Seattle teachers to rally against use of MAP test

SEATTLE -- A growing number of teachers in the Seattle area and across the country are joining a boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress standardized test, claiming the test is a waste of time, money and energy.

Dozens of Seattle Public Schools teachers say they don't believe the test belongs in Seattle classrooms, and they plan to rally on Wednesday to have their voices heard.

"Our kids are tested and tested, and then tested, and then tested again, without the MAP test," said Jessie Hagopian, a history teacher at Garfield High School.

In Seattle, the MAP test is given to most K-12 students three times per year.

Garfield teachers have taken a stance against the exam. They voted to stand as a group and refuse to administer the test to even one more student.

"People are fed-up with tests that are being misused," said Hagopian.

The MAP measures student achievement in math and reading, and indirectly measures how much progress teachers are making with their students.

Days after Garfield teachers stood united against it Seattle Schools Superintendent Jose Banda responded with a letter to district staff, stating the test provides useful data for "screening and analyzing student achievement."

Teachers from Ballard High School, Orca K-8 and the Center School disagree, however. They have joined Garfield teachers in their stand against MAP.

But not every teacher agrees.

West Seattle High School teachers say they will not refuse to give the test even though they disagree with the ways its results are used.

"Frankly, while I don't think the MAP is the be-all, end-all, I don't think it's something you need to scrap," said West Seattle teacher Jennifer Hall. "We feel that any test (with) this high (of) a margin as the MAP should not be used to punitively evaluate teachers."

Parent Sue Peters says her children have opted out of the test three years in a row.

"MAP is now used by the district to evaluate teachers -- a purpose for which the test was not designed," she said.

Banda, who said he expects every teacher to administer the test, has asked principals to make sure the test is given to all students by the district's deadline, Feb. 22.

The district has not said whether teachers who refuse to give the test will be disciplined for failing to follow policy.

The teachers' rally against the MAP test is scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Seattle Public Schools headquarters.