Seattle Education

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Two more schools join the Seattle MAP test boycott and USDOE study on the MAP gives it a failing grade

 

 …and the Washington Education Association Assembly has voted to support the boycott.

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     Ingraham High School and Thornton Creek Elementary have joined the MAP test boycott which brings the number of schools opting out of the MAP test to seven. 30 teachers at Roosevelt High School have also joined the protest and teachers at Franklin High School stated that if the test is to be given next year, they will boycott the MAP test also.

     The list of boycotting schools as of today is:

Ballard High School

The Center School

Chief Sealth International High School

Garfield High School

Orca K-8 School

Thornton Creek K-8

Ingraham High School

     At a press conference held yesterday afternoon, students, parents and teachers stood up and explained why they were boycotting the MAP test.

     Garfield High School PTSA President Phil Sherburne stated that an “overwhelming majority of parents” opted their students out of the MAP test.

     Seattle Public School parent Sue Peters pointed out during the press conference that even the US Department of Education (USDOE) has come out with a study showing the inadequacies of the MAP test in the report titled The Impact of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Program on Student Reading Achievement.

     According to the summary:

     The results of the study indicate that the MAP program was implemented with moderate fidelity but that MAP teachers were not more likely than control group teachers to have applied differentiated instructional practices in their classes. Overall, the MAP program did not have a statistically significant impact on students’ reading achievement in either grade 4 or grade 5.

     And the following describes the training that a teacher has to go through to be able to administer the test:

     To support the administration and use of the MAP assessments, NWEA provides training sessions and face-to-face consultative services. MAP training consists of four one-day sessions, along with on-demand consultation through conference calls and on-site visits from an NWEA MAP coach throughout the school year. The primary objectives of the training are to equip teachers with the knowledge and skills to administer the tests; generate and interpret outcome reports at the individual, group, and classroom level; use report results and other MAP online resources to determine student readiness and differentiate instruction; and use MAP data over time to set student growth goals and evaluate instructional programs and practices. The MAP data reports (which include a student’s Lexile range score) allow teachers to group students appropriately on the basis of their skill needs, to identify books and learning resources that are appropriate for students at different reading levels, and to differentiate, or individualize, instruction in order to more effectively address students learning needs. In each of the four one-day sessions, a certified MAP trainer lectures and facilitates a structured set of activities on one of the four major topic areas (table 1.1) corresponding to the objectives of the training. Schools have the option of scheduling three to four consultative sessions throughout the school year with a MAP trainer to provide further training on specific areas of need (for instance, teachers may request assistance generating reports or understanding how to use the results to group students for reading instruction or to target individual student skill needs). Visits typically last one to two hours and may occur before, during, or after school.

     A key underlying assumption embedded throughout the training continuum maintains that differentiated instruction relies on the availability of periodic assessment data and that effective use of the data requires a clear and functional understanding of techniques in differentiation. The theory underlying the MAP program is that, as teachers become more adept at interpreting MAP data reports and utilizing available resources to differentiate instruction, student achievement will improve. MAP testing is spaced out across the school year, and teachers have unrestricted access to student-level MAP results obtained from the multiple test administrations. They also have access to online resources to assist them in interpreting results, reconfiguring instructional strategies, and tailoring instruction to the needs of students. These resources provide opportunities for teachers to alter their instructional approaches between MAP test administrations.

     During the press conference Jonathan Knapp, President of the Seattle Education Association, provided results of the MAP survey that was given to all Seattle Public School teachers and reflects the results of the USDOE study. There were 2,126 respondents. The highlights were:

64% agreed that it was not aligned with class curriculum.

77% of the teachers agreed that the testing takes up too much time and resources.

85% said that it was not a good measure of a teacher’s performance.

     All of the time and financial resources used simply to see how a child is doing in the classroom when a test created by the teacher and focusing on the material provided in class would reflect far better the knowledge gained by the student.

     It was also noted during the press conference that there is a  teacher’s work group on assessments that is developing a set of recommendations on how to more effectively evaluate the progress of a student. The results from that group will be out shortly and I will post the results here.

     The contract on the MAP test expires this spring and needs to be repurchased. Parents and teachers are telling the superintendent and the school board members not to repurchase the MAP test.

     I would recommend contacting your school board representative at schoolboard@seattleschools, and Superintendent Banda at superintendent@seattleschools.org,  to let them know your thoughts on the MAP test.

       -Dora Taylor

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