Superintendent will not scrap MAP, will create task force to review test

Jose Banda addresses Garfield staff and PTSA in letter

This letter was originally sent to Garfield High School staff and PTSA on Feb. 5. It has been shared by Seattle Public Schools with the media. Below is the letter in full.

Dear Garfield staff and families:

I want to thank you for sharing your concerns about MAP assessments. After careful consideration of what is in the best interest of all of our students across the district, I have asked schools to proceed with administering the MAP assessment as scheduled.

I have met with Garfield High School staff on two separate occasions to listen to their concerns and the important issues they raise regarding the limitations of the MAP assessment. While I feel the teachers at Garfield are sincere in their efforts to postpone the administration of the MAP, I also have a strong obligation to the students and parents of this school district to ensure we are measuring student progress in a consistent manner across all schools.

The MAP assessment is administered to over 6 million students across the nation and in 209 school districts with in Washington State. Thousands of educators find the MAP data useful in determining student progress. Using the MAP assessment, combined with other measures, helps us to identify students who are achieving at various levels, regardless of the grade, allowing us to provide additional support or perhaps more challenging curriculum. In partnership with the City of Seattle, Office of Education, MAP results are also used to measure the effectiveness of programs we implement through the Family and Education Levy.

The district acted in good faith to address the concerns raised by the Garfield High School staff and other educators in Seattle Public Schools. This is why I set into motion a task force comprised of teachers, principals and community representatives. The goal of this task force is to engage in thoughtful, collaborative conversations in an effort to land on a solution that will benefit our students. The task force will review the MAP assessment in its present iteration and review the landscape of a comprehensive system of assessments that will lead us into the future as we implement the Common Core State Standards. Throughout this process we will be seeking input from parents and educators via survey to ensure we hear multiple perspectives. I will look to this task force to provide recommendations regarding the future of MAP assessments.

I remain hopeful that we will continue to work together in support of our students. I look forward to future conversations with our staff and community about assessments and other important topics.

José Banda
Seattle Public Schools

Follow Ballard News-Tribune on Facebook at

And Twitter at

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.