Friday Open Thread

Two things:

A reporter for the Nathan Hale Sentinel, Ryan Lenea, wrote to me asking for help on an article he is writing about MAP.  He is looking for the following info:

I am currently writing about the MAP testing administered in Seattle Public Schools; what it is, why we do it, how much it costs etc.  Also, could you please refer me to anyone else you think is knowledgeable on this topic, or who has a strong opinion on it?

I am not a deep-dive on MAP so I asked him if I could ask my readers and he said yes.  If you are knowledgeable about MAP (uses, costs, etc), could you drop him a line today?  Also, if you have strong feelings, yay or nay, could you do that?  He is on a deadline.  He's at   Thanks.

Also, Sunday the 11th is the last day to take the Board's survey.   It may not be a focused and/or well-written survey but it's all we have.  If you or your spouse/partner have not taken it, I urge you to do so and put in the comments your thoughts on a superintendent search. 

I did speak with Director DeBell about the survey.  He and Director Smith-Blum, with the help of the survey consultant, wrote the survey.  No outside entities read it or helped write it.  It was funded with School Board funds.  

One interesting thing - there was a third answer to that last odd question about if you can't have a balance between the superintendent and the Board, would you prefer a stronger super or a stronger Board.   The third answer was something to the effect of "I want both."  The consultant advised them to take it out to get a clearer answer.  I think it should have stayed.

What's on your mind?


Christina said…
This is the page with links to the survey in several languages.

I don't like the Seattle Schools content management system. What I do is strip out the "sessionid=[gobbledygook]" from the URL before sharing it.

Also, what's on my mind now is fixing/updating the Seattle Schools page on Wikipedia. Cheryl Chow is still listed as a Board director, and new schools are not listed. I wonder if anyone knows a central admin contact or SPS Web person, or some similarly unemployed but skillful webby-do-it-all like me who can feed me links so I can do some citation-fed edits. Taking on three years of obsolete urls seems daunting.

WV: what arthritic people must be doing these cold days: "bonemone."
Jet City mom said…
Oregon schools are going to be stopping the testing of students who have already passed the tests for the year.
This is expected to save money.
Could Seattle save money this way?
Anonymous said…

So many commentators are questioning what “occupy ‘your city here’ ” really means.
Having guided one child all the way through Seattle public schools and still guiding a second; having been a part of many PTA meetings, auction procurement, coffee and cookie sales, banking day, chaperoning as needed etc.; what ‘occupy’ means to me in light of what is happening across the nation and what is happening on a micro-scale within the School District is this: there are tiny ways I can help my community here at home to guide small changes that ultimately may have a global effect. I teach my children this, and do my best to stay focused, and act, upon this principle. With that in mind, I would like to begin to make a list of proactive items that may be of interest to others. Please add ideas for consideration.

Ideas for Occupying Seattle (School District!)

*Bring a motion to your PTA to move money to in-state Washington bank or credit union. There is a lot of money that goes through PTA Groups here in Washington. Keep the money in our home state. Why not?

*Does your schools PTA funnel monies through the Alliance? Why? Do you know their percentage of administrative costs?

*Bring a motion to your PTA to do something similar to what Schmitz Park and Roxhill
Recently accomplished. Help a school near your own. Since PTA monies are not
pooled to share on a grand scale, take a step to “share a performance”. What a fabulous

*The next time your school holds a Scholastic book drive and teachers get to make a “wish list”, how about a ‘”wish list” for a neighboring school? It won’t get them everything they need, but speak with their librarian. The offer will create conversation, and perhaps a creative solution.

*Can your high school students donate titles that they loved as a middle-schooler, and deliver to a needy school library? Can your middle-school students donate titles of favorite books of theirs from the elementary level and deliver to a needy school library? Students are encouraged to/need to earn community service hours. Put those community service hours to work!

Why is it that the Alliance is providing the Coordinator and Facilitator for the Board Retreat?

Two and a half years to go
Christina said…
"Two and a half years to go"

Thank you for your marvelous comment. I've done at least half of what you listed as your own contributions and suggestions for the schools my son has attended, but didn't feel they made much difference, as only a few communicated the worthiness of those activities and efforts. Your list validated my efforts and contributions.

I would like to build on the "in-state bank" idea and promote Rep. Bob Hasegawa's initiative to bring a "state bank" to Washington. Large municipal governments could bank at a state bank as its coffers would provide the scale needs a credit union, even one the size of BECU, could not provide, and so the school districts could bank at a state bank as well.

Cynthia Lair, creator of "Cookus Interruptus" and author of Feeding the Whole Family, mentions in an intro to one recipe that when her child was in second grade, volunteer parents took turns providing soup and bread to a class in a hot lunch program. This idea could work for areas without a Free/Reduced Lunch program.

I'm working to bring an afterschool Scrabble program to my son's school: someone introduced this to Maple Elementary, a Seattle school with a large percentage of children with English as a second language. Surprisingly these students excelled and were some of the higher scoring students. The Scrabble club coordinator also taught spelling and Latin and Greek roots and saw a huge jump in spelling and vocabulary with participating students.

Some of these ideas are outside the scope of the PTSA, and even outside the school, but they are changes that can improve our current situation and outlook.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette, edited by Amy Dacyczyn, has an article (The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle
Amy Dacyczyn - Villard Books - 1999, pp.864-868) on frugal fundraisers for schools, in addition to auctions. If I could get some PTSA support, I'd initiate or participate in one to build funds for math curriculum waivers.

Maybe I have to learn how to stay focused, or find enthusiastic stakeholders/supporters in my school.
Anonymous said…
Related to MAP, this info was posted on an Illinois School Disctrict 158 site. It was intended for those undergoing G&T testing, but it does highlight some differences between MAP tests and something more traditional like ITBS.

MAP Test taking strategies:

* Gifted students are used to being the first done on regular paper-pencil test; with MAP they are usually last; it’s okay to be last on this, in fact we encourage gifted students to be the last ones finished.

* Gifted students are used to being able to skip a hard problem and go back over the problem later; with MAP this is not possible, however the GT student will still carry this question in their head making it difficult to work on the problem at hand.

* Gifted students are not used to being challenged on tests and when they face hard questions the reaction may be to STOP or be frustrated.

* Students at the high end of MAP testing will NOT have as large of gains on consecutive tests.

Anonymous said…
There are a couple of things I like about standardized testing: 1) You get an objective read on your child's current abilities. The district report card seems fairly useless and cryptic to me. I really only read the teacher comments, but some teachers don't write much: "X is a pleasure to have in class." I feel responsible for my child's education and want to know where they excel and where they may need support from me.

I wouldn't take one test result as Gospel, but I do find that now that I have 4 tests worth of data to consider I know more about where my children stand in those two tested subjects. It would be great to know what the heck the strands mean ...why do they report something they never bother to define?

