Measures of Academic Progress Conflict in Seattle May Affect Wisconsin

Alan Borsuk:

MAP is very different from the WKCE. It is given by computer, it is given three times a year (in most schools), and results are known immediately. I’ve sat in on teacher meetings where MAP results were being used well to diagnose students’ progress and prod good discussion of what teachers could do to seek better results.
Some school districts (West Allis-West Milwaukee is one) are using MAP results as part of evaluating teachers. Milwaukee Public Schools, which began using MAP several years ago, isn’t doing that, but it is using overall MAP results as an important component of judging whether a school is meeting its goals.
MAP is an “adaptive” test – that is, the computer program modifies each test based on how a child answers each question. Get a question right and the next question is harder. Get a question wrong and the next one is easier. This allows the results to pinpoint more exactly how a child is doing and aims to have every student challenged – the best don’t breeze through, the worst don’t give up when they’re entirely lost.
MAP tests are generally given three times a year, which is one of the things supporters like and critics hate. On the one hand, you get data frequently and can make mid-course corrections. On the other hand, it means more times in the year when school life is disrupted.
A MAP spokeswoman said in December there were 287 “partners” in Wisconsin, ranging from MPS down to individual private schools. Many suburban districts use MAP, as do many Catholic and other private schools and charter schools.
At a lot of schools in southeastern Wisconsin, there is enthusiasm for using MAP and it is seen as a good way to judge how kids are doing and to determine what to focus on in helping them.

Madison recently began using “Measures of Academic Progress”.