Monday, May 19, 2014

What's the Math Summative Assessment?

I had no idea yet another test was happening in SPS but apparently it is true.  It's a two-day test called the Math Summative Assessment.

The window for testing started May 12th and is to finish May 23rd.

From SPS (partial to first and second grade teachers):

Seattle Public Schools will administer a summative mathematics assessment this spring to all first and second graders.  The purpose of this assessment is to measure the annual progress of primary grade students toward (sic) meeting Common Core State Standards.  

These new summative assessments were developed by a team of SPS teachers and members of the mathematics department with support from an independent testing consultants.  The components of the assessment were field tested in the spring of 2013 and winter of 2014.

Were you notified?  Because the parent who told me said her child's teacher mentioned it in a weekly update otherwise she would not have known.

I kind of doubt parents were told because, well, they then might opt out.  This way, the child takes the test, the district gets the data and hey, it's just one more test, that's all.

But honestly, it's not clear WHO gets this data.  Is the testing consultant getting it (and how much did that consultant cost the district)?  How will it get presented to the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers (as the letter also states)?

Was your child part of the field testing?

Ask your child or your child's teacher if you have a first or second grader.  Ask about why the test is two days.  If you weren't notified, ask why not.  Whether it works or not, I would send a letter, for each of my children, to have on file that states I want to be notified of any testing, individual or class, that my child is to be a part of for the district/school.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

The test for first grade is not great. Badly written multiple choice questions and the second grade students have to transfer their answers to a bubble sheet. Very developmentally inappropriate! I am all for district wide assessments if it is gathering good usable data that is representative of what the kids know.

-Teacher

Anonymous said...

My child hasn't taken it yet. The info I have is that it's a 1-hour test. So, not two days according to her. I'm assuming it's the same district test you're talking about. I guess I'll find out more tomorrow after my child takes the test.

kp

ws said...

ok as a parent of a first grader this is the first i am hearing of this. nice job SPS!

Anonymous said...

I'm not against testing necessarily but I would like more transparency about what tests my kids are taking and why. I'm all for tests that will enable the teachers (and us as parents) to see how my kids are doing, strength/weaknesses etc. I want to see that they are meeting the grade level expectations and test results provide some objective data about that. But I want to know if the tests they are doing are to providing this kind of feedback or if the tests are for research, district data gathering, state assessment requirements etc. I'm willing for my kid to do a certain amount of testing for research/data purposes - I guess it's a common/greater good type of thing and we all need to share a certain amount of the load- but I don't want them to subjected to excessive amounts of this sort of testing that they will receive no benefit from. It can be stressful and demoralizing and that is not worth it if the results are not going to be used by the teacher to evaluate needs and direct instruction. That is where the need for transparency comes in. If the district is undertaking this it should be there on the website, along with MSP/MAP testing windows and with an explanation. I also think schools should issue families with a testing "calendar" for the year (at the start of year, and updated as needed during year) - stating what tests, what they are for, the testing window, etc. These should not be something we hear about the week before on a newsletter, or not at all until our kid tells us they did one.
Testy

Anonymous said...

I have a second grader and I haven't heard a thing - I just know that there is MAP testing for her on Friday and Tuesday. My 2nd grader is doing 3rd grade math - does that make a difference? Her teacher is a very good communicator, so I am very surprised I haven't heard about this. My 2nd grader also tells me about "assessments" and hasn't mentioned any math other than her typical unit tests.

Curious....

NE Mom of 3

Po3 said...

I think SPS has learned that if they want to demo a new test they have to do it uncover so parents don't opt out.

Anonymous said...

The letter says "all first and second graders." Does anyone know if kids in self-contained advanced learning programs are taking the test?

NEP

Anonymous said...

They are, NEP. My second grader in APP is scheduled to take it tomorrow. We are opting out.

-Opter outer

Anonymous said...

I know our 1st grade class at Lincoln APP is doing a "summative math assessment" tomorrow according to a class newsletter - no explanation beyond this (I didn't realize it was some sort of district wide test until I read it here)

testy

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have to say, these comments say it all.

The district has to be transparent about its efforts around academics. Why no announcement either for the field testing or the district-wide testing?

Were teachers/principals to tell parents? I have a feeling the answer is no but some teachers, doing due diligence, told their students' parents.

Anonymous said...

It would be helpful to know if this is being done as a possible replacement for the MAP. Of course, that would take actual communication from District Teaching and Learning.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Okay...maybe the district is actually trying to get more useful information than they are getting from MAP or MSP. It could be a move in the right direction.

Will the results also be used for math groupings or AL services? That's what I'd be interested in knowing as a parent. Since they seem headed in the direction of no APP until 3rd grade, it does make one wonder if the results will support in school groupings, and whether they will eliminate MAP for that age group.

curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

It is never a move in the right direction without transparency. About why, about costs, about use of data.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU FOR THIS INFO! I just asked for my child w/vision and visual tracking issues to be accommodated on the test - to have my child's problems graded on the worksheet rather than requiring them to be transferred to the bubble sheet (nightmare, nightmare, nightmare for my child and would completely frustrate the kid into quitting or losing sight of the math, b/c of focusing on finding place each time). THANK YOU for letting me know!

