Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Test Boycott Now

UPDATE
Thanks to comments, I'm going to refine this idea. It will require an organized campaign. The campaign will have to have people in each school working - face-to-face - to recruit folks to opt out of the testing. All students - regardless of program - should opt out of the MAP tests at all grade levels and in all schools. The boycott includes the state tests in grades 3-8 except in Title I schools. The boycott does not include the tests required to graduate high school. It does not extend to Title I schools which could be subject to sanctions under No Child Left Behind. The goals of the effort will be for the District to fulfill their commitments to students and families. The list of specific broken promises from the District will be developed. The boycott will continue until every promise has been resolved.

I have advocated test boycotts to the advanced learning community a few times before.

Seven years ago my threat of a WASL boycott by Spectrum students drove then-superintendent Raj Manhas to make six specific promises to the Spectrum community. The boycott was broken, but so were all of the promises.

About five years ago I proposed opting out of the WASL as a tactic for Spectrum and APP families to evade proposed re-qualification requirements. The District pushed back by threatening to exit any student who didn't test. It got ugly for a little while, but the District blinked first and the re-qualification requirement was dropped.

Two years ago I recommended a WASL boycott to APP families that would end only when the District fulfilled the promises they made when splitting the program. The APP Advisory Committee didn't want to take or endorse any direct action and the result has been that the District hasn't done anything to fulfill their promises to APP students and families.

Now we see the beginning of the end. One Spectrum program, Lawton, has been killed. Another, Wedgwood, is climbing the steps to the guillotine. There are dead programs littering the field already: North Beach and Wing Luke to name just two. APP has been cut in half and it doesn't take the Amazing Kreskin to figure out that the District is going to split it again. There will be two north-end elementary locations.

The time has come for the advanced learning community to step up and take some action to save itself. There is only one action that we can take: boycott the standardized tests. Opt your children out of the MSP and opt them out of the MAP. The kids should not intentionally fail the tests, they just shouldn't take the tests at all.

You are entirely within your rights to preclude the testing of your children. It does your child no harm. It does their teacher no harm. It does their school no harm. The only people who are hurt by it are the District administrators who get hit in their pride. These people live on test scores. It is all they care about. It is their currency.

And we control it.

It is time for us to exercise our power. It is time for us to demand that they fulfill their commitments.

Spectrum families at Lawton and Wedgwood should opt their children out of the MAP and the MSP to protest the changes in their programs to to compel the District to fulfill their commitments to the Lawton and Wedgwood communities.

All other Spectrum families should opt their children out of the MAP and MSP in solidarity with the Lawton and Wedgwood communities and to compel the District to fulfill their commitments to other Spectrum communities.

APP families should opt their children out of the MAP and MSP in solidarity with the Spectrum communities, to save their own program, and to compel the District to fulfill their commitments to the APP community.

ALO families should opt their children out of the MAP and MSP in solidarity with the Spectrum communities and to save their own programs and to compel the District to fulfill their commitments to ALO communities.

All families should opt their children out of the MAP and MSP in solidarity with the Spectrum communities and to compel the District to fulfill their commitments to all communities.

Stop taking the tests. This is your path to recognition and power.

83 comments:

Steve said...

I agree. I think this is a good idea. Count us in.

This would be more powerful if there was a mechanism for counting the number of parents with kids in Advanced Learning programs who are opting out. A web site? Something like the online petitions people sign?

Jan said...

Charlie is right -- AND timely; because the first MAP tests this fall will come, I think, before Board elections. Assuming the ST feels up to rousting itself to report on something that has not been outed (to its chagrin) by an SAO audit, it would make for VERY interesting reporting if 40, or 50, or 70 percent of all the kids in the District opted out of the MAP (if we get billed by the test, it would also save a ton of money).

THE MOST WONDERFUL THING ABOUT THIS PROPOSAL: The most wonderful thing about this proposal is that it is NOT NOT NOT limited to APP, Spectrum, ALOs, etc. (It always made me a little uncomfortable before when the pitch was -- we parents of kids with high scores will screw up your score averages by withholding our brainy kids from testing). As Charlie rightly points out -- at this point -- it's everybody into the pool!! The whole damn district (except high schoolers who don't take MAP tests) now gets tested at least four times a year. And the tests do NOTHING for kids (other than high schoolers, who have to pass HSPEs to graduate). They ONLY drive teacher evaluations, school reports, etc. etc.

What if we ALL just said "no," --not just the kids who test well, but ALL of us. What would they tell the NCLB folks? What would they tell Gates and Broad?

THE MOST REGRETTABLE THING ABOUT THIS PROPOSAL:

The most regrettable thing is that the APP/Spectrum boycott concept still leads. This is not an APP issue. This is not a Spectrum issue. This is not an ALO issue. This is a "who the hell's schools are these anyway" issue. They are mine; they are ours. They belong to all of the "stakeholders" -- and those are the kids who attend them, their parents, the citizens of Seattle whose property taxes support them, the teachers and other staff who are employed there, and whose lives are spent teaching our kids, feeding them lunch, counselling them.

They do NOT belong to Arne Duncan or the federal DOE; they do NOT belong to Don Nielsen, Dick Lilly, Eli and Edythe Broad, Bill and Melinda Gates, Dr. Enfield, or any of the Board members.

So, like Steve, I would love to have some mechanism of knowing how many people sign on to this -- but unlike Steve, I do NOT want to know how many of them are Advanced Learning program kids. We are ALL in this together.

Jan said...

All of us have one thing: our votes.
Those of us with school age kids have two more things: (1) the placement of our children in these schools (or not) with whatever financial result that causes; and (2) now that they have tied so much to the tests, our willingness to have our kids take the tests that drive the ed reform and NCLB agenda.

Let's use what we have to compel the folks we have chosen to run the schools on our behalf -- the Board -- to do their jobs.

Charlie Mas said...

I think that the current members of the Board have shown, over the past three years, that there is nothing that we can say that will cause them to start doing their jobs.

Maybe there is something we can do that will get their attention.

Test Boycott

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
New To SPS said...

(reposted under the right moniker)
One question though - aren't MAP scores used as one of the criteria to getting newly admitted into an advanced learning program the following year? This is critical for us, as our kid almost, but not quite, tested into APP, and we may want that testing option next year, especially if we do not like the current Spectrum changes.

Laura said...

anonymous above your post will be deleted. Your question was:

One question though - aren't MAP scores used as one of the criteria to getting newly admitted into an advanced learning program the following year? This is critical for us, as our kid almost, but not quite, tested in APP, and we may want that option next year, especially if we do not like the current Spectrum changes.

