Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dorn Gets Desperate

State Superintendent Randy Dorn appears to be quite upset about the opting out of the SBAC in Seattle high schools.  So much so that the Times granted him an op-ed to write about SBAC where he says "few 11th graders are grappling with refusal to take the test..."  

That would be almost a thousand juniors opting out of testing in the largest school district in the state.  That's not "a few" student "grappling" with anything.

Then the Times has a new story updating how many more SPS juniors have opted out.

Garfield is up to 95% of juniors opting out of the SBAC with Roosevelt at 80%.  Ask most juniors and they say it's because the test covers material they haven't seen, they are busy with AP/IB tests or it has nothing to do with them or their ability to graduate.  (Note to Dorn: that so many districts have had to cut counseling services may mean that the word just didn't get to juniors on taking the SBAC o avoid remedial courses later in college.)

Dorn chimes in here as well:

"The decision to refuse testing doesn't just affect the individual student," Dorn said. It affects students across the state."  

I mean our state already lost its waiver from NCLB.  Is Secretary Duncan truly going after students - Sped, ELL and poor students?  (And that's who he will hurt - not teachers, not parents but kids.)

Duncan and Dorn seem to be trying several tactics. 

One is "it's the teachers unions."  The teachers, in state after state, have been able to get parents and students to say no to testing in mass numbers?  That's insulting to both parents/students and teachers.

At the OSPI website, Dorn said that there may be "an investigation" and if he finds some kind of orchestrated effort by teachers, he'll...I don't know.  Some unions in some states have been more aggressive but again, if you don't have mass buy-in from parents, it would not happen.  And these parents have been active now for more than a year so I'm not buying it.

“There could be an investigation to see if teachers did encourage not to take the test – and that to me, is an ethics violation, a code of conduct violation, and a teacher could be disciplined.”

The second tactic is that only white suburban families are opting out of the tests and they really have no idea how much they are hurting kids of color in urban schools.  Well, that's not Seattle. 

The third tactic from Dorn is to say that WA state will have a difficult time figuring out "who is actually struggling" without "accurate comparisons."  Wait, what?  Who is getting compared to whom?  And why wouldn't you ask the person who knows best - the teacher? 

The state may feel it cannot make accurate decisions without test data but I'm not sure that's saying there is no way to know who is struggling.

Dorn also said at the OSPI website:

If you don’t like the federal law, don’t refuse to have your child take the tests; call your U.S. representative and senators and tell them to change the law. 

Easy peasy?  Very funny, Mr. Superintendent. 

110 comments:

Anonymous said...

80%,95% at Garfield, 100% at Hale. You must feel like a real dork if you wanted to try it out or maybe just practice your test[taking skills. or see things on the test you didn't know about but would have enjoyed?

6 refusals total in Bellevue Schools?

These kids are being brainwashed and hoodwinked by their elders. Rabble-rousing grown-ups.

Laurie

Lynn said...

That's a hoot! Imagine students looking to practice their test taking skills in April of their junior year. (As if any public school student hasn't had plenty of opportunities to take standardized tests.) And boy - I'd hate to deny anyone the opportunity to 'enjoy' the SBA.

I'm a rabble-rousing parent who encouraged every junior I know to opt out and I don't regret it a bit.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just think if the anti-SBA crowd cared similarly about Special Education inequalities enough to organized a walk-out or similar social justice demonstration. Such a demonstration would show how much they care for other students and they could demand SPS to change and improve it's handling of SPED.

--Michael

Anonymous said...

Some districts have told families that if their child has a boundary exception to attend their school, they "could" lose that boundary exception if their child opts out. I've seen 2 carefully worded letters from a district to the north and a district to the east where they have "threatened" this. An 11th grader at a district to the north was threatened with suspension and loss of sports team privileges for attempting to start a petition to dump the SBAC. They have also threatened teachers with disciplinary action for discussing opt out, even when asked directly by a parent. A district to the south "implied" to ELL parents that their school could be closed if their kids did not test.

CT

dan dempsey said...

At a friend's house last night he said 60% at Olympia High School Opted out. That is the
High school that serves the area around the OSPI building.

Anonymous said...

Oh please Michael. Your high horse is beyond ridiculous. SBAC includes special education and students with disabilities. You should go try an 11th grade SBAC. The standards have changed, students haven't been taught those materials, they are mostly irrelevant. It doesn't count towards anything. And, it takes weeks and weeks to administer a single test. My kid goes to BHS which is plain Jane, not so activist like these others. Nobody has an axe to grind. And there's no anti-SBAC crowd. But noticing that the test is taking sooooo long, has caused almost all juniors to stop taking it. Because very few kids are testing, teachers are resuming classes. Students who keep testing are now falling behind because they are testing and not in class. It's not a walk out or an organized protest. It's simply doing the obvious thing when confronted with stupidity.

I'm sure the same thing is happening in Bellevue and eastern Washington. Like bhs, there's no big deal, but the right thing will happen. The test will be abandoned. But people won't make an issue. Dorn will be left with idiotic results.

Finally, the fact that nearly all students with disabilities fail this test also proves nothing. It simply shows that yes, they've still got a disability. Didn't we already know that? The real problem is going to hit when districts have to hire legions of new school psychs to administer alternative tests, and students with disabilities have to spend even more time testing because they have to do even more assessments instead of working on skills. The anti-SBAC crowd is helping sped.

bhs

Anonymous said...

You are full of it. This has nothing to do with SPED. This boycott was totally organized by teachers who don't want SBAC to be used against them. 50% of students with IEPs can take the test without issues and pass or fail at similar percentages of their non-disabled peers.

Try and put your energy into something useful. You and your fellow conspiracy theorist are ridiculous.

Really, nearly all students with disabilities fail the test, what a ridiculous hateful incorrect statement.

--Michael

Lynn said...

Projected Failure Rate for Special Education Students with IEPs on the Common Core SBAC Math Section

4th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 87.1% WILL FAIL
6th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 91.3% WILL FAIL
8th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 90.3% WILL FAIL
11TH Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 92.5% WILL FAIL


Projected Failure Rate for Special Education Students with IEPs on Common Core SBAC English (ELA) Section

4th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 83.6% WILL FAIL
6th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 90.1% WILL FAIL
8th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 91.5% WILL FAIL
11TH Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 91% WILL FAIL

Anonymous said...

As I've said before, in our economy, data is a commodity. It has value, and corporations, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies want it and are willing to invest money to obtain it.

The purpose of the SBAC is to produce data that has value for various organizations. This data comes from a kind of assembly line in which students devote their labor to producing it. It does not have value for the students taking it. Thus, the students' work on the SBAC assembly line amounts to uncompensated child labor.

That, I maintain, is unethical.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

100% of Hale's juniors opted out. That includes all the SPED students too. We are in solidarity on this.

HP

Anonymous said...

My child took some sample tests, then saw the schedule for testing (8 days total). That was enough for my middle school child to ask to be excused from testing. This is coming from a child that usually doesn't mind the state testing. We've never opted out of it before.

