Story Summary

Area teachers protest standardized test

Teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School have made no secret of their feelings about the Measure of Academic Progress test, or Map test. Many teachers have protested the test, and refused to administer it at schools around Seattle.

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Local News
11/12/13

School superintendent: We’ve made progress but not satisfied

SEATTLE — In his first year as school superintendent,  Jose Banda has learned just how engaged parents and teachers can be, from protests over what some called a flawed academic progress test to the recent controversy over changing school boundaries.

But Banda, in his address on the state of the district Tuesday, said there is plenty to celebrate.

banda“This is an exciting time to be a part of Seattle Public Schools,” said Banda, citing how over the last five years, more Seattle students are graduating and more are taking college-level classes.

He also said students in the district are now outperforming the state average on state math and science tests.

“While we have made progress, we are not satisfied,” said Banda. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us.”

According to Banda, Seattle kids are not meeting their reading goals, and there is still achievement gaps. For instance, caucasian students continue to score higher in state math exams than African American students and parents want to see a change.

“It’s the eternal issue of, what are we doing to close the achievement gap,” said Melissa Westbrook, a parent and school activist. “That is the number one thing that has to be addressed.”

The superintendent says he has a new five-year plan that he hopes will address that, including improving systems and communication district-wide to try to meet student needs and getting families more involved.

“It really takes an engagement of our community,” said Banda. “And engagement of our families as our partners to make sure we provide full support for our students.”

Click here to read full report.  Click here to read the District Scorecard released Tuesday.   And click here to read individual school reports.

SEATTLE — Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda announced Monday that high schools won’t have to give the controversial Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests next fall, but they will still be required in kindergarten through 8th grade.

map1The tests became a point of controversy after teachers at Garfield High School protested giving them, saying they are a waste of time as they don’t affect students’ grades and that they are used in teacher evaluations. Their protest spread to at least six other schools.

Banda had appointed a task force to look into the matter.

In a statement issued Monday, Banda said, “Based on this Task Force’s feedback, I am making the following decisions regarding the MAP assessment for the 2013-14 school year:

– Continue the use of MAP in kindergarten through 8th grade in 2013-14;

– High schools may opt out of MAP in 2013-14, but must provide evidence of a way to assess and monitor progress of students who are below standard in math and reading. In addition, the high school must follow their typical school-level decision-making process (which might include a school committee or staff vote)

– Administer the MAP assessment twice a year, with mandatory MAP assessments for fall and spring, but optional for winter

– Use MAP in conjunction with other data points in making programmatic decisions for students. Do not use MAP data in isolation for placement in programs;

– Look beyond the next school year to explore new assessments. We will create a smaller working group/task force to evaluate future assessment options and make recommendations for testing starting in the 2014-15 school year.”

Banda said that in a survey administered by the Seattle Education Association, the majority of K-12 Seattle teachers said they “believe the MAP assessment is effective or somewhat effective in identifying students for additional support, interventions or accommodations. A majority of teachers also said the MAP assessment is effective or somewhat effective in measuring and charting student progress over time.”

Local News
04/29/13

Boycott grows against MAP test

testsSeattle – More teachers are now refusing to administer the Measures of Academic Progress or MAP test.  Not only are the same half dozen schools boycotting the tests but more elementary and high school teachers are joining the fight.

A press conference is scheduled on Monday at 4:30 p.m. at the Garfield Community Center. All boycotting schools including new additions will have a representative at the press conference to answer questions.

Schools across the district are gearing up for the spring version of the assessment test.

Teachers at Garfield and several other schools boycotted the winter version of the test but relented under pressure from Superintendent Jose Banda.

Earlier this month Banda said he would not discipline any teachers who said they would not give the MAP test after every school ultimately gave the test and met the deadline.

Opponents say the test is too expensive, a waste of precious student time and a poor measure of academic skills. Q13 Fox will have more on the story throughout the day.

banda3SEATTLE — Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda says he will not discipline any teachers who said they would not give the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests to students in February.

In a message last Friday on the Seattle Public Schools website, Banda wrote, “I am pleased to report that every school administered the MAP assessment and met the testing deadline. There will be no discipline of any test administrator. Those teachers who publically said they refused to administer the test either did not teach a tested subject, or they were not a test administrator.

