Emphasis on testing makes parents uneasy

May 19 18:47 2019 Print This Article

Stacey Hayes is a parent of three students who attend the Montessori Community School of Charleston. Montessori Community School is a partial magnet school in the Charleston County School District (CCSD). There are 274 students from 3-years-old to 8th grade. It is ranked as the 3rd best elementary school in South Carolina. Buist Academy in CCSD is 1st and Tega Cay in York County is 2nd for 2018.

All CCSD elementary schools have students take the Measure of Academic Performance (MAP) three times a year. Hayes’ children have just finished their spring MAP test. Hayes was alarmed when she heard Principal Kimberly Hay required some students to re-take the spring MAP test. Her children were not at school on that day, but she heard from other concerned parents that their children were re-tested. The re-tested students had not met their MAP progress goal. Students are given a computer-generated MAP goal after each test administration. A higher score is expected when the test is administered the next time. The problem comes when students are in the 95th percentile or higher, when it is difficult to show improvement.

Hayes states, “The majority of students affected by this, including mine, are already top performers. What this demonstrated to them was that their best was not good enough – in fact was a failure. It also served as a public announcement that these children had not met their goals which really amounts to public shaming.”

Hayes feels the students were re-tested in order to reach the school’s MAP improvement goal and maintain its high state ranking. She is concerned that students are getting the wrong message about the importance of testing. Neither the students or parents were given prior notice of this re-testing. Students sense the notion that standardized test scores are more important to the school than their day-to-day classroom experience and love of learning.