Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seattle Smarter Balanced Testing - The First Shot Has Been Fired Across the Bow

The Nathan Hale Senate (effectively their BLT) voted "nearly unanimously" to not give the SBAC to their juniors this year.  (They had also recently voted to not give the PSAT to 10th graders at all.)

The Nathan Hale Senate–a body made up of the teachers, administrators, parents and students–voted nearly unanimously that this test was inappropriate. The vote was taken after careful consideration and much discussion and inquiry, including two school community forums — one of which included University of Washington professor of education and renowned scholar on high-stakes testing, Wayne Au.)

Reasons for refusing the SBAC for 11th graders included (summary):
 1. Not required for graduation
2. Colleges will not use them this year
3. Since NCLB requires all students pass the tests by 2014, and since few if any schools will be able to do that, all schools will therefore be considered failing by that standard. There is thus no reason to participate in erroneous and misapplied self-labeling.
4. It is neither valid nor reliable nor equitable assessment. We will use classroom based assessments to guide next instructional steps.
5. Cut scores of the SBAC reflect poor assessment strategy and will produce invalid and unreliable outcomes.
6. Student made this point: “Why waste time taking a test that is meaningless and that most of us will fail?”
7. The SBAC will tie up computer lab time for weeks.
8. The SBAC will take up time students need to work on classroom curriculum.
 
This is an important step. Nathan Hale is asserting its commitment to valid, reliable, equitable assessment. This decision is the result of community and parent meetings, careful study of research literature, knowledge of our students’ needs, commitment to excellence in their education, and adherence to the values and ideas of best-practice instruction. 

This resolution does not mean NHHS will refuse the 10th grade SBAC assessments, sorry to say. But the way the school went about the decision is a powerful model for other schools, and means that anything is still possible in that regard.

In other SBAC news, the test was recently ruled "unconstitutional" in Missouri.  From the Missouri Education Watchdog blog:

Judge Green of the circuit court of Cole County has just granted summary judgment in our favor on our claim that Missouri’s membership fees to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia are unlawful under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as “state and federal law.”

Judge Green has permanently enjoined the State of Missouri from making payments in the form of membership fees to Smarter Balanced. We can no longer be a member of SBAC.

Now this could just be temporary but most companies want their money upfront so that group will have to weigh giving Missouri the test sans payment and hoping another judge will overturn this decision.

This group also has a rather clever button:

stdbutton

19 comments:

Watching said...


swk,

I hope you begin researching SBAC test validity and reliability.

https://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/commonAssessment/docs/Memo_Validity_Overview_2014-09-11.pdf

Here is the long list of final exams and tests that 11th grade students will be asked to take:

Final Exams:
Math
Science
History
Language Arts
Elective classes

SAT
IB
AP

11th graders should not be asked to give=up 8 hours of classroom time to pilot SBAC. Common Core/SBAC should have been a pilot program and not a national roll-out. Our children are not guinea pigs and should not be used.

We can only hope that other high schools will follow Nathan Hale's lead.

Scrawny Kayaker said...

Excellent news. The NCLB 100% compliance requirement is obviously impossible to meet in the real world, and it's inclusion was stupid, cynical, or both. It's mind-boggling that it hasn't been thrown out in court (really judges, it's OK for the government to enact requirements that are impossible to comply with?). Refusal to participate in the testing is the best response at this point.

Anonymous said...

If you don't give the PSAT, is it even possible to have a National Merit Scholar? In my era, you had to do well on both tests to be an NMS. Are they closing kids out of this opportunity? And a chance to get familiar with a test that will matter the next time they take it?

asdf

Anonymous said...

There is idealism which should be applauded in these kids.

Then there is pragmatism which also has its place and should be recognized and understood too.

For students not striving for a selection of good universities skipping the PSAT imay be a fine choice. But for students on a strong academic path, especially those of our families hoping for tuition help via scholarship, and also for smart kids who have test taking anxiety, it is important to understand the format of these tests.

These students will now have to go outside of Nathan Hale to get their chance to take the PSAT and to aim for eligibility in thousands of dollars in scholarships.

One size never fits all in education. For Nathan Hale not to offer the test to the many students who have need of the test is unhelpful.

Another View

Anonymous said...

The post says that Nathan Hale is not offering the PSAT to SOPHOMORES -- the PSAT Junior year is when your scores are eligible for National Merit. Sophomore year is just a practice.

-GHS Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, GHS parent, I find that people skim too much and miss what is actually being stated.

Anonymous said...

Hale only cancelled the PSAT for the 10th grade and will be offering it for the 11th where it is developmentally appropriate. 10th graders may still take it on Saturday. As far as the National Merit Scholarship goes, they don't just give these out like candy. Approximately 8,000 kids out of the 1.4 million that take the PSAT will get the $2500 award. One has to examine the cost of losing even more class time and computer time (as well as the stress that students report for having been given a test that is mostly designed for 11th graders) against the 8,000 in 1.4 million chance at a small cash prize. Kids that want to can still take it on Saturday. All 11th graders will still take it at Hale.

Anonymous said...

Reposting for Anonymous, in case the post is deleted for being unsigned:

Anonymous said...
Hale only cancelled the PSAT for the 10th grade and will be offering it for the 11th where it is developmentally appropriate. 10th graders may still take it on Saturday. As far as the National Merit Scholarship goes, they don't just give these out like candy. Approximately 8,000 kids out of the 1.4 million that take the PSAT will get the $2500 award. One has to examine the cost of losing even more class time and computer time (as well as the stress that students report for having been given a test that is mostly designed for 11th graders) against the 8,000 in 1.4 million chance at a small cash prize. Kids that want to can still take it on Saturday. All 11th graders will still take it at Hale.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

As a parent at Hale, I am very happy and had been planning on opting out of the SBAC test.

