Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 Advanced Learning Testing

Today is the deadline for nominating a child for an advanced learner designation.  By coincidence I received a mail from Stephen Martin indicating the new FAQ about the testing process for this year is up  at: http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14769.  He also said to tell him if any important questions are still unanswered.  So I'll collect anything posted in this thread that requires factual clarification and forward them on.

Appeals Process Info:

Superintendent Procedure 2190SP Highly Capable Services & Advanced Learning Programs is in the process of being re-examined, revised and updated through the equity lens. OSPI has been asked to provide guidance. The draft will be presented to the Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction Committee in November, and will be made available for community comment thereafter for a period of two weeks.



CoGat7 Info: http://www.riversidepublishing.com/products/cogAt/pdf/CogSpe_v59-28-11.pdf

In the meantime, I know this is alway a source of discussion for incoming parents.  Feel free to discuss anything about the process this year.

Scheduling Update


From the SPS website:

Advanced Learning testing appointments that were sent out late on Wednesday were in some cases not delivered due to a service outage. We received the following message this morning:

Seattle School Email being blocked


Outage Date & Time: Thursday,October 15


Total Duration: ongoing


Return to Service: Thursday,October 15 – Estimated time to be cleared: 1:00 pm


Services Affected:


SeattleSchool District emails are currently being blocked or delayed by mostoutside email companies (Yahoo.com, Gmail.com, Hotmail.com).

Many appointment letters were undeliverable. We will resend the appointments later this afternoon. If your child was scheduled for testing on Saturday October 17 and you do not receive an appointment, we will reschedule for another date as soon as systems return to normal.
Please be patient while we address these technical issues. Rest assured that all on-time referrals will be honored.
See Testing Schedule Here

Specific testing times are assigned by the Wednesday prior to the testing date. Email notifications are sent to the address on file. NOTE: Students requiring IEP or 504 accommodations will be contacted individually. They will not be tested on the Saturday schedule.
For students in grades 9-12, applications for The Fall/Winter Testing Session 2015-16 to determine eligibility for school year 2016-17 will be available in January.

50 comments :

Lynn said...

Question One: What are the details of the appeal process? OSPI requires this to be disclosed before parents give permission for their child to be assessed.

Parent Permission Is Mandatory

WAC 392-170-047 Parent/legal guardian permission — stipulates that written parental or legal guardian permission is mandatory before districts:

Assess a student’s eligibility for the Highly Capable Program.

Place a student in the HCP program in order to start services.

This WAC — (a) through (d) — also directs districts to include this specific content for both parental permissions: (a) A full explanation of the procedures for identification of a student for entrance into the highly capable program;
(b) An explanation of the appeal's process;
(c) An explanation of the procedures to exit a student from the program; and
(d) Information on the district's program and the options that will be available to identified students.


Question Two: What is the process to identify a student who is newly enrolled in the district? For example - students who attended private schools in Seattle last year must have been provided an opportunity to be assessed for services in the current year at the time they enrolled with the district.

OSPI says The nomination process must operate from kindergarten through grade 12. It’s OK to calendar referral windows. During enrollment, provide an opportunity for the identification of students not enrolled in the district during the past year’s identification cycle.

Anonymous said...

Dear Steven et al: Start the year without last year's appeals process posted? Strike One. Change the appeals process in the middle of an academic year with no notice? Strike Two. Not OK. Blowback potential enormous. Changes require preplanning and prenotice.

Management 101

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have two questions:

1. Are Spring 2015 MAP test results also considered for eligibility or do the Winter results override the Spring?

2. I know appeal information is supposedly still coming, but is there a time frame for this information to be posted so we can be prepared to schedule a private testing? Last year we were scrambling as the eligibility letters were delayed and we missed the opportunity to do private achievement testing.

Benjamin Leis said...

