Garfield student: Why I'm protesting the MAP test

Guest Opinion: The MAP test, a standardized test required by Seattle Public Schools, wastes student time and district money. It's time to drop it.
Given new (positive) developments in contract talks, looks like school may start on time after all.

Given new (positive) developments in contract talks, looks like school may start on time after all. Photo: Don Brubeck

Caitlin Chambers

Caitlin Chambers


Garfield High School has a legacy of paving the way for change in Seattle Public Schools. Last year, over 500 students walked out of school to protest funding cuts to education.

This year, teachers are protesting the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test by refusing to administer it.

I agree with them.

Tests have their place in the classroom. They, along with other assessments, can help teachers measure their students’ progress and help them become more effective teachers.

However, the MAP test isn’t effective. The MAP doesn’t test on what students are learning in the classroom and teachers don’t know what’s on the test, so it can’t accurately measure progress.

The Northwest Evaluation Association, the group that created the MAP test, admits that at the high school level, problems can become “particularly profound.”

Furthermore, students have no incentive to take the test seriously. There’s no state-wide graduation requirement for passing the MAP. While Superintendent Banda relies on an “intrinsic motivation” to make sure the test’s results are accurate, that philosophy doesn’t seem to extend to students themselves.

The test wastes valuable class time, pulling 805 students out of class for 320 minutes each, according to statistics compiled by Garfield teachers. It also wastes $480,000 every year, money that could be put to far better use in the classroom for textbooks, lab supplies, and general class materials.

The MAP test monopolizes the entire library for testing days. Students aren’t allowed in the area, which includes two computer labs and study space where students meet for clubs, print homework, and do research.

Superintendent Banda has said he will penalize teachers who don’t administer the test by February 22nd with a 10-day unpaid suspension. However, while teachers may be forced to give the MAP, students don’t have to take it.

The MAP test is flawed. Students — and their parents — need to join in the boycott of the test if any real change is to be achieved. Not taking the test won’t affect students in the long run, but it will prove to the district that the MAP needs to go.

It’s time for us to take charge of our education. Don’t take the test.

Caitlin Chambers is a senior at Garfield High School. She is spearheading a student protest of the MAP test, including organizing freshmen, distributing information, and communicating with Superintendent Banda and the school district. Caitlin is also an editor and writer for the school’s award-winning student newspaper, the Garfield Messenger, and will attend Princeton University in the fall. Reach her c/o editor@crosscut.com .


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Comments:

Posted Tue, Jan 29, 8:44 p.m. Inappropriate

I bet Caitlin's quite the pet of her Union mentors, er, teachers.

BlueLight

Posted Thu, Jan 31, 11:58 a.m. Inappropriate

That's pretty unkind to say about a teenager. If you want to be that tough on her, sign your name. She did.

westello

Posted Sat, Feb 2, 9:39 p.m. Inappropriate

If a teenager can't be stupid, and if we can't call a stupid teenager a stupid teenager, then what's it worth to be a teenager, stupid, or a stupid teenager? Seriously, if she wants to step into the kitchen, then she'd better be prepared for the climate there.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Jan 30, 11:26 a.m. Inappropriate

I think the MAP test is probably a poor use of teacher time, student time, and computer lab time. Time costs money, and the taxpayers get the bill in the form of sales tax.

Has Jose Banda taken the MAP? What's his score?
Has the legislature taken the MAP? How would their average rank against students? Would they beat the 9th graders of Washington State?

Teachers need to be respected as professionals. Go look at how William Shockley treated intelligent professionals at Shockley Semiconductor as an example of what not to do. Bullying educated workers is not the secret to success.

Posted Wed, Jan 30, 1:09 p.m. Inappropriate

"The test wastes valuable class time, pulling 805 students out of class for 320 minutes each, according to statistics compiled by Garfield teachers. It also wastes $480,000 every year"

Is 320 minutes really that much? Seems like that amounts to one school day.

Also, it would be nice to know what "wastes" means in the last paragraph. Is that the opportunity cost of teaching? The fee paid to the test-making company?

I actually believe in Banda's concept of "intrinsic motivation." It's not like any students spend time preparing for the test--why wouldn't they try hard on it? I can't imagine myself dogging a test just because it doesn't qualify my ability to graduate. Are kids really that lazy these days?

jeffro

Posted Wed, Jan 30, 1:36 p.m. Inappropriate

little blulite. What a he-man you are. Attacking adults by diminishing a child. Bravo for such courage.

Posted Thu, Jan 31, 9:12 a.m. Inappropriate

How much does standardized testing cost the state taxpayers?

I'm thinking the schools in WA cost about 8 million per hour to run.
5 hours of testing would be about 40 million plus maybe 10 million for the test.

Why does the legislature think spending 50 million on standardized testing is a good investment? Did the people get a say in this? WHERES TIM EYMAN? If he doesn't like money going out of state to red light camera corp, having the testing corporations pick the pocket of Washington State taxpayers isn't much different.

Posted Fri, Feb 1, 9 p.m. Inappropriate

Well-written and insightful article. Make the dawghouse proud :)

fmajor

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