I believe you must get 85% or above to continue with district testing. If you are not currently enrolled at SPS, then you don't need this MAP score for the first round of testing. That's the way I understand it.

New To SPS said...

Thanks, Laura. That is what we did last year, though our kids had to take a different achievement test other than MAP, but we did take the CoGAT with everyone else.

I am specifically wondering about existing SPS students who either want to test into an AL program, or move up in an AL program. That is the situation we would be in next year, if we were to consider APP. If I understand the rules correctly (and I may not), the MAP test scores are used to determine who can take the CoGAT tests, and both are used for placement.

Kerry said...

I agree with New to SPS that families that want APP since Spectrum seems to be going away have to test. All of us who have kids that are already district-identified could opt-out, though, and that definitely hurts the perceived reason for the elimination of Spectrum - to close the acheivement gap.

Once these administrators show huge increases in test scores while kids are in huge classes, they will be off to work for one foundation or another while our district remains in shambles.

I'd opt my APP daughter out of testing, but this seems like it will only have a positive effect for the kids at Lawton, Wedgewood or in an ALO program.

Jan said...

New To SPS: I can't in fairness ask you to do this -- too much time and money. But I think there is a winnable case out there by a parent who wants to bring it. I am not aware of anything, published anywhere, that would support the use of MAP as a "gatekeeper" to evaluation for gifted programs. If I were a parent of a child and thought my child was gifted, I would submit whatever evidence I had, and either demand that the District test him/her -- or (since my kids never did well in big rooms taking group tests anyway) have him/her privately tested, and then tell the District that they either had to accept the test results, or risk a lawsuit.

If they told me they refused, on the grounds that I hadn't taken an inapplicable gateway assessment, I'd sue. If the MAP helps them identify a handful of kids who might have otherwise been overlooked -- great. But I think they are (and deservedly so) on extremely thin ice to try to deny gifted education to gifted kids because they didn't take the MAP -- especially if out of district kids get to avoid it.

Maybe I am missing something, but this seems like a wholly indefensible policy to me. I'd love to have the kid, and the money, to test it.

SusanH said...

Yes, MAP scores are currently used to gain admittance to the GoGAT round of testing. As my son just missed APP in the GoGAT this year, I definitely want to try again next year, and the MAP is step one of that.

As a parent, I find the testing useful to know how my kids are doing. It puts my mind at ease that they are learning what they should for their grade levels. I fear that a boycott would not mean much to the administration but would prevent me from having this real information about their progress. I mean, the SPS report cards? Not much useful there...

Charlie Mas said...

I know that it is way too geeky for popular use, but this reminds me of Dune, when Paul Muad'Dib said "He who can destroy a thing, controls a thing."

Charlie Mas said...

There is no useful information for parents from either the MAP or the MSP. None. They don't tell you anything about how your child is progressing.

There is no useful information for teachers from either the MAP or the MSP. None. They don't tell the teacher anything about your child that the teacher didn't already know.

If you want to keep your child in the current program then there is no reason for your child to take the MAP. None. Your child will not be kicked out of the program for opting out of the test.

If you apply for APP and the District doesn't have a recent MAP test result, then they will just have to provide a substitute assessment of academic achievement. They will not regard the absence of an assessment as cause to disqualify. They use multiple measures. Not even those children have to take the test.

Charlie Mas said...

"I'd opt my APP daughter out of testing, but this seems like it will only have a positive effect for the kids at Lawton, Wedgewood or in an ALO program."

Oh, right. I forgot. The APP community is getting everything they want and the District has kept all of their promises to APP students and fammilies. /sarcasm

Anonymous said...

It puts my mind at ease that they are learning what they should for their grade levels.

MAP is not exactly aligned to State standards, so who knows if they're learning what they should? And it's just math and reading. Social studies? Science? Writing?

Nonetheless, the Fall tests are used for AL (and soon "cluster grouping"), so parents are unlikely to boycott or opt-out.

Anon

New To SPS said...

"I'd opt my APP daughter out of testing, but this seems like it will only have a positive effect for the kids at Lawton, Wedgewood or in an ALO program."

Charlie, I parsed this differently. I thought he meant that lower scores for a Spectrum or ALO school would make a difference. Lower scores at an APP school would not make a difference. So an APP student opting out would not help the overall issue for the other programs.

Jan said...

New to SPS: I think you have a good point. At one time (but I think not now -- Charlie?), the point of having high scorers not take the test was to pose the threat of lower test scores to the District.

At this point, the way I see it (or want to see it) is -- the threat is to cause a sufficiently large boycott that the threat is totally invalidating the test results (if the sample gets too small, it is no longer valid). If only a third, or even half, the kids are taking the test, how is that valid (and frankly, if it is valid -- let's just have a random half or one-third take it ALL the time-- much less waste of time and money!)

New To SPS said...

"Nonetheless, the Fall tests are used for AL (and soon "cluster grouping"), so parents are unlikely to boycott or opt-out."

That raises an interesting issue. If fall MAP scores are used to assign the cluster groups, how is this different from tracking? From what I have read so far, this clustering model assigns a number 1to 5 to each child based on ability, and they are then assigned a cluster within a classroom based on their number. Is there a plan to use MAP scores to assign these numbers? If so, isn't this just another form of tracking? I really wish we were moving away from test scores being used to label kids so early.

And yes, I do now wonder if this use of clustering is one way to force parents to support formalized, frequent testing. When I get the book tomorrow, I'll look specifically for thoughts about the role testing plays into this model.

Anonymous said...

"Stakeholder"
My 9th grader claims to have indeed taken the MAP test this year. As usual, I haven't heard anything from the school regarding progress/lack of progress. Additionally, I am told that many of the kids know how to game the program, and purposely 'test down' to make the experience more interesting! We are going to opt out because we can. I hope our vote in this way will help.

Three years to go

Anonymous said...