No teacher involvement required. Zilch.

-proud parent

Anonymous said...

Okay my rant of the day. Standardized testing. For the next 3 weeks my daughters middle school is testing. In the two weeks her grade level is not testing she is spending the days in excessively large classrooms without her regular teachers and with students grouped alphabetically for double class sessions to accommodate the other grade level testing. She is given worksheets to sit and do for most of the time. The schedule changes and generic materials are completely disruptive. So for three weeks,roughly 9% of the school year this disruptive scenario is happening. Does anyone out there actually think this is a good use of time? What a total waste.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, as someone who had a special needs child in SPS, I will just gently say that people have the right to pick their issues. I also think many parents don't know the issue well nor do they know who are the leaders for Sped.

I will also note there was no mass walk-out by parents; it was the students.

Your statement:

"This boycott was totally organized by teachers who don't want SBAC to be used against them."

How do you know and where's the proof? Because I know from talking to many parents that the parents/students are driving this.

No one is trying to be "hateful" but the stats from other states show that Sped kids will fail at higher rates (and that Gen Ed kids will ALSO fail at higher rates).

CT, if you could send me those letters, I would very much like to see them. That kind of thing needs to be publicly outed because it is wrong. I'm at sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

Reprinting for anonymous - no Anonymous comments, please:

"Okay my rant of the day. Standardized testing. For the next 3 weeks my daughters middle school is testing. In the two weeks her grade level is not testing she is spending the days in excessively large classrooms without her regular teachers and with students grouped alphabetically for double class sessions to accommodate the other grade level testing. She is given worksheets to sit and do for most of the time. The schedule changes and generic materials are completely disruptive. So for three weeks,roughly 9% of the school year this disruptive scenario is happening. Does anyone out there actually think this is a good use of time? What a total waste."

Anonymous said...

Michael, get educated. That's the results from large field tests. Students with disabilities are sol. They are going to fail, and fail with very low scores. Nobody is being hateful by pointing out the obvious data and field tests.

bhs

Anonymous said...

@ David Edelman, data are not inherently bad. The SBAC may be a flawed test, but the notion of having some objective measure by which to evaluate the performance of schools-- and our educational system as a whole--is sound. Implementation issues--in both test development and actual assessment--have not been pretty, true. And yes, there are likely those that want these data for their own profit-driven motives. However , these are separate issues--closely linked in this case, but it didn't have to be this way. Data can in fact be very valuable to schools, districts and state/fed governments--and for future students in our ed system.

One other thing struck me in your post--that these data don't have value for the kids producing them. Is that where we are now? If something doesn't benefit you personally, forget about it? (Melissa's top post suggests the same, as the main reasons given for opting out are also very self-centered.) I don't think it is, in principal, unfair to expect kids who benefit from the public education system to also contribute data that can be used to help assess the quality of that system. Responsible use of taxpayer money requires some level of evaluation.

I'm willing to grant that the SBAs may suck, but that doesn't mean data are evil. How would you suggest we evaluate the educational system instead? Or should we just do whatever we like and assume it all works?

Half Full

Anonymous said...

It seems your data shows lack of FAPE for SPED, why don't you boycott SPS until that it's redeemed.

Get out your tin foil hats the SBAC mind control conspiracy theorist are taking over.

Hypocrites

dan dempsey said...

Here is a piece about Arne Duncan's thinking on this issue =>

Arne's thoughts

Arne issues threats if test takers don't comply...

Ah yes .. land of the free & home of the brave.

Anonymous said...

Half full, we have the NAEP as a much longer established and more consistent test across the states for looking at how our system is doing. It isn't perfect either, but with scientifically proven sound sampling techniques it is minimally disruptive vs. the shut down of learning we are seeing with SBAC and also with PARCC, a similar test, given in other states.

Students taking NAEP, by the way don't get much out of it personally. They are doing it for the team, so to speak. Further, the amount most students in Seattle's under-funded, under-resourced and quite definitely under-led district are asked to do "for the good of all" is apparent every day one steps into a classroom. To intimate that our students are selfish is misguided IMHO.

EdVoter

Anonymous said...

No Michael, SBAC doesn't prove students didn't get FAPE. It proves they are disabled. Didn't we already know that? Some advocates say that all students in some disability categories can pass like normal kids, there's no place that it happens. So, really, while it seems like a nice idea, its also not supported by evidence.

So you can go ahead and cry about FAPE. But what really makes no sense, why do you want more SPed, more FAPE, more, and more... if it's so worthless?

bhs

Anonymous said...

@ EdVoter,

I've only ever seen national and state-level figures based on NAEP. Oh, and data on a few urban districts. That can give us a general sense of whether the US is doing ok or not, and how well the state systems are educating kids (or perhaps it's really a factor of where the more educated parents live?), but I haven't seen any NAEP data that would be useful in understanding what disctricts and/or schools in WA are particularly successful or not. Are those types of data available as well? I suspect the sample sizes would be too small for that level of analysis.

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Michael/Hypocrites/alias,

Why don't you lead your own parade? You have 7K students and families at your beck and call. BTW name-calling is verboten.

Hippocrates

Anonymous said...

Who paid Slade?
Who buttered the corn for Dorn?

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

WA State doesn't have to be part of either the SBAC or PARCC, correct? They can choose to administer another test, as other states are doing. Parents and students are opting out not just in objection to standardized testing in general, but in objection to this specific test. Until the tests change, I don't think opt-outs will go down. In NY state, opt outs have only increased.

http://ny.chalkbeat.org/2015/04/21/as-opt-out-numbers-grow-arne-duncan-says-feds-may-have-to-step-in/#.VUEA7stFDDc

For the NY English exams, unofficial statewide counts indicate 49,000 students opted out last year, while this year it's up to 184,000.

Once WA results are in, and more children learn to dread this specific test, will the opt out momentum only increase?

-we'll see

Anonymous said...

Dear Half Full: I think you go WAY too easy on the data collection issue.

First, as Ed Voter points out: we HAVE lots of data from NAEP, at a fraction of the cost and the disruption (and, for what it is worth, there is a consensus that the data collected is meaningful).
You ask: "Or should we just do whatever we like and assume it all works?" Who has suggested this? No one I know of (ok -- maybe the folks sending their kids to private schools, who GET to do "whatever they like and assume it all works" -- or homeschoolers. The new testing nonsense isn't replacing "whatever we like" and "whatever we like" is not what would remain if we scrap the disaster that is currently being foisted on us. This is a flawed, meaningless argument (much like the "they want to return to the status quo" argument that is trotted out by the ed reform crowd every time they get push back.)

data are not inherently bad. The SBAC may be a flawed test, but the notion of having some objective measure by which to evaluate the performance of schools-- and our educational system as a whole--is sound. Implementation issues--in both test development and actual assessment--have not been pretty, true. And yes, there are likely those that want these data for their own profit-driven motives. However , these are separate issues--closely linked in this case, but it didn't have to be this way. Data can in fact be very valuable to schools, districts and state/fed governments--and for future students in our ed system.

