Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Step: Ann Arbor Open Is Allowed to Abandon the NWEA MAP Test

Ann Arbor Open parents got this letter today from Kit Flynn, Ann Arbor Open's principal:

Dear parents, 
AAPS Superintendent Dr. Swift, (in consultation with LeeAnn Dickinson-Kelly, Dawn Linden and me), has decided to forego any further administration of the NWEA MAP Test for Ann Arbor Open School. There is agreement that this particular measure is not the best fit for our program.
The balloons were not part of the letter
Kit Flynn sent out. They reflect my feelings.
I took the picture from this free clip art site:

The teachers at Ann Arbor Open are committed to preparing all of our students for any required assessments that are mandated by the district and the state. Quality instruction includes quality assessment as part of the learning process. Our goal is to inform students and parents on areas where students show growth or may need further support, and to inform teachers on the instructional needs of specific students. We believe that authentic learning of needed skills will result in student growth, and want to use assessments that we believe will contribute to their success.
The district assessment committee's charge is to examine current assessment practices, understand state requirements, clarify core values and bring forward proposals to inform and advise an amended Assessment Plan for 2014-15. They will begin meeting soon.
While the district assessment task force begins their work, we will also be considering how to best measure our students' growth. Ann Arbor Open staff will spend time reviewing possible assessments and methods for monitoring progress for our students, especially students who need additional support or are below grade level in key curricular areas.
The staff members of Ann Arbor Open are feeling very grateful today - grateful to our supportive parent community, and grateful to the leadership of Ann Arbor Public Schools for acknowledging our program's unique needs.


Kit Flynn

I hope this is the beginning of a trend. I think this decision means that right now the only Ann Arbor middle school giving the MAP test is Scarlett Middle School. However, all of the other elementary schools are still giving the test.

Also, the long-awaited Assessment Task Force is going to start meeting next week.So, in general--toast this small success, but recognize it for the baby step that it is, and let's keep working  toward more authentic assessment, and less testing.

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