Assessments Have Started (even for some kindergartners)

I have heard from parents that assessments have started for some elementary students.  But naturally, parents aren't being informed about this.

Seattle Opt-Out.

Here's a link to the K-8 assessments.

Here's a link to the high school assessments.

Some schools still use MAP (except in high school)and some will use Amplify.  One parent said she was told that Amplify was being used for "instructional differentiation." 

From the Soup for Teachers page via Erin Kinsells Klones:

MAP can potentially be administered three times a year: Sept. 21-Oct. 30, Jan 4-29 and May 9-June 10. 

WaKIDS can also be administered, in buildings that have all-day state-funded K, Aug. 1-Oct. 29, Oct. 30-Feb. 14 and Feb. 15-July 31. 

This information is available on the District website. 

Now the tricky part, the part that concerns us greatly: parents may or may not be informed. Crazy, we know, but that is part of the work we're doing. School admin at your building SHOULD give you a testing calendar and inform you not only of the test but what it is going to be used to discover, who will have access to the data (may shock you, just a heads-up), how long the testing will take, who will conduct it and how the social/emotional health of your child will be monitored during the potentially stressful event. 

We'd love to see an opt-out form given out to parents in the first day packets that come home with kids, too, but the District isn't too jazzed about that! 

So...I recommend that you talk to your child's teacher and see if they are administering MAP and/or WaKIDS, and when. Then ask questions, informed, perhaps, by what I share with you here, and realize that YOU CAN OPT YOUR CHILD OUT OF ALL TESTING IN GRADES K-8 WITH NO PROBLEM, WHATSOEVER!! You don't need a form, you can write your opt out note on a napkin. Seriously. Be sure and opt out of practice tests and make-up tests, too.


Anonymous said…
Couple of footnotes:

*The EOC Biology is no required for graduation - so it is optional...or optout-able.

**If your 11th grader has met state math requirements, check transcript, the SBAC Math is another optout-able test.

***All K-5 tests are optional, don't be scared off by the Required language!

****Bad news for MS students who are working ahead of grade level. You can no longer get a jump on meeting Math requirements as Math EOCs are now gone. Good news, all your tests are now are optional!

*****10th graders! You all are handcuffed to the SBAC ELA. Sorry! You too 11th graders, if you didn't pass the test last year.

There are NO published stats on pass/fail rate for the 10th graders who took the SBAC ELA test last spring, so unclear how many 11th graders have to retake the test.

optingout parent
Anonymous said…
The sky is falling ! opt out! opt out!

We are taking all the test and passing with flying colors.

Live Life
Lynn said…
The SBAC ELA test score required for graduation is 2,548. 152 (or 18.5%) of the 10th grade students who took the exam last spring received a score of 2,548 or higher.

Anonymous said…
Hi optingout parent. Thanks for your post, but I believe that the Bio EOC is still required to get a diploma in Wash. It is not to graduate--no tests are required to graduate; the tests are required to receive a diploma in Wash. state--big difference. This is fresh info from a high school testing coordinator in Seattle.
All K-8 tests are optional, not just K-5.
10th graders can opt out of SBAC and take it their 11th grade year if they so choose. Last year in Seattle the 11th grade test was administered to the 10th graders (yes, it is true!), that is why there are no published stats. It was a deceptive measure by OSPI, completely lacking in transparency and 100% developmentally inappropriate. It is wrong to test kids on information they haven't covered, any way you look at it.
We encourage folks to check out our fb page:

And we welcome your questions and shared infor there!
Anonymous said…

Parents really, really, only have 2 ways to pull the district's chain:



If you want this district to listen to parents and put kids first, these are the only 2 tools that will mess with the super's forward momentum. Starve them of data or dollars or both. Unless and until parents en mass do this, the district will still be a 'talk to the hand' kind of loony bin.

Changing board directors can only do so much. Do you seriously think Nyland treats Peters and Patu with deference?

Opt out! Your teacher should know how your student is doing based on the fact that he/she is a professional and that is their job! Seattle teachers for generations have supported students before there was MAP or WASL or MSP or SBAC or Amplify.

Multiple weigh-in won't fatten a pig. Multiple testings won't teach students.

Parents have direct power over few tools that mean anything to the district. Opting out and voting no on levies are it. How many more anti-student decisions or procedures do we parents need to experience before we take matters into our own hands to try and stop the nonsense?

I am disgusted about the closure of middle college in West Seattle. Those students needed support. They are not getting it. This super wants my kids' data. He won't be getting it.


