MASSP Submits Comment RE: MI-SAAS

Ballard's picture

9/1/10

Office of Educational Accountability and Assessment
Michigan Department of Education
P.O. Box 30008
Lansing, MI 48909

RE: MI-SAAS Comments

To Whom It May Concern:

There must be alignment of the state reporting systems. MI-SAAS seems to do this. The recent MDE report “top to bottom” showing Michigan’s lowest performing schools created shock for some school principals whose schools were listed at the bottom. Many had just received notice their school had succeeded meeting AYP standards. Because of the miss-alignment currently in place those principals said - “I never saw it coming.” We need a system that makes sense. A system that is aligned with every other MDE report. The MDE should be able to explain this system for audience understanding in just a few sentences. In short, a system that makes sense and is consistent in message.

Again, our association of secondary school principals supports Performance Level Change. However, having just one evaluation point for measuring high school growth is wrong. MDE has agreed that the level of proficiency used by middle level MEAP is a lower standard than high school “ready” for ninth grade content expectations. Obviously setting the high school age child and school up for failure. There is a void between seventh and eleventh grade assessment. There is no assessment process in play that guides students and staff for proper intervention for determining growth.

We urge the Department to consider putting into play a state-sponsored EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT system. This was part of the Race To The Top application. Since, at this point, RTTT funding will not materialize it is time we shift priorities within our assessment program. MDE should assess only those areas required by federal guidelines. Michigan should maximize its assessment and MI-SAAS requirements to only assessments used in determining AYP growth in math or language arts.

In summary, the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals supports the improvements over Ed-Yes to the new MI-SAAS. However, we believe strongly it is a program doomed for failure at the high school level due to the lack of aligned assessment beginning in grade seven to the college predictor assessment (ACT) used in the eleventh grade.

Respectfully,

Jim Ballard
Executive Director