Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Opting out of MAP?

By request, a new thread to talk about "the MAP opt out forms that Freshman are bring home from Garfield in support of the teachers boycott."

Please feel free also to use this for a broader discussion of the reasons APP students, in an organized way or just individually, might or might not want to opt out of MAP testing.

34 comments :

Anonymous said...

Who is distributing the opt-out forms to students? Is it other students? Other parents? Teachers? The principal?

We have been opting out here and there, depending on whether it's been made known that scores will be used - for 6th grade math placement, AL application, etc. For our family, the results have become pretty meaningless. That said, I don't know what to think of opt-out forms being formerly distributed.

-curious

Anonymous said...

We are opting out - our child is a Freshman at Garfield - APP since 2nd grade.

I have sent an email to the Superintendent and the school board requesting them to pull the MAP test.

Our child is very engaged this year with some great teachers. As a teenager - that is what floats his boat at this point - not a computerized test that they finish in 15 minutes and don't care a bit about the result. He consistently has scored in the 98-99 range since the test's inception in the district. I can honestly say - so what - as it has no relevance on what he is learning in school or how well he is doing in his classes.

He says the test is just another "time suck" - his words - and he would really rather spend time on his class projects, studying for his finals or god-forbid - socializing with his friends to make high school the great experience that it should be.

Too much focus on these tests - tell us little about the real kid.

End-of-Course Exams, class quizzes, mid-terms and finals, PSAT, SAT, ACT - those are enough.

-Garfield Parent of a Current Freshman

Anonymous said...

I will add that my child is very thankful to be opted-out. I am surprised that more parents don't opt-out. Once a student is in APP the scores are only used for 6th grade math placement (which is another issue).

Anonymous said...

For Garfield students, the best way to opt out of MAP is to send Kris McBride, the Academic Dean in charge of testing, an email requesting that your child be opted out of all further MAP testing. It is the best way any Garfield parent can support the teachers' boycott. Her email is krmcbride at seattleschools dot org

Spread the word!

judyA said...

Should folks in the younger grades that want to opt out also go through Kris McBride, or is it sufficient to email the principal?

Anonymous said...

Any Garfield student, regardless of year, freshman to senior, should go through Kris McBride. She is Garfield's Academic Dean. She does not work downtown. Kids in younger grades should deal directly with their individual schools.

Anonymous said...

I am temped to opt out my Garfield freshman, but I can't help but wonder what the fall out might be later.

Anonymous said...

Fall out from what? You would just be declining a non-classroom based assessment that is not required by the state. Your child is unlikely one of those at risk to fail the EOCs or other state assessments, so how would MAP results be of use in informing instruction?

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you why I wouldn't opt my 5th grader out of MAP. I'm hoping that he gets a high enough score on the math portion to take algebra in 6th grade so he doesn't have Thurik. I know that this is slightly off topic, but does anyone know what that cut off is? I was told 250, but I'm not sure that is true.
Thanks, Lincoln and Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

Supposedly the math classes at Hamilton next year will not be APP specific. It will be ability based, so 6th graders could be in a 7th grade class with other students doing 8th grade level math. Some APP 6th graders may be assigned to teachers other than this year's 6HH teacher. There would probably be too many students for one teacher to take on all of 6th grade APP for next year.

As for opting out in 5th grade - it is the Winter MAP that is being used for 6th grade Algebra 1 placement (RIT=250, same as last year).

Anonymous said...

The cutoff is 250. My kid scored 249 and has Thurik. Your fears are justified. While, unlike others, we have remained in the class - we have had to supplement math outside of school in order that my daughter receives ANY math instruction AT ALL for this year.

Unfortunately, on this issue the principal has been unhelpful and, frankly, opaque. She was not able to provide us with the criteria that would be used to re-enter 7th grade math if we opted to homeschool math for 6th grade. MAP scores were mentioned but the cutoff that would be used was not. It was obvious to me that they had not decided what the criteria would be - always a bad situation when dealing with SPS. It has been a very unpleasant year for us math-wise.

-Your fears are justified

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. My daughter had Thurik last year and it was a tough go. My son scored 257 on the Winter MAP, so I think that we've dodged a bullet with him. I told him he could avoid a sub-par teacher if he focused and did his best!
Thanks again,
Lincoln and Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

I opted out my 8th grader at HIMS, principal was nice about it. But I did get a note from the testing teacher saying that my student is not on the opt out list so need to email her also.

I have asked my student to keep a count of time spent for testing (yesterday was 1.5 hours).




Anonymous said...

Anon - EVERYONE SHOULD CHOOSE A NAME

This sentence was written by someone anon: "Supposedly the math classes at Hamilton next year will not be APP specific. "

Math after elementary has not been a part of APP since my children started in the program seven years ago. The only APP subjects in MS are LA/SS and Science. A parent of a 6th grader (no matter the program) can literally choose any math (under Alg 1) for their kid. From what I understand, some of the HH classes can be forced to go more slowly if kids are placed in there who are not ready for it. I also heard the registrar trying to get kids to opt into the higher classes because some of the lower ones were full. Kids should be placed by their level, not based on where there are spaces.