So, for "how we suggest we evaluate the system -- how about using NAEP, SATs, PSATs, EOCs prepared by teachers and districts -- based on what students were actually taught and expected to know in courses, GPAs, college admissions data, and college data on things like retention, graduation rates, and remedial course work data. NONE of that requires the time and dollar cost or expense of PARCC or SBA.


continued below

Jan

Po3 said...

Let me get this straight - 17 and 18 year old students, opt out, en mass and the Dorn thinks it is because of teachers encouraged them not to take the test?

I don't know who should feel more insulted-11th graders or teachers?


Anonymous said...

From the comments section of the linked Chalkbeat article:

...Bring it on! Opt Out parents just won a major victory in South Carolina today. Every public school in our state must now honor opt outs and allow opt out students to work on other activities in a supervised area during testing. We won this battle after being threatened by the SCDE with jail time and aiding & abetting charges, so I can assure you we will not back down, Arne Duncan.

...Good to hear about strong Opt Out movements in other states. Here in NY, our son refused the test for the third year in a row. Two years ago, he was one of the only ones refusing. This year, he had many, many classmates joining him. He actually told us that it looked like the number of kids opting out doubled from ELA to Math. From reports I've read, 92% of school districts in NY fell below 95% of kids taking the test.

...One thing that's very interesting with the opt out movement is how bipartisan this is. This isn't just liberals opting out or conservatives opting out. This is people with very different political opinions banding together to say that these tests are NOT fine and they will NOT be subjecting their children to them.


-we'll see

Anonymous said...

@ Jan,

So, for "how we suggest we evaluate the system -- how about using NAEP, SATs, PSATs, EOCs prepared by teachers and districts -- based on what students were actually taught and expected to know in courses, GPAs, college admissions data, and college data on things like retention, graduation rates, and remedial course work data. NONE of that requires the time and dollar cost or expense of PARCC or SBA.

Those might work at the high school level, yes, although from what I understand the SAT and PSAT are not tailored to our curriculum, and EOCs seem to be pretty basic. It would be interesting to see, for example, how math EOC "success" corresponds to college readiness vs. the need for remediation. But any of the college-related indicators would also require some sort of longitudinal tracking system, and people generally don't want that. GPAs seem to be the most school-centric and curriculum-aligned piece of the puzzle, but grading also seems to be pretty subjective. That also relies potentially TOO heavily on the "test what the student was taught" idea, since part of the goal of such evaluation would be to make sure the right things are being taught. I understand there can be differences of opinion as to what should be taught at each level, but some level of standardization is reasonable.

But assuming some of the above are palatable and could work well at the high school level, what about elementary and middle school?

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Then you say: "One other thing struck me in your post--that these data don't have value for the kids producing them. Is that where we are now? If something doesn't benefit you personally, forget about it? (Melissa's top post suggests the same, as the main reasons given for opting out are also very self-centered.) I don't think it is, in principal, unfair to expect kids who benefit from the public education system to also contribute data that can be used to help assess the quality of that system."

Aggregated data produced by kids (through all of the OTHER tests noted above) regularly "contributes data" to the system for the benefit of all. And, as Melissa notes, the NAEP does NOTHING for individual kids -- and yet kids take it year after year for the benefits of the assessment system that it supports. Why are those not being criticized? Well, because people believe more in the validity and integrity of the NAEP and those other assessments (or believe that their shortcomings are understood and acknowledged) -- and they are less expensive and time consuming -- for starters. What I don't understand is how someone could (or why someone would) suggest that people stop criticizing a system run amok (which is what we now have) on some misguided theory that it is selfish to point out the harm (in loss of class time, expense, etc.) by a bloated and hungry testing/data collection empire that hides much of its true objective (collection of valuable data for use by private companies) under the false guise of benefiting the kids and schools that are providing that data -- not "free" but actually at great cost (in time and money) for virtually NO benefit (because the tests are so questionable).

Then, you end by arguing: "Responsible use of taxpayer money requires some level of evaluation." We have ALWAYS have "some level of evaluation." There has NEVER been a time (in my life time) when the effectiveness of schools and education were not evaluated for the benefit of the parents, students, and taxpayers who used and supported them. I am astonished, really -- floored -- that anyone would try to claim otherwise.

And my last point -- nothing in your post speaks to the harm done by BAD data collection -- by testing that is invalid, or that seeks to use data in invalid ways to reinforce positions that are actually flat out "wrong." I have taken, and evaluated many tests in my life (from PSATS, SATS, GREs, LSATs, civil service exams (when they existed), COMPASS tests, whatever the test is (I have forgotten the name) that teachers take to prove they are not potted plants, and endless classroom evaluations. BOTH the PARCC and the SBA appear to be unnecessarily long, and flawed in the ability of the test creators to draw up questions that actually test what they claim to test (for example -- if the purpose of the test question is to determine x -- but is designed so that huge numbers of people who know x, but don't know y, will choose a wrong answer, it is a bad test question. The old WASL was full of this sort of tripe, and it appears these tests are as well. Questions like this on bar exams are commonly thrown out as unfair (and the examiners try to do better next time).

Whether the questions are just made up by people who are stupid, or whether there is a more malign purpose (served by having people fail in large numbers for "other" reasons) -- is currently the subject of much discussion. But we need to stop genuflecting at the altar of data for its own sake. And that doesn't even BEGIN to touch the whole issue of student privacy -- whose data is being collected and retain, in perpetuity, without their consent as to collection, retention, or future use.

Jan

Anonymous said...

High failure rates among traditionally under-served populations will put districts in a very bad light. It will show the glaring inequities in districts.

The test is not perfect, but the concept of high standards for all students is noble. Not just high standards for some, for the wealthy, or the "gifted", or the whites. No, high standards for all students and if those students can't perform to those standards, then the schools need to explain why not and start to fix the problems.

Oh ya, I gorgot, it's the poverty and schools can't fix that; it's the language spoken at home, not the schools fault; it's a cognitive problem, sorry, we do our best but it's so expensive.

The advantaged kids don't need a test, they are busy picking a university and planning for summer vacation. School is fine for them, thank you very much. Just keep funding AP classes and keep growing the HCC, don't give us any more data on the kids we would really rather pretend are fine. I mean, somebody's gotta work at the car-wash, pick fruit and provide work for the police.

Boycott the test, kids.

Rich kids opt-out, poor kids drop out.

Miona

Anonymous said...

@ Miona: Show me a kid, any one kid, who will credit staying in school to taking the stupid SBAC.

And to Half Full, Seattle spent a wallet-load of scarce dollars on bumping up its 'data warehouse' under MGJ - while cutting classroom resources to the bone. One kinda ok outcome in the black hole of that initiative is the comprehensive reports available on every single school in this district. Some state or fed bureaucrat (or truly interested-engaged parent or taxpayer) wants to know how individual schools are doing in Seattle. They can take 5 minutes of initiative and look for themselves on the district website. If they can't be bothered and need it spoon fed to them in a government spreadsheet? Then all the more reason for families to say no to the 8+ hours of disruptive crud test that is the SBAC.

