Thursday, December 11, 2014

Opting Out - Think About It

From Seattle Education blog:

Would you like to learn more about what tests will be administered to your child in the Seattle Public School District, from kindergarten through 12th grade (See page 3 of this document to see how many standardized tests your child will take unless you opt out), and how to opt-out of those that are not necessary for graduation?

Do you have a testing experience with your student(s) that other caregivers and parents would benefit from hearing, or would you like to listen to the concerns and questions parents of Seattle Public School students have, to find common ground?

Join us for an informative meeting.  All are welcome!

Thursday, December 11, 2014


For additional information on standardized tests, see What’s wrong with standardized tests?

For more on the opt out movement, see United Opt Out for opt out letter forms and other information for Washington State and Stop Common Core in Washington State.

Also check out the following Facebook pages:
There are more Facebook pages about opting out. This will give you a start.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

We were told that the Amplify results are basically too low to be meaningful to parents and the scores aren't going to be made available? Is this true for all schools piloting Amplify?

Ruffled

Anonymous said...

You can see what the tests will be like by taking a practice test:

Smarter Balanced Practice Test

System Requirements

A computer connected to the Internet is required with one of the following Web browsers:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 and 11
Mozilla Firefox 3.6 and higher
Google Chrome 18 and higher
Apple Safari 5 and higher
Default Web browsers on iPad and Android tablets
Smarter Balanced Secure Browser External link opens in new window or tab. (required for text-to-speech functionality)

An individual user account is not required to take the Practice Tests. Use the GUEST login and session when prompted.


fyi

Anonymous said...

You can also view non-interactive versions. I googled "SBAC math Grade 6 practice test" and found this:

http://sbac.portal.airast.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/G6_Practice-Test-Scoring-Guide-5.14.14-Final.pdf

fyi

Anonymous said...

To clarify, I believe the Apmlify tests are called mClass Beacon on page 4 of the linked document.

Ruffled

Anonymous said...

How do the estimated test times on the linked document compare with MSP testing times? I was surprised by the times listed for the SBAC test across the grades. If it takes a half hour to give instructions for each test, that's still an average of over 3 hours per test session (math and reading/writing). I understand it may not take that long, but was that how much time was allowed for the students to complete the MSP?

One change that I notice from the linked document is that middle school students will no longer be able to take EOCs for Algebra and Geometry taken in middle school (based on a recent update from the state).

Anonymous said...

A one stop site for for SBAC sample questions (and explanations for correct answers), listed by grade level:

http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/TeachingAndLearning/Testing/StateAssessment/Pages/Smarter-Balanced-Practice-Questions.aspx

fyi

Benjamin Leis said...

@Ruffled - which school are you referring to?

Anonymous said...

@ Benjamin It is a north end elementary school.

Anonymous said...

@12:14 anonymous (sign your post with some name/word so it is not deleted!)

This is a document that shows you can still take an EOC in middle school.

http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/research,%20evaluation%20and%20assessment/MAP/2014-15_ASSESSMENT_CALENDAR.pdf

Seems to conflict with Tolley's document, or, at least, render his lacking the full picture.

AS

Anonymous said...

@ AS, that document you linked to is wacky. Why would 7th graders take the Biology EOC? Kid in HCC/APP take Bio earlier than everyone else, and even they don't take it until 8th grade.

Also, being "able" to take an EOC in middle school is not necessarily the same thing as that EOC actually meaning anything later on. I know that Hamilton is not planning to give the Alg 1 EOC starting this year--since these kids will need to take the SBAC for graduation regardless, there's no longer a point to that EOC.

I have a question in re: the Biology EOC, though. Last I heard HIMS was still planning to give that one to 8th graders, but per the Tolley memo there will be a new and improved Bio EOC exit exam as well, so there might not be any point to the current EOC either...

test questioner

Anonymous said...

IMHO, it would be prudent for school districts to continue to offer the math EOCs to middle school students this year. It's my understanding that there will be a bill in front of the legislature to allow current middle school students the opportunity to use the EOCs for graduation. Hopefully, there will be a decision before the administration window opens.

For those that have tracked these things in the past, there was a year some time ago when the legislature made a decision about a graduation exam the night before testing was to begin.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Thank you, @swk. I would like my child to take the EOC for a math class being taken in middle school this year, but the district has made it clear the state is controlling the EOC test administration to middle schoolers. Do you know what legislators would be putting forth such a bill?

As far as the conflicting SPS documents, part of the issue is that the state has provided updates - some maybe just a month ago - since SPS has posted testing info.

We're wanting to opt-in now to avoid additional tests in high school.

ap

More BS said...

The teachers in our school feel there is too much information via Amplify, and information is unusable.

The district wants to purchase 2700 computers at a cost of $1.2M. These computers are for tests, but can be used for other things. However, these computers will need to be replaced in 3-4 years.

Anonymous said...

ap, I'm sorry. I don't have the name of a bill sponsor just yet. Things are still very much fluid, especially given that State Superintendent Dorn may propose eliminating the high school tests as a graduation requirement. If this passes, there would be no need for a bill to keep the EOCs for middle school students.

Just to be clear, the state superintendent cannot unilaterally eliminate the tests as a graduation requirement. Only the legislature can do that.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Smarter Balance, check out Portland, Oregon's expectations: http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2014/12/no_more_sugarcoating_60_percen.html

scary

Anonymous said...

Has anyone looked at the standards and compared them to what their children are actually learning in class?

For LA, I see a lot of "show your evidence" type of assignments, but I'm not seeing complex readings being selected, nor am I seeing the coverage of language standards related to grammar and usage. For 6th grade, for example, they are supposed to be learning about pronoun usage and punctuation with commas, parentheses, and dashes. Vocabulary acquisition is supposed to include common Greek and Latin affixes and roots.

At curriculum night, our child's teacher said "studies show" language acquisition is best done in context, meaning there will be no explicit vocabulary instruction.

So when I read the Oregon Live article about anticipated low passage rates, I'm not surprised. If content is not taught at a level commensurate with the standards, why would you expect students to perform at high levels on the tests?

ap

Anonymous said...

At the meeting at Nathan Hale, they said they expect a very low pass rate. I think it might of been even lower than 60%. The LA teachers were up in arms because of the non-fiction text required.

HP

Anonymous said...

HP, I too expect fairly low passage rates this first year --- the high school assessment is not required for graduation, students will have already taken the HSPE and the EOCs (if not still taking them as well as submitting Collections of Evidence), it will be much harder than the current/previous high school assessments, the Common Core Standards are new, etc.

The LA teachers need to get over themselves. As a former high school English teacher, I love me some Shakespeare, Faulkner, Salinger, Angelou, et al but students definitely need to be able to read, comprehend, and analyze non-fiction text. It's just not the same as fiction.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

The fiction/nonfiction mix is supposed to be spread out across the curriculum - there's a lot of nonfiction to be read in history and science. Nonfiction can include essays, biographies, speeches, historical documents, etc. They shouldn't have to drastically cut back on literature in LA, but they need to make sure there is nonfiction reading across subjects. The 50/50 mix is not supposed to be just for LA. Presumably you would read more nonfiction in history and science, and less nonfiction in LA, but it should balance to 50/50 overall.

-literature please

Anonymous said...

Aren't all student test results supposed to be available to parents? Has any parent asked to see their student's Amplify results? Schools may have made the choice not to voluntarily share results, but parents should still have the right to view them if requested.

When my child first took the test scores were posted on the screen, but not the second time around. Maybe they blocked results the second time around.

wondering