Target: Seattle Public School Teachers and their Superintendent Jose L. Banda
Goal: To show support for the teachers’ boycott against a wasteful and impractical standardized test.
Recently, a group of teachers in Seattle have taken a stand against standardized testing. The boycott began at Garfield High School when 19 teachers declared their refusal to administer the national Measure of Academic Progress test (MAP). The teachers and students explain how the test does not effectively test students’ knowledge or measure academic placement and that it is essentially a waste of time and resources for all. As standardized testing is becoming widely discredited, these teachers need support in their boycott against the MAP.
Statistically speaking, the MAP is not valid at the high school level because the margin of error is greater than its expected gains. Even if it were valid, it would still eat up valuable school time because it is administered 3 times a year, and students in Seattle already take between 3 to 5 state-required tests each year of their high school career without the addition of the MAP test. Students taking the test are unlikely to do well–even if they are academically successful based on all other standards–because teachers do not have access to test material and students have little motivation to even attempt to do well. The MAP does not influence a student’s ability to graduate or impact their grades, meaning they are unlikely to take it seriously, resulting in flawed data. This data, however, is still used in teacher evaluations (even against MAP’s own recommendations against this). The teachers’ and test takers’ time is not the only time wasted, however. Because the MAP is administered on computers, other students are unable to access the computers for writing and research during the weeks of the test taking.
By taking the MAP test, teachers and students are wasting valuable time that could be devoted to one-on-one teaching, giving extra help to students who need it, and actual learning in and outside of the classroom. The issues of the MAP test are representative of the many problems with standardized testing in general. America’s students cannot afford to waste energy on filling in test bubbles instead of learning how to think critically and how to become intelligent members of society. Sign the petition below to show your support for the teachers’ boycott and for the abolishment of all unnecessary standardized testing.
Dear Superintendent Jose L. Banda and teachers of Seattle Public Schools,
We fully support the teachers’ stand against administering the MAP test to students in Seattle high schools. As the teachers and students are well aware, the MAP is essentially a waste of precious time and resources. It is unfair to the students who are forced to take the test 3 times a year, while taking other standardized tests, as well as completing regular schoolwork and participating in extracurricular activities. They must sit through weeks of testing, all while knowing that their scores have no impact on their grades or graduation status. Even fellow students who are not taking the test are affected through lack of access to school computers. It is also unfair to teachers, who watch as their students are tested without any preparation for the material. It is especially unfair to the unquestionably dedicated teachers that are forced to be evaluated on test data that is essentially useless.
We stand in solidarity with the teachers’ struggle against this hindrance to true education. We hope that the bravery and first-hand knowledge of the teachers spurs nationwide policy changes on how we measure students’ learning and academic accomplishments. Thank you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Extra Ketchup via Flickr