I can calibrate the results with what the teachers have to say and what I observe in them....I know that both my kids like and are comfortable taking tests so that would positively impact their scores. I've seen them both have a test where they had a score below the previous score, so I get that scores (or kids) bounce around a bit. But I like having the RIT scores and not just the percentile, b/c my kids are both in the 99th percentile in math, but one has RIT scores that put him in the 99th percentile for two grades above where he is, where the other is in the 99th% for his grade only. This gives me information I like to have.

For instance, when he complains that math is boring, I have believe that he's not being challenged, rather than that he is being lazy. Then I can work on getting him challenged. What I got from his "good" teachers in the past? Just the news that he was doing well in math. They weren't giving him differentiated work to challenge him. (Did they even realize his abilities?) Without the MAP, I might not have realized that I needed to work with them to challenge him. It lit a fire under me. My other child was considerably weaker in reading vs. math. So our home work time is focussed on fun reading work, and he is benefiting.

2) The second reason I like standardized testing is that my kids are getting used to taking tests. They are no big deal to them now. That will certainly help them when they get older and need to take the SAT and other tests.

It only takes two hours 3x a year. If you are really worried about losing valuable instruction time just do twice a year, 4 hours total (and from observing classes for the past 5 years, I see lots of wasted instruction time, but that's a different post).

Maybe the MAP isn't the best test to use, but I like having something objective.

Donning Flame-Resistant Vest
Anonymous said…
I agree with "flame-resistant vest" on the value of having some type of standardized testing. One thing I like about the MAP tests is rather than just finding out that my child passed, I get a sense of how high they could achieve. The MAP tests were helpful with my quiet daughter who was good at math but wasn't one of the boys who always made a big deal of finishing their math work early - so her math abilities went unnoticed. The MAP tests are also helpful with my son who scores highly - but tends to get distracted in class and therefore hadn't been identified as a high performer. Jane.
RosieReader said…
I like the MAP test too, probably not a surprise to anyone here. Many times it has affirmed my view of how my kids are doing. On at least one occasion, I think it was 5th grade, it opened my eyes to a struggle one of my kids was having with math. We were able to get on top of it, and the issue was resolved.

Too much of anything is bad. Moderate use of standardized tests makes as much sense as it ever has.

WV is "conan." I've been thinking it's time for a Conan and Red Sonia film festival in my living room. Apparently, the universe agrees.
wallingford said…
The school district is proposing changing the JSIS boundaries for next year, cutting out many families with younger siblings. With the NSAP, they originally drew the boundary lines too large and now because of over-enrollment issues at the school, must draw it back in. However, the boundary they are proposing is still too large.

Many families with younger siblings are now faced with having their children split, as there is a strong chance there is not going to be space to accommodate siblings next year.

Families were guaranteed predictable access to a neighborhood school with the new assignment plan, but this is not occurring for families with split siblings that lived close to the map border.

Is this the student assignment plan that Seattle wants for its school system? Neighborhoods grow and change, and the district feels it can change the boundaries as needed, a few months before open enrollment. The board should show that it supports families by requiring that siblings be given a priority.
dan dempsey said…
About those Seattle Public Schools teacher evaluations:
.... "the upper rung of competency is innovative".

Why is that?

Does the contract or evaluation instrument define "innovative"?

Would delivering excellent results in a proven manner using practices and materials known to be effective be considered "innovative"?

Look at some of the practices that John Hattie found particularly effective:

a. Project Follow Through's recommendation for Direct Instruction (0.59).
b. Problem Solving teaching (0.61),
c. Mastery Learning (0.58), and
d. Worked Examples (0.57).

Using these would be common sense.... would that make them innovative?

Here is a definition=>

(of a product, idea, etc.) featuring new methods; advanced and original :

It seems that methods proven to work internationally on a huge scale to raise student achievement could hardly be considered new. The question is why does the District have this fascination with new instead of providing a quality education through the use of practices and materials known to work?

Who wrote that the "the upper rung of competency is innovative"?

With leadership that produces this kind of nonsense it is little wonder that significant academic progress is hard to produce.

Looks like "Discovery" nonsense applied to teaching practices .... develop something new ... it may not work but it will be innovative.

My evaluation of the evaluation criteria is that the highest rating of "innovative" is "innovative" but hardly logical or reasonable.
Patrick said…
I'll agree with some of what Flame-Resistant Vest said about value of standardized testing. But I'm not sure MAP is the best test for it. The secrecy surrounding the test makes me nervous -- how do we know it's valid at all? I don't believe a single test two hours long can measure a student's skill in all types of math and all types of reading. There are many topics within each subject, and MAP can't even scratch the surface. The test results are not specific enough to guide extra work in a particular subject.

I agree that the District report card is cryptic. I heard that they're changing for this year; I hope it's an improvement.
MAPsucks said…
I'd love to help young Ryan but am running low on batteries. Will try to forward some stuff in the next few days...

Flames? what flames?
dan dempsey said…
School Board meeting of 12-7-2011 is now available HERE.
Eric B said…
Seattle can't save money by testing fewer times in a year. NWEA's contract sets fees based on number of students. The base fee covers up to 3 or 4 tests per year. It's a no-lose proposition for them. Whether the contract could be re-negotiated next time around, I don't know.

Testing fewer times would increase class time and reduce impacts to the building, though.
dw said…
Site suggestion:

Reduce the HUGE bank of tags at the bottom of every page. It's nice to have some tags listed, but it's so long that it dominates new posts or posts with few comments, and many of the tags are uncommon or unhelpful. It makes it hard to scroll to the bottom to find the "Post Comment" link.

My suggestion is to keep the tags, but filter out those with less than 3 or 4 links. I think there should be an option for that.
Anonymous said…
On my way to work this morning on SB 99 at the Western Ave exit, I noticed a large clump of Steve Sundquist election signs. Just sayin'.

NB Slacker
dj said…
Wallingford, that is what is going to happend under the NSAP, more and more frequently (already has happened at some schools and will continue to happen). Neighborhoods aren't containment zones. People can move, and they can send their kids to other schools, whether option or private. You would expect to see enrollment in popular schools increase because people are now guaranteed spaces for their kids and will therefore move into the neighborhood or if they are in the neighborhood, move their kids from private or option schools. Given that the district is operating schools where possible at or near 100% capacity, inevitably school lines will have to move, and for many schools, "inevitably" has started or will happen in the next few years.