@ Susan H
Map tests have absolutely nothing to do with state standards or school curriculum. The tests top out somewhat arbitrarily, especially at the higher grades. The point system is non-specific, and the goal setting for most students (celebrate a <1% improvement) is meaningless without a clear weight and award of points. Be aware also that "grade level" is a poorly defined concept, generally tied more to sample group averages than state data or what students are capable of. I have seen it happen often that the same piece of curriculum or concepts assigned to different grade levels, based on the sample group or other assignment criterion. Students do not take the test seriously, almost all schools saw a strong start, then a major slump in the mid-year test, and few gains in the final test. Students know the test isn't worth anything, and fifth graders know that they still haven't learned what kind of literary devices are most often used in "The Scarlet Letter" and so don't feel the test is a valid measure of their learning.

if you really don't understand your students strengths and weaknesses talk to teachers; look at your student's work, especially test and quizzes given by the teacher; and research the curriculum they are being taught from. That is going to give you a picture of what your student is currently capable of, where the state says they need to go, and what you should support them in. MAP tests too broadly and randomly to be of any use in evaluating anything other than test taking ability.

Former Teacher

dj said...

My oldest is in APP and I have found the MAP tests completely useless. I find it pretty doubtful that she is losing knowledge every fall and then gaining enormous amounts during the spring (which if I were to believe her scores is what is happening). To my understanding, MAP is neither intended to measure aptitude (so is a lousy gatekeeper for advanced learning testing) nor set up to deal with the tails of the bell curve (is is lousy for advanced learners, period). I'd have no issue opting my kid out. I don't plan to do so, however, unless there is a critical mass of parents also doing it, because my kid is pretty sensitive about those kinds of things, and while I am willing to opt her out for a purpose, I'm not opting her put in an unnoticed gesture.

So, are we in? Then I'm in.

Jan said...

They are using MAP for cluster grouping? If they only use fall figures, they are using it like intelligence testing -- not as feedback for teachers to use to evaluate whether their methods have worked. That it the essence of tracking -- but worse than the COGAT/achievement test data used for APP and Spectrum, because there is no research out there to validate the MAP test this purpose.

If they use "clusters" -- the ONLY benefit as I see it to throwing out the "best practices" that Spectrum was built on is to add permeability and flexibility to the old Spectrum barriers. The thing I disliked most about spectrum was that it didn't accommodate kids who tested poorly but were gifted, didn't accommodate kids accelerated in one, but not all areas, and didn't accommodate kids who had midyear or summer growth spurts in reading, math, etc. and thus needed, but weren't getting, accelerated opportunities. Done right -- clustering could alleviate all these concerns, but not if they base it on MAP, assign everybody to their "group" in the fall and then leave them there.

Ach! wv says "demented" -- I kid you not. Shows what wv thinks of the "new" cluster Spectrum model.

New To SPS said...

Jan, I do not know how they assign the 1 through 5 numbers to a child, or how closely they are even going to follow that model from the book. They will have to use something to determine clusters, and MAP tests are going to be a very tempting choice. I am curious to hear from any Lawton parents who know how their child was assigned to a cluster.

It will be a good question to ask at the next Wedgwood Spectrum meeting this Thursday evening.

Salander said...

Ninth graders do take the MAP- three times a year.

No one ever sees their scores unless it is a random interested parent or teacher.

As a teacher I may look up the score as a starting point if I suspect there is a learning problem with a student.

However, my classroom assessments are what I use exclusively to begin a conversation with parents.

By the time a student arrives in high school that student has had a multitude of standardized tests-at great expense.

Chances are though there has been no intervention or can be no intervention as there is no money for that.

Unless there are programs that are relevant to students on the upper end or the lower end there is no point in testing.

Test or no test it is still up to the teacher to challenge the student- I use individualized learning plans for both my high achieving and low achieving students and generally gear lessons to the middle. I always try to offer my students learning that is appropriate and I DO NOT need any test to do this.

Syd said...

Charlie,

Paul Muad'Dib died a blinded old man, abandoning his children to the fate he wished to avoid (becoming a tyrranical worm). I can't get behind that. :)

MAPsucks said...

Although, as a rule, I try to avoid posting on anything APP/Spectrum/ALO-related (I fear crowds), I did want to add to Salander's point; teachers have no idea what questions your child answered correctly or incorrectly. The questions are pulled from a national database of questions written by teachers from Albuquerque to Timbuktu and have no relation to what's been taught (that is until the almighty Common Core Standards get rolled out).

Furthermore, until the Board either rescinds its testing policy C40.00 (which I doubt since it was just revised last year), then staff should not be able to impose restrictions and requirements expressly exempted (through waiver) by Board policy. Frankly, MAP (a norm-referenced test) is improperly used as a gate-keeper to any program. NWEA and staff are on record as saying it should only be used along with other data points to decide anything definitive about a child's (or teacher's, I might add) abilities.

Melissa Westbrook said...

What is interesting to me is that I had a conversation with a high school teacher recently who had taught in NY state. Her students took the Regents tests. She saw the tests and she graded the tests.

She said it felt like she was a criminal when she came to Washington state because she couldn't see the test (no less grade it).

I was amazed but she said that teacher cheating was minimal because every teacher knows they will lose their credential and never teach again if they cheat.

I agree. It seems like the person who is doing the teaching might learn something from seeing the test and grading his/her own students (instead of puzzling how a student got the grade he/she did).

WenD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WenD said...

@MAPsucks:
"MAP...is improperly used as a gate-keeper to any program. NWEA and staff are on record as saying it should only be used along with other data points to decide anything definitive about a child's (or teacher's, I might add) abilities."

- $4.3 in 2010 levy dollars paid for MAP. That equals the budget hole right there.

(I understand this isn't the sole cause of the budget hole, but in hindsight, wouldn't it be great to take it back and stop MAP spending going forward?)

- MAP is being misused. NWEA sold it as a tool for teachers, not as a tool to be used against them.

- MGJ sat on the NWEA board when SPS signed on with MAP. The Board didn't see a conflict. The state auditor, on the other hand, DID see a conflict. This is nothing new. Increasingly, our state auditor is picking up their slack. The thought that we might one day pay a board as bad as this one fills me with dread.)

- MAP is tied to Maria's strategic plan. What happens when you take it away?

- SEA was all for MAP, then they were against it, although if I understand correctly their March vote against MAP was done without their leadership. (How soon can SEA leadership be replaced?)

Boycotting? As MAPsucks and others have pointed out, MAP isn't the best tool available to decide who enters APP, much less how students are doing throughout the year. Where's the evidence that MAP is worth the expense, as well as the intrusion into school libraries?

If you kill MAP, does Maria's strategic house of initiatives fall down? Is the expense of MAP justified? Will you cut teachers in order to keep MAP?

For those who fear their child can't test into APP without MAP, I agree that this scenario is ripe for a legal challenge or at least a consult. Historically, SPS find it easy to ignore parents until the parents hire a lawyer, and right now the SPS legal team is treading water, and if MAP doesn't meet state standards, how can SPS insist that it's the only measure?

