Friday memo tidbits

Friday memos to the Board are always interesting. Here you will find all sorts of interesting stuff.

From March 4, 2016, Teaching and Learning Update:
"District achievement testing in reading and math (MAP or SBA) is required to determine Advanced Learning eligibility. Candidates are required to participate in district achievement testing. Opting out of testing is a decision to opt out of the Advanced Learning eligibility testing process."
So there we have it: Students who are opted out of SBAC are ineligible for Advanced Learning.

From February 26, 2016, Teaching and Learning Update:
"Question: Within our district, we have schools, services, programs, and curricular foci. Where/how do SPP sites fit into this oversight?
"Answer: Because Seattle Preschool Program classrooms have a component of student assignment (enrollment managed by the City) the classrooms would fit into the program classification as the SPS policy reads now. We recognize that the policy may be revised and refined."
If the School Board takes back control of program placement, then the School Board will have control of the sites for Seattle Preschool Program.

From February 26, 2016, Consolidated Program Review.
A commendation for this:
"Item 11.5: Program Service Evaluation: The district and Advanced Learning Department staff are commended for outreach to students in Title I-served schools through screening instrument. Your Program Evaluation indicates significantly more students were referred and assessed based on screening results. This is established best practice for identifying students who may be overlooked through traditional referral processes."
Folks in Seattle may not think that Seattle Public Schools is doing a good job of providing equitable access to Advanced Learning, but folks in Olympia do. People in Olympia also think that there is a Program Evaluation for Advanced Learning.


Anonymous said…
Does this mean that once you have achieved the eligibility you can opt out every year after that and still retain eligibility?

Anonymous said…
Yep BT that is the policy.

Anonymous said…
High schools starting to lean on 11th graders to take the SBAC-Math, not being completely honest and telling them if they have passed a math EOC they have met the state math requirement and don't need to take the test. I suspect a large number will end up opting out anyway.

HS Parent
Anonymous said…
Interesting. I guess the district better not water down HCC too much, or their SBAC coercion tool will lose its effectiveness. I can't see opt-out-inclined parents subjecting their kids to SBAC for an in-name-only "differentiation" program.

--HCC Parent
Lesser Evil said…
So, can you opt to take the MAP if you opt-out of SBAC? If their point is really that they "need" these achievement scores, then they shouldn't care if you do one or the other. While the MAP is not without issues, it is a thousand times better than the age-inappropriate, purposefully ambiguous, time sucking SBAC.

If I were a parent still looking to test my kid into AL, I would push on that one. If you could find a teacher or administrator willing to proctor the MAP (if your child's school/grade level is only doing SBAC), I think they would have a tough time justifying penalizing you for upholding your right to opt-out if they were still getting the information they say they need (which is a debate for another day).
Lesser Evil, interesting thoughts.
Anonymous said…
BTW still waiting for Adv Learning to send scores from fall/winter testing period. Am I the only one left?

Why can't CogAT scores/eligibility at least be uploaded to The Source?

Anonymous said…

Here is a quote and link from Diane Ravitch blog to Valerie Strauss article in the Washington Post

Valerie Strauss reports on an important statement signed by more than 100 education researchers, asserting that the Common Core standards will not improve the achievement of the neediest students and will not reduce the achievement gaps between haves and have nots. Furthermore, the education researchers recommended that high-stakes exams should be abandoned, because they are not reliable, valid, or fair.

I would like to understand why SPS leadership and the AL office think our kids should take SBAC tests. Our experience with it last year was that it was a complete waste of time.


Anonymous said…
It isn't optional for SPS to deny AL opportunities to students who choose not to test. The law requires the services for all students who need that intervention. It states nothing about how districts can refuse. Also, the SBAC and MAP are not designed to determine giftedness. They are inappropriate instruments that only serve a secondary purpose of coercion.

Unsightly, Unlawful
Charlie Mas said…
@Unsightly, Unlawful, you may be right, but, in case you haven't noticed, being right is rarely enough to win an argument with Seattle Public Schools.
Somebody is going to have to take the risk of testing the rule.
Lesser Evil said…
Here's what the WAC says:

WAC 392-170-060

Nondiscrimination in the use of tests.

All tests and other evaluation materials used in the assessment shall have been validated for the specific purpose for which they are used and shall accurately reflect whatever factors the tests purport to measure. If properly validated tests are not available, the professional judgment of the qualified district personnel shall determine eligibility of the student based upon evidence of cognitive ability and/or academic achievement. This professional judgment shall be documented in writing.

So, there is good news/bad news here. The section in bold above, clearly states that the SBAC and MAP are inappropriate for the purpose that SPS is using them. Period.

However, the italicized section seems to give SPS a way out of this. They can claim that "in their professional judgement" the SBAC and MAP are simply what they have available to determine academic achievement.

So, a question could be, are properly validated tests available to SPS and they are simply choosing not to use them? If so, then there is definitely an argument to be made against this new policy. I will have to do more digging.
Lesser Evil said…
Nomination process — gives districts the option to include screening as one component of the overall identification procedure.

A district's nomination procedure for students who are highly capable may include screening procedures to
eliminate students who, based on clear, current evidence, do not qualify for eligibility under WAC 392-170-
I'd say that lack of scores (via opt-out or other) does not constitute "clear, current evidence" and CANNOT be used as a screener for further testing.
Anonymous said…
Waiting: We haven't had our results yet either. I haven't chased them yet because I've heard so many rumors of chaos in the department. I hope they get here eventually (if they weren't already sent to another family, which could be the case).
-also waiting

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