I can see how that would be particularly true at JSIS, because the zone was drawn too large *and* immersion is extremely popular. What is your alternative solution at this point?
Anonymous said…
Sorry to be a downer, but I can tell you that the District and Board is wed to its current student assignment plan and has NO interest (they will tell you that they have no ability) to grandfather siblings who get drawn out. I say this after being involved with this issue (and personally impacted) for the last 3 years. We tried logic, emotional pleas, big data gathering efforts, but all to no avail. When my son started K under the old plan we went to what was our neighborhood school at that time. Then they changed the plan and maps and drew us out. At the time, those of us who were incensed (asking why there was only predicitability for some, pointing out that split siblings weakens family involvement/isn't good for families, etc) tried to get broad activistic involvement from upcoming families, too, because we saw that this same issue would arise every time they redraw the maps. We hoped to establish a precedent for future families. It stinks for those of us who are on or close to the lines (and maybe for our property values, too). We were in the first group of impacted siblings and at that itme, we were a large group. There was no power in being a large group. This year's group was smaller across the district, but there was no power in being a smaller group (the pleas of a smaller group being easier to squeeze in didn't work, either). To add insult to injury, some have suggested that schools got overcrowded because we, the first group of sibs, mostly go into our schools. That's ridiculous as no spaces were created for us. All the district did for us was more actively manage the waitlists over the summer and talk a lot about how much they tried for us. Capacity issues resulted from poor planning not the first year of out of attendance area sibs. If you do get your younger child into JSIS (and on the upside JSIS sibs have gotten in for the past two years), I hope they don't then try to blame your group for the severe capacity issues at your school. Do I sound bitter? Yup. I hope you don't have to join the crowd.
LG said…
The WASL, and I suspect the MAP as well, were designed with enough precision (enough questions at a range of ability levels) to assess SCHOOLS, not individual students.

And even then, it only was accurate at the level of meeting standards or not, not at the high or low ends.
Jan said…
Patrick -- Your read on not being able to reduce test cost by reducing numbers of tests per year is how I always read the contract. What we COULD do, though, (assuming we like MAP and think it provides fair value for the money) is reduce the number of kids who take the test each year. Here would be my suggestions (though I think someone would need to look much more closely at the test data to come up with a really good list):

1. Eliminate testing for K and 1st grade students -- in favor of alternate assessments for reading/reading readiness, etc. If people want to get kids used to using the mouse, etc. for when they start "real" testing (this has been mentioned as a benefit), it seems to me that we could come up with some much less expensive way to give kids much better "mouse practice" than paying to have them MAP tested -- and then wondering whether the scores are valid. If alternate assessments for 2nd graders are available, I might even say -- skip 2nd grade -- here is where someone who sees MAP test scores -- both individual and aggregated across large groups -- would need to chime in.

Skip MAP testing after 8th grade for all students. Starting with 9th grade, kids are taking EOC courses. If teachers want shorter term "assessments" in classes -- they should be developed independently of MAP.

Skip MAP testing for all APP kids, once they have attained a level where further "gains" will be extremely small. My sense is that MAP testing (other than reconfirming over and over again that these kids are doing well academically) may provide very little actual benefit -- once kids reach the top of the scale.

That leaves us with 2nd (or 3rd) through 8th grade. For this group -- as long as we are paying for it -- they ought to test them as frequently as the kids/parents/teachers wish -- and the space/computer availability allows -- because at this point, it is free, correct? We pay once each year for a student -- and then that student has access to the testing as often as they/their teachers want it?
Anonymous said…
Interesting ideas, Jan. I'd endorse all except I might start the test in the 2nd grade. If your kid is in one of the tails and the teacher hasn't a) caught on or b) communicated, it would be nice to have a little testing trend started in grade 2.

Totally agree for skipping k and 1, app, and kids that are tested via other means, such as EOC exams.

Flame-Resistant Vest
Bird said…
What is your alternative solution at this point?

The solution at this point would be for the district to guarantee Kindergarten admission for siblings put out by boundary changes going forward.

I understand that from a planning perspective allowing everyone guaranteed access to the neighborhood school and their siblings' school was a nightmare at the time the NSAP was adopted. Enrollment was so mixed up across the district that no one could say who would end up where.

At this point, however, if you allow a Kindergarten sibling guarantee for families put out by new boundary redraws, the impact is much reduced. It should be something that can be accomodated with proper planning and tight enough boundary redraws -- when you redraw a boundary that puts out families, make it tight enough to guarantee access for sibs.

The NSAP was supposed to provide predictibility and as long as your family can be drawn out of the school bounds at any time, it does not provide predictibility.

It's a bummer to be drawn out of the boundary if you don't already have kids in school, but it's far worse to be drawn out of the boundary and be presented with the option of having to manage split sibs or disrupt your older child's situation.

I really hope this gets fixed.
wallingford said…
The solution at this point would be for the district to guarantee Kindergarten admission for siblings put out by boundary changes going forward.


I think SPS families universally feel that when they change boundaries, younger siblings should be grandfathered in. I know the district and previous school board felt otherwise, but we should still demand what we want from the board.

If they are changing the boundaries two years after establishing them, they need to draw the boundary in such a way that guarantees siblings a spot. If not, this plan is no better than the previous "choice system" for people that lived too far from their neighborhood school. If they can somehow accommodate an unknown number of families that move into an area after open enrollment, they could accommodate the known number of siblings drawn out of the boundary.
Anonymous said…

Go to the Garfield Website and look up a previous issue of the Garfield Messenger which contains another student-written article about MAP.

open ears
Anonymous said…
Don't you people know that you could have plenty of valid tests that don't cost half a million dollars per year?

The downfall of this country will be the result of the lack of basic survival skills and common sense.

--for the love of god or God
anonymous said…
I have no problems with standardized testing, map included, as long as they are not high stakes. I like that I can see my child's results and learn about his strengths and weaknesses, and I like to see how students in Seattle compare to other students of the same demographics across the country. But I absolutely hate that teacher evaluations are based on standardized tests, and even worse that standardized tests are being used as a graduation requirement.

Maureen said…
Is there anything wrong with the ITBS ? My 17 year old took it once (4th grade?) and I found it useful. As I remember, it was so specific that I knew he had an issue with capitalizing proper nouns and it gave a percentile as compared to a national norm (not just to whatever random districts are using the MAP).
wsnorth said…
Wallingford. NSAP + Predictable? Sure. Predictably BAD! At our elementary in West Seattle they have proposed kicking the 5th graders OUT to allow more room for incoming "out of area" siblings.

Many of us predicted that assigning 3 or 4 classes per grade to a school designed for 2 classes per grade would cause problems. Did the district listen? DOH! How on earth did someone start equating "predictable" with "good". If I could predict a tsunami, does that mean the tsunami would be good? Such idiocy.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dan dempsey said…
thanks for the MGJ link at the Detroit News....
a great line ....

Now you compound that by bringing someone who was fired under suspicions that she was aware of improprieties and didn't act upon them," ......
"It begs the question: Does Detroit settle for anything?"

