Seattle eases rules on exams teachers are boycotting

Seattle school leaders have decided to relax a few requirements for the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) this spring, the exams that are the focus of a teacher boycott that has received national attention.

Ninth-graders who have passed the state’s reading exam will not have to take the MAP reading test, too, officials said this week.

Officials also are recommending that high schools use the MAP’s algebra test for students enrolled in algebra classes, rather than a more-general math test that has been required in the past.

The district’s senior staff made the adjustments even as a task force made up of teachers, principals, parents and community members weighs whether the district should continue to give the MAP next year, or make further policy changes. The task force has been asked to give its recommendations by the beginning of May.

In general, most students from kindergarten through ninth grade have been taking the MAP reading and math exams at least twice a year.

The district earlier relaxed other MAP policies, which included allowing schools to give the tests twice a year rather than three times.

Clover Codd, executive director of strategic planning and partnerships, said district leaders will wait for the task force’s recommendations before making any additional changes to MAP testing policies. But officials decided to make the two high-school adjustments before spring testing is scheduled to start in late April.

The MAP boycott started in January at Garfield High, where nearly the entire teaching staff said the exam wasn’t worth the time, energy and money spent giving it. Some teachers from a handful of other schools joined the effort, and many others wrote letters of support.