This is one of the many reasons I read this blog. Melissa, when you are down or overwhelmed - you do have thousands of small improvements in actual children's lives that you can put in your plus column.

Signed: thank you

Anonymous said...

The AL task force materials include suggestions for K-2 (Hertzog) that include using end of year curriculum based assessments as screeners - which would be in line with the "math summative assessment" being used in 1st and 2nd grade. I would be hesitant to opt out since it could possibly keep your child from receiving AL services.

Hertzog K-2 thoughts

curious

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, enough with this lack of transparency. To say, after the fact without notice, "well, your child isn't eligible because he/she did not take assessment A" is well, BS.

To not tell parents, especially parents with children with special needs, about this is not good. These are 6 and 7 year old children who may struggle with any kind of assessment.

Anonymous said...

come on everyone, this makes perfect sense.

given the district's complete baloney with the recent k-5 math adoption & trying to stack the deck for their reformie dreck, of course there are more tests!

and, of course there will be zero real attempts to figure out the skills kids are struggling with and exactly what to do with about those skills, because we're all going to go to college and be high level thinkers who don't need boring old skills.

and, with the knapp-ster helping guide crappy contracts, teachers will take all the blame!

does it ever

getbetter?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Herzog is just 1 person, with one viewpoint, which is COUNTER to evidence. Come to the task force and listen to the whole discussion.

Of course, Mr. Banda if free to disregard what recs do come forward.

-waiting for recs

Disgusted said...

I'm not surprised. MAP is a piece of junk and worthless to teachers.

It is not uncommon to see school tests in addition to MAP and MSP.

Cynthia said...

Could this be a Smarter Balanced Test?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Cynthia, no, I don't think so because SB controls when testing is and I thought it had long passed.

Anonymous said...

Just found out that my 2nd grader is taking the test today. Her teacher said that they didn't want the kids to be nervous about it, so they have been very low key about it. She also said they are doing the test in 2 steps to avoid issues with the bubble test since not necessarily developmentally appropriate.

She is taking it in her regular class, not her math class (they do walk to math).

I still wish they would have communicated to us about it and what exactly it means/how they are using it.

NE Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised at this at all! At our NW elementary 1st graders take a math placement test at the end of the year. Scores at this test determine who gets put in advanced math from 2nd grade on. Parents are not told the test is going to happen and are not given results. I was only told about the test and given my kid's score because I asked multiple times for the info. The math head continually tried to deny advanced math classes even exist at the school and we are a walk to math school. Once the class is formed there is no movement so the kids who are in get advanced math but the ones who didn't do well on the assessment but are bored in class and have MAP scores that qualify them for APP won't get moved in. We would stay at this school if this was not the case but because I want my child to be challenged and not stuck in a math level based on one test taken in first grade we will be leaving for APP. The district and the schools are not on the same page when determining which kids qualify for advanced learning. The district tells me my kid is ready for math two years ahead. The school says my kid should be in grade level math.
-Frustrated

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is so odd. NE Mom of 3, at our NE school the second grade kids have been preparing for the test for weeks.

They've been reviewing first and second grade math ad nauseum, even though it's a mixed ability class and many of the students have long since mastered the material and demonstrated that every which way from Sunday. The kids themselves were told that all the review is for this test. They've also spent time the last two days practicing scantron sheets.

Disappointed

Anonymous said...

For me, this is the straw that broke the camel's back for testing. I finally opted out of this test, and although I've been tempted I haven't opted out before. My kid is APP-eligible.

I haven't heard back from the school on what "opting out" means in practice. Should I send him with reading material tomorrow?

-taking a stand

Anonymous said...

This is the letter I received at the end of last week:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

SPS has added a required math assessment this year for first and second graders that is aligned to our Common Core standards. This is something new. It is a short paper and pencil test that will be completed during class next week in two 20 minute sessions. The test is similar to assignments the children have done in class.

The purpose of this assessment is to give teachers information about what their students have learned this year, and give the District information about how Common Core is being implemented. The data may also be good baseline information before we begin to work with the new math curriculum which is being adopted district-wide for next year.

As the results are calculated by the District, we are not certain when they will be available. We will let you know when we have more information.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Melissa Gray
Assistant Principal
Whittier Elementary


-Frustrated at Whittier

Melissa Westbrook said...


"I haven't heard back from the school on what "opting out" means in practice. Should I send him with reading material tomorrow?"

That is up to you. If you asked valid questions that are time-sensitive and you did not get answers back, then any issues that arise after testing should be the district/school's problem.

Whittier, thank you for that. Pretty vague. And, if the assessment is like assignments in class, why the need for the assessment?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Melissa. I have written four emails since Monday, and I still haven't heard back from the school on what happens when a parent refuses a test for a student. I guess I will learn the answer from my child today when he returns home from school.

The school also has not adequately explained why they did not notify parents.

-taking a stand

Libby said...

According to my daughter's teacher, the 1st grade MSP consisted of 14 comprehensive math questions. Per the instructions, it was advised that teachers/proctors read the test for the whole class. Most questions were multiple choice, but there were a few that required a one or two word response and a drawing response.

Anonymous said...

My NE 2nd grader took the test this week. No advance notice. I only know because my child told me about it after the fact.