I wanted to make note of several things I noticed:
- Organized - very much appreciated
- Good facilitator who kept things on track
- The group is going to be able to look at the MAP test. I think this is great because as members of this Taskforce, they need what they are talking about when it comes to this discussion.
- Two principals - from Mercer and Denny - came in to talk about what was happening at their schools. A little bit of cheerleading there for MAP but I think the Taskforce took it with a grain of salt. The only odd thing was the Denny principal saying they had a data wall with kids' scores on it. I hope not.
- As in any group, there are a few people who speak often and the rest listen. I hope that the listeners don't allow the discussion to always follow what the speakers want it to be. That's a facilitator's job.
- The head of Curriculum and Instruction, Shauna Heath, says there is nothing out there like MAP for "validity and reliability." Hmm.
- Kris McBride from Garfield was a calm and firm voice about how MAP does not work for their students. She did not question its use for other grade levels but said it was not helping for the high school level.
The good, best thing at that meeting?
They had Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford University, a very noted and well-respected education expert, call in. Dr. Darling-Hammond (unbelievably) listened to the entire meeting before her own section started. I was surprised she had the time but I think she wanted to know what was being discussed.
She brought forth the following from the paper she co-wrote with Frank Adamson, Beyond Basic Skills: The Role of Performance Assessment in Achieving 21st Century Standards of Learning.
I urge you to read this paper. I found it incredibly useful. I recommend pages 17-22 where she talks about what other states are doing. From the preface:
Whether the context is the changing nature of work, international competitiveness, or, most recently, calls for common standards, the premium today is not merely on students’ acquiring information, but on recognizing what kind of information matters,why it matters, and how to combine it with other information.
Remembering pieces of knowledge is no longer the highest priority for learning; what students can
do with knowledge is what counts.
What she had to say at the meeting:
- MAP has some utilitarian uses but its structure is around what is currently taught and not what is coming i.e. Common Core
- She worked on Obama's transition team and one thing he emphasized was that testing needed to move beyond multiple choice questions.
- She said the US is pretty out of step with what other countries are doing BUT is getting there. Her words at the meeting and her paper both reflect that high-performing countries are using open-ended questions, oral questions and essay/project-based assessments. (I could see the senior project become a sophomore or junior project that has more assessment weight.) For example, in Victoria, Australia, on-demand tests are supplemented with classroom-based task, given throughout the school year, that compromise at least 50% of the examination score.
- She said it was important that assessments represent higher learning and asked two questions.
Do the questions demonstrate how students will succeed in tasks in college and career?
Does it give information to teachers on how they learn and not just how they score?
She said to think about countries where the depth of the questions is more important than a "quick and easy" scoring ability.
- She was asked about MAP and a Rand study of 17 states including Washington State. There was a ranking of the questions 1-4 (with 4 being the best) and found that 0% of the multiple choice questions reached a 3 or 4.
- She mentioned Conn., NY, Vermont as states with districts that have developed portfolio strategies that can be scored in reliable ways, across grade levels.
I hope to be able to attend tomorrow's meeting but I was very impressed with the discussion that went on at this meeting.