DistrictWatcher

PS: You do realize that the kids for whom the shut down of schools for a better part of a month most disrupts are are under-resourced and kids learning a new language, right? And the ones needing special education help? When Dorn and Duncan put actual money, policies and enforcement in place for consistently resourcing those areas, I'll consider having my kids take the SBAC. 'Course, the current politicians will be long gone by then...out on the money-making circuit 'consulting' to the gullible and/or the deep pocket Corp Reform philanthropists about their great SBAC triumph. It's all so tawdry.

Anonymous said...

@ Miona: Show me a kid, any one kid, who will eventually credit staying in school to taking the stupid SBAC.

And to Half Full, Seattle spent a wallet-load of scarce dollars on bumping up its 'data warehouse' under MGJ - while cutting classroom resources to the bone. One kinda ok outcome in the black hole of that initiative is the comprehensive reports available on every single school in this district. Some state or fed bureaucrat (or truly interested-engaged parent or taxpayer) wants to know how individual schools are doing in Seattle? They can take 5 minutes of effor and look for themselves on the district website. If they can't be bothered and need it spoon fed to them in a government spreadsheet? Then all the more reason for families to say no to the 8+ hours of disruptive crud test, not to mention the month+ disruption to the full school, that is the SBAC.

DistrictWatcher

PS: You do realize that the kids for whom the shut down of schools for a better part of a month for the SBAC is most disrupting are the under-economically-resourced and kids learning a new language, right? And the ones needing special education help? When Dorn and Duncan put actual money, policies and enforcement in place for consistently resourcing those areas, I'll consider having my kids take the SBAC. 'Course, the current politicians will be long gone by then...out on the money-making circuit 'consulting' to the gullible and/or the deep pocket Corp Reform philanthropists about their great SBAC triumph. It's all so tawdry.

Anonymous said...

Wow Miona - I seriously doubt, given the percentages listed for these SPS high schools, that all of the kids who opted out are "rich" - but hey, if it fits your world view...

I do think that the point of this particular cycle of opting out is getting missed by many - its about THIS test, poorly constructed, overly long, resource draining - NOT standardized testing itself.

I too worry greatly about student privacy and the long long shadow of this data being out there for whomever to use without consent - to me that's a given - someone "will" use it - but to what purpose.

reader47

Anonymous said...

The entire scheme is indeed sinister, in that it aims to control the CONTENT that goes into our students heads. That's what teaching to the test is all about. High failure rates lead to more focus on the test and what's covered on the test. It's memorizing versus, or instead of, learning (for those who appreciate the difference). What you know is great for trivia games, but how you think and function is one hell of a lot more important, and you don't get that from test prep. Sorry folks, but those of you buying in are being sold a Brooklyn Bridge.

Anyone with an elementary understanding of NCLB should be able to see right through this mass testing agenda for what it is: A Poison Pill for public education as we've known it.

The Schools and students will all be "failures" according to the string pullers at the Gates Foundation, and the continuing push for STEM, STEM AND MORE STEM, will continue to narrow the curricula, devalue humanities and social skills, and destroy any remaining autonomy classroom teachers have left, turning their profession into a technical trade, where they no longer "teach" students, but "guide" them through mass produced lessons.

Blech. The whole thing is as transparent as a freshly washed window, but I guess you have to be around a long time to be able to see through it.

We have plenty of tests and evaluations already, and the fallacy that we don't, or need more, is a straw man argument. If I want to know how my kid is doing, I ask his or her teacher. Done. That's what Bill and Melinda Gates do. But for the masses? May as well put a dime into Zoltar at the next Carnival or shake the Magic 8 Ball. Either is as accurate as the SBAC in comparison to what's already available and in place.

WSDWG

Linh-Co said...

From the Washington Post yesterday:

The four corporations that dominate the U.S. standardized testing market spend millions of dollars lobbying state and federal officials — as well as sometimes hiring them — to persuade them to favor policies that include mandated student assessments, helping to fuel a nearly $2 billion annual testing business, a new analysis shows.

The analysis, done by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy agency based in Wisconsin that tracks corporate influence on public policy, says that four companies — Pearson Education, ETS (Educational Testing Service), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw-Hill— collectively spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014.

The analysis notes that of the four, only one, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has signed the Student Privacy Pledge, an initiative by the Future of Privacy Forum and the Software & Information Industry Association to get K-12 school service providers to pledge to safeguard student privacy built around a dozen commitments regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information. Currently 127 providers have signed it.

Anonymous said...

I am proud of all the 11th graders that have op out. My children are younger, but I did tell a SPS high school teacher that if my kid was in 11th grade this year I would have suggested they not take the test.

Anonymous said...

"Rich kids opt-out"
Probably not in Bellevue, Medina, and those parts.

IMO, the tests will be more beneficial to elite and well off communities than Yakima. Super hard thinking skills, (and test questions), like discovery math, I would tend to think most benefits students who have a firm command of the basics. For students in the meat of the bell curve, or remedial students, I think they will find themselves mostly gripped in confusion and floating in space. Not a good use of educational resources and time. Not a building block of incremental improvement in skills and confidence.

The complex reasoning skills being programmed will be mastered by the people who are already at the top.
IMO, if you were to try to design a program to widen the achievement gap, this would be it.

Sure, if the taxpayers triple per pupil spending to 30K, maybe they get 95% of students up to elite thinking standard and they master discovery math. But that kind of funding is a pipe dream.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

You should look at why kids are opting-out. They pretty much parrot their elders and are sadly not very aware of the incredible inequities across schools in America.
Baltimore is a perfect example of a city with schools that are not serving students effectively and the test will show how horribly unfair it is to those kids to not have a level playing field.

Seattleites don't want to know how bad others have it, not in Baltimore and not in our own district.

My "world view" is that the proponents of the boycott are rich by any standard, if you don't think a teacher making 85k or even 55k is rich in this world, you need to go down to Mexico, Mali, or MLK Way and look around for someone who hasn't had a decent meal.

As far as poor kids opting-out, at least they get included in something for once. After graduation, though, it'll be "see ya later, maybe we'll see you on our winter break from WWU at your job as a Subway sandwich specialist"

Miona

Anonymous said...

I just spent time looking at the OSPI site, and couldn't find anything about who will have access to student-identifiable SBAC data, and how they will use it. I don't want anyone outside the school building to have the specifics of the data my child produced through testing. I don't want any student-level data provided to academics, non-profit or for-profit organizations. I don't want the test vendor to have access. I don't want this data combined with any other data to produce a profile of my kid. I want to be notified each and every time access is being given to this data, and I want the right to refuse that access.

- Privacy Please

Anonymous said...

While I supported the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and am a big fan of Chris Hedges, Cornell West, and Bernie Sanders, can we have a thread without class warfare and finger pointing at the supposed haves and have-nots?

The entire Opt-Out movement stands for Unity and inclusion. Jesse Hagopian and the folks at Garfield represent every kid in the school, and it seems the same thing is happening in several HS's across the city. Rich, poor, tall, short, nerds, athletes, freaks, geeks, ELL, SpED, etc., are all affected and the combined numbers count more than any class or demographic.