From The Detroit News:
Parent said…
I wonder if commenters like Vest, Jane, and RosieReader have taken a MAP practice test or observed students taking the test. If you haven't, you should, to judge how useful and accurate the results are.

It is not two hours, three times a year for everyone. At some schools it is four scheduled hours per student, three times a year. Some schools did not do the fall test this year, making it two times per year.

It also takes a large amount of teacher, librarian, counselor, and/or administrator time, both during and outside of class.

Getting used to standardized testing: students are also required to take the MSP and other tests. Hopefully the standardized tests students take in the future will be better than MAP; the design and layout are poor.
Eric B said…
I know that having split siblings and overcrowded classrooms is terrible, but you can't have it both ways. If the boundaries are drawn to match the number of people who actually live in that area, then there isn't likely to be much room for siblings. If you let all the siblings in, popular schools will be even more grossly overcrowded than they are now. If they draw boundaries to give siblings a spot, there will be massive gray areas with no assigned school at all.

The proposal to move 5th graders to Boren was (IMHO) a lousy one. The people who showed up to the capacity management meetings agreed. It got a score of 1.5 (halfway between no support and little support), while re-opening Fairmount Park got much higher ratings. If the 5th grade to Boren option goes further, then we should bust out the pitchforks and torches. If it doesn't go further, then it was a win for community engagement changing bad solutions.
dj said…
Yes, the problem is that if you operate schools at 100% capacity, accommodating siblings means either pushing other (neighborhood) kids out or subjecting everyone to overcrowding. If a school can accommodate siblings with a boundary change, absolutely, they should, but I don't think the district should offer a guarantee, under the current at-capacity system.

And I say this as someone with four kids, two of whom are not yet school aged.
skeptic said…
You can argue MAP provides more objective info than the vague SPS report cards, but it's still somewhat nebulous (what do the results really mean?).

What do students and the District get for their time (and money) invested in the tests?

Do schools provide intervention and supports for those testing below grade level?

Do students get meaningful differentiation if they test far above grade level?

Are results taken into account to evaluate the effectiveness of various curricula?

Can parents and teachers look at their child's results and really know what particular concepts they have and have not mastered?

As far as high scores, NWEA (The RIT Scale) states:

Why do RIT scales vary from subject to subject (e.g. the mathematics RIT scale goes higher than other subject areas)? A ceiling effect exists when an assessment does not have sufficient range to accurately measure students at the highest performance levels. It has nothing to do with the actual numbers attached to the scale and everything to do with the position of students on it. For example, in reading, the RIT scale measures with relative accuracy up to about 245. This represents the 93rd percentile at grade 10, and the 95th percentile at grade 8. If a student scores above we know that student performed high but may not be able to accurately assess how high they performed. Relative to other tests, therefore, there is very little true ceiling effect in this assessment. Even most high performing 10th graders receive a technically accurate measure of their skill.
Anonymous said…
If you look at the Mean scores for 9th-11th graders, you notice that the expected growth is sometimes less than a point per year. This seems strange, since they are doing very challenging geometry, algebra, calculus in high school and the scores should be reflected in that. I wonder if an elementary child who has already met the Mean for 10th or 11th grade should expect that their scores might only change 1 or 2 points per year? I know there are expected growth numbers for grade levels, but once kids reach a certain point, can those expectations hold? Other than the single sheet of normative data provided by NWEA, are there more percentile charts or data that cover a wider range than just Mean.

I think most parents, particularly ALO/Spectrum/APP, would rather know that their child is in the top 10 percentile for the grade level 2 or 3 years ahead, rather than that they are at the Mean for 5 or 6 years ahead.

In my opinion, these tests seems great for kids in 1st-4th grades, when they are learning skills that are easily tested on a "click" type test, but I wonder how well they test older kids once they are at the point where good answers require more than a multiple choice. I'm not opposed to MAP, but just feel that I would like more information how to interpret the data than just a number and percentile.

NE Map Questioner
NLM said…
NE Map Questioner, you might want to look at the recently released normative data from NWEA, including the number of test events (and percent of students tested) by state and the mean RIT scres by percentile rank for each grade.

You can look up a RIT score and see where it would fall a year or two ahead.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, NLM. This is exactly what I was looking for. I've never seen that anywhere, but many parents might find it useful.

NE Map Questioner
Anonymous said…
Interesting thread. Two thoughts to share:

We have parents who serve as proctors and help out immensely. They get everything ready to go and monitor during test-taking. My class spends about forty minutes eight times a year: two math tests in one week and two reading tests the next week. They do the same sequence in May It is reasonable if you have trained help.

Teachers get printouts of the actual items tested. We know what it covers from one level to the next. It is a HUGE amount of isolated skills. But I am grateful for it. I do not want to teach every skill in isolation but it is helpful as a checklist. And it is based on the WA state standards and not on curricula used by various school districts. The only issues I've found so far are vocabulary concerns in math; "number model" as opposed to "equation" in math.

Finally, Dan Dempsey, "innovative" was originally labeled "distinguished" in the Danielson work on which this is all based. Do you like that better? I do although I don't really support all the labels. "innovative" is difficult to achieve in a "same-page same-way everyday" atmosphere. Mercer was innovative and they did it their way under the leadership of a strong principal.

Something to be learned?

Anonymous said…
Looks like the hurdle got a little higher for kids to get into APP and Spectrum. (Sorry if someone has already pointed this out.)

NWEA released new percentile rankings for the MAP RIT scores this year. It appears that the same RIT score is now about 2-4% points lower in the percentile ranking comparing the previous 2008 chart to the new 2011 chart at the cut off points for Spectrum and APP (87% and 95%). The Spring MAP test results used the 2008 chart, but new tests this year are using the new 2011 chart. So to make the cutoff in the percentile rankings, kids will need to perform better on the test than last year.

Chris S. said…
Ryan should contact Sue P. at Seattle Ed - she has compiled a lot of info and some is in this classic post: 15 Reasons Why the Seattle School District Should Shelve the MAP® Test—ASAP
dan dempsey said…

Thanks for the thorough update on MAP and how you use it. I am still looking for a definition of "innovative" or "distinguished" ... Where can I find the actual document referenced?

Thanks again.
Anonymous said…
Just Google Charlotte Danielson and you'll get The Danielson Group. It is a marketed program and so you will only get the framework and a sort of overview. Eval's rate teachers according to basic, proficient and innovative (distinguished). I think there's one lower than basic but I can't remember for sure. The paperwork is not handy and fortunately I'm not in the lower categories.

The biggest problem we seem to have is looking at the system by which principals are making determinations. Kind of ambiguous to say the least.

I'm no principal basher. I think they have really hard jobs. Not sure they even know what their real focus should be. But they are well-paid in Seattle. They should honor teachers who are working so hard off-the-clock all the time for much less.

