Chicago school officials eliminate a standardized test | Bleader

Friday, April 26, 2013

Chicago school officials eliminate a standardized test

Posted By on 04.26.13 at 04:12 PM

Alese Affatato will have one fewer test to give to her kindergartners at Nixon elementary this spring.
  • Andrea Bauer
  • Alese Affatato will have one fewer test to give to her kindergartners at Nixon elementary this spring.
Kindergartners and first graders in Chicago Public Schools won't have to take the Measures of Academic Progress test this spring, school officials announced yesterday.

CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett ordered a review of all standardized testing in the district this past winter, intending to cut back on them. This is the first reduction. School officials say the review is continuing.

Kindergartners and first and second graders were scheduled to be given MAP starting Monday. Second graders now will be given a different version of MAP, one that won't be used in the evaluation of teachers, principals, or schools.

Carol Caref, research director for the Chicago Teachers Union, was unimpressed by the announcement. "Removing one test does not begin to put a dent in CPS's outrageous testing schedule," she told me.

But Alese Affatato, a kindergarten teacher at Nixon elementary on the northwest side, was encouraged. In a story I wrote on standardized testing in March, Affatato had said kindergarten teachers had to do "overwhelmingly too much" testing of their students. Affatato said this morning that the decision to eliminate MAP in kindergarten and first grade was "very sound" and that it indicated Byrd-Bennett was "listening to both parents and educators."

In its announcement yesterday, CPS said it was "suspending" MAP this spring, and Affatato worried that "suspending" might mean school officials would require the test again next year. When I asked a CPS spokesperson about this, she said that no decision had yet been made about MAP for next year.

"I hold my breath, awaiting the next assessment that will be required for our youngest learners," Affatato told me in an e-mail. But she added, "I will really enjoy being a teacher for the remaining two months of school and not a 'data dragon' as I like to joke about it with my kids."

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