by Carl, 01/18/2013, 6:12 PM

Seattle teachers who decided not to administer the MAP test here are there reasons:

Seattle’s ninth- and 10th-grade students already take five state-required standardized tests, with 11th- and 12th-graders taking three. Seattle Public Schools staff admitted to a Garfield teacher the MAP test is not valid at the high-school level, because the margin of error is greater than expected gains.

In addition, teachers are forbidden to see contents of the MAP test so they can’t prepare students. Teachers who have looked over the shoulders of students taking the test can tell you that it asks questions students are not expected by state standards to learn until later grades.

This test especially hurts students receiving extra academic support — English-language learners and those enrolled in special education. These are the kids who lose the most each time they waste five hours on the test. Our computer labs are commandeered for weeks when the MAP is on, so students working on research projects can’t get near them. The students without home computers are hurt the most.

Students don’t take the MAP seriously because they know their scores don’t factor into their grades or graduation status. They approach it less seriously each time they take it, so their scores decline. Our district uses MAP scores in teacher evaluations, even though the MAP company recommends against using it to evaluate teacher effectiveness and it’s not mandated in our union contract.

I’m not sure if it spreads, or where it goes from here. But I’m glad the teachers at these schools are standing up for education.

7 Responses to “MAP”

1. now spews:

Fantastic! These brave teachers need our full support. Hopefully it will spread city-wide, then state-wide and, of course, USA-wide. There is already national media coverage of this powerful action.

2. Serial conservative spews:

It’s interesting that the author of the linked article wrote this opening paragraph:

WALKING the same halls once trod by Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Bruce Lee, Brandon Roy and Macklemore makes teaching at Garfield High School exhilarating.

Pity that a teacher couldn’t point to a Garfield grad who had a notable academic accomplishment.

I’m sure they’re are good reasons. Their must be.

3. Michael spews:

Do Seattle teachers have any time to actually teach? It looks like they should change their names to Test Administrators.

4. Michael spews:

I’m guessing Jones’ grades didn’t suck.

In 1951, Jones won a scholarship to the Schillinger House (now Berklee College of Music) in Boston, Massachusetts

Didn’t know that Jones’ brother was the judge in the Green River Murder case.

5. Roger Rabbit spews:

@2 The grammatical errors you cited appear to be yours alone. I couldn’t find them in the “linked article.”

6. Roger Rabbit spews:

Yeah let’s forget Jack Benaroya, Miko Lim, Yasser Seirawan, and Minoru Yamasaki — they’re not academics so they don’t count.

7. rhp6033 spews:

In general, I don’t have a problem with standardized tests. Most foreign schools (those doing much better than the U.S. in math, sciences, and languages) require their students to pass a standardized test at the end of each school year, in every class. Everyone takes the test seriously, and there is considerable public outcry if there is any indication that they aren’t being administered fairly. The tests make sure students take remedial work before passing to the next level, are used to judge the performance of schools, teachers, and students, and are used to allocate resources and teachers to areas that need it most.

But that being said, the makeup of the tests are important. They should be tied to state-wide standards for the course, and measure progress with respect to the same grade level. There seems to be some real problems with these tests on that level.

Also, when measuring teacher or school performance, the test scores can’t be used in a vacuum. Some teachers are better equiped to work with the more difficult students (academically or behaviorly), and they shouldn’t be penalized because their student’s test scores are lower than average – especially if the student’s performance shows a significant increase over the year.