@Lynn, I think someone already has seen your question. Double checking the official site I see the following language now:

http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=1548870

"Appeals: Parents may appeal the decision of the Multidisciplinary Selection Committee by filling out the form attached to the eligibility decision letter. (WAC 392-170-047)"

Anonymous said...

What happens to kids who don't have MAP scores or SBAC scores? Our school staff got rid of MAP and we opted out of SBAC. It would be unreasonable to penalize families like ours who didn't take SBAC prior to AL decideding they want to use it as a criterium for entrance.

For what it's worth, neither MAP nor SBAC were conceived to be screeners for AL, and although I understand they are a low-cost-to-SPS solution for a look at achievement that doesn't mean they are an appropriate solution.

Mom

Anonymous said...

So, we were new to the district last school year and some of my kids didn't have MAP scores before the Advanced Learning applications were reviewed. After scoring good enough on the Cogat, Advanced Learning came to our school, pulled my kids out of class and gave them the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. I'm guessing they'd do the same if you had no SBAC scores, maybe???

NewSPSMom

Benjamin Leis said...

@Mom: Based on a prev. email which I will reconfirm:

" If they did opt out last year and do not have any current SPS administered achievement testing data, our staff will administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills in reading and math after CogAT testing has been completed."

Anne said...

@NewSPSMom, @Benjamin Leis - My child didn't score well enough on the Seattle Schools CoGAT test and knowing his attention span, we knew we'd have to do the private testing. But then his school opted out of the Winter MAP to my dismay and by the time the eligibility letter/appeal form had finally come to us, it was too late to get private achievement testing done too. I'm thankful I got him at least in the Spectrum program with late enrollment because he was going nuts being so bored.

So this year to avoid this kind of craziness and waiting on the MAP results, should I just go ahead and get private testing done for the achievement to be ahead of the game? (the CoGAT is good for 3 years so we don't need that now). Is this what other parents do?

Lynn said...

Anne,

There is no way to tell if results of private testing will be accepted this year. My hunch is no. Stephen is discussing this with other local districts - if you look at Northshore and Bellevue, they allow appeals if you think they calculated the score incorrectly. That's it. (The group he is discussing this with is headed by the person in charge of highly capable services for Northshore.) The change will not be made because they believe private test scores are less meaninigful or reliable or because private test scores identify children who don't need highly capable services. The change will be made because not every family can afford private testing and the district wants to stop providing individual testing. The result will be fewer children receiving services - which some of those who will be weeded out need.

Benjamin,

That is not an explanation of the appeals process - it's stating that there is one and it's printed on a form and we'll let you know later. In contrast, the advanced learning office used to post the tests that would be accepted, the earliest date those tests could have been administered and a list of testing providers in the area.

Lynn said...

On appeals:

WAC 392-170-076

Process for appeal.

Each district shall have a clear and written procedure for appealing the multidisciplinary selection committee's decision and disseminate this procedure to the public.

Anne said...

Lynn,
Yikes, this brings up a whole separate issue for me if private testing is not going to be allowed. My son has problems focusing and sitting in one place for long and the Seattle Schools testing lacks the personal attention he needs to stay focused enough to answer the questions properly. The psychologist who did my son's CoGAT last year saw this manifest during the testing and really worked with him to stay focused. He has an IQ of 131 but he just doesn't test well in a group setting. I never had him tested for ADHD to see if he might be twice-exceptional but I'm wondering if I should to get better accommodations.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lynn, here, Benjamin, so I hope you can include this question again. Saying that there is a form associated with the appeal process is not at all an explanation of the process.

Thanks for your efforts.

Anonymous said...

Again, it will be completely unacceptable to put a new appeals process into place during the current school year. Advance notice is needed. Does the district really want citizen complaints, lawsuits, even more bad pr for a program that desperately needs to do something right and deploy it thoughtfully? Sure, change the appeals process. Sure, limit it if that is what best practice says. But don't do it for 2015-16. It is too late for that. Give notice for 2016-17 and save this program from yet another year of tumult. Advanced learning has been doing things by the seat of its pants with no public notification for years too long.