Jan said…
Lynn: I am confused. When I looked at the spreadsheet at the www.k12 site, I read it the other way -- that on the ELA exam, 18.5% scored at or above 2548 -- which I would have thought meant that "only" 18.5 percent were below. (The cut off for math is much worse, as I read it). Am I reading it wrong?

Jan said…
Sorry, my post is confusing -- I meant to say "that on the ELA exam 18.5 scored at of BELOW 2548 . . ." Spreadsheets of this kind have never been my strong point.
Anonymous said…
Maybe I'll opt out of testing until they reinstate Math In Focus as the district math curriculum.

Math Matters
Anonymous said…
So is it true that if my 7th grader's LA SBAC score was higher than 2548, she doesn't need to ever take it again? Or does she still need to take it in 10th or 11th grade?

--confused about SBAC
Lynn said…

Whoops - I don't know what I was thinking! Yes - only 152 of the 10th graders who took the test didn't score high enough to meet the graduation requirement.
Anonymous said…
I don't think you are reading that spread sheet right.It says that .2% scored at that level, the PASS score (at level 2, please notice), or 152 total students, which puts them at the 18.5 percentile. The total number who passed is much, much higher than 152 kids in the state. I know you are not reading it correctly because more than 152 students at Hale passed in the 10th grade. Passing level was set lower than the "college and career ready" levels of a 3 or a 4.
-Optedmy kidout
SusanH said…
I have never, ever been informed in advance about testing dates for my kids. I always hear about them way after the fact. Tests have never been a source of stress though; neither home nor school has ever made a big deal about them. Please tell me why it's critical for me to make a point of "opting" my kids out. I've never understood. I've mentioned it once or twice to my kids. They say it would be super embarrassing. And they don't mind the tests. I guess the reason to opt out is to protest the number of tests given? Are the people in authority registering that?
(South Shore and Washington Middle School, by the way).
"Do you seriously think Nyland treats Peters and Patu with deference? "

I think he does. Do I think he takes them seriously (or any director)? No. Because they do not seriously challenge him on anything.

Susan H, here's the thing. Each parent can do what they feel best for their child. It's your right. In yesteryear, I actually had been informed when assessments happened.

For some kids, especially Sped kids, it can be a serious issue and one that, if parents knew about, could prepare their child to face. Testing isn't and doesn't have to be a scary thing but no one likes a surprise.

I think that if a parent does opt their child out they should send an e-mail to the Board and senior management (via e-mail address - and tell them why so, as Susan says, someone will know. I suspect they will track opt-outs by school even if they don't have the reasons.

And the reasons are myriad. As Opted Out said, it could be over-testing, bell times, an issue central to your school, the after-school-starts staffing adjustments, BTA IV projects.

The district has seen that changing the Board doesn't always mean so much. That leaves opting out and voting against the BTA levy.

The only other thing they get is a lawsuit but that's much harder.
Anonymous said…
is there a listing anywhere (perhaps even "unofficial", from past blog discussions) of what tests are used as gatekeepers for what?

Ex. for advanced learning testing this year, placement will be based on CoGAT plus ???? (MAP? SBAC? fall 2015 or spring 2015?)

For middle school math placement (past experience at Eckstein), initial placement was based on a matrix of MAP vs MSP scores with a little wiggle room based on teacher rec and assessments in the first few weeks of school. Is that still happening? does SBAC take the place of MAP in that matrix?

And in both above cases, what if your child opted out with no scores to be used in that scenario?

Anonymous said…
still researching tonight... looks like SBAC or MAP is used as the achievement test in advanced learning determination for 2016-17 school year.. BUT, has anyone ever seen SBAC translated to percentiles?

mirmac1 said…
When are we getting SBAC scores? Halloween?
Anonymous said…
I'm seeing SBAC scores translated to percentile ranks here:

Anonymous said…
I can tell you that I opted my 4th grader out of all standardized tests and she was still able to be placed (appropriately) in 8th grade math as a 6th grader this year. In fact, it was much harder to get our 6th grader with all the qualifying scores but a teacher recommendation for 7th grade math placed in 8th grade math (which is why we felt free to opt out the younger kid-those score thresholds seem to exist to keep kids out, not grant access). With a teacher placement and no scores, there was no issue... I'm not sure how the schools would have handled a request for Algebra placement, but everyone (schools, teachers, and parents) want the kids in the "right" place!

SusanH said…
Mirmac1: my son's SPAC scores were uploaded to the Source about a week ago. Have you checked there recently?

