How Garfield High Defeated the MAP Test

How Garfield High School tipped the scales against a controversial standardized test
Garfield High Seattle magazine MAP test
Teachers Jesse Hagopian and Mallory Clarke successfully boycotted the MAP test at Garfield High School

“When we identify the kids who are not performing, we need to figure out the optimum way to use our resources to help them progress,” Sherburne says. “That’s not about more testing. That’s about figuring out a learning style and how you motivate these kids to learn.”

On the surface, it could appear self-serving for teachers to boycott a test that not only evaluates their students’ performance, but also their own teaching performance. “There is this theory out there that the teachers aren’t trying or aren’t capable,” says Sherburne. “That we just need to identify those teachers at the bottom and punish them, and things will get better. We parents are having discussions with the administration at Garfield about creating a more efficient evaluation process that teachers will respect.”

While Codd admits that MAP assessment is used for teacher evaluation, she notes its results are not used to make critical decisions. “It’s considered by teachers to be more high-stakes because it is part of a comprehensive way of evaluating teachers,” she explains. “We don’t actually weight it, but we look at student growth and student performance over time as one indicator of teacher effectiveness. We don’t make high-stakes decisions based on it. In general, across the country the focus is on whether we use or don’t use student growth in teacher evaluation. I think our context is very different here in Seattle as compared to other districts that weight it at 30 to 40 percent of the teacher’s evaluation. We don’t do that.”

The fight rages on to scrap the MAP. “They want to continue this flawed test at the elementary and middle school levels,” Hagopian says. “The middle and elementary schools came to our aid, and we will come to their aid. The key to victory is solidarity among parents, students and teachers.”