Thank you.

Management 101

Anonymous said...

My child is HCC qualified but attends a "Spectrum" middle school. She will go to HS next year and I was assured a couple of years ago that she'd maintain her qualification for Ingraham IBX while attending her current MS. I heard a rumor that this policy might have changed, and that test scores prior to 2014 would not maintain qualification if the student wasn't enrolled in HC. Has anyone else heard this?

Thanks

Lynn said...

I haven't heard of any change to this rule. Your child should still qualify for Ingraham IBX - if that's still an HCC pathway next year. As Ingraham is considering ending the accelerated IB program, your child might have to do IB in 11th and 12th grades there. Of course, there's no way to tell if there will be high school pathways next year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Lynn. Another question: at Ingraham she'd have to have had MS biology, I think, to be able to do IBx, assuming it's still available. Does anyone know of an on-line biology class she could take to fulfill that requirement? Does she also have to get a jump-start on a language, to enter IB as a sophomore?

Thanks, again

Anonymous said...

"Having" to do Ingraham IB as an 11th/12th grader should not be viewed as such a negative! Even very bright kids might benefit from an extra year of maturity and experience under their belt before embarking on this rigorous two year program. As long as Ingraham comes up with a reasonable plan for 10th grade, I would be all for it. What's the hurry?

Anecdotally, this year I know at least 30 HCC kids who chose Ballard over either Garfield or Ingraham. Garfield has 500 Freshman? Well, so does Ballard. This may be happening at Roosevelt as well. Capacity issues are everywhere. I think we will see a trend of more HCC kids choosing their neighborhood high school. Many of these kids didn't enter HCC until middle school, went to Hamilton with the full intent of going to Ballard for High School. The kids I know that chose Garfield either went for the music program or started at Lowell in first/second grade where they were told that GHS was their pathway.

Just some thoughts, Lu

Anonymous said...

Question about teacher recommendations: In the past, parents could choose to have their current or last year's teacher fill out the teacher evaluation. Will last year's teachers still be able to give input?

Thanks for relaying this info, Ben!

Benjamin Leis said...

Some more answers from yesterday's questions from AL. I will exercising my own discretion continue forwarding batches on:

1. If you opted out of the SBAC and had no other achievement testing last year will you be administered the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills)? (I have another mail from your office someone forwarded indicating this is the case)

Yes. That will happen after the cognitive testing is completed.

2. Are Spring 2015 MAP test results also considered for eligibility or do the Winter results override the Spring?

District administered achievement testing results from March 2015 onward will be considered. Lower scores do not override qualifying scores.

3. Several posters asked about the final format for appeals. There's a lot about worry about scheduling private evaluations assuming that is still the procedure chosen. Do you have any time frames at least that you can share on when a decision will be made. Even better would be a direction you think its going to end up if you're able to disclose anything.

Seattle Public Schools is committed to providing equitable access to all programs. Superintendent Procedure 2190SP Highly Capable Services & Advanced Learning Programs is in the process of being re-examined, revised and updated through the equity lens. OSPI has been asked to provide guidance. The draft will be presented to the Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction Committee in November, and will be made available for community comment thereafter for a period of two weeks.

Anonymous said...

Superintendent Procedure 2190SP Highly Capable Services & Advanced Learning Programs is in the process of being re-examined, revised and updated through the equity lens. OSPI has been asked to provide guidance. The draft will be presented to the Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction Committee in November, and will be made available for community comment thereafter for a period of two weeks.

Again? They just did this last year, and the Sup't signed off on the new procedures four months ago. Or is this old info that's still posted somewhere?

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat as Anne. We really need the option of private testing as part of the appeals process. Equity also applies to disability or even the potential not yet formally diagnosed. It's off to SPED I go.