There are also issues with Alg 1 this year having to go more slowly. Just because you score 250 on a non alg 1 readiness test, does not mean you are ready.

-frustrated by math

Anonymous said...

As "frustrated by math" said, math is by ability and has been for years. What's different, from what I understand, is that there won't be just one teacher for 6HH (which is mostly APP 6th graders). 6HH (6th grade APP), 7th grade Spectrum, and whomever is at that level could be scheduled together, as opposed to keeping 6th graders separate. They will try to schedule so that 6th graders are not placed with 8th graders.

The point is that for the upcoming school year you don't know what teacher your child will get for 6th grade. Opting up to Algebra in order to avoid a specific teacher and based only on MAP scores...well, I personally would want to be really sure my child had the skills and wasn't leaving gaps by pushing ahead.

I also heard the registrar trying to get kids to opt into the higher classes because some of the lower ones were full. Not good.

frustrated2

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you frustrated2 and I plan to discuss whether he's ready for Algebra with my son's current teacher. However, I will do almost anything to ensure that he does not get Thurik (including, perhaps homeschooling for 6th grade math). She almost completely ruined math for my older child, who is much more resilient than my son. Not sure I'm willing to take the risk that he gets the different 6HH teacher.
--Lincoln and Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

I am homeschooling my 6th grader in Algebra 1 at HIMS. The principal was nice in the beginning of the year and told me that in order to take Geometry in 7th grade my student has to pass the Algebra 1 EOC in the end of the year and also has to show a successfully finished accredited online course in Algebra 1. There was no mention about any required MAP score to pass.
I hope they don't change this in the meantime.
Math mom

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is good to determine if your child is ready for algebra before opting for 6th grade algebra.

Unfortunately, the opposite is not true. Our math tutor assured us that our kid was capable of handling Algebra I in 6th grade even with a MAP score of 249 (as opposed to 250) because she tends to work fast. Do you know how much that counted with Hamilton and the principal. Nothing.

I know this situation probably caught the new principal off guard and that, for many, she has been quite helpful. However, not for us.

Meanwhile, we have lost a year of potential math education with Ms. Thurik. On a positive note, my kid finds the class amusing and a bit silly (though not enlightening mathematically). So hopefully she'll not end up ruined for further math instruction once we get some.

-Your fears are justified

Anonymous said...

Anon@2:46

Your plan seems like the most reasonable. We were going to homeschool but the principal did not give us the same information you got regarding transitioning to 7th grade geometry. Very disappointing.

-Your fears are justified

Anonymous said...

One last thing -

To Lincoln and Hamilton mom,

My kid also scored 259 on the WInter MAP. However, the principal was very firm (as if this was some tried and true policy) that her SPRING score of 249 would keep her out of Algebra I.

Get your ducks in a row.

-Your fears are justified

Anonymous said...

The principal is new to the district, so I would confirm the Algebra 1 requirements before making the decision. I understand needing to pass the EOC for Algebra 1, but only when the course is taken for high school credit should you be required to take an accredited course. I am not aware of a written guideline or policy specifying requirements for those taking Algebra 1 for middle school credit.

The cutoff was supposed to be 250 by Spring or Winter, and the Winter didn't count? Talk about a misuse of MAP. Either the numbers mean something or they don't. Crazy.

frustrated2

Anonymous said...

You all may want to consider NOT opting out of Math MAPS if Thurik is your teacher and tell your students to tank the test.

Radical idea...but may get some long needed attention to a bad situation!

Anonymous said...

Frustrated2
"understand needing to pass the EOC for Algebra 1, but only when the course is taken for high school credit should you be required to take an accredited course. I am not aware of a written guideline or policy specifying requirements for those taking Algebra 1 for middle school credit."

If an APP student takes Algebra 1 in 6th grade, isn't that for a middle school AND a high school credit also? Why would these students need to take another Algebra 1 course in high school?
math mom

Anonymous said...

OK, stupid question. Which is the MAP test they just took? Winter? Is there another MAP test later this year that is the Spring test?
--Lincoln and Hamilton mom

Anonymous said...

--Lincoln and Hamilton mom
Students are doing the WINTER MAP testing right now.
Last year the cut off for Algebra 1 in 6th grade was 250 WINTER MAP math score (or any time before). The SPRING MAP score didn't count.
math mom

Anonymous said...

Math Mom is correct.

Not only was the Spring MAP score ignored last year, the kids were not even told that the Winter MAP was going to be used as a weapon against them.

As much as using MAP sucks for Alg 1 placement, parents and kids this year at least know it is important.

I was also told by the principal that if a kid homeschooled this year and did Alg 1 with an accredited class they could take Geometry next year as long as they pass the Alg 1 EOC this spring. I would be very angry if that changed now. Nothing would surprise me, though.

-frustrated by math

Anonymous said...

