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    Nov. 5 2018 Achievement Testing Message Sent in Error
    Posted on 11/05/2018

    Nov. 5, 2018 Achievement Testing Message Sent in Error

    The Advanced Learning team have been working with our Department of Technology Services (DOTS) to investigate and understand what occurred within our system that resulted in the email that was sent to families on Mon., Nov. 5. Please note that the current testing process has not been affected.

    Here is what occurred:

    • Our DOTS team was working on a communication that is routinely sent to families of students for which additional achievement testing is needed (kindergarten students, students new to the district, etc.). Each year, this number is approximately 300 students. The additional testing is needed to fulfill district procedures requiring CogAT and achievement scores used in eligibility decisions.
    • During the development of the script for the email, a technician inadvertently ran the job prior to filtering out those students who already had achievement data on file.
    • The message then was emailed to 3,400 students instead of the typical 300 to 400 students.
    • The Advanced Learning team, upon learning of the premature send, began working immediately on a separate message to communicate with families that the initial message had been sent in error. They worked to craft the email, connected with our partners on the Communications team, and had the explanation out to families within the hour.

    It is unfortunate when this type of mistake occurs, and we apologize. It is a district expectation that all of our departments seek to provide accurate and timely information to families.

    Moving forward

    • We are working with DOTS to examine the origin of this incident to inform continued improvements to our technology system for mass communication.
    • We are continuing to explore and implement improved practices to ensure that all families across our district receive the highest level of the most accurate information in a timely and comprehensive manner – this continues to be a goal for the Advanced Learning Department and in partnership with Communications and DOTS.
    • We will continue to enhance and improve the automation of thousands of communications families receive. Over the past three years, we have made significant strides in our use of technology to ensure families have access to accurate and timely information. We are still improving and committed to enhancement and safeguards surrounding the use of technology to support family engagement and communication.

    All departments within Seattle Public Schools are committed to ensuring families are informed and supported. As we continue to strengthen our work in service to students, schools and families, we will be seeking practical ideas that will help us communicate in a way that meets the vast and varied needs of our families.