The day some Seattle teachers said ‘no’ to standardized tests

It all started with one teacher who got fed up.

Teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle recently banded together to boycott mandated standardized district tests called the Measures of Academic Progress because, they say, the exams are bad measures of student learning. The action has served as a flashpoint in the growing revolt against high-stakes standardized tests around the country.

Here’s a great video, by Storyline Research & Productions, that explains why the teachers did what they did at Garfield,  the moment that it all started, and the problems with the Measures of Academic Progress.

The video starts with a teacher who explains why she finally took a stand against the MAP. She said:

It would be like a mechanic whose boss has said, ‘I want you to use the cheaper version of the breaks brakes even though they are not as good. I want you to use that.’ And the mechanics finally stood up and said, You know this is bad for customers, right? You know that the breaks brakes are going to give out sooner. ‘ And I feel so strongly that is the wrong thing to do that I’m going to turn to my boss and say, ‘No.’

The video goes into detail about the events that led to the boycott. It’s worth the time to watch.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · March 13, 2013