Anonymous said…
Doesn't anyone else think that it is inappropriate for the Alliance to be providing the Facilitator AND Coordinator for the School Board Retreat? Is the cost of providing a facilitator/coordinator not included in the Board's retreat budget? And why not an independent organization?

Two and a half years to go
seattle citizen said…
Melissa, Charlie, or other Blog admins - could you please delete posts on the "Innovation Schools, er, Creative Approach schools" thread, and any other thread, that are anonymous but signed at the bottom, "Seattle Citizen"? (posts are posts 30 and 34, or close to those)
Someone has hijacked my tag, and people will be confused.

I posted this comment there:
"Seattle Citizen" (Anonymous 12:30 and 9:55)

Please refrain from using my handle in your posts. I have been Seattle Citizen here for a number of years, and obviously people will think it is me posting. Please copy and paste your posts under a different "name," as I am asking the admins to remove your posts of avoid confusion.

Disgusted said…
"Doesn't anyone else think that it is inappropriate for the Alliance to be providing the Facilitator AND Coordinator for the School Board Retreat? "

I agree. No one elected the Alliance to have a seat at the table. They should be removed immediately.
Anonymous said…
How about a thread on the role of the Alliance in SPS? Once they started advocating (for TfA; no superintendent search), they are now officially political players with an agenda. Is the district paying them? Even if not, can the board accept money from a political entity with an agenda?How does this work with the new ethics policy which includes specific language on conflict of interest? Wayne Barret was very pointed in telling the board that the new ethics policy applies to them.

--let's find out
Anonymous said…
Re: MAP testing

Some parents are reporting that past MAP percentile rankings have gone down as shown on the SOURCE. Not quite believing it, I checked my child's scores and they had been adjusted from previously reported scores. The RIT scores were unchanged, but the reported percentiles were 1-2 points lower in some cases (for scores all the way back to Fall 2009-10).

-a parent
Anonymous said…
From KUOW's Public Insight Network:

Hi sources,
The League of Education Voters, an education lobby group, has built a widget to show you the choices involved in balancing the budget this time around. We'd like you to give it a try and let us know how you did. Typical for the talent over at the Conversation: quick turnaround! They'd like your answer by Monday. Click here to start.
Anonymous said…
What's on my mind? Newt Gingrich is on my mind. In last night's Republican debate, he reiterated his claim that Palestinians are an "invented" group of people. Speaking of the Palestinians, he then went on to say:

"Somebody oughta have the courage to tell the truth: These people are terrorists."

As a nationalist group, Palestinians are an invention because nationalism, in global history, is a recent invention. All nationalist groups are an invention. The United States of America is an invention, and Americans, as a group, are an invention.

As bad as Gingrich's history is, his view that all Palestinians are terrorists is dangerous. It's bad enough that Republicans are competing with each to embrace torture as national policy; now the front-runner is spewing vile hate-speech.

For our children, this is a teachable moment.

dan dempsey said…
But DWE.... Newt was a history teacher.

Gingrich attended Emory University and received his Ph.D. from Tulane University. In the 1970s he taught history and geography at West Georgia College.

Like most all politicians its winning the election that is important ... the facts are irrelevant. The rule of career politicians is to make decisions politically; electability is more important than honesty.

Rod Paige's Houston Miracle was fabricated BS but he became US Secretary of ED ... and produced No Child Left Behind.

Arne Duncan's great improvements in Chicago were completely fabricated ... Chicago ranks as the worst city in which to attend k-12 school. Arne's charter movement has changed nothing. So now we have the Common Core State Standards movement, which is based on irrational beliefs. .... Race to Nowhere is what we have because none of the proposed remedies were evidence based.

Did the failed Super Committee on cutting the budget consider eliminating the US Dept of Ed?

It is time for An Intelligent School Voters UNION .... because the NEA, WEA, SEA are fact clueless (as far as acting on the facts) .... ditto most legislators and many school directors. In an international comparison our k-12 schools are not among the best and no significant progress is being made.

Current plans are great for special interests but are woefully inadequate for everyone else.

Newt is clearly not telling the truth .... that hardly makes him an exception among politicians.

--- Just listen to Seattle School Directors explain their votes "for" the New Tech Network contract .. "for" TFA ... "for" the high school math adoption ... "for" school closures ... "for" extending Dr. Goodloe-Johnson contract for an additional third year in July of 2010 ... "for" giving MGJ a bonus .... "for" an MGJ buyout rather than firing with cause. This list is incredible .... the State Auditor's Office reported an enormous number of findings .... and yet little if anything changes academically in Seattle.

Enfield is on her way to greatness .. She has great delivery of that deception stuff. .... Perhaps she can challenge Newt in 2016.

Truth or Dare
Jet City mom said…
Chicago ranks as the worst city in which to attend k-12 school.

Guess you haven't been to Detroit lately.
Anonymous said…
How do the cities rank in comparison to their poverty rates? It seems to me that "worst" cities are also the poorest. Can we say "opportunity gap"?

Until we all start parsing our words to reflect the truth, we will get nowhere. There is no true achievement gap—there is an opportunity gap for children born into families of generational poverty.

Words have real meaning, but our media, aided by politicians, (or is it the other way around? or a chicken–egg thing?) has skewed the true meanings of many words—starting with "Liberal."

Solvay Girl
dan dempsey said…
EmeraldKity... good point on Detroit

I went to Urban NAEP to get the NAEP facts ... unfortunately I got this ...

Due to scheduled power maintenance, will be unavailable Sunday, December 12th, from 6am to 6pm EST. We greatly appreciate your patience while maintenance to the building power is being performed. We will have this website available again as soon as power is restored.

I will try later today or tomorrow.
seattle citizen said…
SolvayGirl writes,"Until we all start parsing our words to reflect the truth, we will get nowhere."
Exactly. Market-tested catch phrases do not a cohesive community edcucational system make.

Solvay goes on to write that there "is no true achievement gap—there is an opportunity gap for children born into families of generational poverty."
Right again, but it's worse: The "true achievement gap" as spun ny the marketing catch-phrasers is based ONLY on a confused, shallow, data-poor hodgepodge of various states' "scores" and other miscellaneous "numbers" that change year to year, place to place, student to student...

Yes, there is on obviously identifable Opportunity Gap: Wealth begats eductional opportunity, but it is not measured nor solved by distracting us with powerpointed graphs with graphs, charts, and "27 eight-by-ten color glossies with circles and arrows..."

