Parents Across America is pleased to endorse the position statement of Parents Across America-Seattle in support of the Garfield High School teachers’ principled opposition to the costly and inaccurate MAP® test.
Here’s PAA-Seattle’s statement:
Parents Across America, Seattle, fully support and applaud the Garfield High School teaching staff in their refusal to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test to their students.
The teachers at Garfield, one of the district’s most respected high schools, have taken a thoughtful, principled stand against an expensive, time-consuming and inaccurate assessment product mandated by the Seattle Public School District.
National education historian, Diane Ravitch, has also applauded the action of Garfield teachers, sending the teachers a letter of support and dedicating a statement on her blog to their announcement. Writes Ravitch: “For their courage, their integrity, and their intelligence, I add the faculty of Garfield High School to the honor roll as champions of public education.”
At Parents Across America we oppose high-stakes and excessive testing. MAP® is part of a negative national trend of increased high-stakes testing imposed on American public school children – a trend which has been discredited. In Seattle’s public schools, children as young as five years old are administered the MAP as often as three times a year, plus the state-mandated MSP test once a year starting in third grade, and the EOC exams in middle and high school, and now Common Core tests. This is clearly excessive, unnecessary and costly, both in dollars (MAP has cost our district as much as $10 million, by some estimates) and lost learning time.
MAP® is also being misused by the Seattle School District. Although initially introduced as a diagnostic tool to help our teachers assess the academic needs of their students, MAP® is now used by the district to evaluate teachers – a purpose for which the test was not designed, the vendor NWEA has stated — and as a screening mechanism for advanced learning opportunities.
The Garfield teachers are also correct that the MAP test is inaccurate and inconsistent and does not align with our local or state curricula. (In 2012, vendor NWEA retroactively “re-calibrated” Seattle student MAP test scores going back three years, changing some scores by as much as 20 points, underscoring the unreliability of the test.)
Nationwide, a growing number of parents and teachers are rising up and saying “Enough!” Seattle has the opportunity to be a national leader in this healthy movement away from excessive testing and towards a richer, more meaningful learning experience for our children.
Parents Across America Seattle asks the Seattle Public School District to reassess the value of the MAP and phase it out as soon as possible. There are far more valuable ways for our district to spend its limited funds and our children’s time in school.