My questions for Stephen:

1. How many and how often do you give movement breaks to the K-2 set during the testing?
2. If the K-2 child passes the screener, do they have to take the additional sub-tests on the same day or a different day?
3. Is there another adult in the testing room keeping the K's focused or helping them find a bathroom if necessary?
4. Is the test on paper or electronic?

I can just imagine my K kid turning a paper over and starting to doodle if no one is watching. He's PG (WPPSI), but also extremely distractible and restless.

- Could Be 2e

Anonymous said...

Appeals process notwithstanding, I don't see that LWSD or Bellevue gifted programs are paradigms of equity. There was very little diversity in the classrooms I have seen there, although the test-prep business is very much alive and well in the Eastside.

-skeptical

Anonymous said...

Skeptical, depends on what you mean by classroom diversity. At work, most Eastsiders with kids are over there because of schools. They are pretty honest if you ask them about what they'll do to get their children the best education in the best school. I think there's less emphasis on IQ as being something you are born with. There's more of a "you better work your bum off in school" and no excuse allowed attitude. And contrary to prevailing Tiger parenting stereotype, many parents will also tell you they hated the rigid, soul crushing exam factory they went through as kids. They see schools here as a good compromise between extremes. It'll take a few generations for the 1st gen to gain confidence and cultural savviness to develop the network/legacy circle which will benefit their grandkids. For now, hard work and a quality education will help their children up that important economic ladder.

Seattle gal

Anne said...

I push my children in this district to get into advanced learning because they were so bored and neglected in their classes. My daughter told me she sat reading by herself for most of the day. Not blaming the teachers, but they are so busy trying to get the ones falling behind up to standards or correcting difficult behavior stemming from families with difficult socioeconomic issues. I've heard about the culture of the Eastside schools advanced learning and honestly would not put my children through that. It doesn't seem healthy and the cutthroat parents seem like nightmares.

That being said, I know parents need to be a part in change too for Seattle Schools and we'd volunteer to help in the class for these children falling behind but we just can't, having both full time jobs. Private testing is ridiculously expensive but we sacrificed our funds for those reasons. I believe for appeals they should offer scholarships for private testing to those whom the teacher really deems a child would benefit from it.

outside testing said...

Any idea if they will use scores from private testing submitted (on appeal) last year for cognitive component? The previous policy was that those scores were valid x 2 years.

outside testing said...

So I asked the AL office my question and got this response:
"We do not accept private testing in lieu of our own. If you completed the parent paperwork and submitted it by October 8th, you should expect that your child will be taking the CogAT ."

hschinske said...

That might be a disingenuous answer. They've never accepted private testing IN LIEU OF taking the CogAT, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't accept private test results either as part of an original application or as part of an appeal.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to Cogat 7. Did anyone know the answer about whether the kids are given above level tests for the Cogat? Would my almost 7 year old get the test for age 5/6?

First grade mom

AnonMom said...

AL testing begins in two days, despite the lack of communication from the department. If your child goes to one of the eight schools listed on the link below, you should be prepared to be at Cascadia @ Lincoln on Saturday, October 17. What time? Your guess is as good as mine...

http://seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14582

AnonMom said...

Sorry...just seven schools.
- Adams
- BF Day
- Daniel Bagley
- Bryant
- Eckstein
- Sandpoint
- Hamilton MS
... Plus some private school applicants

"Testing will be conducted on Saturdays from October to January.
Testing locations: Thurgood Marshall and Cascadia Elementary
All referred students from each school site will be tested according to the schedule below. If you have submitted the referral forms during the September 8-October 8* application period, your child will be scheduled for testing on the date listed. Please mark this date on your calendar and save the day for Advanced Learning testing.
You will receive a testing appointment time for that day as soon as the scheduling can be accomplished. Please make every effort to keep this appointment, as no rescheduling will be possible until well into the new year. We expect over 5000 applications this year, and there is LIMITED flexibility in scheduling.
Other arrangements will be made for students having an IEP or 504 Plan."

Anonymous said...

And my daughter goes to Bagley and we got an emil today saying she will test on the 24th and they'll send a note on the 19th with the time...

