April 25, 2013
After months of outreach to parents, teachers, students and principals and researchers, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett today announced a common-sense restructuring of the way CPS administers assessments for grades K-2, as part of the District’s efforts to streamline CPS assessment types, reduce redundancies and to maximize time for learning in the classroom.
“Assessments are an important tool for measuring a student’s academic growth and success, but we must be mindful to strike the right balance with instruction time, which is vitally important for the academic growth and engagement of our students, especially in the early grades,” Byrd-Bennett said. “After research and conversations with parents, students, teachers, principals and community members, we are embarking on a common-sense restructuring of assessments in grades K-2.”
Starting this spring, CPS is suspending the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress for Primary Grades (MPG) assessment for kindergarten, first, and second grade students, which were scheduled to take place April 29 - June 7. Instead, CPS will transition to administering the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment for all second-graders during the spring assessment window. Teachers and principals indicated that administering the MAP test in the spring will provide more useful information for instructional planning.
In the coming weeks, CPS will continue its rigorous evaluation of assessments across grade levels and assessment type.
This winter, CEO Byrd-Bennett launched an extensive evaluation of all student assessments administered in CPS with the goal of streamlining assessment tools across grades and assessment types to maximize the time used in the classroom for instruction. The announcement today includes feedback from 17 different focus groups with educators, parents, students and the community and collected hundreds of online survey responses from teachers. The extensive outreach over the past few months has provided CPS with thoughtful feedback from key education partners on how to change and improve assessments across the District.
The directive to remove MPG testing from grades Kindergarten through second-grade was based directly on concerns raised by teachers, parents, and principals during focus groups and online survey responses about the additional time spent on computer-based assessments by our youngest students at the expense of having direct interaction with their teachers.
The directive to administer the second-grade MAP assessment was made based on the important role this assessment plays in assessing the development of students’ literacy and numeracy skills. MAP for second-graders will also directly contribute to effective planning of instructional programs within schools and across the city. The MAP test for second-graders will not be used in this year’s accountability measures, including teacher evaluation, principal evaluation, or school Performance Policy determination.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.