Saturday, September 28, 2013

Wading in to the Opt Out Movement | Twin Cities Daily Planet

Wading in to the Opt Out Movement | Twin Cities Daily Planet:

Wading in to the Opt Out Movement

Yesterday, my seventh grade daughter took the MAP (Measuring Academic Progress) test at her school. She wasn’t supposed to, because she is on an “Opt Out” list, as my husband and I requested, but somehow the ball got dropped and she took the test anyway. I was mad; she knew I would be.
Having to take the MAP test was the first thing she told me about when she saw me, since I had told her that she would be opted out of all testing this year. She is hesitant about this because she doesn’t want to be the only one—which she was—in her class not taking the test; that feels weird to a social, happy twelve year old. So, when a couple of school employees questioned her about whether or not she should be taking the test, she didn’t know what to say and just took it.
When I first saw her after school, she told me that she had taken the test, and then she told me what it was like to take the MAP. “I failed,” was the first thing she said. She went on to tell me that, when she got a question right, the questions immediately became much harder. And, when she got one wrong, the questions got a lot easier. She was dismissive of this and admitted that, after a while, she just started guessing on the answers in order to get through the test. Her friend sitting next to her did the same thing.
The MAP test is one of the many tests given to kids each year as part of a standardized testing package. Some schools give the test three times a year; others may give it one time.  It is supposed to help “track” children’s academic growth, but there are definite questions about the validity of the test and its results. Also, the motivation levels of students who take the MAP, but