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From Evaluation system will compound problems by Wendy Lecker in Connecticut, to follow is an excerpt:
Amid all the talk of the proposed teacher evaluation system, one major effect is not being discussed — the exponential increase in standardized tests that these evaluations demand.
The proposed system requires one-fifth of every teacher’s evaluation to be based on a standardized test. Thus, instead of having standardized tests in reading, writing, math in grades 3-8 and 10, and science in grades 5, 8 and 10, our children will now endure standardized tests in every grade and every subject, from kindergarten art to high school gym.
Is this the direction in which we, parents, want our schools to go? With the standardized tests we have now, our children’s education is being narrowed. All over this state, art, music, social studies and foreign language courses are being squeezed out to prep for CMTs and CAPTs.
Not only is our curriculum being narrowed, but so is the way our children learn. They are being trained how to give canned answers to prepackaged questions, rather than learning how to think for themselves. Both teachers and students are increasingly suffering through mind-numbing scripted lessons.
Students, especially those in the neediest districts, are being denied the opportunity for a rich and varied education because of the pressure put upon districts to increase test scores in just a few subjects. Imagine what will happen when high-stakes tests are implemented in every subject. Instead of a piece of clay or a paintbrush, a 6-year-old will now be handed a worksheet. Far-fetched? It is already happening in Colorado.
This is not what I want for my children.
One way to stop the madness of this testing regime is to not participate in it.
The MAP test results have no bearing on your child’s grades, it does not go onto their transcript and has no bearing on college acceptance. Your student’s teacher is able to evaluate where your child is by providing them with tests that have been developed by the teacher and is relevant to what is being taught in the classroom. There are also other measures that as a parent or a teacher you are aware of, simply talking to the student can also provide an indication of where a student is in terms of what is being learned.
With that in mind, here is a post that Sue wrote in December, 2010 about opting out of the MAP test:
The next round of MAP® testing for Seattle’s obsessively tested school kids will be administered as soon as next Monday Dec. 13.
We’ve just learned that parents and guardians who want to opt their kids out of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP®) test may need to do so for every MAP session — that is, send three separate opt-out letters each year.
One opt-out letter at the beginning of the year may not cover all three testing sessions.
To opt-out of MAP: parents/guardians need to write a short letter to their school’s MAP administrator stating that they want their child to be exempt for that session.
I think a letter to the principal and relevant teachers is also a good idea.
For more discussion on the pros and cons of the MAP® test, visit the Seattle Public Schools community blog: Map Opt-Out.
The Spring round of testing is from April 30, 2012 to June 13, 2012.
You can find an opt-out letter template at this Word doc site.