It's a movement and a cause, much bigger than any class, race, or demographic. When people employ the phrase, "we're all in this together," this is the type of cause they're referring to. It touches us all.

Even kids taking the test can support those who opt-out, and vice versa. It's about not being strong armed by powerful bullies, using our own tax dollars to fund their aggression.

Arne Duncan is a blackmailing bully, period. We should fight him every step of the way.

WSDWG

3inSPS said...

Not sure the rational for this but it seems daft ... The gifted kids who thrive on new information and can learn at an accelerated rate are being tested on grade level; so a 4th grader who is doing 6th grade math is taking the 4th grade math exam. Why? Also, to "be fair" they are having them relearn that grade level math. What a waste of time. I only opted out of math for one one of my kids (their request in order to fit a complicated schedule) but I am pretty sure that this will be the last time we will be going through this waste of time.

Anonymous said...

@Linh-Co

ETS produces the much defended NAEP, the SAT, the GRE and many others.

OK, they should all be boycotted.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishes Math in Focus, our new math program pushed by Ms Peters and this blog.

I guess we need to boycott it also.

Sure, lobbying is bad, but it is reality in our system. Greenpeace lobbies, the NEA lobbies.

Philbert

Anonymous said...

Ah, WSDWG,
finally, the magic words of the powerful,

"without class warfare and finger pointing at the supposed haves and have-nots?"

"supposed"?

And you supported the Occupy movement?

Well, some of my best friends are..

you fill in the rest

G

Melissa Westbrook said...

Half Full brings up some interesting questions and ones that really need clarification by education officials.

What is the purpose of testing?

Reading Dorn's statement, it's to help kids and, to some extent, to help teachers help kids.

Or is it to evaluate teachers?

Or is it to evaluate schools?

Or is it to evaluate how curriculum is reaching students and thereby teaching them?

These could all overlap but I think the discourse is not clear.

Also, can we please avoid hyperbole like "evil?" I don't need that kind of over the top language because no one who is against the SBAC (and I said SBAC, not standardized testing) is saying it's "evil."

Yes, the new order seems to either want to ignore either NAEP or, for that matter, the former gold standard, ITBS. Both of which are far less disruptive and costly (and, of course, could be tweaked for CC standards).

We'll see I believe you are mostly correct. States do not have to use either test. In fact, in Mass. some districts use PARCC and some use their old test. I found that quite interesting.

Miona, those are quite the statements.

"The advantaged kids don't need a test, they are busy picking a university and planning for summer vacation."

Every student who is white is in this category. I don't think so and it's fairly disrespectful to assume so.

The one thing that was good about NCLB is that it forced districts to subgroup data to find out how ALL students were doing. But you cannot negate the effects of poverty, disability or language.

Now the meme today - if you speak of poverty, disability or language barriers - is to shout "You think poor kids can't learn!"

No, that's not true. But laying all the issues at the feet of schools and teachers and saying,"Despite any challenges, you must make sure all kids succeed."

I'm going to have a thread on this topic (which I believe might be quite the discussion) but I am slowly seeing that despite all the effort being made to support students (and families), the needle is not moving all that much.

Privacy Please, as I have explained previously, FERPA was change din 2008 and then in 2011. Any educational entity can designate ANY person/entity as having a "legitimate educational interest" in student data.

Now you hear it's not PII (personally identifiable information) but if you have several lines of data, it is fairly simple to connect dots. And, as well, there are many lines of data including discipline records, parent income, etc. that maybe, just maybe, these groups should not be seeing.

That's why we fight. Parents should have the right to control where that data goes or, at least, know what is going, where, and why.



Anonymous said...

It's all about that test....cringe worthy videos abound:

http://www.joannejacobs.com/2015/04/all-about-that-test/

What a sad state of affairs.

-speechless

Anonymous said...

Ah, G: So clever.

Sorry to victimize you with my power and riches.

Keep whining! It works so well. Knock yourself out, pal.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

@speechless
Thanks for that. Love the subgenre of teacher-dancing rah-rah videos for the big tests. Must be hundreds, just like the Everest College parody videos. "you're sitting on your TV, watchin you couch"

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

@ Jan and ___,

You'll note that my comments were in response to __, who implied that data were bad, too tempting for use by those we don't want having them. I expressed my concerns with the SBAs--here and previously--and have, in fact, opted all my children out (at various grade levels). I agree that the problem is partly this test. Other tests have been problematic as well. But my point was that the idea of a standardized test that allows for comparison across states, districts, schools can be a good thing. I am not, by any means, wedded to the SBAC. (You could say I declined its proposal and we've officially broken up!)

I agree that the NAEP is a much better test. Unfortunately, I don't think it gives us school and district-level data.

NEVER did I suggest people should stop questioning the system. Never did, never will. But blanket statements like the one I originally responded to--that suggest the only intent of standardized tests are to produce data for use by those looking to make a profit or the like--get me riled up. There are legitimate reasons to have standardized test data--not necessarily SBAC data, but something. We don't currently have great data to use for some of the evaluation that should be done, and we are not likely to get it via the SBAC, I completely agree. The questions are bad, the format/procedures are bad, I suspect the implementation and scoring will be inconsistent, etc. I don't think the results will tell us anything about where things stand, and it seems to be a waste of time, money, resources, and energy.

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Dear Half Full: my apologies that the second part of my post didn't address your furher comments -- I didn't see yours before I hit send on mine. Here are my further thoughts on assessment -- based on your observations:

You note: "...from what I understand the SAT and PSAT are not tailored to our curriculum, and EOCs seem to be pretty basic. It would be interesting to see, for example, how math EOC "success" corresponds to college readiness vs. the need for remediation."

I think your observations are apt. But I think they are a strength of the "older" tests, not a flaw. For example, the SAT type tests are not designed to be tailored to a specific curriculum -- but rather for use by the "next level" to see how well kids from various diverse curricula do on a broad test that purports to have something to do with success in college (trying not get into the weeds here on the strengths and weaknesses of specific ACT, SAT type tests.) It then becomes up to schools, parents, and kids to try to make sure that (if they care about those tests and test scores) they design a curriculum that teaches kids well enough that they do well on the exams. And this is actually a little tricky. For example, some APP kids don't do as well on SAT math tests as they might, because they actually covered those math concepts back in 7th, 8th or 9th grade. They need to "brush up" again on Algebra II stuff before taking SATs. EOCs, on the other hand, DO test (or should) what was actually taught in that curriculum, which makes them serve a very different purpose -- a valid one, but different.

And yes, GPAs can be jiggered a bit by districts and may be subjective, but colleges come to recognize which district's GPAs mean "more" and which may be weak.

You also note a concern that "part of the goal of such evaluation would be to make sure the right things are being taught. I understand there can be differences of opinion as to what should be taught at each level, but some level of standardization is reasonable."

