The Seattle teachers union said Friday that it shares concerns the faculty at Garfield High has raised about district-required tests known as the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP.
Garfield teachers announced Thursday that no teachers at the school would be giving the MAP tests this winter, even though the district requires them to do so. Nearly all the faculty signed a letter to the district saying they’re not against testing, but they think the MAP exams fail to help them or their students and waste valuable class time.
In a prepared statement, the union said it shares the Garfield teachers’ concerns, and has raised the same issue with school district officials over the past few years. It also said it has been trying to get the district to consider alternatives to the MAP that are more closely aligned to the district’s curriculum and state learning standards.
The union said it lobbied to reduce the number of times that teachers have to give the MAP tests each year, and the district has done so.
In the statement, SEA President Jonathan Knapp said he wants the district to set a date to stop using the MAP exams. He also said that concerns over those tests are part of larger questions about the costs of testing, and how much time schools devote to it.
The union listed its concerns as follows:
- The test does not line up with state standards.
- The test does not line up with district curriculum.
- The test takes valuable time away from student learning.
- Many students do not take the test seriously.
- The testing time frame takes valuable time away from students in the school being able to access computer labs and libraries for other projects.
- The data obtained is of minimal use to teachers in planning lessons and meeting individual student needs.