Tuesday, August 25, 2009

M.A.P. 101

A question was asked about MAP (Measures of Academic Progress), a new computer tool that students in grades K-9 will be using in 79 schools for assessments in reading and math starting this year. It will be used 3 times a year. Refer to my thread on the last School Board meeting for the latest updates from staff to the Board.

The district will be discontinuing the district DRA requirement in grades K and 1, discontinuing the Edusoft math benchmark assessments in elementary and middle school, and discontinuing the PSAT in 9th grade.

Here are some links and additional information.
  • Memo from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson to all principals
  • From the SPS updates for the Strategic Plan:
Districtwide assessments will allow teachers to consistently track student progress and use assessment data to provide personalized instruction. Information about student academic progress will be available to teachers more frequently and in a more timely manner. Progress made this quarter includes: We completed our pilot of MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) and received extensive feedback about the pilot from principals, teachers, and additional stakeholders and recommended the adoption of MAP. MAP will roll out district-wide beginning in the fall of 2009 providing benchmark assessments three times a year in reading and math that will help teachers evaluate students’ academic progress quickly and effectively so they know how to meet each student’s unique needs.
  • I know there is a document outlines the costs (which are fairly high - you have to buy a subscription, software, etc.) but I can't find it.


Robert said...

Anyone else not able to follow the links?

Mum o 2 said...

If you click on the link and then delete 'www.blogger.com/' out of the URL then they work

Robert said...


Beth Bakeman said...

Should be fixed now.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you. I had to ask my son how to link PDF files and obviously, I have a learning curve.

dan dempsey said...

Paragraph Two of MG-J's memo:
Excellence for All set student assessment as a top priority in Seattle Public Schools (SPS).

OK so where are the Fall 2008 PSAT results if assessment is a top priority?

dan dempsey said...

I think MAP is $12 per year per child for three rounds during the year. So around $4 a shot. (This is from memory, talking to Brad B about a year ago.)

dan dempsey said...

From MGJ's Memo:

The PSAT will continue to be administered in grades 10 and 11.

Great will we ever see results?

seattle citizen said...

I'm crossing=posting this from the thread on the board meeting, as it relates to MAP (it's in response to Melissa's notes regarding MAP):

From what I've heard of MAP, these three points you make need correction and/or clarification:

"•by this time next year, teachers will have MAP data to help them"

In fact, some results fomr MAP will be immediately available to teachers, and then, once tests are uploaded from the District server (or school's?) to the NWEA organization's computers, further enhanced results will be available in 24-48 hours. So results will be available to educators not after a year, but within days.

The result, "RIT" scores (Rasch unIT scores) place a student on a continum overall in math and reading, then are also broken down into strands (i.e. Lit Comp) so a teacher can see a chart showing which students are behind in LC, and by how much, which are "at level," and which are above level.

Pretty handy tool. IF students take the test seriously as a methjod for them to show their best selves so educators can help them where they're at.

Of course, some students will just punch keys...hence:

"•they mentioned needing to "motivate" students to do their best and they will hold conferences with students about MAP scores and goals"

The conference part seems idealistic: For instance, HS LA teacher; 125 students; five minutes each = 10.5 hours of conference....when was this going to happen? My feeling is that students will be presented information about MAP in groups, perhaps using the Powerpoint available to assist with this task, and educators will plead, beg, bribe for best efforts on these tests.
My guess is that 10 percent will blow it off unless there is mediation done to avoid this.

Still, that leaves ninety percent of students giving their best...And as this system is adaptive (student is given a question - does well, gets harder question. Not so well? Easier question...) it has the potential of giving very valuable feedback IF it is augmented by other classroom assessments that correlate levels in various strands...

Overall, a potentially useful assesssment, and one that is immediately usable, is the same across schools, and uses data to present a snapshot of a student's levels that COULD be very helpful, if correlated and if differentiation follows the various levels thus exposed. (Of course, even without differentiation, MAP might give educators a mean, a way to see where MOST students are at, level-wise, and teach above that level...hopefully, differentiation would accompany this to get the "outliers" - ack, there's and over-used term! - but that's a whole 'nother expectation, with its accompnaying demands on teacher time and training.

Hélène said...

Unfortunately, my experience sorting through data has not been very good. The reporting system is very rigid. For example, there's no ability to change a class list or define a new one but students shift around a lot, especially between semesters. That means a teacher has to hunt around for his or her students manually and searching is difficult (you basically get a PDF). Raw scores and other data are hard to find and analyze and summary measures are calculated in opaque ways.

The tests are good but not only do students need to take them seriously, as seattle citizen points out, but teachers need to be able to use the data. For teachers in struggling schools, knowing that 80% of their students are below grade level in every measure is really not helpful at all -- we know it! Another measure isn't really going to do a whole lot for those kids...

wseadawg said...