“However, I want to reiterate my hope that in the future, we seek to address our concerns and issues in a more constructive manner, in a way that puts our students first.”

A group of teachers at Garfield said in early February that they would not give the tests because, they said, students do not take the test seriously and time spent administering it could be better spent on education. They also contended student test scores were used in their teacher evaluation process. Teachers at a few other schools agreed with those at Garfield in joining the protest.

In Banda’s Friday message, he said, “Overall, nearly 30,000 students in the required grade levels (1st to 9th grade) completed the MAP assessment during the winter period. We did see a higher than usual number of high school students and families who opted out of taking the test.

“Districtwide, a total of 459 parents and 133 students opted out. Of these opt-outs, 265 parents (58% of total) were from two district high schools (Garfield and Ingraham), and 129 students (97% of total) were from one high school (Garfield).”

testsSEATTLE — With their parent’s permission, more than 300 students refused to take the controversial MAP test Tuesday, joining a number of teachers in a growing movement to abandon the test.

Ninety-six students took the test on its first day Tuesday. Seattle Schools Spokeswoman Terissa Wippel said all of the Garfield High School students who opted out of the test did so with their parent’s consent.

MAP, or Measure of Academic Progress, tests are a series of computerized adaptive tests that measure general knowledge in reading, mathematics, language usage and science. It is used to measure a student’s progress, but it does not affect a student’s grade. Some teachers at Garfield and elsewhere call the test a waste of time, money and resources and object to student test scores being used in their teacher evaluation process.

Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda has previously made it clear that the MAP Test was to be given as scheduled, despite recent protests.Teacher Jesse Hagopian said it was disrespectful of school administrators to move forward with the test despite growing dissent.

“It was really callous disrespect of the united Garfield voice of students, parents and teachers who have all voted unanimously that this test is not right for our school,”  Hagopian said.

Wippel reiterated Wednesday that students were not allowed to opt out of the MAP test without their parent’s consent.

map1SEATTLE — The Seattle School District sent a letter Wednesday asking principals to tell their teachers that they will be disciplined if they refuse to give district-required tests, it was reported.

In the past, the letter said, teachers who have refused to give tests have been suspended for 10 days without pay, the Seattle Times reported.

Later Wednesday, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda said that teachers must give students the controversial Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test by Feb. 22. Banda suggested that replacements could be brought in to administer the test if staff teachers refuse.

“If we have to bring in additional staff to get the test done, then that`s what we`ll have to do and we`ll deal with teacher behavior at that point in time,” Banda said at a school board meeting Wednesday.

At an afternoon news conference, Banda hinted there would be consequences for teachers who refuse to give the test and suggested their refusal could be considered insubordination. He did not personally elaborate on what consequences the teachers might face.

MAP tests are a series of computerized adaptive tests that measure general knowledge in reading, mathematics, language usage and science.  It is used to measure a student’s progress, but it does not affect a student’s grade.  But some teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School call the test a waste of time, money and resources and object to the test scores being used in the teacher evaluation process.

A group of teachers at Garfield said two weeks ago that they would not give the tests because, they said, students do not take the test seriously and time spent administering it could be better spent on education.  Teachers at a few other schools have since followed suit.

Before the Seattle School Board meeting Wednesday, teachers opposed to the test rallied outside the building.

“It`s hurting many of our students in our most fragile populations, as well as those kids who need more class time, not less class time,” Garfield teacher Kris McBride said. “Our students cannot afford to lose more class time.”

Banda said he knows the test is not perfect, but added that the district has to use such data to better help students, at least for now, and he announced a joint task force to take a closer look at the MAP  test and the teachers` concerns.

“Through this new task force, we will have the opportunity to explore and review the strengths and the limitations of the MAP assessment and we will consider alternatives to future testing programs for the district,” Banda said.

“When something is in place that so many professionals believe so strongly is wrong, it is amazing to me that we are still being asked to do it anyway,” one teacher said.

Banda said the new joint task force will meet twice a month between now and May, at which time they will present their findings to the superintendent.

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