The History of Our Organization
In October 1985, a group of local accountability coordinators, assessment staff from the Maryland State Department of Education, and department heads from the University of Maryland, College Park met in Ocean City, Maryland. The purpose of that meeting was to explore the possibility of creating a group to discuss issues facing Maryland's accountability program. Hurricane Gloria couldn't put a stop to this meeting and over cocktails and spirited discussions; the Maryland Assessment Group (MAG) of Sykesville, Maryland, was formed.
In October of 1986, the first annual MAG conference was held. That meeting began on Thursday afternoon and ended promptly at noon on Friday. In the beginning, only assessment staff members were invited to attend the MAG conference. The varieties of topics covered were technical and test specific in nature.
The conference continued to thrive in the next few years, shifting from Ocean City to Wisp Ski Resort in Western Maryland and Solomon's Island. In October 1990, budget cuts and revisions to the state testing schedule almost derailed MAG, as most districts decided not to send representatives to the annual conference in Western Maryland. Approximately eighty people attended our teacher's conference.
A decision about the conference was made to revisit the schedule and allow it to continue without interrupting testing schedules, while making it more affordable for districts to send representatives.
To accomplish this, the conference date was changed to November and Ocean City became the permanent home of the MAG conference. In addition, the session was open to teachers and curriculum leaders throughout the state of Maryland. The following year and each year thereafter saw attendance grow from the 80 people attending in 1990 to more than 200 the following year.
Since that time, MAG continues to average around 550 members annually. The conference continues to provide timely and meaningful information and allows members and vendors to engage in lively and informative discussions. Beginning in 2014, MAG once again needed to change the conference date back to October. This was again in response to changes in the state testing calendar.