Friday, February 08, 2013

MAP Update

Below is a thoughtful letter one teacher at one high school sent home with 9th grade students to try to give parents an idea of what is going on with MAP testing.  It is informative and seeks to allow a conversation should parents want to have one. 

Have you received such a letter?  Has your PTA weighed in at all? 

I note that some in the media (see the Times) try to make this all about Garfield and while they started it and are the most visible, it is quite clear this is very widespread.  If Families & Ed dollars were not tied to middle school activities, I'd bet some of the middle schools would have joined as well.


Dear Families of 9th graders, 

Sometime in February, your 9th grader will have the opportunity to take the MAP tests in Reading and Math. You may be aware of the controversy surrounding the MAP test that began with teachers at Garfield High School announcing a boycott. For those of you who are not aware of the controversy, or who may be aware but may feel short on facts, we wanted to provide you with a list of resources so that you and your student may choose a course of action, based on being fully informed, that is best for you and your family. This list is nowhere near comprehensive, but it will get you started. 

Seattle Public Schools information website

For a list of objections to the MAP test, please see SEA’s (Seattle Education Association) statement:

Organizations that support the boycott:
University of Washington (This blog notes this is a chapter of UW professors who support the boycott, not all of UW).
Chicago Teachers Union 

Support FOR the MAP tests
Seattle Times

Sometime this month, our principal will pick up your students and take them to the computer lab. Your student will have the following choices: 

1. Go to the computer lab, take the test, take it seriously and do the best they can. I will use the resulting data for planning purposes. Or…
2. Go to the computer lab, take the test, and don’t take it seriously. Time is wasted, and there is no useful data.
3. Remain in the classroom (do not take the test) and work on our current unit. No time wasted. No test data. 

All of these are valid courses of action. We just want to be sure that whatever your student decides to do is based on being as fully informed as possible, and having had a conversation with you. We will honor every family’s choice.


Anonymous said...

What she isn't saying is that in order for the child to opt out there has to be a note from the parents. I had sent emails to my child's advisor that I wanted her opted out.

Yesterday, they came to her class and said she had to take the test unless she had a note from home. She took the Math MAP test as quick as possible and scored pretty low. Her teacher asked her to take it again because he said it would reflect poorly on him if she kept that low score (she is an A+ student in math and really likes her teacher). So she took it again and scored very high. All the kids were comparing scores.

Today they are going to be testing reading. I sent her with a signed note from home that she was not to take that test. I guess I will find out what happened when I get home tonight.

Hale Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I have to say that this comparing of scores bothers me. I HATED that myself in high school. But it's probably just human nature.

Anonymous said...

Had that kind of letter been distributed MONTHS ago this drama and tempest in the teapot might not have occurred. Instead it was a cluster f**k of high order.

It really isn't all that shocking given the history of Seattle Public Schools its inept level of communication with anyone involved there.

Ironic it began at Garfield a school with a history of strange goings on.. subs hired to teach football players, Yearbook teacher partying and having sex with kids, and the list goes on.

Do the Adminstrators that are administering said test even know what is in it? Have they taken it? Have the Teacher's taken MAP ever? Suddenly it is an evaluation tool and now suddenly everyone is in arms. I wonder who started this and what their agenda really is.

Seattle Resident

Anonymous said...

I want that teacher to teach my kids.


dan dempsey said...

Hale Parent wrote:

"Her teacher asked her to take it again because he said it would reflect poorly on him if she kept that low score"

Yes the SEA union leadership thought counting MAP scores as part of the teacher evaluation was an acceptable idea.

It clearly did not matter that this MAP testing is completely unreliable when used in that manner.

Intelligent application of relevant data has never been a strong point for...
a.. School Directors
b.. SPS Superintendents
c.. Union leaders

Anonymous said...

God,I hope this is not an English teacher.


Eric B said...

Minor quibble: I don't think that choice #2 is a valid course of action. It's a waste of everyone's time, effort, and money. If the student is going to take the test, go with #1 and take it seriously. If the student doesn't give a rat's patoot, then go with #3 and opt out.

mirmac1 said...

How do you think a child with a Specific Learning Disability will feel, comparing scores?

MAP is sacrosanct because it purportedly measures "student growth". Period.

As parents, does it really matter if my child had 75% of "typical growth", or 150% of "typical growth". That doesn't inform parents. It is purely to evaluate "teacher effectiveness".

Anonymous said...

My kid tells his score because the teacher told students their scores
In fact, one teacher was surprised my student did so well on a test.

So where is source of the problem?

Opted out!

Anonymous said...

My god, the thought that kids might get competitive about learning and doing well on tests? Horrible. Lets all try to be average and not work too hard so as not offend anyone.
Save competition for what counts, sports, the workplace, politics, sex...


mirmac1 said...


What's the benefit of broadcasting one's test scores?

It's fine for a student to challenge his or herself to improve her score, not use scores as grist for the gossip mill about who's a "retard" or "brainiac".