Helene said:
"For teachers in struggling schools, knowing that 80% of their students are below grade level in every measure is really not helpful at all -- we know it! Another measure isn't really going to do a whole lot for those kids..."

Thank you, and thank you again, Helene! That point appears to be completely lost in so much of the discussion of the MAP.

How much of this computerization complements and ADDS to the educational experience, and how much of it merely replaces what we already have.

Switching from a pencil to a pen may work better, but does it result in a better writer?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Citizen, to your first point, that was the phrasing used. I assume it means that the teacher that a student is assigned to the next year can assess the data and know sooner how to try to help that student.

While a teacher may know that 80% of the students aren't at grade level, I'd like to think MAP will individualize that so that a teacher will know where a student is struggling.

seattle citizen said...

Melissa, I understand that MAP does individualize in its reports. A teacher would have before them, a few days after the test, a class roster(s). One version would be generalized: Reading, for example. "This student is at RIT 125, this at RIT 138, etc"
Another, more detailed look, would show strands. Here are the students between RIT 120-130 in Lit Comp. Here are the students between RIT 180-190 in Vocabulary."

I'm not certain how detailed it gets after that. But I think the purpose is to individualize the lessons. This presupposes the tools and training are available to do that.

As Helene points out, there are issues with access, time, etc. in finding information that a teacher might find helpful. Some if will be (or won't) the ol' standby, "buy-in." some will be whether the system actually works, and if it can be improved regularly to fix it when problems are identified.

It will be costly, and it might never get off the ground, but I believe there are potential benefits to be had. If it can efficiently supply more data about individual students, without being too difficult to navigate or utilize, great. If it doesn't make it too easy for teachers to say, "That there is RIT 162," instead of "He there is Johnny," all the better.

dan dempsey said...

I've been an advocate for MAP testing because the SPS just blows off WASL math results and continues with their same ineffective materials and practices.

My hope was that the MAP might inspire some changes in the Central Admins monolithic ineffective approach to math.

After reading the above, MAP may wind up as yet another tool for blame the teacher.

I would really like to see at the middle level interdisciplinary teams of four teachers: Math, Science, Lang. Arts, & Social Studies that move with a group of 120 students in a three year loop.
The entire team moves from 6th grade, to 7th, to 8th. Then MAP could be used by the teacher to aid figuring out what is going on and to improve their practice. Parents have an ongoing three year connection with the teacher. If the principal needs to put a teacher on an improvement plan, this can be done more realistically as there is a longer track record with students.

I would also like to see a two year loop at grades 4 and 5. Is a two year loop at grades 2 and 3 realistic?

Hélène said...

I think the tests themselves are great and am glad to see an effort at objective performance measures. I'm just worried that the data will be dumped into a black hole!

Melissa and seattle citizen, it is possible to get detailed scores for students but it takes a lot of digging to get to and it's based on a static roster. So if Sally K. transferred into my class part way through the semester, I have to find her current instructor and run a report on that class to get her data. The only way the data is presented is through student goal setting worksheets that disaggregate scores (Word Recognition, Reading Comprehension, Know Text Components, Think Critical (sic) & Analyze, Read: Variety of Purpose for Reading and Number Sense, Measurement, Geometric Sense, Probability & Statistics and Algebraic Sense for Mathematics). There's no way for me to get a spreadsheet of all scores, look for trends in my classes, etc.

If that data were easily available, say in the Source or even just as a spreadsheet, then it could be a very useful resource. I do think that it's more useful for identifying and targeting weaknesses in middle-of-the-road students that may just have a few misconceptions. Weak students tend to have low scores across the board.

I hear NWEA is working on making their reporting system better. I hope so.

jamie said...

Thornton Creek loops at all grade levels (although this is the first year they are looping starting in K, according to what the principal told me) So yeah, I bet it would work in 2-3. If there are bad matches or peer dynamics they do shuffle kids around.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SkritchD said...

Does anyone know if MAP testing is being used for placement into APP or Spectrum for the 2010-2011 school year or is the district staying with the Cognitive Abilities Test from years past? From what I see on seattleschools.org is that cognitive testing is continuing to being used (and my child did take the first cognitive test this fall), but the seattleschools website does also say "in addition, reading and math achievement tests may also be required. We will use achievement test results from the WASL or the MAP." Curious if my child will need to take the second cognitive test in January if his MAP scores seem to meet the testing requirement?

Bird said...

MAP tests are being used this year for APP and Spectrum placement. I'm not sure if they will use fall or winter tests.

SPSMom said...

MAP or WASL results will be used to qualify a student for APP.

Does this mean they will pick one test and qualify ALL students, or will some students be qualified using WASL scores and others with MAP?