Whew. A lot to unpack here. I think that as a nation, we got along for a long time with a very loose "confederacy of ideas" -- generated at state and local levels, over what should be taught -- and while it is probably a matter of individual opinion, I don't WANT the federal government deciding what should be taught. I was not wild about all the Washington standards, but I liked them a whole lot more than Common Core. I don't want to have to worry about whether people in Texas want to make room for intelligent design in biology classes, or whether someone in South Carolina wants to de-emphasize Thomas Jefferson in favor of James Adams -- and that this somehow gets codified into educational standards that I cannot influence. (once it goes national, any hope of influence is gone -- otherwise NCLB (which everyone agrees is a failed law) would have been repealed long ago. We created a great educational system in this country without national standards (colleges and the job market supply boundaries to the standards). If people want to write papers, debate, attempt to influence state and local lawmakers -- have at it, but keep standards flexible and local -- so that people's voices (rather than just corporate money) counts.

Your final point was: "But assuming some of the above are palatable and could work well at the high school level, what about elementary and middle school?"

Why do we need more than the ITBS and the old state assessments (HSPEs and EOCs) for littler kids? That and input from the upper schools (about what kids need to know when they get there) should be plenty. Other nations get by with a single test at each level. Why not us? (I think it is because the testing companies want the data and dollars of more frequent testing -- and that they have bought the votes to get it, -- but that is just my opinion).

Jan

Anonymous said...

Dear half full: To your comments above -- I hope I didn't misascribe to you the thoughts on "questioning the system. Never did, never will." If so I apologize.

But -- with respect to your point on "legitimate reasons to have standardized test data--not necessarily SBAC data, but something," if we have:

1. Classroom tests, GPAs, and EOCs (designed at the district or state level, so that "passing" in algebra I "means" something within a local system,"

2. The ITBS and NAEP-type tests to determine how we "measure up" on a global/national/state level with other students, and

3. SAT/ACT type tests (along with things like COMPASS in colleges, to ensure that colleges have some way (if they want it) to evaluate students from many different districts and states, and to make appropriate placements in college leve courses,

What are we missing that you think we need?

Jan

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Man, I screwed that up.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jan. Re: your three types of data:

1. Classroom tests, GPAs, and EOCs. There are only a few EOCs, and like I said, my impression is that they are not very rigorous. I could be wrong on that, though. Maybe they are a great measure of how well those corses work. When kids can pass math EOCs to graduate but still need remediation in college, EOCs are a bit suspect in my mind.

Classroom tests and GPAs have a lot of subjectivity. My kid can get straight As, but that might not mean much-- it could be they are good at participation, turning things in on time, etc. it could also mean they really did learn all that was taught, and that the teacher thinks they're doing great--although they only managed to cover half the curriculum they were supposed to. In my experience thus far, I have not seen that grades correlate well with actual learning. The "if you want to know how your kids are doing, just ask the teacher" approach that WSDWG suggests often doesn't provide any valuable information. Sometimes parents would like a more objective assessment before we get to the high school/college prep test period.

2. The NAEP doesn't give school level data. The ITBS? My kids have never taken it. Does SPS really use it?

3. The SAT/ACT type tests could provide good data--on kid who take them, that is.

Half Full

Melissa Westbrook said...

"And yes, GPAs can be jiggered a bit by districts and may be subjective, but colleges come to recognize which district's GPAs mean "more" and which may be weak."

Absolutely true.

Anonymous said...

SB 6109

15 (4)(a) Beginning in the 2017-18 school year through the 2018-19
16 school year, a statewide salary schedule shall be phased in for
17 certificated instructional staff to be used thereafter as specified
18 in the omnibus appropriations act and based on the following
19 framework:
20 Years of Experience Residency/Initial Professional/Continuing
21 Bachelor's Degree Advanced Degree Bachelor's Degree Advanced Degree
22 0 1.0000 1.0800
23 1
24 2
25 3
26 4 1.2000 1.2960
27 5
28 6
29 7
30 8
31 9 or more 1.4400 1.5520

This looks like a radical makeover of the state teacher salary stipend schedule. A little cryptic at best, I'm sure ALEC can explain.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

Melissa, now you you've thankfully removed my failed (forbidden?) attempt at adding a GIF as a comment, my second comment calling attention to it now sits there all cryptic. So funny. It could be applied in so many ways.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Half Full:

My kids predated the current EOCs, so I can't speak to their rigor -- but I suspect that you are correct in that they are supposed to indicate whether you learned enough of the course to graduate -- which is not the same as whether you know enough to start at X level of college math. (And at present I think they are only for Alg I and geometry -- so by DEFINITION you are not ready for college math at the end of those two courses). But I would think it fairly easy for thes state colleges in each state to come up with a Compass-like or similar exam, that would take no more than an hour, to assess whether you get placed in class X or Y (especially with transcripts and possibly (but maybe not) SAT and ACT scores to buttress.

And, if you are not going to college (or you are going into marine carpentry at Seattle Central, where maybe algebra and geometry are more critical than calculus or statistics), you might be looking at a whole different test.

Colleges have been sorting kids into classes for a century; and "college ready" for MIT doesn't mean the same thing as college ready for the Cornish School of the Arts. So, I confess. The conspiracy theorist in me just doesn't see the "new" testing regime as really trying to address this. I think it is a "non-problem" for which they have supplied an non-working solution.

NAEP: I am not sure of your comment. I thought it DID give grade level data. Are you saying that it is not "school specific?" If so, that is true, but the HSPE/MSP tests were -- (at far less cost and data disruption). As for ITBS, I don't think it IS used now, but it used to be, and certainly could be again. I don't know whether ITBS data was disseminated on a school by school basis during the years it was used. But something was (there used to be a Seattle Times school comparison site that had school by school data for all Puget Sound schools, both public and private, and they used some test or other. Again, the ITBS was WAY less intrusive (one day, bubble type test, no huge intrusion through data collection, no computer crashes, etc.).

3. And you are right about SAT/ACT tests -- but not every test NEEDS to be taken by every kid. Those tests (while not perfect) did a much better job of targeting a specific population (college bound high school seniors) for the benefit of another specific population (college admissions offices). Compared to what we are doing now, it seems almost impossibly elegant!

If, as a parent, you were armed with EOCs (for basic subjects (english, math, science, maybe history), an ITBS test or two that gave you data about your kid on a national basis (and maybe a school basis, if they publish it that way), and MSP/HSPE data to compare one school against another -- what is still missing for you?

Jan

Jan

Anonymous said...

I think the real question should start with what students need to know to do well in either college or a technical trade. What are the gaps that we need to fill so students do not fall into remedial classes?

I doubt these new tests will answer any of these questions. Grades don’t always give the answer either, since many students with good grades still land into remedial classes.

I always felt that college professors knew what skills students were lacking. It was one reason I admired UW science professor Cliff Mass for speaking out on the need for better math curricula. His views influenced the choice of better textbooks now in Seattle elementary schools.

If students are given better content and curricula then the remedial trends in college will improve. Prepare them early instead of Hail Mary classes when they are high school seniors, as Dorn is trying to do.

S parent

Not Happy said...

Our middle school will be conducting SBAC testing now-May 20th.

Anonymous said...

50 years of various forms of standardized testing have produced a lot of data. Today the field is flooded with these multigenerational tests in all their variations.

Now here comes the CC tests. I guess they are the next generation promising to do it all. Evaluate student, teacher, and school as well as college readiness. It's so great, who needs all those other tests? Looks like we can get rid of SAT, AP tests, IB, ACT, State mandated tests, ITBS, STAR, et al.

The ways Dorn sells it, it's like those savant gadgets you see on late night TV. It dices, slices, no messy clean up, just simply wipes, and tada, you've got the fix. Plus they'll throw in extra atta girl pat on the back if you'd be first to buy in.
-consumer watch

Anonymous said...

"Prepare them early instead of Hail Mary classes when they are high school seniors, as Dorn is trying to do."

Spot on!

Gee swk - posting "dirty" pictures now? ;o)

I guess I come back to my own educational cycle - back in the dark ages - other than the Washington Pre-College test (which said I was best suited to be a Russian speaking Auto-Mechanic/Nurse) and the WASL - I really don't remember taking too many standardized tests as a kid - and yet, here I am, with both a BA and a Masters, gainfully employed for many years, though I still now as I did then, suck at math, despite the valiant efforts of my high-school pre-calculus teacher. In all seriousness, what has changed that today's students need to provide this proliferation of data to testing companies to be "successful"?

I think, as always WSDWG has it right - there's something more going on here and it's time to wake up and smell the coffee

reader47

Anonymous said...

@ Jan, you asked:
If, as a parent, you were armed with EOCs (for basic subjects (english, math, science, maybe history), an ITBS test or two that gave you data about your kid on a national basis (and maybe a school basis, if they publish it that way), and MSP/HSPE data to compare one school against another -- what is still missing for you?

That combo would likely do the trick. I'm not too familiar with ITBS, but it seems like it would be useful.

I also like the idea of a few more EOCs than what we have now. Given the lack of curriculum for some groups (e.g., APP LA/SS); the outdated and/or poor quality (and thus often unused) textbooks across programs; large class sizes; and so on, I think there's tremendous variation in what's taught from one school or class to the next. This can result in a lot of gaps--and may contribute to the common refrain from many parents (across General Ed, Spectrum and APP) that instruction isn't rigorous enough. Maybe some "mini-EOCs" that were designed to cover the basics would help with some minimal level of consistency. It seems like teachers could work together to agree upon some basics that need to be covered in a subject/grade, even if they want to go about teaching it differently.

Half Full

Anonymous said...

HF,

I didn’t say data was inherently bad, any more than I said work was inherently bad. The issue is what our current economic system does to both data and work.

The purpose of a school is to educate children. The SBAC is not part of their education. It is, in effect, assembly-line work that serves interests beyond the school, and to require students to perform it is a form of coerced child labor.

I’m not, by the way, suggesting that students shouldn’t perform service learning as part of their education. But the SBAC isn’t service learning.

How do we evaluate the education system? Jan has addressed that question. If your concern is evaluating individual schools, I would suggest that communities decide how they want to evaluate their schools. Different communities might want to use different means.

In general, I don’t find my students to be particularly selfish. I find them to be kind, hard-working, cooperative, helpful, and giving individuals.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Sorry if I've missed this in prior blog coverage or comments... but what is this about? HB 2214 - I must be living under a rock !!

http://coalitiontoprotectourpublicschools.org/why-house-bill-2214-is-a-crime-against-our-kids

excerpt:
What is a Fair Test?
House Bill 2214 eliminates fair and reliable End Of Course (EOC) exams and replaces them with unfair, unreliable and poorly designed SBAC exams. A fair exam has several essential characteristics including the following:

#1: A fair exam is directly related to the material taught in the course. For example, the end of course biology exam is directly related to material taught in the biology course. However, the SBAC Math and English tests often cover material that students have never been exposed to. Many of the questions on the SBAC test are not even related to Common Core standards! They are simply confusing questions designed to trick kids.

#2 A fair exam reflects the accomplishments of Washington state students as shown on national and international tests.
Washington state students have traditionally scored very highly when compared to students in other states in the US and other nations around the world. For example, in 2009, on the 8th Grade National Assessment of Educational Progress Math Test, more commonly known as the NAEP test, Washington students scored second highest in the nation.

-ack

Maureen said...

I agree with David Edelman. Why are these tests scheduled during instructional time? If there is money to pay for test development and tech to facilitate testing then there should be money to pay for subs and building time to administer exams outside of the very limited instructional time our kids have now.

Anonymous said...

Amen, David Edelman.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

I wish people and The Times would discuss the numbers/percentages of opt out students in the different elementary and middle schools as well as the high schools. At some elementary schools there are only 15% of students taking the test. This was all parent led decisions as teachers were threaten with being fired if they discussed it.
-impressed parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Impressed, I think the Times won't discuss this because 1) they don't want to and 2) it's very hard to know at this point how many opt-outs there are at middle and elementary. It's easier to get numbers from high school students.

Anonymous said...

I just spoke to a friend who works at community mental health. They were just briefed to pay attention to the stress levels as a result of this new test.

Pay attention to what? A sharp increase in expected teen suicide.

I wish I was kidding

- seriously.

Anonymous said...

After weeks and weeks of "boring" test prep, my seventh grader sabotaged his essay portion of the test. I believe it was three sentences long, with a smiley face at the end. He is aware of the controversy, disdain and huge time suck regarding this test and he acted in kind.

Entropyisme

Melissa Westbrook said...

I recall a testing scorer's story in an op-ed in the NY Times years ago. A high school kid had written a very good essay...on a porn movie he had watched. The scorer said the writing was solid but the student clearly was sending a message. He asked other scorers what they would do and it was a split between the highest mark and the next highest.

He gave the kid the next highest mark.

Watching said...

"The SBAC is not part of their education. It is, in effect, assembly-line work that serves interests beyond the school, and to require students to perform it is a form of coerced child labor."

Indeed. The state has mandated that 11th graders take SBAC and they don't need this test for graduation. 11th graders are intended to produce 8 hours of data for others. So, yes, our children are being used and this is coerced labor.

The testing consortium, state etc. would not want to pay thousands of 11th graders for the 8 hours they put into SBAC testing.

Anonymous said...

Last night, I caught Jon Stewart interviewing Judith Miller of the NYT famous for yellow cake, nuclear rods, and the wronged 'intelligence' reporting which paved the way to legitimize an unnecessary war. A war for which we are still paying for and a country we've destroyed when something hit me.

Somewhere along the way, America education became an issue of national security. The narrative out there is how our unprepared graduates are ill equipped to meet tomorrow's challenges because our kids lacked the rigorous STEM background necessary to build and be innovative. Our kids are behind the rest of the world. This fear imparts a threat to our great economic power. Therefore, we must fix this. Our public school system is vilified and shamed. It's time to reinvent. The engine which has been drumming this narrative pushes all kinds of fixes from TFAs, charters, to new and better common core curriculum and its testing.

