Target: Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda
Goal: Applaud decision to make MAP tests optional in high schools
High-stakes standardized testing is of little value to students and teachers. For high schools, the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test does not follow school curriculum. The test can take several weeks, monopolizing school libraries and computer labs. These valuable resources are lost during that time for research, a skill that many high school students need to develop in order to succeed.
After months of boycott by several Seattle schools against MAP, Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda followed a district-appointed task force’s recommendations to make the test optional for high schools. The boycott of the MAP started at Garfield High School, where all teachers participated, then spread to five more high schools in Seattle. Six hundred students refused to take the assessment, which is administered twice a year and tests math and reading skills. However, MAP scores do not affect a student’s GPA.
MAP has other weaknesses as well. It is used to evaluate teachers’ performance, but was not designed that way. It is also used to determine a child’s placement at advance learning programs. MAP’s margin of error for high schools exceeds the expected growth for students, making the test invalid. It does not meet the needs of students with Individual Education Plans.
Making the test optional for high schools is a great first step to a further discussion of the test and its effectiveness. Please sign below to thank Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda for making this important decision.
Dear Mr. Banda,
Thank you for allowing high schools in the Seattle School district to opt out from MAP testing next year. Like educators in Garfield High School maintained, this test is inadequate. Its margin of error exceeds expected growth for students. Teachers are not informed of the test’s contents, making it impossible for them to prepare students for the MAP. The test also takes away libraries and computer labs for weeks each year, so students are unable to do research, a skill they very much need to develop in high school.
Your decision opens the door to further discussion of the effectiveness of MAP. Right now, it is used to evaluate teachers’ performance and to determine a student’s placement into advance learning programs. Northwest Evaluation Association has cautioned against both practices.
Deep gratitude goes to you from teachers, students and parents for your acceptance of the task force’s recommendations on MAP. This is a great first step to finding new ways of evaluating student performance.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Joe Behr via Flickr