Melissa: thanks for the further explanation. :)
Ragweed said…
My kids' SBAC scores were visible in the Source around October 19th.
Anonymous said…
I've got a Junior and am confused about what his SBAC score now means. It says he passed and I really want to opt out in the spring but am unclear if he'll need to take and pass it again to graduate. Can anyone answer that for me? Or has that not been decided yet? Thanks.

BHS mom
Anonymous said…
Hale has always been really good at letting everyone know when tests are coming up. They want kids well rested and fed before they take the tests so that the students can do their best. We got notices just recently about PSAT for Sophomores (by choice) and Juniors. Next I imagine, will be the free SAT for the Juniors in February.

Anonymous said…
BHS mom, if your son has passed the SBA ELA he does not need to take it again. The Class of 2017 needs to pass three high stakes exams in order to get a diploma in Wash. State. Please note, TO GET A DIPLOMA, not to GRADUATE.
Class of 2017 students need the SBA ELA, and Algebra or Geometry EOC (End of Course) exam, and a Biology EOC.
So, you can opt out, and we encourage it.

AS (Seattle Opt Out Group)
Anonymous said…
Thank you, AS, but could you please explain the difference between graduating and getting a diploma? Thanks.

BHS mom
Anonymous said…
Can someone explain having different requirements for getting a diploma than for graduating? Isn't a diploma just a document that says you have graduated? How would you prove you had graduated if you did not receive a diploma?

Mom of 4
mirmac1 said…
I haven't seen my HS diploma in decades. Transcripts note whether student met/not met graduation requirements. Districts must preserve these records for 100 years. Colleges don't ask for diplomas, but transcripts.
I think the only difference between graduating and getting a diploma is the ceremony. If your child meets all the graduation requirements (but doesn't care about the ceremony), then they only have to meet those requirements.
Anonymous said…
You get a diploma as a result of meeting the graduation requirements. Those requirements are one in the same. In other words, if you don't meet the graduation requirements, you won't get a diploma.

AS is being very confusing. There is NO difference.

Melissa might be right about the ceremony issue but AS's posts even confuse that issue (if that's the distinction AS is trying to make).

--- aka
Anonymous said…
Hi Melissa:

Just to clarify, the information that I posted to the Soup for Teachers page (quoted above) was the response I received on the Seattle OptOut Facebook page when I asked about testing in Kindergarten. Thanks for all your great work.

Erin K.
Anonymous said…
aka and others,
Sorry for the confusion; I am actually trying to clarify a few things before I comment further. I certainly don't intend to muddy any waters. I have a question in to someone at OSPI and at SPS and am waiting... What I am getting at, and I hope to understand further, is the idea that colleges/universities don't need diplomas in order accept students.

There was a time, not long ago, when high stakes standardized exams were completely separate from earning diplomas; that may have been the case for many folks commenting here, even. There is some action at OSPI brewing to visit that again. Completing the necessary coursework with passing grades and taking the SAT/ACT (if schools continue to require that) is typically enough to gain access to college (along with the bells and whistles of essays and volunteer hours, etc). But SBAC/WASL/HSPE tests have NOT been conditions for college entrance.

Passing high stakes standardized tests are required, at this point, to earn a diploma in Wash. State, however. Sooo...if you don't care about the paper and the ceremony, and you intend to go to college, why the high stakes tests?!

Now it is recognized that this issue is a problem for kids who want to enter the work force directly, where a hs diploma is valued as a certificate of completion and helps them get to the next step. We don't want the opt out movement to bypass career-bound students while releasing college-bound students from the grip of high stakes testing, but there is no denying that it is an issue worth exploring and potentially laden with hurdles that impact kids in poverty, ELL students, need SPED accommodations or otherwise have a heavier load to lift to attend college.

To clarify, the difference lies more with wanting a diploma or not wanting one.

Lynn said…

I've looked into this before. As mirmac1 noted, colleges list the requirements for freshman admission - and I've never seen them include HSPE or EOC exam results or community service hours or senior projects or 1.5 PE credits or a health class. The state and the district have added many graduation requirements that are necessary only to get that diploma and walk at graduation. I'd like to see more students opting out of all these things. Let's refocus the schools on providing services students and families want and need.
Anonymous said…
It seems like a lot of advanced learning kids do move to private schools especially near middle school. I do wonder how to tell which private schools are actually great and not just telling parents what they want to hear etc. what are some of the top private schools in Seattle and has anyone looked at whether there is any provable benefit (better colleges , careers, happiness ) for children who move to them vs stay with sps if they are coming from a highly supporivs home environment?

-wondering about private

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