What’s odd to me is the test Seattle teachers are choosing to protest, which is the Measure of Academic Progress. The high performing City of Decatur Schools uses MAP testing as well, giving it three times a year to see where students begin, where they are mid-year and where they are at the end of the year.
My kids attend Decatur schools and are not intimidated by MAP testing as it has been part of their education for a long time. Nor are they overly concerned with the scores, which they get instantly as the test is taken on a computer. I would be interested in what other Decatur parents out there think about MAP.
As to the comment within the news story below that algebra students see geometry on the test, my kids tell me that the challenge of the questions on the MAP test increases depending on how well a student is doing. If they get a question wrong, the test adapts and provides an easier question. Each time students answer a question, the test considers all questions taken so far to generate the next question. The tests respond to the achievement level of the student.
So, a student who is doing well will get harder and harder questions, including some that contain material they may not have seen in class. Decatur uses MAP scores to accelerate kids as well as remediate them.
I see the main value of MAP as diagnostic, allowing teachers to know where students are when they walk in the door. Teachers have told me it is valuable to get the information early in the school year.
I understand that schools are test weary, but question condemning test that measures student progress and pinpoints where students are falling behind. I would prefer that we focus on repetitive tests that give no new information.
I also think we have to be careful not to denigrate testing without acknowledging that testing also helps students recognize their own potential. I have interviewed people over the years who first considered college because of how well they scored on some test. In most cases, the people came from families without a history of college attendance and weren’t raised from the cradle with the expectation that they would earn a college degree.
Students in Seattle Public Schools take a test called the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, up to three times a year, from kindergarten through at least ninth grade. The school district requires the test to measure how well students are doing in reading and math — in addition to annual standardized tests required by the state.
The MAP test is used as part of the teacher-evaluation process, and it’s supposed to help teachers gauge students’ progress.
“We’ve lost a whole lot of class time. I don’t know what the test was about, and I just see no use for it at all,” says Kit McCormick, who teaches English at Garfield High School.
McCormick says teachers are never allowed to see the test, so she has no idea how to interpret her students’ scores.
“So I’m not going to do it. But I’d be happy to have my students evaluated in a way that would be meaningful for both them and me,” she says. Instead of this kind of high-stakes testing, teachers at Garfield propose that student learning be judged by portfolios of their work.
The school’s academic dean, Kris McBride, was supposed to administer the test this week. Instead, she’s standing behind the teachers. McBride says a major problem with the test is that it doesn’t seem to align with district or state curricula.
“In fact, our Algebra 1 students go in and sit in front of a computer and take this math test. It’s filled with geometry; it’s filled with probability and statistics and other things that aren’t a part of the curriculum at all,” she says.
Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda says the teachers are expected to fulfill their responsibilities.
He says the MAP test’s frequency is useful in making sure students are learning what they should be but has invited teachers to take part in a formal district review of its effectiveness. That still doesn’t let them off the hook from administering the test, though.
“In the meantime, they have duties they’re supposed to complete, making sure that this assessment is given,” he says. Banda says instead of boycotting the MAP test, teachers should work with the district to find solutions to their concerns.
–from Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog