The modern civilized world is full of complicated social structures that organize the life of human beings into directed movement. Such structures include government, business, administration, and education systems. All of them can astonish a person with their multifaceted network that needs to be regulated by a hierarchy of people. These systems serve the purpose of enhancing the well-being of country citizens; hence, they should be adequate.
In turn, to ensure their effectiveness and productivity, the authorities or top management must analyze the ample amount of data. This information helps recognize the advantages and deficiencies of a program to provide necessary changes for its further growth. The complex of methods for distinguishing the positive and negative sides of an organization or system structure through assessing its performance is called an evaluation program. Such a program is useful in various spheres, including education. An example of the assessment system is META-PR in Puerto Rico. Being a part of the US educational program, META-PR is developed for the specific needs of the state to help students in their academic achievements and the staff in their professional growth.
Puerto Rico’s education system is not separate from the US entire program for this field. According to the US Department of Education’s Plan Guidance for the state from 2017, each state must submit to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The Act concerns the general goals of the education system as a whole and specific requirements for schools, colleges, and universities. As to evaluating the program’s effectiveness, several indicators are responsible for shedding light on the subject. Among them are academic achievement, indicators for public elementary and secondary schools, graduation rate, progress in achieving English language proficiency, school quality, and student success.
Despite the fact that the ESSA is a unified policy, each state should develop its own plan for implementing the program. Thus, the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) had to formulate an improved program based on ESSA and reformed in accordance with local needs and opportunities. As a result, PRDE produced Puerto Rico Core Standards (PRCS), part of which is responsible for the evaluation process (US Department of Education, 2017). In brief, Puerto Rico has a particular educational program that includes the guidelines for assessment.
Furthermore, the design of the assessment program is relatively complex. As announced by the USDE’s Plan Guidance (2017, p. 20), “Puerto Rico administers its… assessment to measure the proficiency and academic growth of students in… of Spanish, math, and English.” The assessment program is called META-PR and involves the annual evaluation of student skills in the mentioned areas. The system is standardized, for PRDE believes that “student’s ethnic background, socio-economic status, primary home language, prior academic experience, or home community… is not an excuse to lower expectations (USDE, 2017, p. 21). Therefore, META-PR is a functional evaluation system that relies on testing students’ knowledge to deliver information about the effectiveness of education in the state.
The components of META-PR are multiple and affect the development of students, teachers, and PRDE’s staff. First of all, “trainings, planning, and committee meetings” are required before the evaluation process even begins (PRDE, 2019). The next component concerns the development of the tests for students. Predominantly, the authoritative professionals of PRDE currently perform this task. However, sometimes teachers participate in the activity; they “must be active… and certified in the subject area in which they are going to [help the development]” (PRDE, 2019, Test Development). Yet another critical stage of the annual assessment regards providing access to the tests for schools and colleges.
The production and distribution of test material involve the design, printing, security, administration, and supply of schools with the materials. Finally, the central manifestation of the assessment is the testing process and analysis stage. During this period, students participate in the assessment program directly while the staff organized the procedure. Hence, PRDE developed META-PR evaluation programs with multiple components that work in an interconnected manner.
Next, these components seem to affect the practice of the schoools’ staff and the development of their professional skills. For example, training is significant for teachers and people in authorities who organize the tests since it helps to recognize the goals of evaluation and abilities of the students.
The staff can improve their skills and knowledge to provide more qualified services in the educational establishments. Moreover, while performing delivery and testing, the staff of the educational facilities receives the ability to participate in the program personally, which highlights their importance in the process. Moreover, they earn important experience in infrastructure management. Then, the components concerning the preparation and distribution of test materials is a practical matter that determines the success of the evaluation and aids the staff in their development.
Certain components of META-PR program are reasonably productive and beneficial since they work adequately. The preparation component involving meetings positively affects teachers and other educational employees. The participants of this procedure deliver their task wih high responsibility. The test material is chosen thoroughly because teachers working in the schools can directly aid this process. Furthermore, the staff tends to be attentive to the procedure and invest their time enhancing their skills to deliver higher results. They train themselves as well as students for the following testing with all due care, which is significant for evaluating the educational system that interrelates the efforts of students and staff of schools. Therefore, the preparation of materials, training, nad testing are perforemed at professional level.
Nevertheless, several issues hinder the work of the program because of ill-management of certain components. As such, evidence suggests that both students and staff experience high-stress levels and dissatisfaction (ABRE Puerto Rico, 2020). This indication is meaningful since the educational program concerns not only the academic achievements of students but the well-being of all the participants of the evaluation. Additionaly, meetings are less attended by parents of the students, which impacts the evaluation results (ABRE Puerto Rico, 2020).
Finally, statistics from ABRE Puerto Rico (2020) demonstrate that inequalities emerge on the stage of distribution, which complicated the test execution. However, they are not high and reveal that some changes are needed in the field. Thus, the problems exist in the organization of healthy atmosphere of testing, in parental involvement, and delivery of the materials for the evaluation.
The META-PR seems to be positively affecting the educational system, although some deficiencies are present. The proficiency rate among students of the state has been rising since the program implementation (ABRE Puerto Rico, 2020). However, the delivery process indicates that inequality in the sphere exists, of which the mentioned data evidence. Additionally, the high stress of the evaluation participants hinders the program. Yet, its organization, beginning from designing the tests and ending with evaluating results, is performed satisfactorily. PRDE needs to improve the infrastructure of schools and work on reducing the stress among its workers and students. Thus, the program is suitable for its purpose and needs only slight modification.
To conclude, Puerto Rico obtains the internal resources for designing a local evaluation program. This program, META-PR, is based on the general US guidelines but meets the needs of the regional community. Predominantly, it aims at equal assessment to highlight the just treatment of all the students. The staff receives motivations and opportunities to develop their professional career through training and experience of testing the students.
ABRE Puerto Rico. (2020). Education gap analysis. Web.
Puerto Rico Department of Education. (2019). Statewide academic assessment system. Web.
US Department of Education. (2017). ESSA Puerto Rico state plan guidance. Web.