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A message from the Superintendent

May 13, 2013


Good afternoon,

Superintendent Jose Banda

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.

Sincerely,



José Banda
Superintendent
Seattle Public Schools

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