Seattle Schools MAP Plan for 2013-2014

From Superintendent Banda via SPS Communications (red highlight mine):

In February we formed a Task Force on Assessments and Measuring Progress to review our testing policies and explore concerns about the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment. This group, comprised of principal, teacher, student, family and community representatives, met eight times and developed a list of recommendations for the 2013-14 school year.

I want to thank this group for their time and efforts. This proved to be an effective and productive opportunity to work together to develop constructive solutions that put students first while addressing the concerns raised by some of our staff. I look forward to ongoing discussions about the use of assessments to support teaching and learning in our district.

Based on this Task Force’s feedback, I am making the following decisions regarding the MAP assessment for the 2013-14 school year:

·         - Continue the use of MAP in kindergarten through 8th grade in 2013-14.

·         - High schools may opt out of MAP in 2013-14, but must provide evidence of a way to assess and monitor progress of students who are below standard in math and reading. In addition, the high school must follow their typical school-level decision-making process (which might include a school committee or staff vote). 

·        -  Administer the MAP assessment twice a year, with mandatory MAP assessments for fall and spring, but optional for winter.

·         - Use MAP in conjunction with other data points in making programmatic decisions for students. Do not use MAP data in isolation for placement in programs.

·         - Look beyond the next school year to explore new assessments. We will create a smaller working group/task force to evaluate future assessment options and make recommendations for testing starting in the 2014-15 school year. 
 The Task Force also provided a list of guidelines for the future, which we are taking into consideration. You can read the full report online here: ATF Final Report. In addition, you can read the detailed plan moving forward online here: MAP Implementation Plan      

Using data is important in our work as educators. Across Seattle Public Schools, we use multiple forms of data to help guide classroom instruction and measure progress. For many of our teachers and principals, the MAP assessment provides critical data to help screen the most vulnerable students for additional academic support and more personalized attention and to measure their growth and improvement over time. We cannot abandon this important data. But we can do a better job making sure our teachers are trained, the technology is in place for our students and that our families understand when and why we are conducting assessments.

In a survey administered by the Seattle Education Association, our teachers union, the majority of K-12 Seattle teachers said they believe the MAP assessment is effective or somewhat effective in identifying students for additional support, interventions or accommodations. A majority of teachers also said the MAP assessment is effective or somewhat effective in measuring and charting student progress over time.

Moving forward, we will work together to determine the most effective way to assess our students and how we use that data. I will create a new ongoing working group to monitor our assessments and work on recommendations for the 2014-15 school year and beyond.

Again, I want to thank the task force for their work, which included members taking the MAP test themselves. I am looking forward to our continued partnership with staff, families and the community in developing a plan that outlines how we use and administer assessments in the future.


Anonymous said…
"Do not use MAP data in isolation for placement in programs."
I am curious then how will they decide the Algebra 1 placement in 6th grade? Will they listen to the teacher recommendations? Will they have the students do algebra readiness test?
HIMS mom
Anonymous said…
For my daughter's kindergarten year, we were at a school where the MAP test was heavily prepped for(week long practice prior to administering, suggested home practice, emails home to parents about making sure kids were well rested, etc). This year we switched to a different school where the kids just go take the test with no prep at all. My child had much better percentile scores at the end of the year last year than she did this year on the test. However, she is reading well above grade level, writing very well, excellent reading comprehension and vocabulary, doing well in math when I quiz her at home verbally. It is clear she is learning very effectively this year in all ways except using the MAP assessment. I am inclined to opt out in the future because I just think it is a waste of my child's time. I would rather she be at a school where she is not spending a week prepping for the test just to inflate the overall scores at the school. I just hope my child's mediocre scores this year do not factor into an evaluation of her wonderful teacher. That would truly be a shame.

Skeptical Parent
Chris S. said…
I am disappointed they did not address the inappropriateness of testing K-2 (even NWEA's evaluation of "validity" in this group was unconvincing, IIRC.)
Linh-Co said…
At the C&I meeting, Ms. Heath mentioned that kindergarteners will only be given the spring MAP to familiarize them with computer testing and to get a baseline.
Anonymous said…
So I wonder if Hamilton will come up with a new plan for 6th grade Algebra I eligibility (currently based on winter MAP score), or if incoming students whose elementary schools opted out of the winter MAP will just be out of luck???

Anonymous said…
Linh-Co - Why do you suppose the kindergarten test modifications were not announced ?

Chris S. - I agree, NAEYC does not support standardized testing of children before 3rd grade/8yrs and that goes for adaptive computer-based assessments as well as paper-based tests.

I have put in a query to Shauna Heath on some of these questions.
Anonymous said…
I was finally able to read the task force's report, and they made it clear that the MAP should not be the only criteria used for Alg 1 placement in 6th grade. To this I respond, duh. I hope the district also follows this recommendation. Maybe they'll even find that fewer kids should be allowed in Alg 1 as MAP is not an algebra 1 readiness test.

