Letter to the Editor

Re: MAP testing does not reflect student potential

Sarah Donovan and Jen Kirstein

Dear Editors, 

We would like to respond to the article “MAP testing does not reflect student potential,” published in The Standard on December 1. The piece, while well researched with external information, did not include interviews with any members of the faculty or administration to gain an understanding of the purpose for MAP Growth and the way that we use it at ASL. For this reason, we wanted to provide clarity about the purpose of external assessments in our context. At ASL our guiding principles on assessment and data are that data is used to improve student learning and we use multiple forms of assessment: formative, summative, and external. The purposes of external assessments, such as MAP testing, are: supporting individual student learning as one piece of data in a larger portfolio, comparing our achievement to similar schools, and using overall results to make curricular adjustments as needed. Therefore MAP Growth is not intended to be “an accurate reflection of a student’s intellectual capabilities” or “student potential.”

At ASL, we value the entire student from social and emotional development to intellectual development to physical development. We show this value through the wide variety of ways that students demonstrate their learning, from performances to essays and portfolios to projects. While it is important for us to have an external assessment as one piece of data, it is only one way in which we look at student learning, and we would never claim that it can measure the richness of all of the ways that students demonstrate their growth and development at ASL or that it is predictive of student achievement. 

The Office of Teaching and Learning

Sarah Donovan and Jen Kirstein