Wrangell parents recently received their children’s test scores from a new state assessment called the Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP).

The new test was rolled out earlier this year for the first time in grades three through ten, and results became available in the fall.

Slightly more than 40 percent of Wrangell students met the new state standards in 2015. Statwide, over 30 percent of students met the standards.

The percentage of students considered proficient in test subjects was much lower for the new test than on the previous state test, the Standards Based Assessment. In Wrangell schools, almost all students were considered proficient after testing in the spring of 2014.

Wrangell students have historically had high scores compared to the rest of the state.

But Wrangell Public Schools Superintendent Patrick Mayer said the AMP is more rigorous than the previous state assessment, and scores from the two tests cannot be compared because they are based on different standards.

“But what I will say is that our test scores in the Wrangell Public Schools are at or very near the state median, which is the measure the state’s using to put out there for comparative purposes,” Mayer said. “So 700 is that magic score, and at all levels ours are right at, a little bit above, and maybe just a little bit below that median. So we’re doing well.”

Mayer said the new test results do not give enough specific information to let teachers know what skills and concepts their students need more help with. And he said the Kansas-based institute that made the test for Alaska schools acknowledges that.

“They make a very significant statement when they say this test is not to be used to inform instruction. Now having said that, it is the first time it has been administered. But really, the purpose of an assessment is to look at it and say, ‘What do our students need to do in order to raise their scores?’ And that’s not available to us with the AMP,” Mayer said. “And that has been a large topic of debate throughout the state, and superintendents statewide have expressed their viewpoint on that.”

State Education Commissioner Mike Hanley said this month the test should either be changed or scrapped entirely, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. The state education department is reviewing the test, so the future of the AMP is unknown.

Mayer expects the test itself to run more smoothly in 2016. The AMP is the first computer-based state assessment for Alaska, and implementing it took a lot of work on the part of the district’s technology department.

Mayer said parents can contact Wrangell schools if they have questions about AMP results.