Anne Arundel teachers join opposition to MSPAP tests

Voting unanimously, 100 ask state to end program

March 08, 2002|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County teachers have added their voices to a growing chorus of opposition to the state's program of tests given to third-, fifth- and eighth-graders.

The county's teacher association voted unanimously Wednesday night to ask the state to cease administering tests in the much-criticized Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, which will be overhauled over the next two years.

The Baltimore County teachers union made a similar request of the state two weeks ago, and school boards in Montgomery and Carroll counties have taken stands against the test.

This week, the state said it would make the test optional for eighth-graders, at the discretion of local school systems. That has devalued the test in the eyes of students, said Susie Jablinske, president of the Anne Arundel teacher's association.

"As long as the state has designated it as optional, why should any eighth-grader take it seriously?" she said.

About 100 Anne Arundel teachers representing 75 county schools voted unanimously to oppose the tests. They said the state should put its money and effort into developing tests to comply with a new federal education law.

The teachers also are upset that they have to spend a week this spring administering tests that are on the way out. "It's a lot of time taken away from direct instruction of the kids," Jablinske said.

School systems must decide by March 22 whether to offer MSPAP to eighth-graders this year.

The Anne Arundel school board will make its decision when it meets March 20. Board members said they might make eighth-graders take a different test, such as the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills, if they drop the MSPAP.

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