HP

Anonymous said...

Watching, I am very well aware of the SBAC memo to which you linked and know a great deal about SBAC test validity and reliability.

So, I'm curious --- what was in the memo that you wanted to draw to my attention?

Also, and I've stated this previously, content standards like the EALRs and the Common Core don't get pilot tested. I don't know where this concept originated and I know it's a popular refrain among Common Core opponents, but it's a nonsensical one.

As far as piloting of SBAC, that was done. The SBAC assessments were pilot tested in 2012 and then field tested in 2013.

I've concluded --- and maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree --- that what people are suggesting is that schools and districts (and teachers in other states) shouldn't be held accountable for the results of the SBAC assessments the first time the test is administered operationally. And if that's the case, I would wholeheartedly agree. But if you are saying they should have been piloted before schools were held accountable to the results, I have to respond by saying that they were piloted and they were field tested.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the resolution of the Nathan Hale Senate, Nathan Hale HS is required by state law to administer the state assessments --- and the SBAC 11th grade assessments are the state high school accountability assessments --- and the school board is required by state law to ensure that the schools in the district are administering the state assessments.

I have my popcorn ready as I watch what happens next.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

I'm curious about this statement. "This resolution does not mean NHHS will refuse the 10th grade SBAC assessments, sorry to say." According to the OSPI website, the SBAC is administered in grades 3-8 and 11. There appears to no SBAC for 10th graders.

For this year's 11th graders they must pass either the SBAC or the HSPE in ELA and the EOCs or SBAC in Math in order to graduate. What will happen to Hale's current 11th graders who did not take or previously pass the HSPE or EOCs? Will they be given the opportunity to take the SBAC?


Wondering

Anonymous said...

Wondering (and I'm assuming that you're a different Wondering than the one that often comments here and uses the same moniker), the OSPI website is confusing.

There will be 10th grade SBAC exit exams in ELA and math starting this spring. These will essentially be the same exams (but with different test questions) than the 11th grade SBAC ELA and math assessments. The State Board of Education will set a high school graduation cut score for these 10th grade SBAC assessments and a cut score for "college and career ready".

Students in the class of 2017 --- this year's 10th graders --- and students in the class of 2018 --- this year's 9th graders --- have to meet the high school graduation cut scores on these exams in order to graduate. Of course, they can still use the alternative assessments once they've attempted the SBAC assessments at least once. And to add further confusion, there will be math EOCs aligned to the Common Core that will also be available for students to take instead of the SBAC 10th grade math exit exam.

So now that that's clear as mud, let me add another wrinkle. Those 10th graders who take the 10th grade SBAC exit exams who meet the "college and career ready" cut scores in ELA and math will not have to take the 11th grade SBAC assessments.

Glad that's cleared up.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

Gee, I wonder if OSPI is being unclear by design. Like maybe parents are confused about what is required and will knuckle under for fear their kid will miss something.

Anonymous said...

SWK,

I have n joyed reading and learning from your posts. I wonder what your background and where your knowledge comes from. I don't want to "out" you,, but would truly appreciate knowing more about what frames your info. and opinions. Can you share here or contact Melissa for email exchange, with confidence or email me @ harrislsh@comcast.net? I'd like to buy you coffee, wine or beer and learn more. Have great respect for the reasons of anonymity of this blog, and reasons folks choose to use it.

Respectfully, Leslie Harris

Anonymous said...

Swk, do you work in an actual school? I do. Our 800 student school just finished up our winter round of Amplify testing. Does anybody really think there's an 8 hour test???? To get all the kids through it, takes 1 month. During that time, all the school's resources are chewed up with testing. Computer labs, carts, library, teachers and IAs to proctor, administrators to administrate. The required spring session of Amplify + SBAC + EOC will shut down the school for 2 months. The reality is that 3 Amplify testing rounds, plus SBAC, plus EOC will cost about 5 months of instruction. Sure, a little instruction continues. But the constant stream of missing students for testing makes normal teaching impossible. Does anybody ever look at the results? Nope. Is ANY instruction changed or modified based on results? Nope. The middle school students will lose 1 year of instruction to stardized testing - that nobody cares about, evaluates, or takes action from. 1year.

Empl

Anonymous said...

Empl, it sounds like the majority of those 5 months of testing is taken up by Amplify testing. It's your district and not the state that requires Amplify testing. If you have an issue with that, you should take it up with your school board and/or administration.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

SWK - the school staff believe that the Amplify testing does represent what will be on SBAC. So, there's something to be said for practicing. Further, it's pretty clear that there will be about a 30% reduction in "pass" rates overall on SBAC, which without some change will impact student graduation rates. But, man oh man, the time spent on all this testing is just over the top. Anybody who really wants a leg up in the world, will avoid it all and go private - if they can afford it of course. Just another way to comfort the comforted. Send your kid to private school - and get tons of extra instruction just because they are being NOT tested ad infinitum. In the past, I've had some difficulty justifying that decision for myself, but I've got no problem with it now.

Empl

Anonymous said...

So don't do it. Refuse to let this madness disrupt the teaching and learning. Hale juniors would lose 33 class periods to testing this year if the took all tests on the schedule for them. When do we say enough already?
-enough