No'End Teacher said...

No, the MAP is not being used to determine who gets to take the CoGat. The district reversed its decision on this. All of the students who scored below the 85 percent mark on the MAP in my class were allowed to take the CoGat this year and half of them tested into Spectrum despite not making the MAP cut-off. The reason the district reversed its decision is because those testing into Spectrum were testing below the 85 percent mark on the MAP. The MAP would have disqualified the Spectrum for Spectrum.

MAPsucks said...

Just a heads up that there is a Board Work Session (is that an oxymoron?) on the budget tomorrow afternoon. Take this moment to drop a line to schoolboard@seattleschools.org and let them know your priorities for budget cuts. A birdie told me some are looking for a good reason to cut MAP. If only some would grow some balls or whatever.

Jan said...

NoEnd Teacher: this is the nicest post of the day. Thanks so much for setting everyone straight. It is bizarre that the only reason they dropped their silly plan is that the data sat up and whapped them hard across the face. But hey, whatever works.

Anonymous said...

NoEnd Teacher: That was NOT true for our child, a K student this year. He has a mid-summer birthday and wasn't reading fully when he started K this fall, a little over a month and a half after turning 5. Because he didn't meet the 85th percentile cut-off in the first MAP of the year (2 weeks or so into school) and he did NOT have a previous MAP on record with SPS, he was not invited to take the CogAt.

We have an older child in APP who tested into the program in the fall of first grade before MAP became a gatekeeper. He came home almost every day from school telling us he was bored. He had a good teacher and was at a very strong neighborhood school and was happy socially but not challenged academically.

When I exchanged mails with Bob Vaughn he told me our K student would not be invited to take the CogAt based on his MAP score and encouraged me to "let him bloom" as his older brother had.

I replied that I had no issue whatsoever keeping him with his wonderful K teacher, but I was concerned that he also might have a less than optimal first grade experience. I didn't pursue private testing because I didn't want to push him into anything he wasn't ready for, but his second set of MAPs (for whatever THAT was worth) came back at the 94th and 95th percentiles.

He's at a great school and I *hope* he has a wonderful first grade experience next year--and I assume he will be "allowed" to take the CogAt based on his subsequent scores ... but he was most definitely not allowed to do so this past year.

I may be biased :) ... but for K students especially, I do NOT consider fall MAP scores predictive of potential in reading or math. I am pretty certain our APP second-grader would have bombed a MAP reading test the fall of his K year as well if MAP was given then. But once he started reading he didn't stop--and our K student is following right in those footsteps.

NEMama

Anonymous said...

@ No'End Teacher, where do you get that info? In the "Eligibility Criteria" for AL it states that it is required (for those taking MAP) to score at the 85% percentile to take the CogAT. Yes, your kid could still take the CogAT with a lower score IF you won an appeal. Additionally, it states that "while the screening cut-off for MAP scores is the 85th percentile, the qualifying threshold remains at the 87th percentile." Please it's complicated enough, let's not disseminate false info.

SPS website reader

Anonymous said...

No'End Teacher - this was NOT the case for my child. I appealed the "can't take the CoGAT" decision and was denied. If your class was allowed, this was entirely arbitrary, or else the decision was made following my contact, and no one bothered to let the rest of us know. i did hear they had to dip below the 85% in order to get "enough kids to test" whatever that means, and not sure who "they" are, but i had friends with less than 85 that were "invited to test" via the advanced learning recruiting letter (and btw my 50-percentile K kid showed them and scored 96 math/98 reading in winter. K Fall MAP testing is merely a measure of a kindergartener's mouse abilities)

-MAP is not for gatekeeping

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dorothy Neville said...

Anyone who teaches their child math at home should decline to take the Math MAP.

No'End Teacher said...

The head of the district Spectrum Program sent me an e-mail mid-year this year stating that they were no longer going to use the MAP as a criteria to take the CoGat. This is not false information. Am I missing something? Has the district reversed their reversal? I will try to find the e-mail and post it on here.

No'End Teacher said...

Let me rephrase this--I was taken aback that I was accused of falsely posting. The Advanced Learning Department sent our entire staff a group e-mail stating that the MAP test would no longer be used as a screening test for the CoGat. My principal confirmed this when I asked him at a staff meeting if this was true. I looked for the e-mail w/o success because my district e-mails get erased after a certain time. But I e-mailed the Advanced Learnind Department to ask them if they planned to use the MAP to screen students for taking the Spectrum test and when I get a reply, I will repost on here. Thanks. I'm not blogging false information and I can't believe someone would write that. How annoying.

Anonymous said...

No'End Teacher - I'm confused, perhaps the policy was changed mid-year, and that will help kids in next year's testing cycle, but that would have happened after the fall 2010 CoGAT, when the rest of our -85 kids were not allowed to test. when did your class take the CoGAT with less than 85? And who/how authorized?

NEMama - i had a similar exchange with bob vaughan, perhaps he cut/pasted! something along the lines of 'will likely be a great candidate for testing in future years'?

-MAP is not for gatekeeping

Anonymous said...

According to the distric's page Advanced Learning Eligibility Criteria -- MAP test scores are a gatekeeper (85% or higher)

-katy

ps does anyone else hate SPS new website b/c the searching is bunk? To find Advanced Learning new pages (they've been transferred over now)... Go to District, Departments, Advanced Learning.

No'End Teacher said...

There were 4 students in my class who appealed to have their child take the CoGat, they took the test, shortly after I received an e-mail stating that the MAP would no longer be used to screen students for ALO/Spectrum. My assumption was that this decision was made because students who had tested into Spectrum, were already in the program, were also testing below the 85 percent range on MAP also so the logic didn't hold to use this as a screening criteria. Anyway, I have e-mailed Advanced Learning and should know with certainty when I get their e-mail back and will post it on here. I received the e-mail from a man. Sorry for being vague. I will go to the district web-site to find his name. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

No'End teacher. to clarify, my link to the SPS website wasn't meant to imply that your info wasn't correct, only that the SPS website probably wasn't. (they still say self contained for example).

thanks for the info from your research w/ the AL dept.

-katy

Anonymous said...

I went on the NEA website to see if it talked more about what MAP is designed for, and what it is not, as I remember a fair bit in our trainings emphasizing it should be a student growth tracker, not a curriculum or teacher effectiveness evaluation tool. Not much on that side there now I'm afraid. What I did find though is their scoring sheets, downloadable as a zip at http://www.nwea.org/support/article/
1140/rit-charts-map
They show the scores associated with different questions, I assume if you can answer that type of question correctly you get a score in that range.

