaptive assessments that are leveraged over the course of the year help us meet that goal of personalizing learning, rather than shooting toward the middle. Then [it] also provides visibility for students in where they’re at,” Dr. Jeremy Tucker, superintendent of Liberty Public Schools, told the board Tuesday. 

Tucker said the new plan lets teachers monitor the test data and adjust their lesson plan to ensure students are getting the support they need. 

“Probably the most meaningful experience you’ll have is walking into a classroom, sitting and kneeling by a student and asking them ‘what are you doing today?’ They can articulate the objective, the goal, where they’re at, how they’re meeting that,” Tucker said.

Shortly after the board approved the waivers, the state released MAP test results from the spring of 2023, showing overall student performance has decreased significantly since the pandemic.

Federal law could still require students to take the MAP test next spring, but SRSN school districts are seeking out a federal exemption waiver for that too.  

The 20 participating school districts will present the state school board with a draft of an alternative assessment plan in January.