How Schools could spend moneys better than simply on more same-old high stakes tests that fail us all

Update: MAP Test Boycott Victory for High Schools!


Watch the video on Democracy Now!

Click here to see the final recommendations of the Teacher Work Group on Assessment

We were celebrating the fact that our students will no longer have to sit in front of the dull glow of a computer screen, looking at questions that they were never prepared for because the test was not aligned to the state-mandated curriculum. And we were celebrating because our English-language learners will no longer have to be humiliated by a test that is linguistically and culturally inappropriate for them. Our special ed students will no longer have to take a test where their IEPs, or individual education plans, will no—are not respected.

And, you know, we were celebrating, I think, too, because Washington state ranks number one in the nation in high-stakes testing. And we spend over $100 million a year on these tests. And Garfield High School teachers and teachers around Seattle who have joined the boycott of the MAP test have said that we would rather spend that $100 million on reading coaches and on tutoring programs, things that can actually help elevate our students and get them where we know they need to be. –Jesse Hagopian, a high school history teacher and union rep at Garfield High. (He also served as the Black Student Union’s faculty adviser and is a founding member of Social Equality Educators)



About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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One Response to How Schools could spend moneys better than simply on more same-old high stakes tests that fail us all

  1. eslkevin says:

    Teacher Work Group on Assessment
    Recommendations, Spring 2013
    Principal Writers: Gerardine Carroll, The Center School, and Liza Campbell, Nova
    Contributors: Peter Henry, Seattle Public Schools; Chelsea Palmer, The Center
    School; Michaela Peterson, The Center School; Mallory Clarke, Garfield High
    School; Adam Gish, Garfield High School
    In 2008, the Seattle Public Schools contracted with Northwest Evaluation Association
    (NWEA) to administer the Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) to all students in
    grades K-9 in order to inform teachers about student growth over a year’s period and to
    adjust their teaching practices accordingly.
    In Fall 2012, the staff at Garfield High School refused to administer the MAP exam.
    They cited a variety of concerns including:
     Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson agreed to the purchase of the test when
    she served on the board of NWEA, an act criticized by the states auditor’s office
     Seattle Public Schools (SPS) wastes precious instructional time as well as teacher,
    administrator and school resources administering MAP, including hours of
    computer access that should be used by students for research and other academic
     SPS uses MAP as a part of teacher evaluations and as a means to determine
    student eligibility for advanced learning, practices that NWEA itself has
    cautioned against because the test is not designed for these purposes
     MAP’s margin of error for high schoolers exceeds the expected growth for
    students, thus making the test invalid
     The district’s demands for MAP administration—two tests two to three times
    yearly—deprives students of instruction time, the impact of which is felt most
    harshly by those students who struggle the most
     MAP is not designed to meet the needs of students with Individual Education
    Plans (IEPs)
    Garfield’s refusal to administer MAP has spread to other schools throughout Seattle, and
    the resistance to the testing movement has rippled across the nation and even to other
    countries. Why? Teachers recoil at the false notions that standardized tests are
    legitimate single measures of student academic achievement, that standardized tests
    should take precedence over instructional time, that standardized tests effectively assess
    teacher quality—in short, that standardized testing-based education is effective education.
    It is not, and we as teachers stand firm in our refusal to embrace ineffective and harmful
    practices. While the district has admitted, in the face of great pressure, that the MAP test
    does have flaws and that it will make changes to how MAP is administered, these
    changes still ignore some of the most fundamental flaws in the test. The changes seem to
    be based on making sure MAP is still given instead of making sure that it provides useful
    information about our students. This spring:

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