One of the sample questions on the science (thankfully our students don't take this one yet) sheet really threw me for a loop though:

Which is not an example of evolutionary change?
A. decrease over time in the tail length of a
species of tropical bird
B. increase over time in a person’s shoe size
C. increase over time in the size of airports
D. decrease over time in the price of cell
phones
E. increase over time in the amount of
memory in computers

Apparently our students are being tested on intelligent design now?

disgusted

No'End Teacher said...

Oh, I give up. I know that I received an e-mail that MAP was not going to be used to screen for Spectrum and I know that my principal confirmed this but it appears it is indeed still on the district web-page that MAP will be used. It was months ago and I don't recognize any of the names from the Advanced Learning department so I see that I am losing credibility by not producing the name of the person who e-mailed me. I was not intentionally posting false information. Maybe the distict reversed their reversal. But I can correct all of this when the AL department e-mails me back with the answer. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I'm hoping for too much because it is such a stupid test and if the current Spectrum/ALO students can't make the 85 mark why should the in-coming students be expected to make it before they are allowed to take the MAP? Isn't this idiotic?! But if it is being used to screen for the CoGat then I can't encourage my parents to boycott the Sept. MAP and make them miss their chance of Spectrum for their child.

No'End Teacher said...

I mean allowed to take the CoGat (not the MAP). Now I'm going to bed.

Against MAP as gatekeeper said...

No'End teacher. I don't know when they might have reversed their decision, but we had a similar experience to NEmama. My K child was denied CoGAT because of low MAP scores. We appealed ($$), he did well on CoGAT (>95%) BUT was denied Spectrum based on Winter MAP scores which remained below 85% (but he took them quickly).

Against MAP as gatekeeper said...

One more thing - my understanding is that if you opt out of MAP, then apply to take the CoGAT - they CANNOT deny you. Question - what about the use of Winter MAP scores for middle school math placement?

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys who are asking about how it's working at Lawton. No one knows b.c next year is our first year too. We just had more notice of it and attempted to make the best of a bad situation. Amazing that a program that is completely untested in Seattle schools and schools are blindly jumping on the ship. I actually thought Lawton was supposed to be the beta test or pilot to see if it would work.. whatever.

RE: classifying students at Lawton. I don't know if they are using MAP scores or not. I think they were going to use teacher assessment of each student. It's one more way that there really is not enough information on the program roll-out. Not enough to launch it already IMHO.

At Lawton, Group 1's will be Spectrum students since that is the SPS definition of gifted. BEWARE though b.c Brulles/ Winebrenner's definition of gifted is top 3-5% of CoGAT (so it really corresponds more to SPS's APP classification) and kids are in Spectrum if they test in the top 10% of CoGAT. LOTS and LOTS of discussion about that at Lawton and there was an attempt to have Group 1's be only the top 3-5%.

The problem with that is that the school doesn't actually see the CoGAT scores so they'd never know who those kids are. And --if they tried to put only the top 3-5% in Group 1 - that completely disregards the kids already designated Spectrum who fall in the 5-10%. There are lots of detractors who say SPS over designates in Spectrum but those kids HAVE met cognitive benchmarks, whether the detractors agree or not is irrelevant. And the more you research it, the top 10% is on the high end but not an anomaly among gifted programs throughout the US. The top 5% is more common, but many still do the top 10%.

Details, details. They matter. WW if your admin actually uses the formula/ work product that Lawton worked hours and hours to formulate, then some semblance of advanced learning might be maintained. (larger clusters of advanced learners, a commitment to professional development on differentiation, recordkeeping and report backs to the community re: how it's going...) That's what we're hoping at Lawton. If your principal/teachers are going into it willy nilly though, w/o thought to these details, it could be a real death knell to your program.

--cluster skeptic

suep. said...

Some MAP-related reading:

15 Reasons Why the Seattle School District Should Shelve the MAP® Test—ASAP

MAP test manufacturer warns: MAP test should NOT be used to evaluate teachers. — So why is Seattle Public Schools doing just that?

Race and The (mis)Measures of Academic Progress

How to opt out of the MAP® test

Anonymous said...

I come from a different part of the country. Every year for six years in a row, during the week devoted to standardized assessment testing I took my children to DisneyWorld for the week. It was something we saved for all year. My children were able to get into any program they applied to, both in middle and high school, and then in college. My youngest daughter was accepted by three graduate schools.

We have a lot of pictures and fond memories of DisneyWorld. My children also have more than their share of academic honors and achievements. What they don't have is the anxiety and dread of testing week. Somehow, even without the advantage that standardized testing would give them and the fear that comes with having to do your "best on the test," my children survived and did nicely without sitting in a room with a lot of other scared or bored students filling in little circles on a sheet.

--Lisa, reposting for anonymous

(I enjoyed reading this comment and didn't want to see it deleted because of being unsigned)

wv: winfuc. I think our school's MAP laptops are windows-based, and the second half speaks for itself.

Anonymous said...

My understanding on MAP and advanced learning is this:

If your kid takes the MAP and doesn't hit the score bar, even if they miss by one point, they are not eligible for further advanced learning testing.

If your kid does not take the MAP at all, they ARE eligible for advanced learning testing.

Check w/ the advanced learning office; they added the gatekeeping rule without warning and can and may change their policy on the MAP without warning.

--Pretty Sure

Anonymous said...

FYI -- dr. enfield said last night at a public forum that she thinks SPS will only test using MAP twice next year. She believes they will skip the fall test and just use the spring test from the previous year as the "starting point". She noted that this plan was not finalized yet and could change.
- town hall supporter

MAPsucks said...

Twice a year will have zero costs savings in money paid out to NWEA. Furthermore, I don't believe the NWEA's "Growth Norms Database" will be an appropriate instrument for the district's ill-advised venture into value-added assessments of teachers.

There will be savings of course in not futzin' around with computer labs and library use and lost instructional time etc.

Frankly, given the wild fluctuations in Winter scores, what good is TWO times (except to grade the teacher and school)?

Curiouser and curiouser said...

Of all the MAP tests to keep, you would think it would be the Fall test.

It gives teachers a quick snapshot at the beginning of the year and would quickly identify those needing interventions or additional challenge. It would also balance out the testing for students so the Spring would focus on MSP and EOCs.

