Thursday, September 08, 2016

Assessment Steering Committee Report

The Seattle Schools Assessment Steering Committee was assembled in spring of 2016 as part of the 2015-2018 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Seattle Schools and the Seattle Education Association Certificated Non-Supervisory Employees.

This is a Steering Committee composed entirely of District employees. Their meetings are not public.

The committee delivered this recommendations report in June, 2016.

Among the recommendations are
  • For the District to give school a lot more support around the state proficiency tests
  • To use the Smarter Balanced interim assessment this year and look for another interim assessment to use next year
  • For the District to provide training on the use of interim assessments
  • To replace the MAP as part of Advanced Learning eligibility and for primary students
  • To purchase Pulse Learn K-2 as a formative assessment for K-2 students
  • For the District to provide professional development with the new assessments
  • For the District to provide guidance around use of test data
  • For the District to clarify the meaning and consequences when students refuse to test
In all cases, the committee is very clear that the purpose and use of each assessment should be made very clear and that assessments not be mis-used.

I note that there is nothing in this set of recommendations that speaks directly to MTSS, the instructional practice that the District wants to implement which requires frequent assessments.

Also worth noting is this statement from the Steering Committee:
The district should provide clear communication on the purpose of all required and optional assessments, and how these data and assessments can best be utilized to support instructional and programmatic decision-making. This includes the use of student data by outside organizations. This committee recommends a focus on deepening assessment literacy throughout our system.

11 comments:

Outsider said...

Just curious, what is wrong with MAP?

ConcernedSPSParent said...

MAP was never designed as a gateway to AL. I recall seeing an email exchange between SPS staff and the vendor a couple of years ago when the vendor explicitly stated that. Unfortunately certain staff members don't allow pesky facts to get in the way of a pet project.

Outsider said...

The item above seems to call for replacing MAP
1) as AL criterion
2) for testing elementary students in general

MAP is supposedly a test that measures student learning on a grade-level scale. To disaggregate the question somewhat:

1) Does the steering committee recommend that elementary students no longer be tested? (That would seem to run counter to the MTSS emphasis on frequent testing.) Or do they want a different test? If they want a different test, different in what way?

2) Will grade level achievement no longer be relevant to advanced learning? That would be interesting if so, and I wonder how they explain it. Or do they just want to use a different test to measure grade level achievement for AL eligibility?

Anonymous said...

@Outsider:

I think the message is pretty clear. MAP was already on its way out and only in use for K-2 (SBAC covers 3rd and up). The taskforce recommended it be replaced by Pulse Learn for the younger grades. So sadly no real reduction in testing just replacement of the test.

Grade level achievement is already pegged to the SBAC for grades 3 and up. Its reasonable to assume that if the district switched to Pulse Learn, they would use it for this purpose as well.

-AtLeastItWasntAmplify

-

Anonymous said...

Not sure SBAC will be used in the future either. The Board asked staff to research and identify other options, right? Can't remember the deadline for the report, but I do remember them asking last year for the work to be done. Anyone remember a timeline?

The Iowa test, used nationally including at private schools, seems one possibility. SPS has used it in the past.

I second or is that third the motion for blog readers to dive into the assessment report. The SBAC problems are significant and our own SPS educators flat out state that they harm our students' learning.

Why isn't this ever going to be a huge headline in the Seattle Times? Gates Foundation pushing standardized testing and also financing Times education reporting? Oh, guess we have our answer. Carry on valiant bloggers.

Opt Out

Melissa Westbrook said...

The ITBS was the gold standard for decades and very cheap.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the schools where the Gates send their kids don't implement such garbage.

Money Game

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Charlie.

Old timers like me may remember that MAP, brought to us by MGJ, brought about other bogus uses of that test: tying scores to teacher evaluations and to city grants. The City's Department of Education with Holly Miller goaded by Sara Morris then head of the Alliance for Education wrote MAP scores into evaluating effectiveness of city money distribution to schools. They tried to get it used in teacher contract negotiations. SPS downtown "managers" were A-OK with this despite MAP creators saying these were not valid uses of the test.

The teachers woke up and got SPS to back off the use in teacher evaluations. Don't know the current status of MAP in City grants but that should be examined. Sara Morris got punted from the Alliance or should we say resigned to spend more time with family and on new projects so the MAP push there appears dead.

Moral: It is not mouthbreathing hysteria to assume that every standardized test brought into this district has the potential to warp into something not scientifically valid and in fact hurtful to students. I think SBAC as a clearance for HCC fits that bill.

DistrictWatcher

Outsider said...

It's still ambiguous whether dislike of the MAP test is based on:

1) dislike of standardized testing in general; or

2) a belief that MAP is inferior to other tests.

How is Pulse Learn different or better? Is it cheaper?

Lynn said...

According to the report, the committee believes the MAP tests are not reliable for primary students or for advanced learning testing. They recommended that the district find another test for these purposes. In addition, they recommended that the district adopt the Pulse Learn K-2 assessments to be used as formative (interim) assessments. So - they want to get rid of one test and adopt two new tests.

Anonymous said...

I'm a K teacher. How is adding two more standardized assessment tests helpful? Right now we have to do a WaKids assessment at the beginning of the year (which is very long and time consuming) and MAP during the winter. I know they are thinking of dropping MAP. Are we then going to have to do WaKids and another assessment (Pulse)3x/yr? Seriously! I understand that we have to do some testing for administrative purposes, but 4 tests a year for administrative purposes. What a waste! You also have to realize that I still need to do all or my regular, formative assessments which actually evaluate what I am teaching in the classroom. Too much testing for K!
K Teacher