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More Seattle teachers support Garfield teachers’ boycott of standardized test

Another Seattle school is joining Garfield High School teachers in boycotting a district-required standardized test that they say wastes time and resources. (AP Photo/file)

A group of teachers in another Seattle school are joining Garfield High School teachers in boycotting a district-required standardized test that they say wastes time and resources

The Seattle Times reports eleven teachers at ORCA alternative school in Seattle are also boycotting the test, joining all the teachers of Garfield High School who voted unanimously not to give the tests to their students.

Kris McBride, Garfield High School’s testing coordinator, tells KIRO Radio’s Andrew Walsh Show that teachers have a myriad of reasons for refusing to administer the test, one of the biggest she says is that it is difficult to prepare students.

“They put out this test but they don’t release anything that helps our teachers prepare their kids. So our teachers have no idea what the test is going to look like,” says McBride. “They feel like they’re standing in front of a dart board with a blindfold on and somebody’s saying, ‘Good luck.'”

McBride says the test is required in that the district asks them to conduct it, but it is not applied to students grades or part of any graduation requirement. She says all it takes for a student to opt out is a call from a parent.

The district will reportedly begin using the test results as a tool to evaluate teachers. But McBride says the difficulty teachers have in preparing students, along with the fact that she says the content doesn’t always match up with what students are being taught under state and district guidelines, has teachers feeling it is an unfair method of evaluation.

Jesse Hagopian, a teacher at Garfield High School, told CNN Tuesday that the MAP test is not a good tool for showing student growth.

“It’s not properly aligned to our curriculum,” says Hagopian. “Some of my colleagues want to replace this test with a better standardized test. But many of us like myself think we have too many tests.”

McBride says some teachers have told her they’d be fine with the school evaluating them based on the other state-required tests given to students, including the HSPE (High School Proficiency Exam) or the EOC (End of Course Exam), but they don’t feel evaluation based on the MAP test is appropriate.

“The concern about that isn’t because my teachers don’t want to be evaluated on how their students are doing. The concern about that is the evaluation tool itself,” says McBride. “It’s because the test is problematic in and of itself.”

According to the Seattle Times, a group of 50 teachers at Ballard High School have also signed a letter supporting the Garfield teachers’ decision, but have not indicated they will boycott the tests which are scheduled for January.

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