ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : SI-99-058

Date Created : 12/09/1998


Co-op Directors
Secondary Principals
Elementary Principals
other: Testing Coordinators

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Optional
Section:   School Improvement and Instructional Support - Dr. Kevin Penix
State Program Assessments 4th Grade Benchmark Exam 8th Grade Pilot Benchmark Exam

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
Gayle Potter and Margaret Crank

Phone Number:


The 4th Grade Benchmark Exam and the 8th Grade Pilot Benchmark Exam will be given February 1-8, 1999. An exact schedule for test administration is included in this memo. This schedule must be followed unless an alternate schedule has been provided by the Arkansas Department of Education. Any district with a conflict should request an alternate schedule immediately by letter or fax.

Regional training meetings are scheduled for Testing Coordinators for the 4th and 8th Grade Benchmark Exams. The test coordinator, principal, or his or her designee is required to attend.
See attached schedule.

Testing materials should start arriving in the school districts on January 11, 1999. Pamphlets for informing parents of the testing dates and importance of the test will be sent to the school district after January 4, 1999.

A random selection of school districts will be visited by ADE personnel during the testing schedule. ADE personnel will verify testing procedures and will discuss ideas and suggestions with you regarding the benchmark testing. Your comments and suggestions were very helpful from the last testing, and all were brought before the Planning Committee for consideration and recommendations. There are changes in this year=s testing which reflect your suggestions.

One of the concerns which has emerged regarding security for the benchmark exams is that district personnel are not permitted to read test items or student responses. To do so is a breach of security. We have an alert process for any open-ended response which indicates a potential problem--for example, criminal activity. The district superintendent will be notified by ADE if such a response occurs. The superintendent will make the decision about how to respond to the situation.

Please stress the importance of following all the testing and security requirements for this examination. ADE will investigate any testing irregularity in any regular administration of the Benchmark Exams.

We greatly appreciate all of the assistance and support given by local school districts in the development and implementation of the 4th Grade Benchmark Exam and the 8th Grade Pilot Exam. We recognize how complex and often stressful this process is. Your thoughtful reflections on testing results and your expressions of resolve to raise performance levels for all students across Arkansas have been very inspiring. Please continue the conversations with us on how we can work together to improve learning.

Problems always arise during the testing period. Please contact Gayle Potter at 501-682-4558 (voice) or 501-682-4886 (fax) if you have any questions. Also, send her all requests for alternate schedules.


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