From the Garfield High School PTSA Board Members
Written by President, Phil Sherburne
You may have seen in the news that the Garfield teachers have decided that they are no longer going to give the MAP tests to 9th grade students at Garfield. These are tests that are given three times during the 9th grade year to assess a student’s performance level in reading and math and their progress during the course of the year. These tests have nothing to do with a student’s grades or their progress toward graduation. The test results are just information for the teachers and the school district.
However, because the tests have no consequences for the student, many students do not take them seriously. As a result the test results do not really measure a student’s knowledge level. Teachers also object because the tests are not connected to what is being taught in the classroom and they take up a lot of time. Further, the teachers are concerned that the test results might be used to evaluate teachers which they believe would be inappropriate. The teachers believe that the grades the students are earning in the classroom are much better measures of the student’s knowledge level and educational progress.
The Garfield PTSA shares the concerns of the teachers at Garfield with the MAP testing and supports termination of these tests. There are many students who start the 9th grade who cannot perform 9th grade level math and english work. Some students are far behind. The real issue is what the school district is going to do, starting early in a student’s educational life, to help as many students as possible perform at grade level. A major effort to get students to grade level performance and to keep them there through graduation requires a focus and resources that we have not seen from the District or the Legislature. It is this focus on improving student achievement and providing the resources to accomplish it that deserves all our attention.