The Opportunity Gap is NOT an opportunity for greedy and/or in-denial, idealistic politicians and "foundations" rallying around the testing machines to maximize productivity for profit or conscience: The opportunity is quite the opposite, it is people without capital or voice scrabbling as best they can to keep up with every-changing data points of measurement, worth, and value that their children so desperately need to kow-tow to in order to climb out of poverty in an impoverished economy devoid of heart, quality, and empathy.
dan dempsey said…
Hey DWE,

From Wiki on Newt....

He has written or co-authored 23 books including historical fiction.

----- maybe Newt confused reality in Israel with historical fiction .... just an "honest" mistake.
dw said…
Americans equally have the capacity to provide an excellent education to every student and choose not to.

I'm not even sure this is true. At least not in the way I think the author intends.

We simply cannot reach every child in a quality way without strong support of and by the parent(s), extended family, peers, etc. Maybe even the extended local communities. The problem is so much bigger than a school district that it's not funny. Education (as well as the general well-being of our kids) must be highly valued from day one of a child's life. Why do so many people think: If only we could get rid of our "bad" teachers, all the kids would be successful! And others say: Oh, if only our legislators would allocate some bigger chunk of the pie to schools, we could fix everything? These kinds of attitudes are small-minded.

This is a deep societal problem, not simply an educational problem.

I'm not saying we shouldn't be working hard to reduce these imbalances. Quite the opposite, it's huge, and something everyone should be striving to fix. But let's be honest, there are no magic bullets for this one, it's a problem that will take decades to solve, even if we can figure out and take the right steps. Concentrating our efforts on small stuff means we're not focusing on bigger things.

I'm not even sure what these bigger things are, but I'd have to think HUGE outreach efforts to parents, parents-to-be, and young people in general would be a big part of it. And community school buildings that provide much more than 6 or 7 hours/day of classroom instruction, starting in elementary. Wraparound services, interventions, all of it. And much does not come via the school districts and education budgets. But above all, the attitudes of those living in poverty need to be changed. There needs to be hope, there needs to be time in the day/evening to learn, there needs to be interest in improving one's situation in general.

I'm ranting, so it's time to stop. It's just frustrating to see so much effort wasted running in circles, year after year, implementing and un-implementing ideas that at best will make a small difference.
Sahila said…
DW said:

"But above all, the attitudes of those living in poverty need to be changed. There needs to be hope, there needs to be time in the day/evening to learn, there needs to be interest in improving one's situation in general...."

WOW.... back to blaming the victim...
Anonymous said…
Broad Watch:

DW, really, the biggest lessons children will learn is that you can fail and lie but trample hundreds of souls as you rise back up to the top. Look at Mrs. Goodloe Johnson. She got a job because her friends at the Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation hang tight. KC's John Covington left town as quickly as Maria left Seattle but he's a Broadie. The BF's truly are Best Friends. One grad of the BF superintendent's academy is helping another grad by giving Maria a job. (I wonder what their fight song is?)

Detroit Schools are under state control. Not charters, not city control, state control by directive of the governor. Another Broadie named Robert Bobb was supposed to get schools in hand two years ago, close doors, save money, and make them safe for students. He didn't. He crashed and burned but Broad paid half his $400K + salary. I wonder how much Maria will be paid? Bobb's replacement needs to be safe so the DPS is going broke paying for two body guards, but students are still bullied, still unsafe, in DPS schools. Special needs students especially continue to suffer under this state-controlled joke of mismangagment.

Bobb's replacement got a brand new $40K SUV after telling parents to make sacrifices. He's like a Soprano driving around all day with his crew of body guards, taking conference calls with Jeb Bush and Arne Duncan. He's a former VP of Marketing and Sales at General Motors so why didn't he call in a custom Yukon and save some cash for the kids? (Does Maria get town car service?),-dps-buys-emergency-manager-brand-new-$40,000-suv

(Excellent work by Dora.)

The Broad Watcher
dan dempsey said…
NAEP Web site is now up again and EmeraldKity is correct Detroit is worse than Chicago for results.

There are several cities that are at the Chicago level or lower. Since the urban NAEP reports both math and reading at grade 4 and grade 8 there is a lot to look at. I found on the math portion on page 16/17 THIS:

For grade 4 ...
free and reduced lunch percentages for 21 cities:

Highest Cleveland at 100%
Fresno 93%
Dallas 92%
NYC 90%
Philly 90%
Baltimore City 88%
Chicago 88%
Detroit 87%

Hillsborough County FL 58%
Charlotte 52%
Seattle is not taking the Urban NAEP and is at 43.3% Low-income

Black students are usually the lowest scoring ethnic subgroup.

Black student percent of population=>
Baltimore City 87%
Detroit 84%
Atlanta 76%
Philly 58%
Chicago 41%
NYC 29%
Albuquerque lowest at 2%
Austin 8%
Fresno 9%
Seattle 19.2%
Jan said…
Sahila -- I disagree (though I might quibble with the "but above all" lead in. Maybe dw should have said "and in addition to everything else....") In fact, I think the use of your term "victim" is also unfortunate. I want to get to an "all in" mindset on this issue -- not a "perpetrator/victom" mindset (though it is unhelpful to be dishonest and not call a spade a spade, either -- so I am not saying we should ignore the Kochs and Broads behind their green curtains). DW's words came at the end of a long post advocating for huge amounts of input (time, money, thought, commitment) from all levels of society. I see the post as asking (legitimately in my opinion) for people to stop running around chasing the nearest quick fix/bandaid/think-tank theory -- and start doing the heavy lifting of actually solving this problem. To add at the end that all of us examine our own attitudes -- well -- in my opinion, that is an appropriate call. How often have you said that we deserve what we are getting -- if we refuse to educate ourselves, pay attention to the "behind the scenes" stuff, and become more activist (and less passive) about the major political issues in play? Is that blaming the victim (because those "victims" -- they would be us!) No -- it is calling us to account for our attitudes, for our vigilance (or lack thereof). I interpret your challenges as saying that we are only victims to the extent we allow ourselved to be. I see DW as asking the same kind of thing for communities struggling with sub-standard education. It really is an "all in" proposition.
Jan said…
The line I liked from the Detroit News article was the closing quote from Covington (it is in a foreign language -- so I provided the translation directly below it):

"This is not going to be a duplicate of the horror stories we are all acutely aware of in Detroit Public Schools, at Kansas City Schools and in Seattle schools. This is an opportunity for us to start with a clean slate."

"C'mon Charlie Brown. I promise I won't snatch the football away this time. Honest! You can trust me!"
Jan said…
And my NEXT favorite line was another Covington quote at the end of the article:

"Covington said he understands people may have questions, but Michigan taxpayers should have confidence in the EAS. 'She is not the chancellor; I am,' he said. 'There has to be uncompromised accountability,' Covington said.

