Banda on MAP Assessments: No Discipline for Test Administrators

This morning Seattle Superintendent of Public Schools José Banda sent out a letter offering an update on the ongoing drama surrounding the district’s use of MAP assessment testing. According to Banda, the latest testing period concluded Feb. 28, with every school in the district administering the test and meeting the testing deadline. Banda notes, “There will be no discipline of any test administrator.”

He goes on to say: “Those teachers who publicly said they refused to administer the test either did not teach a tested subject, or they were not a test administrator. However, I want to reiterate my hope that in the future we seek to address our concerns and issues in a more constructive manner, in a way that puts our students first.”

Also of note, in his letter Banda says a decision has been made to change the district’s testing policy as it relates to 9th grade students. Banda says, “Based on a preliminary review of MAP by staff, we’ve made the following adjustment to our testing policy: For 9th grade, only students below standard based on the state reading assessment will be required to take the MAP reading test. It will be optional for 9th graders who are at or above standard in reading.”

The district’s spring assessments - the next round of MAP testing - will run from April 22 – June 7.

Here’s Banda’s full letter:

Dear Seattle Public Schools community,

Our community has engaged in a deep discussion during the last two months about the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, which provides data used for screening and analyzing student achievement and measuring growth over time.

While we know the MAP assessment has its strengths and limitations, it’s important for educators to use a variety of data sources to help inform classroom instruction. For many of our teachers and principals, the MAP assessment provides critical information to help screen our academically at-risk students so we can identify additional supports and provide more personalized attention, as well as measure their academic growth and improvement over time.

The latest testing period wrapped up on Feb. 28, and I wanted to share details of this assessment, as well as provide an update on future testing.

First of all, I want to thank our staff and schools for their ongoing work in administering assessments. I am pleased to report that every school administered the MAP assessment and met the testing deadline. There will be no discipline of any test administrator. Those teachers who publicly said they refused to administer the test either did not teach a tested subject, or they were not a test administrator. However, I want to reiterate my hope that in the future we seek to address our concerns and issues in a more constructive manner, in a way that puts our students first.

Overall, nearly 30,000 students in the required grade levels (1st to 9th) completed the MAP assessment during the winter period. We did see a higher than usual number of high school students and families who opted out of taking the test. Districtwide, a total of 459 parents and 133 students opted-out. Of these opt-outs, 265 parents (58% of total) were from two district high schools (Garfield and Ingraham), and 129 students (97% of total) were from one high school (Garfield), A detailed accounting of winter MAP participation can be found here: bit.ly/WinterMAPdata

I want to thank the members of the Task Force on Assessment and Measuring Progress. This group of principal, teacher, student, family and community representatives has met four times since February and is charged with reviewing District assessment programs, including MAP, and making recommendations for next year and beyond. You can review the meeting minutes and agendas, as well as the names of task force members, here.

The task force is expected to make a recommendation to me in May regarding assessments for the 2013-14 school year.

In the meantime, our spring assessments will be held from April 22 – June 7. Beginning this spring, the District recommends that students enrolled in an Algebra 1 course take the NWEA Algebra End-of-Course (EOC) exam instead of Math 6+ test.

Based on a preliminary review of MAP by staff, we’ve made the following adjustment to our testing policy: For 9th grade, only students below standard based on the state reading assessment will be required to take the MAP reading test. It will be optional for 9th graders who are at or above standard in reading.

Again, I want to thank the teachers and community members for the ongoing dialogue about assessments, and I appreciate the Task Force’s commitment. I am pleased that we have been able to use this issue as an opportunity for us to all work together on a solution that best benefits our students.

Sincerely,

José

José Banda

Superintendent

Seattle Public Schools

 
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