It's funny because at last night's Board meeting, Director McLaren asked what kind of message it would send to kids to entertain discussion about SBAC. (She also said kids would be "proud" to have taken the test. Are kids supposed to feel proud of getting thru a slogfest of a test?)
But if I were a kid, siting and waiting and sitting and waiting, I think my range of emotions probably would not add a lot to the actual taking of the test. If I were a teacher, I would feel a lot of frustration and some despair for my students. And, as a parent, I would just not take any test result seriously.
Maybe SBAC will do better than PARCC.
So let's see what's happening around the nation. (all bold mine)
From Colorado - PARCC Testing in Colorado has disastrous first day
The rollout of Common Core-centric standardized testing in Colorado was a disaster today, with numerous school districts reporting a range of problems and children spending hours in front of non-functioning computers.
Just a fraction of students were able to complete the testing, and questions about testing security and validity given the problems were endemic.
Lisa Escarcega, chief accountability and research officer for Aurora Public Schools, said in an e-mail the district has experienced challenges because the online Pearson system students log onto differs from the system for last fall’s Colorado-specific science and social studies tests, on another Pearson system. The process differs for student roster uploads, creating test sessions and starting sessions, she said.
“We knew the systems were different and trained using the practice site, but you don’t find out the intricacies of those differences until you are working within them,” she said. “It has been a steep learning curve, but we are working through these issues. We are working hard to make testing go as smoothly as possible for all our students.”
She added: “Aside from these issues and the amount of time schools are needing to spend on scheduling and rotating students in and out of computer labs or taking computers on carts around the schools, it is going OK here in Aurora.” Aside from the Titanic sinking, it's a beautiful ship. Very funny, Ms. Escarcega.
From Washington, D.C.
From Bellevue (this is truly important reading as it comes from a veteran kindergarten teacher):
Tuesday, March 3, 2015 Linda Myrick, a 4th grade teacher in Bellevue, WA – and a member of the Washington Badass Teachers Association – objected to the administration of Smarter Balanced Assessments before the Bellevue School Board.
At our last PD day, Dr. Mills said he feels we don’t have enough IMMEDIATE access to data, but we’ll continue to use the STAR test for consistency. I want all of you to know that I DO have immediate access to THE MOST IMPORTANT DATA that I need every day. I look in the eyes of my students, I listen to their words, I watch them interact with each other, I conference with them, I read their journals.
We are losing the notion of the importance of THIS DATA while we are constantly looking at our reports and clipboards.
Even while appreciating all of the strengths of a fantastic school district like Bellevue, we are seeing that the environment that is resulting from current conditions that affect all public schools exists here.
Forbes (yes, Forbes): Should PARCC be killed before kids even take the test?
On its website, PARCC downplayed the problems, citing the 700,000 students who have completed tests as of Wednesday. “The biggest drivers to the call center have been things like forgotten passwords, firewall settings and other easy fixes that can be made at the school or district level,” according to the daily update. On Tuesday, PARCC thanked users for their patience while “the call center phone lines were intermittently available.”
Wait, the call center lines weren't even working correctly?
Schools in the District of Columbia and much of New Jersey are closed on Thursday and many were closed on Tuesday due to snow storms that have played havoc on testing schedules. Schools in Maryland also delayed the start of testing because of bad weather on Monday. This is the first time that mass standardized testing across so many grades has occurred in the winter rather than the spring.
One group called “Arkansas Against the Common Core” suggests that parents schedule a “cordial” meeting the principal to make it clear that their child will come to school, but won’t participate in testing. Since states need 95% participation to ensure valid results, the group is hoping that 6% of the students boycott. “Without valid test results the standards themselves cannot be validated and the school cannot be held accountable for poor scores,” the group says. “This frees our students from unnecessary stress, privacy invasion and unburdens our teachers from teaching to a test that is tied to their performance evaluations.”
Florida (for a 4th day):
Students attempting to take the writing portion of the Florida Standards Assessment on Thursday did a lot of waiting around. It took 30 to 45 minutes for some kids to log into the system.
“The party line from the Department of Education is ‘persistence.’ To be persistent,” said Miami-Dade’s Chief Academic Officer Marie Izquierdo.
When students were finally able to get in, many saw blank white screens. Izquierdo said districts across the state experienced the same glitch.
Testing will continue in Miami-Dade for now. But Izquierdo had this warning: “We’re getting dangerously close to saying, ‘I’m sorry. We’re not going to do this to our kids any more.’”