Topic: MAP test
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May 17, 2013 at 7:28 AM
Standardized tests waste time
Having matriculated through Seattle schools, I am all too familiar with the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test [“Seattle high schools can drop MAP exams,” NWTuesday, May 14]. I am thrilled that schools will not have to take as much time for these MAP exams.
As a student with a learning disability, testing always reflected my struggle with reading and math. However, in classes I maintained high marks. I am now graduating from Seattle University having done internships and leadership positions. Sadly, other students who had to undergo standardized testing have not progressed as well.
My main concern with MAP tests and other standardized tests used to help teachers target students who need help is this: Telling teachers that certain students are struggling while others are above average will affect how teachers treat those students. Based on Robert Rosenthal’s experiments, students who are predicted to be above average will end up that way even if those students are chosen at random.
Educators are not to be blamed for — but schools should be aware of — the deeper, unintentional consequences of giving MAP tests and other standardized tests. Teachers who are paying attention to their students can identify the students who need extra help. I urge others to support teachers and educators who see that time can be better spent.
Ella Czeisler, strategic communications major, Seattle University, Seattle
March 7, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Stop blaming teachers
The next time Michelle Rhee has an opinion about an issue in Seattle schools she should do her homework [“MAP boycott is about keeping test scores out of teacher evaluations,” Opinion, March 6].
Teachers in Seattle agree that student assessments can be useful. Boycott leaders were very clear — they don’t like the MAP because it doesn’t give them meaningful feedback to guide student learning. They are concerned about how giving it affects other kids by locking up the library and computer labs. A nonideological review of a news clip or scan of a story would show that these educators don’t oppose accountability and they are very concerned about their students.
Parents, teachers and administrators working together to improve student learning is what the boycotting teachers want. For years, district officials ignored their repeated requests to meet and discuss their MAP concerns. It took the boycott to generate enough attention for new Superintendent José Banda to finally convene an assessment task force. Conversations are now under way between teachers, parents and administrators to identify the qualities of useful assessment.
Though teachers in the classroom don’t see eye-to-eye with Rhee on most points, we do agree on one. We would like a constructive dialogue on how to improve education. Let’s start with this: Stop blaming teachers.
–Jonathan Knapp, president, Seattle Education Association
Measure teachers another way
I was dismayed to see yet another attack on education by Michelle Rhee.
I am a retired teacher and former test-taking student from the 20th century, so I have no “dog in this fight.” Rhee set up her own well-funded, anti-union “nonprofit,” so I suggest anyone tempted to believe her rant check her financial sources.
As a teacher, I evaluated my students and tweaked my lesson plan every 55 minutes. I was amused by teachers who obeyed orders from higher up to trade in textbooks that worked for the latest gimmick some “education corporation” had sold to a school board.
Standardized tests come from corporations seeking the same results: profits for the company; better or worse outcome for kids, depending on your criteria.
Evaluating students, teachers, schools and districts is a messy, subjective business. I still don’t know if I was a “great” or “low-performing” teacher compared with the other members of my department; I’m just glad some genius didn’t sell my bosses a test and a computer program to “measure” us before I retired.
Want to measure your kids’ teachers? Visit their classrooms, talk to their teachers and then decide for yourself what to do next.
–Jon Shaughnessy, Bellingham
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