Resolution of Support for Garfield High School Test Boycott 1.17.13
Whereas: the use of standardized tests is spreading. In response to the demands of programs like Race to the Top and to the trend toward greater “accountability” in education, states are developing even more tests for more subjects. Standardized tests, once used to assess student learning, have now become the main instrument for evaluating teachers, administrators, and even entire schools and school systems. Standardized tests have also increasingly become linked to funding for schools.
Whereas: tests continue to consume a great deal of time and money in districts that have seen massive cuts to budgets and staff. Standardized testing is consuming an-ever growing proportion of education budgets nationwide. The total price tag is nearly two billion dollars.
Whereas: testing hurts students. In the name of “raising standards” the growth of high stakes testing has effectively lowered them. As the stakes for tests are raised higher and higher, schools have been forced to spend less time on arts and sciences, and more time on tested subjects.
Whereas: research does not support using testing to evaluate teachers. Research shows that nearly 90% of variability in standardized test results are attributable to factors other than the teacher. So-called “value-added” models for teacher evaluation have a larger margin of error, and are not reliable measures of teacher performance.
Therefore be it resolved, the Berkeley Federation of Teachers supports the staff at Garfield High School in Seattle, WA who voted unanimously to refuse to administer the state’s Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test. Taking this action, the educators at Garfield High School have struck a blow against the overuse of standardized tests, and deserve support of all advocates of public education.