Tweet from the district about priorities for 2014-2015:
During a retreat today, the School Board picked its top governance priorities for the 2014-15 school year: bell times analysis, multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS), special education and stewardship of resources/internal controls.
First, shouldn't these "priorities" have been set at the end of the school year (so that everyone comes to the first day of school with those in mind)?
Second, someone would have to define the last priority, "stewardship of resources/internal controls." If it means getting on the good foot for operations and watching over the dollars (like not spending them on pre-K junkets), great news.
In other news:
On district-given assessments:
The computer-based tests are designed to help teachers find out what students already know and what they need to learn early in the school year. These types of assessments are known as interim benchmarks because they "benchmark" student understanding periodically, which helps teachers adjust their teaching to their students' needs.
This year, Seattle Public Schools contracted with a vendor to supply benchmarks – called mClass Beacon – that match the state's Common Core college and career readiness standards. In the 53 participating schools, the MAP achievement tests will go away for students in Grades 3-9 in order to alleviate concerns about "overtesting."
Depending on feedback and funding, Seattle Public Schools could begin districtwide implementation of the mClass Beacon system after this year.
One name to explain mClass Beacon - Amplify. Not good.
This is also the year that the state will require all districts to administer Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) assessments. The Smarter Balanced assessments this spring replace the state's Measurements of Student Progress (MSPs) for reading, writing and math and eventually the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE).
Like the Smarter Balanced assessments, the mClass Beacon benchmarks focus on Common Core standards and use technology to enhance testing. That means nearly all students taking the benchmarks will practice using a computer to answer questions – just like they'll have to do on the Smarter Balanced tests in the spring. Computer-based tests like these are better at assessing the complex skills and deeper knowledge required for students to succeed in college and careers. They aren't the prototypical "bubble sheets" associated with standardized testing, though three or four of the 53 schools will use a pen-and-paper version this year due to technology issues.
Three brief benchmarks – in September, November and February – will be offered for reading and writing in Grades 3-9, math in Grades 3-8 and Algebra I. The assessments, which take about an hour, will include detailed score reports that should be easy for both teachers and parents to interpret.
This is somewhat vague as teachers can also give additional "mini-checks" using the mClass Beacon testing. I don't know what will replace MAP for Advanced Learning placement next year.
Personally, I think it would be nice if the district made a chart of ALL the tests that will be given and when they will be given.