Getting high school credit for a class taken in middle school means that the grade is factored into the GPA and credit requirements for high school graduation. If a high school class is taken in middle school, but no high school credit is taken, then it just advances where they start in high school. They still need to take the required number of math credits (3) in order to graduate, but starting with the freshman year math class.

From the Seattle Schools Administrative Procedures Manual:

Students who begin high school with Geometry or above still must take three years of math in high school per state requirements unless they took an approved high school course taught in the middle school and chose to apply for high school credit for an approved middle school class per section 7.9 of this Manual. for students who do apply for and earn high school credit for an approved middle school class, those credits will count toward the three required for high school credits for graduation.

I thought high school credit could only be requested for classes taken in 8th grade, not earlier, which means the Algebra would probably not count toward high school credit. If not counted for high school credit, then the "approved middle school class," meaning and accredited online course, doesn't really apply.

frustrated2

Anonymous said...

As to the suggestion to throw the MAP scores - it's unethical. I understand the frustration, but it's just wrong. If you don't like MAP being misused, then opt-out and encourage others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

To Anon at 7:37pm
Please don't even mention the MAP testing with the word "ethical" on one page. Just think about how did the whole MAP testing start with MGJ and also what they are (mis)using the data for (grading the teachers and AL, math placement).
But.
Please don't tell your kid to just dump the test because it's result may come back and hunt them - with SPS, you never know. But if you don't want your student for any reason to take the test, please opt out.
HIMS mom

Anonymous said...

umm--this thread has been hijacked by middle school math--back to the concern that even in high school SPS might find some way to ding kids who don't take the MAP as freshmen at Garfield.
What I am asking about is a very specific issue. There is a flyer being distributed by student council members at the school soliciting freshmen to opt out.
My student is feeling some peer pressure to opt out, but in fact always lands in 98-99-percentile. So, in my mind it is a good thing to keep recording those scores.
I understand that the test is whack and that MGJ was lining her own pockets, but I am not willing to let my kid suffer if there is price to pay for opting out.
Does anyone know how many freshmen at Garfield have already opted out of MAP? thanks!
signed: anti-hijack

Anonymous said...

Hmm...that's one of the reasons we opt out. I don't see the point of putting my child through more hours of testing to keep proving what we already know. They take the state tests and classroom assessments, which should be enough. Also, if teachers are being evaluated by the growth on my child's test, yet the test has a ceiling that doesn't allow measurement of significant growth, how it that helpful?

Look at the raw RIT scores, not the percentiles. Have they changed much over the years? The ceiling of the reading test is a RIT of 245. If your child scores above that it just means they are scoring high. A score of 250 can not be considered any more significant than a score of 245. The MAP is not the SAT. I don't know of any entity outside of SPS that would take stock of MAP scores for a 9th grader.

go for it

Anonymous said...

If you have a concern about your child being "dinged" at GHS for opting out - please call and talk to the Academic Dean Kris McBride. She will walk you through the process and alleviate any concerns that you may have.

I personally have zero concern that opting out of the MAP test - on which my kid also does very well - will hurt him in any way.

-Garfield Parent of a Current Freshman

Anonymous said...

anti-hijack;

why do you feel like you need to keep adding MAP scores to your students record? Would you feel inclined to keep adding the scores if they were lower? Up and down?

Ask yourself this: What lessons can my student learn by joining classmates in what is really becoming an historic movement at GHS?

HIMS OPTED OUT

suep. said...

I've opted my kids out of MAP for the past three years for these reasons:

15 Reasons Why the Seattle School District Should Shelve the MAP® Test—ASAP

And: Why, as a parent, I support Garfield teachers’ opposition to excessive and inaccurate testing

The test, by the way, is not well-suited for advanced learners, who tend to hit the ceiling on it. Even the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), the MAP vendor, has admitted this.

Though Bob V. was an early cheerleader for MAP (who "lobbied hard to get MAP to Seattle") and his intentions may have been well-meaning (an attempt to identify kids who need advanced learning programs who might not otherwise be identified), MAP has morphed into something quite else.

It is arguably being used as a barrier as much as identifier. Middle school math placement is one example that comes to mind.

Also, this e-mail exchange between BV and staff at NWEA shows that even NWEA felt that MAP was limited in its applicability for identifying or testing advanced learners:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/44810272/MAP-Use-by-Talented-and-Gifted-Programs

Lastly, I have heard that MAP winter scores are known to trend down, owing to a post-holiday-break academic slump that kids experience, similar to the post-summer slump. So this makes it all the more baffling and invalid of the district to use winter MAP scores -- rather than the more current and apparently more reliable spring scores -- to determine math placement in middle school.

Add to that the district's attempt to measure teachers with MAP, in short, MAP is now being (mis)used by our district as a multipurpose 'fix-all' tool, and it's doing more damage than good.

Opt out, everyone!

Let's reclaim that class time and teaching time and all those resources (as much as $11 million!) for actual learning, not endless testing.