Graham Hill Elementary Staff Solidarity Letter

January 30, 2013

To the Seattle School Board and Superintendent Banda,

As Seattle Public School staff, we at Graham Hill Elementary stand in support of all school district staff choosing not to participate in the MAP. We are in agreement with the analysis and conclusion of the Garfield and Ballard HS staff. The MAP is a very limited tool with a very high cost.

The MAP can reveal, with less than complete accuracy, who is excelling and who is struggling academically. This information is already known by teachers by the end of September. The MAP has such high costs, and we do not get a high return.

This year we have elected to give the MAP twice rather than three times. As an elementary school with limited staff to set up and proctor this test, these tasks have always fallen to specialists, since they are not tied to a classroom. Until this year, that has meant that the most vulnerable students with special needs have taken a back seat for testing – for nine weeks. This year we have a computer lab teacher to set up and proctor the test, taking the computer literacy education we have lacked for years off of the table for six weeks. For all too many of our students, school is the one place where they have the opportunity to use a computer.

These are just some of the human costs. We all know that the monetary cost of this test is money desperately needed to enhance school programs. We urge the Board and superintendent to end the contract with NWEA. If we are going to use additional assessments beyond curriculum-based measurements, portfolio assessments, HSPE and MSP, then we need quality assessments that are aligned with our state’s academic learning requirements.  We strongly urge the Seattle School Board to direct District staff to discontinue the MAP and consult with teachers to find more appropriate and accurate measures of academic progress.

Respectfully,

21 members of the Graham Hill Staff

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