Ah -- yes -- "Accountability for all!" I remember it so well! So MGJ is now right back in her favorite environment -- accountability! We know it worked great for MGJ last time -- in terms of holding the board accountable for paying her exorbitant salary, and rewarding her for every niggle and tittle she coughed up in the four performance expectations she exceeded, while ignoring the twenty or so that she whiffed on. And I note that the contracts in Michigan are also larded with performance bonus possibilities -- so she seems to be on top of her definition of "accountability" once again. Here is hoping all that "accountability" works out for Detroit's children a whole lot better than it did for Seattle's!
Anonymous said…
We simply cannot reach every child in a quality way without strong support of and by the parent(s), extended family, peers, etc. Maybe even the extended local communities.

Do we know this for a fact? So many people here post this as if it were an indisutable 1 of the 10 commandments or something. If it really is true maybe we should just punt on public education. Those without opportunities already won't be able to get them from school (so why bother?). Those with plenty of opportunities can really already pay for themselves (so let's save the taxpayer money and let them provide for themselves - it's only fair)

seattle citizen said…
While I personally am of the opinion that yes, some sort of child advocate and support, appart from the school, is absolutely necessary for most students to be successful (excepting the relatively rare students who are capable of managing both their school and non-school time and demeanor), it is probably true that we must count on a certain percentage, currently quite large, that do not have adequate support at home. This lack of support could be that fault of the parent/guardians, or due to situations beyond their control.

Given that, and given what I think is the impossibility of JUST educators (as they are currently employed: classroom teachers teaching curriculum, IAs helping, admins, counselors counseling, librarians librarianing...Given the current set-up, school staff can't and maybe shouldn't be expected to provide ALL the supports a child needs if that child is missing some in the non-school milieu.

When I think about this, I think an ideal solution is for the community to step up and provide the extra-curricular support students without strong (or wealthy) parent/guardians need. A community network of support in the form of tutors, arts NPOs, medical-dental, recreational, etc etc.

Schools are for teaching, teaching a relatively narrow band of information. While certainly most educators do what they can outside of this narrow band (counseling, feeding, a myraid other little things to meet need) they simply can't, and shouldn't, be the ONLY adults in a child's life.

This is why the "community school" model is so successful (and they don't have to be charters: There are plenty of extant schools that are supported just fein without some anti-union contract being signed). But they are expensive - some outside assistance can be had through volunteers, but some must be paid for.

If we could organize such an encompassing array of support around kids, many more of them would do well. But it's on the community, in many respects. Schools must, of course, simply teach.

It's impossible to teach some students without outside support. You might be able to force open student's jaws and pour data down their throat; you might wire their eyes wide open and strap them to their seats (it worked so well in Clockwork Orange); but that ain't learnin', that's programming.

We need an ethos of support for children around the city, every citizen partaking by helping, by checking their own behavior, by doing what they can to model warmth and a fertile world for students to grow into.
seattle citizen said…
Give the Board your opinion about this article in the Seattle Times: Junk food may be returning to school vending machines in Seattle "The Seattle School Board is considering relaxing its ban on unhealthful food in high schools amid complaints from student governments that the policy has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in vending-machine profits over the past seven years...."

WV thinks that's JAZZY but I don't see it.
dw said…
Jan said: Maybe dw should have said "and in addition to everything else...."

Yes, that would have much better represented what I was trying to say. I was in a hurry and had something else to run off to, so no editing before clicking Publish.

I see the post as asking (legitimately in my opinion) for people to stop running around chasing the nearest quick fix/bandaid/think-tank theory -- and start doing the heavy lifting of actually solving this problem.

Yes, exactly.

Even still, I see no justification for Sahila's response. She read one sentence and apparently missed the next one, and all the rest of the context around it. Whatever.

This is a societal problem, not merely a school district problem, and until we, as a society are ready to attack it in earnest and en masse, I fear that we're going to just continue to run around in circles. We'll be talking about the same issues a decade from now, just as we were a decade ago.

So is 'reader' right? Should we just punt on public education because it's too hard to fix? I certainly hope not. But large, structural changes are very different from quick-fix bandaids. They take a lot more thought, dedication, and time. If you approach a problem of this depth and magnitude thinking that you need to have it fixed within 2 years, you're doomed to fail because you're not even considering changes that are significant enough to make a dent.
Pat said…
Good digression Seattle citizen:

Yeah, letting the kids with money buy junk food from machines may shorten the lines for the F&R kids to actually get to the food, THAT may address the achievement gap a bit because the fortunate kids will be all "sugar high" during classes and the relative grading curve would go down.

A word of caution though; if the board finds out they could make money and keep more kids happy (more state money for attending school) by selling cigarettes (for one example) at a small mark-up, we may have to relax the rules about campus smoking too.

Hey, what the heck, its not like theres anything newsworthy really happening at the district. Is there?

You'd never know it as long as the Times has front pages like todays.
seattle citizen said…
Columnist David Sirota tears into the "reformers" in his column in today's Seattle Times (unfortunately, it's only in the print addition so far, not online.)

He says it all: "It's poverty and punitive funding formulas, stupid." and calls out billionaires inserting their own magic fairy dust ideas as distractions.

Communities and funding - that is real reform.
Anonymous said…
We left Detroit 12 years ago, and living there was similar to living in a city that has gone through a war. You pay taxes in city's office after going through stringent security checks and doing your business with people behind bullet proof glass and a hole cut so you can talk through. Same process to sign up for cable and utilities. Blocks after blocks of burnt out buildings or homes with nature slowly creeping in, enveloping what's left behind. In the middle of these wasteland gaps, you will have viable neighborhoods of big, beautiful, though often neglected homes with people living in them. Yet the downtown library is absolutely gorgeous, full of books and Diego Riviera murals. In fact there are such magnificence even behind the decay, you can imagine what a beautiful and well designed this city was once.

For groceries, we drove weekly outside the city limit affectionately called the DMZ, for fresh food because we were so shocked at the quality of fruits, veggies and general basic food stuff. Better dumpster diving in Seattle. It is no exaggeration when people write how tough it is to get decent, nutritious food if you live in poverty zones. Same for banking.

You stay indoors on Halloween and 4th of July due to fires and bullets (people like to shoot their guns in the air). We found 4 bullet holes outside our windows and we were not victims of drive by shooting. At the time, the scandal that hit Detroit news was some school board members were using school employees and resources to fix up their homes and businesses, but then so were other city employees. My neighbor who taught at the publlic school had to live in the city to work, but sent their kids elsewhere. Schools had buckets to catch water leaking from roofs. People thought we were nuts because we didn't have a gun in the house. My trauma patients were mostly gunshot victims.