As a parent, one MAP test a year seems ample, and if I were to opt-out of the testing, it would probably be for the Winter and Spring MAP tests. This also prevents SPS from mis-using the results to evaluate teachers (growth couldn't be calculated with only one data point).

Curiouser and curiouser said...

One more thought - if the Spring test is used as the starting point, as suggested by Enfield, would the Spring MAP be used for Advanced Learning cut-offs the following Fall?

Charlie Mas said...

Thanks to everyone form your comments.

I have updated the post.

We will organize this as a campaign. The campaign will have a web presence, but it will also need people in each school working and recruiting folks to opt out.

We will promote all of the benefits of opting out and the total absence of any downside.

We will have a list of specific demands. Yes, demands.

The boycott will be for all students in all programs and all schools for goals that will serve all students in all programs in all schools.

Salander said...

This just sent to district staff
Teacher Student Growth
Background
In September 2010, Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association reached a new collective bargaining agreement, which, among other things, created a new teacher evaluation system that includes student growth.

Across the country, more and more school districts are also using student growth as part of teacher evaluations. Since other districts have tried this practice first, Seattle has the benefit of learning from the experiences of others to implement a system that is as fair as possible. There are two major factors that distinguish our system
from those of other districts:

• Unlike most other districts that use student growth as part of an evaluation system, a teacher's student growth rating in Seattle does not directly impact their evaluation rating. In Seattle, a teacher may receive a high, typical or low student growth rating and it does not directly impact their observation rating of Innovative, Proficient, Basic or Unsatisfactory. Instead, a low student growth rating will trigger additional observations.

• Seattle's student growth rating is based on two years of data and two different tests, instead of using one year of data and one test. Using two years of data on two different tests increases the likelihood that a teacher's student growth rating will be fair and reliable.

Salander said...

Teacher Student Growth Ratings
Each year teachers of tested subjects and grades, of which two or more common state or district assessments are available, will receive an overall student growth score on a scale of zero to 100. This score is based on one district student assessment, and one state assessment. The two-year combined score for both tests will lead to a teacher's student growth rating of High, Typical, or Low.

To ensure that teachers of challenging student populations are evaluated fairly, student growth results will consider the student composition of a teacher's classroom, including the proportion of English learners, students who qualify for free/reduced lunches, and students with disabilities. In addition, only students who are enrolled and in attendance at least 80 percent of the time will be measured.

For teachers of tested subjects and grades in Level 1 and 2 schools, the 2010-11 school year is the first year student growth is measured.

Roster Verification
The student growth measurement will include "roster verification," which is a process to ensure all teachers are matched appropriately with their students.

Teachers of tested subjects and grades in Level 1 and 2 schools will have an opportunity to verify their class rosters before the end of this school year. For questions about roster verification please contact your principal.

Teacher Student Growth Opportunities and Support
Teachers who demonstrate a High student growth average over two years may be eligible for a career ladder position.

Teachers who demonstrate a Low student growth average over two years will receive additional observations and support.

Teacher Student Growth: What Is Being Determined
Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle Education Association are in the process of determining a number of factors related to how the district measures student growth.

Growth Model
The district and the teachers' union are collaborating to finalize how student growth will be measured and how teachers will receive their results. This is expected to be finalized by the end of the summer and communicated to teachers at the start of the 2011 - 12 school year.

Tested Subjects & Grades
For the purpose of student growth, tested subjects and grades are those for which two or more common state or district assessments are available. Subjects and grades that do not currently have two or more common assessments are considered untested subjects/grades.

For more information on teacher student growth, visit us at http://inside.seattleschools.org/area/humanresources/cagshome.

I blame the union for agreeing to this crap

Kathy said...

I've opted my third grader out of MAP for the following reasons:

1. MAP scores do not correlate
to classroom work.
2. Teachers do NOT know how to
use MAP to inform instruction.
Grant funding for teacher ed.
has run out.
3. Fear of test fatigue.
My daughter takes regular
reading tests and reading
tests....also MSP
4. I think it is ridiculous
subject my daughter to multiple
day map testing...then
THREE WEEKS later subject
my 9 year old to mulitple
day MSP.
5. I suspect the district would
love to correlate MAP to MSP-
but I refuse to let them
use my child for purposes
of human experimentation.
6. My daughter complains of
glare on screen.."my eyes
get dizzy". I prefer 1:1
teacher assessment with DRA
or paper for young children.

I don't want to join in a crusade...but, willing to share my experience.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Roster Verification
The student growth measurement will include "roster verification," which is a process to ensure all teachers are matched appropriately with their students.

Teachers of tested subjects and grades in Level 1 and 2 schools will have an opportunity to verify their class rosters before the end of this school year. For questions about roster verification please contact your principal."

Could someone explain this to me?

Dorothy Neville said...

Mel, I think it simply means that a teacher can make sure that the students who are listed as in their class -- and therefore part of the growth measurement -- really were the kids who were in class.

You know, this Data Warehouse thing that is supposed to link students and teachers is not supposed to be finished until the Fall. Not that I would trust that to be accurate anyway (given how poorly the district scores for accuracy in other data) but this probably means there's some hand-collected data. I would want to double check this for accuracy if I were to be scored on the growth of the kids who maybe were or were not my students.

Allow me to rant now.
A: They are hoping that using two tests and two years will increase validity and reliability, but what is the statistical evidence of that?
B: Given that the DW to link students to teachers is not complete, there's no way to back test the algorithm to test for reasonableness at all.

Chris S. said...

I opted my first grader out of the MAP for this round. Two other students in her class have also been opted out. We are taking turns being at school during the MAP administration so we do not burden the school staff with otherwise occupying the MAP-free population. I also volunteered to supervise the early-finishers outside.

Although state law requires schools to provide learning activities for "opt-outers" I recommend this approach as a gesture that we do not mean to hurt or further burden the building staff. Also, it can be community building/solidarity for families, and if you get more than 3-4 families,it also makes it more feasible for parents with non-flexible work schedules to opt out as well.

Chris S. said...

Also, I say "also" as much as Morva says "right." (Inside joke for Melissa)

Salander said...

I like how these plans always have a carrot and a stick. If you are a BAD teacher and your students score low on test questions covering areas you likely don't teach in the class or at that grade level you will be punished.
If you are a GOOD teacher and figure out how to "juke the stats" you can advance your teaching career to join the coaches wharehoused at the John.

This entire scheme is so complex no one will ever be able to figure out how to make it work and so irrelevant that it will end up being another echo of SPS administrative failures.

