Maryland teacher petitions to cancel state standardized test

A Maryland teacher has started a petition to cancel this year’s administration of the Maryland School Assessment test because the results will have no validity and it is “an irresponsible waste of taxpayer money and instructional time to administer this test.”

Tiferet Ani from Blake High School in Montgomery County wrote in this on the move.org petition:

I am a teacher at a MCPS. I am very familiar with the amount of capital and human resources administering the Maryland State Assessment requires. Even though MD is switching over to the Common Core State Standards, which will be assessed by PARCC, the state is planning to administer the MSA this year. Our testing coordinators have literally been told the scores won’t be looked at or matter. If this is the case, it is an irresponsible waste of taxpayer money and instructional time to administer this test.

More than 550 people have signed the petition so far.

The Baltimore Sun published a story in July noting that education leaders around the state were calling for a moratorium on the MSA — which is given annually to students in grades 3 through 8 — until Maryland starts using a new standardized exam that is aligned to the Common Core State Standards, now being implemented in classrooms.  The old exam isn’t aligned with the Core, making the results of the exams irrelevant.

Adam Mendelson, a spokesman for the Maryland State Education Association, the teachers’ union, was quoted in the Sun story as supportive of a testing moratorium, as was Carl Roberts, the head of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland. So was Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua Starr, who called nearly a year ago for a three-year moratorium on high-stakes standardized testing, and McDaniel College professor Francis “Skip” Fennell, who has worked on Common Core math curriculum.

State education officials won’t hear of suspending the test, however. State Superintendent Lillian Lowery says that federal law requires the testing, and that’s that.

The petition will be delivered to Lowery, as well as to Starr,  the Maryland State Senate and Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

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Valerie Strauss · November 12, 2013