So I don't know what to make of this attempt by the state to take over Detroit schools. The city is going broke next April unless some thing is done. The news that they hired MGJ is not encouraging. Detroit will be much tougher for MGJ or the Michelle Rhee clones to gloss over. I like the present mayor and there are serious attempts to rebuild this city, so perhaps with dedicated, gritty Detroiters around to look out for the interest of their city and citizens, they may be able to sniff out the pretenders faster. Detroit is not Seattle or even Baltimore. There is so much need that perhaps despite MGJ and her likes, some good will come out of this.

Seattle mom
mirmac1 said…
Here is the latest newsletter from Social Equality Educators (SEE).

SEE Newsletter
Anonymous said…
posted by Kate Martin elsewhere:

Let the best candidate shine in an open search and a selection process for a permanent superintendent.

Please consider signing this petition and passing it along to others.


Another email is circulating to urge recipients to write Board members in support of naming Enfield Superintendent.
Anonymous said…
-a parent 12/11/11 9:41 AM

Stated that the reported percentiles changed in the source. I checked my children's scores, and it is true. Shouldn't the district let parents know about this? What does this mean? We received our MAP scores as part of our report cards, will they send new and revised versions?

--- Why bother with part reports?
Anonymous said…
I noticed the MAP change and wrote the district on Friday

Q:The historical data for my child's percentiles rankings recently changed. Many scores, including last year's math and last spring's reading went down by up to three points with no explanation. What is going on here?

A:NWEA actually made a change from there end when they scored all tests. Most students’ scores moved slightly. The district will be releasing new progress reports hopefully before the break to reflect this change.

Q: Ok. So, these changes affected a large pool of student's percentile rankings going back a year or more? Is that correct?

A:Yes- we will be issuing out some sort of communications regarding this.

Mystified that they would post these changes with no communication to parents or principals (I asked ours what was going on first), and wondering how they are going to treat the Spectrum/APP cutoffs for students whose eligibility is changed by these adjustments.

--already frazzled
Anonymous said…
Did the district indicate that the reported percentiles will be re-adjusted to previously reported numbers, or did you get the impresssion that the revised numbers on the SOURCE were there to stay?

If Spring MAP scores are being used for AL eligibility, then lowering previously posted numbers by a few percentage points can be a big deal. If the new NWEA norms were released in summer of 2011, then why would past scores be altered?

Thank you to the parent that noticed this and wrote to inquire. I'll be interested to read the district's communication on this.
Anonymous said…
Did the district indicate that the reported percentiles will be re-adjusted to previously reported numbers, or did you get the impresssion that the revised numbers on the SOURCE were there to stay?

Reposting for anonymous who forgot to sign

If Spring MAP scores are being used for AL eligibility, then lowering previously posted numbers by a few percentage points can be a big deal. If the new NWEA norms were released in summer of 2011, then why would past scores be altered?

Thank you to the parent that noticed this and wrote to inquire. I'll be interested to read the district's communication on this.

Bird said…
It was interesting to get the DRA scores for my kid on entering 2nd grade.

I look at the MAP test results from Kindergarten and first grade, and I have to say I can't make heads or tails of them.

If you look at the individual "strand" scores, there is no coherent pattern.

Half of them are down over the course of two years (as though they made negative progress in the first two years of school), half of them are up over two years with plenty of erratic bouncing aroud.

The high/low range from any particular sub-test is extremely large, and the overall scores are flat over last year, despite the fact that my kid made tremendous progress in both reading and writing last year.

The "strands" don't provide meaningful information to me about what my kid did well on vs what they did poorly on (phonics v. phonological awareness, anyone?)

The MAP provided "lexile score" always seemed at least 3 grade levels too low, and sure enough, the DRA results are in line with my actual experience reading with my child, while the MAP results seem like they might as well have been pulled out of a hat. Not much of surprise that the DRA is more accurate, since it involves actually reading, whereas the MAP involved a grab bag of only tangentially related computer tasks.

From what I've seen of MAP in the last year, I don't think we should bother debating how we can get the most utility out of the system for the least cost.

It looks to me like just a giant Maria Goodloe-Johnson boondoggle.

I don't believe it was ever intended to provide value to parents or teachers, as I can't see how it would from my own experience. I believe, it was simply meant to power the former Sup's performance management system to give her the ed reform cred necessary for her next job.

The school board needs to look at this test with clear eyes and assess whether we can get better value with the money spent elsewhere.
Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
MAPsucks said…

What would you expect from a test with randomly selected questions from around the country that have no relation to what any specific child has learned in any specific classroom?
Anonymous said…
Some good news about the MAP scores -

A response from the district stated that it was not their intention to alter past scores and they will work on making adjustments. Scores from Fall 2011 onward will reflect the new norms.

-a parent
mirmac1 said…
More great news on the financial front:

District can't pay the mortgage
Pat said…
Say Seattle Mom:

Administrators having school employees work on their homes and other propertiies happened here as well.

It was several scandals ago and all kept very quiet but if you look into Sam Buyco, Facilities Director, you will see.

Kept quiet by the John Stanford "Fearless leader/Carnival Barker" era.

Another "national search" gone bad. Yet as humans, our minds gloss over these lessons from the past and some want to take yet another try at it.
Anonymous said…
Pat, you are right this is hardly unique. The scandal wasn't over using public employees and funds for work on private homes and businesses, the scandal was that this got in the press. There was much speculation as to the political missteps that outed these people. Detroit politics Chicago style.

The scandal was the fact there was no scandal in schools fallling down, the level of school violence, and ah well... the list can go on and on, but it will just depress me and everyone else this early AM. I have a fondness for this unique American city that just keeps hanging on. Anyway, the Financial Times this week has an analytical series on getting America back to work. FT puts education there among the top 3 to do list and how drastic cuts to education will come back to hurt us. That's telling coming from a business minded press.

Seattle mom
Anonymous said…
I just looked at my son's Fall MAP scores (he's in kindergarten), and the Source is reporting different scores (both RIT and percentiles) than it did previously. His reading is down a little, but math actually went up.

I see some mention of percentile changes, but does anyone know why the RIT scores would have suddenly changed?

- D's mom
parent 2 said…
If the error was applying the new 2011 NWEA percentile rankings/norms to all student data, past and present, rather than just new scores from this Fall, then the RIT scores should remain unchanged.

A previous post included links to 2008 and 2011 norms - if you know the RIT score, you can look up the percentile in the tables. Fall 2009 through Spring 2011 should follow 2008 norms and Fall 2011 scores and beyond should follow 2011 norms.

I would hesitate relying on the SOURCE for results until the district releases confirmation that the problems have been resolved.
Anonymous said…
Today my son's Fall MAP scores are back to what was previously reported, with a note from the district that there was a data entry error last week, and everything should be fixed now.

- D's mom
SurveyTool said…
Wow! Thanks! I've already bookmarked the site & saved a couple reports!
MN Black said…
Nice post, thanks for such very illustrative post.
Msp town car service

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