Teacher: Why I won’t give students high-stakes standardized test

by Valerie Strauss | Published January 14, 2013 by The Answer Sheet

I received the following email from a teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, where nearly all of the teachers are refusing to give students mandated standardized district tests called the Measures of Academy Progress.

The Garfield teachers say the tests are flawed and don’t evaluate learning. After their boycott was publicized last week, teachers at a second Seattle school, Ballard High, joined in. You can read my post about that here.

One of the reasons that there is growing opposition to high-stakes standardized tests is that increasingly states are requiring districts to evaluate teachers based on the test scores of their students, an assessment method that experts say is unreliable.

Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser, a social studies teacher at Garfield, wrote the following email to me to explain her position about the boycott and standardized testing. Anybody who thinks the teachers did not give this serious thought or are trying to avoid being evaluated should read this.

Hi Ms. Strauss,

I’m a teacher at Garfield, and would like to offer some thoughts on what I think this MAP test refusal should lead to.  First, thank you for your coverage of the announcement the other day.  I’m heartened to see that the media are taking our resolution and our complaint seriously, and to see national media coverage confirms my judgment that this issue matters.

At the press conference, the teachers who spoke were careful to stress that this is about the MAP test’s flaws, and that we teachers are not afraid to be evaluated and not afraid of testing our students.  I’d like to elaborate on that.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/01/14/teacher-why-i-wont-give-students-high-stakes-standardized-test/

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One Comment to “Teacher: Why I won’t give students high-stakes standardized test”

  1. I have to agree with many of these teachers. The Standardized testing is creating a far worse crisis amongst students. It seems to say that maybe teachers are not teaching effectively…which I do not agree. The testing also seems to say that the students or children are not smart enough to pass to the next grade level…which again I do not agree. Many students work extremely hard throughout the school year. The schools are being forced to focus mainly on making sure students pass testing. Many students are placed into what some schools call “Title I” programs if teachers do not feel as though the students are ready to take the end of school exams. Many of these students are have good grades, but are not up to the standardized testing. Let me remind everyone that in order for these schools that offer the Title I programs to exist, they need to have enough students within the program to get grant money. So guess what! Students are being re-evaluated and placed within these programs. The program need to be monitored.

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