Anonymous said...



Cogat is age normed by the 1/4 of year of birth is what I remember.

-Robert

hschinske said...

Age norms have to do with how the test scores are interpreted, not which level of the test is administered. The same raw score on the same test level yields a different percentile depending on the age of the child. In assessments for giftedness, the test publisher recommends using the next level up, or even two levels up, in order to provide a sufficient number of challenging questions and avoid boring the child with too-easy questions. I don't know whether the district is currently following that policy. Back when my kids were tested, they were not, as far as I could ever make out.

Helen Schinske

Betty said...

I'm so confused, my 1st grader took a HCC test on Saturday at Cascadia, was that just the screening test? Will he be taking another Coag test as well?

Anonymous said...

Benjamin, do you know if they plan to finish all of the initial screening dates before inviting K-2 students who meet the threshold to come back for the full length test? Or will they send them out for scoring in waves and call kids back as they are completed?

Anonymous said...

Betty,

Yes - if your child scored in the 94th percentile on the screener, he'll be called back at some point to take the remaining CogAT subtests. See page seven of this document for more information on the screener. http://www.riversidepublishing.com/products/cogAT7/pdf/CogSpe_v59-28-11.pdf

Anonymous said...

Has AL said that they are using the 94%ile as the threshold on the screener? I haven't seen that disclosed.

Lynn said...

I received that information in an email from Advanced Learning.

Betty said...

I'm so confused, my 1st grader took a HCC test on Saturday at Cascadia, was that just the screening test? Will he be taking another Coag test as well?

Lynn said...

Betty,

See my answer above on 10/18 at 9:46 PM. Also, on the Advanced Learning page FAQ #1. http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=14769#1

Betty said...

Thank you

Betty said...

Thanks Lynn
I never received va email regarding the test, just a phone call telling us the date. Do you know when or how we find out how they did on screener?
Thanks

Betty said...

I am curious about this question as well

Lynn said...

Betty,

Sorry - I don't have a clue. It's always a mystery.

Anonymous said...

We just got an email with our testing appointment for a date a week after when our school was listed as being tested.

Anonymous said...

Emails were sent this morning to parents which included other children's names and student identification numbers.

Anonymous said...

Benjamin, are you still forwarding issues to Stephen Martin? How about the last two comments. This is ridiculous.

Benjamin Leis said...

Yes I am and I will post any responses that I get, its been a bit since Stephen has written back. I imagine its quite busy in the AL office right now.

Anonymous said...

Benjamin,
I am both grateful and relieved to see my concerns about testing for the K-2's addressed by Stephen Martin in the FAQ's. Either that or I missed it the first time....
Thank you and Stephen very much for all your help!

- Could be 2e

“What will testing conditions be like for younger students?

The CogAT Screening Form given to students in Grades K-2 consists of 3 subtests of approximately 10 minutes in duration, and students will be given a stretch break between each one. There will be one test administrator for each six kindergarten students and one for every eight students in grades 1 and 2.
The test is on paper and the students are asked to fill in the answer circle under the picture they feel is the best response. The test is read to them by the test administrators. The test administrators observe students closely to make sure they are giving all students enough time for each item, and also help students remain engaged and on task. If a student has a documented need for testing accommodations, testing will be scheduled on an individual basis.”

Thekla Richter said...

Thanks for this blog, what a great resource! More related to the choice process than the testing, and still theoretical, but here's my question: If my child is currently enrolled in a choice school and were to test into advanced learning, my understanding is that the programs still don't guarantee him a seat. If I fill out a choice form in February and he does not get a place at the advanced learning program in question, would he still be guaranteed a seat for 1st grade at his current choice school or would he then be entered into a lottery there as well? I don't see "current attendance" as a tiebreaker item and am not sure if I am forfeiting his current enrollment by filling out a choice form. Any thoughts? Still quite confused by how things work! Thanks for any insight.