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DESE Administrative Memo - Spring 2021 MAP

by Julie Knernschield | Mar 04, 2021

Administrative Memo

Date:           March 1, 2021

To:               School Administrators and District Test Coordinators

From:      Blaine Henningsen, Assistant Commissioner, Office of College and Career Readiness Chris Neale, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Quality Schools

Subject: CCR-21-002 – Spring 2021 Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Testing


The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is providing this information for local education agencies (LEAs) regarding spring 2021 Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Testing

 Appropriate Use

Historically, state assessment data have been used for a variety of important purposes, including accountability, accreditation, and local instructional and curricular decision-making. Because of the

effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State Board of Education has taken action to suspend the use of assessment results from state and federal accountability systems. Therefore, the Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP) will not use this year’s assessment results for school accreditation. DESE will also submit a request to the United States Department of Education (USED) for a waiver of the accountability and school identification requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) for the 2020-21 school year.

This year’s state assessment results will be used to establish the current condition of student learning by understanding where students are academically in relation to the Missouri Learning Standards. At the state level, DESE will use the data to identify the effects of methods of instruction and digital resource availability on student achievement. Determining what was effective for Missouri’s students, where inequities exist, and where to apply resources are the most important priorities for state testing this year. 

Results of the assessments will be reported on the state, district and school report cards with appropriate disaggregation by instructional method and digital resource availability. DESE will also report any significant findings from the analysis of data. These data will also provide meaningful information for students, parents, educators, and policymakers.

The many variables faced by LEAs during the pandemic prevent any year-to-year comparability. Assessment data should be used to identify and respond to individual student needs for additional support. Further, DESE also suggests LEAs reconsider the use of MAP scores as a percentage of a student’s final grade, teacher evaluations, personnel decisions and other high stakes decisions.

United States Department of Education

In its communication on February 22, 2021, USED indicated a willingness to provide flexibility in the requirements for the administration of state assessments and participation rates (level not determined). DESE is currently reviewing the participation rate requirement and will share further information with LEAs at a later date.

USED is maintaining all state and local report card requirements, including the requirement to disaggregate data by student subgroups. DESE expects districts and charters to test all students onsite, regardless of instructional mode (onsite, distanced and primarily online, distanced but primarily onsite, blended instruction, or virtual instruction).

 USED recently announced that remote administration of assessments would be allowable where feasible. Missouri does not have a secure system to proctor students taking the assessments, so that option will not be available.


Test Administration

  • All students should be tested onsite.
  • The End-of-Course testing window opens March 1, 2021 and runs through May 28, 2021.
  • The Grade-level testing window opens April 5, 2021 and runs through May 28, 2021.
  • DESE will extend the spring testing window if the need exists.
  • The federal government recently announced the availability of a fall testing window. This will be explored for schools not providing onsite instruction, if necessary.


    To assist with the administration of assessments and to lessen the burden on educators, DESE is providing a number of flexibilities to LEAs so they can provide onsite testing while still implementing their local COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Flexibilities DESE is providing include:

  • reducing time on spring assessments up to 25% by removing field test items;
  • removing restrictions on district test windows;
  • extending the statewide spring test window if needed; and
  • suggesting LEAs reconsider using End-of-Course exams as a percent of final grades.


    LEAs may consider the following to ensure all students participate comfortably and securely by:

  • communicating with parents the importance of testing onsite;
  • providing more space than normal to enable students to participate while remaining socially distanced;
  • ensuring surfaces are disinfected prior to and after test administration;
  • providing alternate times for students to participate – even outside of the typical school day if possible;
  • identifying additional physical locations and trained test administrators; and
  • communicating with parents and staff about the safety measures implemented to protect all involved. 

For questions about MAP assessments, contact assessment@dese.mo.gov or 573-751-3545. For questions about Accountability Data, contact Amanda Cash at 573-526-4886 or Konnie Koenigsfeld at 573-751- 1362.