"Screener for placement in accelerated 6th grade math courses: MAP is used by the District to determine which 6th grade students are eligible for placement in accelerated math courses as they enter middle school. The Task Force was skeptical of this use of MAP, and expressed a clear preference that MAP not be used as the sole criteria for high-stakes decisions that impact a child’s educational future. The majority of the members scored this criterion as unfavorable. "

If the district is going to have all Seattle middle schools follow the recommendations of the task force regarding math, they had better get on it. I know HIMS is already setting schedules. I am sure other schools are equally busy.

Anonymous said…
Time for test prep instead of....? Paying for MAP instead of...? Punt.

Mr. White
Anonymous said…
I'm curious if new math placement criteria will be set before classes begin in the Fall and whether it is possible for students blocked out of Algebra for 6th grade (based solely on MAP) to still have a chance of enrolling in Algebra.

When you say schools are setting schedules, do you mean they are setting individual student schedules, or blocking schedules for classes and teachers?

mirmac1 said…
I remember so well the "independent consultant" DeBarros ginnying up excuses for why MAP was sooooo vital.

Here's my draft expert recommendations, tell me if I should write something else

Isn't it reassuring that she is now heading up the $40M RTT funding at our friendly ESD?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Reposting Anonymous comment (give yourself a name next time):

I learned that the MAP test for Spring for 2nd graders at Kimball Elementary was changed from the "Primary" to "Intermediate" test. My daughter came home really upset that she had a very difficult time with the test on this round. When I asked her teacher about it, I was told that the district decided to change the test two weeks ago and no reason was given. The teacher was quite upset as she expects a significant drop in test scores and many of our ELL students were really struggling. Was this change implemented at all schools and how will this effect eligibility for Spectrum? I was told that the test questions went from 2nd grade appropriate questions to 4th grade level content.
Anonymous said…
I would be very interested to find out if the adjustment that Kimball mom reports happened at all of the schools. My K son started out in the 70th percentile for his Fall test. On subsequent tests the scale ranges changed and even though his results are ten or more points higher, his percentile dropped dramatically.

It didn't make sense as he is already doing math at a level that my daughters did in second grade.

Stuck with MAP said…
High-school teachers stick their necks out and succeed. Boo, hoo for us elementary teachers who sat and did nothing. We get stuck with this lousy test for another year. Serves us right for not joining the boycott. And my building rep. kept reassuring us that Banda would never keep the MAP given how inappropriate it is. Guess she was wrong...
Anonymous said…
If they administer a different MAP test, the percentiles should still be given for the current grade of the student, based on the RIT score.

Suppose a 2nd grader took the Spring MAP test for math and had a RIT score of 205. For 2nd grade, this would put them in the 87th percentile. For the same RIT score in 3rd grade, it would put them in the 58th percentile. The difference is huge, especially when you consider 87% is the eligibility point for Spectrum. If the 3+ test was administered to 2nd graders, without adjusting the reported percentiles, wow.

NWEA 2011 RIT Scale Norms

MAP skeptic
hschinske said…
It makes sense to use the Intermediate test rather than MAP for Primary Grades for late-second-grade students who are likely to be advanced. It does NOT make sense to use it for students who are struggling for any reason (including not being fluent in English). I have a hard time seeing how they could be dumb enough to score it for the wrong grade, but anything's possible, I suppose.

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
The test is for 2-5. The younger test will ask harder questions if the student is getting a lot correct and the 2-5 test will ask easier if they aren't. They overlap.
The younger test is sometimes given to 2nd graders if they need headphones (so the questions are read to them).
I don't think the district made a change. Kimball may have. Our school has always administered the 2-5 to 2nd-5th graders, except as appropriate (for kids who needed the headphones because of reading issues).
-seen it
Anonymous said…
And btw, the test question DO range widely in terms of grade content. That is the point. MAP does not test what your kid knows or has learned in his or her grade only. If your kid does well, it keeps asking harder questions. So a 2nd grader COULD get 4th grade questions. Once the kid maxes out, it stops and drops back down. In theory it is supposed to find that level just below where you should be next.
-Seen it
Anonymous said…
As a MAP proctor, seen it is right. It's a far different test than MAP or EOC.


Anonymous said…
RE: question about primary vs. intermediate MAP test -

I just looked at the strand information for my daughter's scores and the strand titles (what each strand is measuring) are different. All her K-Fall of 2nd grade strands are the same and her W and SP 2nd grade strands in both reading and math have changed. This leads me to believe her school gave the 2nd graders the intermediate test beginning in winter. Don't know for sure.

She went up slightly in reading with the switch (which has shown the steady rise you'd expect), and went up more dramatically with the math, but her scores in math have been more up and down, so less informative.

~JA Mom
Anonymous said…
It could also be just your (and some other) second grader(s). As I said, sometimes some kids are given the primary test if teachers feel they would do better with headphones. It could be that in the fall that test was given to your student and it was determined that the intermediate test was more appropriate by winter. 2nd grade is a year when the student's needs determine the test. K-1 always gets primary, 3-5 always the 2-5 test. 2nd grade is the year that usually gets the 2-5 test but some kids do the headphone test. If there is any question in the teacher's mind they will sometimes ask for the headphone test just to see. You want a kid to have the best testing experience possible.
- seen it

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