I just can't believe that these people are so dysfuntional that they actually believe they are accomplishing something, anything.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone answer this question for me:

My daughter was district identified to test for APP based on her end of kindergarten MAP score last year. She did the CogAT, and then we were totally blindsided that she was found ineligible for both APP and Spectrum because her Winter 2011 MAP Math score went down to 72 from 99, Fall to Winter (how did that happen?).

Is the only way around that determination a private test being submitted?

~South End mom

Anonymous said...

You can also be a good teacher with strong students, yet be rated poorly when evaluated based on student growth.

High scoring students are less likely to show growth as they reach the ceiling of the test (they may even show negative growth). At what point is student growth based on mastery of concepts beyond those required to be taught in the current class?

-not a MAP fan

Anonymous said...

From the Advanced Learning website:

Students with no MAP testing data will receive cognitive testing first and may be administered an achievement test if cognitive test scores are within eligibility ranges.

**Only achievements tests that have been completed no earlier than March 2010 will be considered.


If I understand your situation correctly, your child had Spring 2010 MAP scores that qualified, and subsequent CogAt scores that qualified, but then Winter MAP scores were used to disqualify your child? Assuming there were no Fall MAP scores, and according to the Appeals info, the Spring scores should still qualify your student.

Did you file an appeal (the deadline is now past for the upcoming school year)? This is why there's an option for private testing. If you have qualifying CogAt scores, you just need achievement testing done (math and reading).

Another mom

seattle citizen said...

Charlie, you write of a boycott and a list of demands, but this strongly suggests that were the demands be met that the boycott be dropped and students would go backing to taking the MAP test.

I'm not so sure I'm on board with that: If the MAP test is ridiculous, would people go back to testing with it if certain demands were met?

Anonymous said...

Readers of this blog should revisit Salander's posting about teacher eval. (Thanks Salander for the heads up.)
The Teacher Student Growth Rating explains a lot of the effort to de away with self-contained spectrum classes. Adminstrators and teachers will want to determine where kids go and especially the"challenging kids" as evidenced by "roster verification". The other comment that explains the proposed change to attendance policy is the comment about using only the test scores of students who enrolled at least 80% of the time. See below for a copy of what was in Salander's earlier posting:

"To ensure that teachers of challenging student populations are evaluated fairly, student growth results will consider the student composition of a teacher's classroom, including the proportion of English learners, students who qualify for free/reduced lunches, and students with disabilities. In addition, only students who are enrolled and in attendance at least 80 percent of the time will be measured."

and

"Roster Verification
The student growth measurement will include "roster verification," which is a process to ensure all teachers are matched appropriately with their students "

Now we know more of what is driving all of the changes to spectrum and attendance policy. ( APP is safe because it is isolated thus far.) The driver is not about best practices to promote learning for each child, but a lazy, seemingly "hands off" way for administrators to use numbers to rate teachers rather do the hard work of true and meaningful performance review.

THAT Charlie should be the reason to boycott the test.

-another reader

Anonymous said...

Readers of this blog should revisit Salander's posting about teacher eval. (Thanks Salander for the heads up.)
The Teacher Student Growth Rating explains a lot of the effort to do away with self-contained spectrum classes. Administrators and teachers will want to determine where kids go and especially the "challenging kids" as evidenced by "roster verification". The other comment that explains the proposed change to attendance policy is the comment about using only the test scores of students who enrolled at least 80% of the time. See below for a copy of what was in Salander's earlier posting:

"To ensure that teachers of challenging student populations are evaluated fairly, student growth results will consider the student composition of a teacher's classroom, including the proportion of English learners, students who qualify for free/reduced lunches, and students with disabilities. In addition, only students who are enrolled and in attendance at least 80 percent of the time will be measured."

and

"Roster Verification
The student growth measurement will include "roster verification," which is a process to ensure all teachers are matched appropriately with their students "

Now we know more of what is driving all of the changes to spectrum, and attendance policy. ( APP is safe because it is isolated thus far.) It becomes apparent why parents gain little insight as to the meaning of MAP data except to watch their kids' scores go up or down. The district cannot not use MAP data to guide individual child's learning because MAP tests do not reflect SPS curriculum.

The driver here is not about best practices to promote learning for each child, but a lazy, seemingly "hands off" way for administrators to use numbers to rate teachers rather than do the hard work of true, face to face, meaningful performance review. Spectrum is just colatteral damage.

That Charlie should be the reason to boycott the test.

-another reader

Parent said...

APP is safe because it is isolated thus far.

According to reports from last night's APP meeting, non-APP students may be allowed to take Science with the APP cohort at Washington next year (scheduling issues were given as the reason).

Anonymous said...

SO folks, save $30 and don't buy the book on cluster grouping. This isn't about excellence for all, and elitism (though the debate is convenient because it adds parental support for doing away with self-contained spectrum), but about how to distribute ALL our little darlings in ways that will make classroom rosters equitable for teachers in this attempt to evaluate teachers based on standardized testing.

ALL parents should opt their kids out of testing. Our kids are being weighed and measured not for the sake of learning, but to meet collective bargaining guidelines and to be used as an administrative tool.

This should make us ask lots of questions because it has caused chasm within those schools and their communities...another collateral damage? Will our children's education be collateral damage as well?

- Another reader

Salander said...

And whose job will it be to profile all the data for the 55,000+ students in the district? Who will keep track of who is attending 80% of the time? What if the student's attendance drops to 79% for a couple of months because of an illness? Will they no longer count?What if a child qualifies for RFL but is not enrolled? What is a student just exited from ELL?Million ans millions will be spent by the minions whose job it is to control this data. To what end? Weeding out all those BAD teachers.Remember there are no interventions for struggling students. The teachers with no aids, or translators, or counselors, or after school or summer programs are somehow supposed to fix those students or be fired. That's what this is all about. This system has NOTHING to do with student success.

Kathy said...

Salander,

You know...the district will NOT be able to do this.

Yet, we have Research,Evaluation and Assessment being funded at nearly $3M/ yr. Academic Warehouse cost $1.1M and MAP computers cost $4M. Then, there are fees attached to MAP test etc.

There is plenty of research stating linking student test scores to teacher effectiveness hasn't decreased the achievement gap. Why are we spending dollars on this non-sense.

The district just took %5M out of our classrooms.

We might see additional mid-year reductions.

Time for this non-sense to end.

South End Mom,
Check in with your daughter about her experience. My child's test scores dropped- she needed to use the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be useful to separate the boycott into two categories- opt out of MAP testing which is a completely absurd test on so many levels, and opt out of MSP testing which has some merits.

-School Teacher

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no data to show that the MAP test is useful or valid. I recommend scrapping the entire MAP test- don't give it once or twice, just don't give it. The money the district is spending is much more than just the NWEA contract.

- computers purchased for the sole purpose of testing
- computer upkeep and software licensing for upgrades of operating systems (yes, school district had to do that to be compatible with new NWEA program)
- libraries not usable for months during the school year
- students feeling like they are failures
- teachers getting zero useful feedback
- parents getting inappropriate feedback (wildly fluctuating scores)
- huge negative impact of invalid testing (read Diane Ravitch's book)
- poor community engagement (promotes he's better, she's better with no real content)

I could go on but it has already taken up too much of my time as a teacher and I refuse to give it any more.

Signed,
Long time teacher who is seeing a bad trend.

Anonymous said...

To South End mom - make sure you keep copies of disrict test results (CogAt scores, etc.) as Advanced Learning doesn't keep the records year to year. You may be able to use the most recent CogAt scores (if they qualify) for next year's testing cycle should you need to appeal.

Another mom

Anonymous said...

Dear No'End Teacher: Post on! Your post was a good one; you DID have a factual basis (Melissa sometimes dings us when we toss in totally "out there" opinions as though they were facts -- but that was not your case); no, you didn't cite all your sources, but you HAD them, and you had no way of knowing -- before others jumped in to say that the 85% cut off had been used to exclude THEIR kids -- that you needed to be saving letters, archiving emails, etc., right?

I have no problem believing that you got the letters you did. I have no problem believing (hoping?) that the policy might have changed to a less insane one and the website has not been updated. I have no problem believing the person you talked to is gone, or cannot be located on the bad website we paid a fortune for. I also have no problem believing -- since the left hand in this District frequently doesn't even know a right hand exists -- much less what it is doing, that your source might have sent information out in good faith, but it was wrong, or was subsequently changed.

So please don't think most of us thought you were posting "false information." Maybe it was a timing issue (so both sides are right); maybe the District is putting out contradictory stuff. I for one was happy to hear your points. And if others pushed back harder than you thought appropriate, remember that the insane, stupid policy you were so happy to say you had been told was (rightfully) dead had just been used to roll over and squash their kids a short time before. If it had been me, my anger and bitter disappointment in the SSD might well have led to a sharper comeback than perhaps was merited.

This blog does best with lots of voices, ears to the ground, and points of view. Hope we still have yours.

Still Hoping You Were Right

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kathy, if that's not the saddest thing - your daughter had to address the call of nature and that's why her score dropped. I wonder how many kids don't ask to use the bathroom (but need to) and are worrying the whole time they are taking the test.

Jan said...

For those posting on the two times vs three times (vs no times) per year MAP testing:

I am a "no times per year" person for all the reasons in the post of "Long time teacher who is seeing a bad trend," as well as many others.

But, I would take 2 over 3 -- if only to save the wear and tear on kids, and to get the libraries back. Also, maybe we can get it down to 1 time per year -- and then get rid of it altogether!!!

But I will support Charlie's drive to boycott (even though I see, and concur, with the "problem" that one of the things we should be demanding is an end to MAP -- so how is it we say we will go back to it if they fix stuff) -- at any rate, I am in, if only because this may be the first good way of starting to get parents involved in pushing back, at the school level against some of this ridiculousness.

The District is all together. They have one leader -- who hires and fires all of them, and signs their paycheck. They present a united front of obfuscation, misinformation, and manipulated timing to the Board to get their way, and they get away with it time, after time, after time.

Now, let's look at parents and taxpayers. We are diffused among various schools. We have divergent needs and interests. While we all want good education, and good schools for "our" kids -- if we are parents, we have different kids, with different needs, and different ideas about how to get from point A to point B. We are democrats, republicans, communists, socialists, libertarians, Ayn Randers, independents. We are a plethora of cultures and religions. We are very rich, very poor, English speaking, non-English speaking. Some of us have time and willingness to "get involved." Many of us lack the time, the talent, the personal skills, to do more than get our kids signed up and to school, and pitch in on a little homework. We are APP, Spectrum, ALO, Special Ed, and the great, unlabeled "regular" that is left over.

The District knows we are unformed and unled. They use this against us all the time. They go further, and actually "pit" us against each other, and use one group (for example, non-Spectrum parents in schools with Spectrum classes) to tear down programs desired by other families (such as self-contained Spectrum). They know our interests and our limited time means we "move on" with our kids, and they count on that to degrade any institutional memories of what they have done to other schools, communities, and families in past years.

We have our votes (unless we "sell" them to the well-financed spin campaigns on either side), our placement (or not) of our kids in SSD schools, and our willingness (or not) to let our kids be used, for weeks at a time, in experiments on how to use high stakes testing to get at teacher work conditions, pay, and retention policies.

Because the tests are not only useless to our kids but actively harmful (just read the posts on kids denied APP and Spectrum due to an arbitrary cut-off on MAP tests that are not appropriately used as gateway tests -- and that is ONLY one small harm among others), because I oppose the primary policy (teacher evaluation based on high stakes tests) that the tests are here to support, and because this could be the beginning of a "parents and kids rights" movement to retake some control over misspending and mismanaging on ed reform, I am "in."

none1111 said...

I think a boycott could be a (perhaps the only) practical and powerful tool for parents to effect change.

However, the goals must be specific and targeted to be effective. Asking the district to fulfill all broken promises might be a great goal, but it's far too lofty to be taken seriously.

However, if a majority of Spectrum-qualified (and hopefully other) families at Wedgwood said in unison "We are not going to take either the MAP or MSP if you dissolve the Spectrum model in our building", then I think there would be some serious listening.

And as Charlie has said in the past, do not back off based on a promise. Be committed. Only fulfill your part after the district fulfills their part.

Is anyone still reading this thread? WW Spectrum parents, you need to spread the word among yourselves, and you'd better hurry.

Anonymous said...

Parents, please physically watch your kids take the MAP test.

I just spoke with a middle school teacher. Testing at that school is a free for all:
-kids enter and leave the room at will
-kids unplug each others computers for fun (they are so bored)
-kids take part of the test, go to class or lunch and then return, sometimes days later, to complete the test
-kids hang out and bother kids who are taking the test (because the bothersome kids have no where else to go during lunch)
-there are twice as many kids needing testing as there are computers
-etc.

Scientific results? Not hardly.

-JC.