Somehow politicians have accepted gleefully this fearful narrative without much blowback. What happened? For a while there, educational news was more about creationism vs. evolution or sex ed. Underpinning that was the dismal test scores and outcomes of the usual suspects. Many of the tension and ills reflected in our complex and stratified country were teased out and spotlighted as if these woes were nurtured in our awful public schools.

And here we are. What I don't get is why do very smart and very wealthy people who are so 'fearful' about how stupid future Americans will grow up to be never stopped to question why the best and brightest among themselves, including themselves, didn't do something about the Iraq war before it became a war or the recent economic meltdown. All the signs and symptoms were there. Lots of very smart people bugling warnings. These are more rhetorical questions of course. In the end, we, the people, find ourselves manipulated once again by the untouchables whose wealth and progenies are never the ones threatened.

Now there's a lesson you won't find in common core testing!

reader

Anonymous said...

Thanks, -ack. I wasn't aware of this either. I have just fired off an email to my legislators (for whatever good it will do -- given that Ed Pettigrew (he of the "mayoral control" cabal) is one of them and Sharon Tomiko Santos (she of the "letting all of the OTHER voters in the state decide whether, and how to split the SSD" -- because "it's something different!") is the other.

Jan

Anonymous said...

Report on King 5 that Northshore high school students are also opting out in significant numbers.

Ed Voter

Anonymous said...

Watching said:

""The SBAC is not part of their education. It is, in effect, assembly-line work that serves interests beyond the school, and to require students to perform it is a form of coerced child labor."
.. .11th graders are intended to produce 8 hours of data for others. So, yes, our children are being used and this is coerced labor. The testing consortium, state etc. would not want to pay thousands of 11th graders for the 8 hours they put into SBAC testing."

You know -- all this is true, and is fodder for much well-deserved pushback against the SBA. But to me, it seems to beg the question with respect to the class following -- for whom it WILL BE a graduation requirement. The test is no better, and our childrens' time is equally misspent, taking this ill-founded and deceptively advertised test when it DOES count for credit (or rather for graduation purposes).

My understanding is that 26 states have now either gotten rid of Common Core AND the private ed reform tests -- or at least gotten rid of both sets of the tests (SBA and PARCC). Washington needs to do the same. We need, as a state, to stop listening to Big Money and reestablish our right and obligation to come up with our own educational standards, our own methods of assessing whether those standards are adequate and when and how kids demonstrate that they have met them, and our own methods of devolving responsibility (and creativity) to local school districts to implement them.

This year is just a warm up. What happens next year to kids in the class of 2017 who want to take a principled stand against the opacity and deception that surrounds the current standardized, high stakes testing push?

Anonymous said...

"What happens next year to kids in the class of 2017?"

The class of 2017 took the SBAC this year as a state graduation requirement.

What will happen next...hard to say results aren't in...but I am going to assume a whole lot of scrambling to get the students who failed the SBAC on track to graduate using their alternative assessment options

But they don't have to take the SBAC as 11th graders. So you won't see this massive opt-out again at the HS level anyway!

10th grade parent

Anonymous said...

10th grade parent, first (as Melissa frequently points out), no students are required to take any assessment. Schools and district are required to test students but students are not required to test.

Second, only those current 10th graders taking the 11th grade SBAC assessments for high school graduation purposes who meet or exceed the "college and career ready" cut score would be exempted from the taking the SBAC assessments again in 11th grade.

Putting it another way, the high school would still be required to administer the 11th grade SBAC assessment to all 11th graders, except those exempted from the assessment --- including those who met or exceeded the "college and career ready" cut score as 10th graders. Those 11th graders who opt out will still be considered "refusals" and count against a school and district's 95% participation rate.

--- swk

dan dempsey said...

More on Math testing (or not) for placement in college math courses. This is a link to a PDF.
It concerns Massachusetts action very similar to what is taking place in Washington.

THE LINK

Chris S. said...

My child very astutely noticed the disconnect between the party line "it's so HARD to fire bad teachers" and the email from Nyland threatening teachers about the SBAC (and how well it worked.)

So proud.

Anonymous said...

SWK - So you are saying that any 10th grader that doesn't pass the SBAC this year will have to take it again next year? Won't they be able to use an alternative assessment for reading and writing instead?

10th grade parent

Anonymous said...

10th grade parent, there are two issues of which to be aware.

(1) Tenth grade students taking the 11th grade SBAC assessments do so for high school graduation purposes. Those that meet or exceed the "high school graduation" cut scores will have met their high school assessment graduation requirements. Those who do not meet standard may have access to the alternative assessments and/or continue to take the 11th grade SBAC assessments.

(2) Tenth grade students taking the 11th grade SBAC assessments who meet or exceed the "college and career ready" cut score will not need to retake the assessments next year as 11th grade students. Those that do not meet this cut score not be exempt from retaking the assessment in 11th grade.

These are separate issues based on separate cut scores, i.e., graduation and federal/state accountability.

Finally, there will be some students who meet or exceed the "high school graduation" cut score but do not meet the "college and career ready" cut score. These students will have met the high school assessment graduation requirement but not the federal/state accountability requirement and the schools and districts will still be required retest them in 11th grade.

I'm sorry this is so confusing. I'm doing my best to communicate what is a very confusing set of state policies.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Also -- if I read proposed HB 2214 (currently before the House Appropriations Committee) correctly, students beginning with the class of 2016 will not have the option of alternate assessments. They will either have to pass the SBA (with a 3 or 4 score), pass it on a retake, or take (and pass) additional classes in the related subject area their senior year. As I read it, all of the alternate assessment language is stricken.

As a caveat, though -- I find the bills with stricken language very hard to follow, unless one spends a GREAT deal of time with them (and I haven't yet) -- so perhaps I am wrong. A copy of the proposed bill is here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2214.pdf

Or maybe reason (and voices of parents) will prevail and this latest piece of dreck will die.

Jan

Anonymous said...

swk - can you clarify this please:
"Tenth grade students taking the 11th grade SBAC assessments"

Why are 10th graders taking 11th grade SBAC assessments? Wouldn't 10th grade students be taking 10th grade SBAC?

Surely you aren't saying that this year's 10th graders just took the 11th grade SBAC - wouldn't that be a full year of curriculum (11th grade Sept to April) that they haven't been taught but would be tested on?

Sorry if that's a dense question. My kids are younger so we aren't to the stage of assessments used to meet grad requirements.

thanks
QA mom

Anonymous said...

QA Mom -

YES, 10th graders are being given the 11th grade ELA SBAC (there is NO 10th grade SBAC).

They are going to lower the passing rate for 10th graders. But yes, it is still an 11th grade test.


10th grade parent

Anonymous said...

QA mom, there is only the 11th grade SBAC assessments for high school, i.e., there is no 10th grade SBAC assessment.

At some point in the past, there was a plan for OSPI to develop of separate 10th grade SBAC exit exam from SBAC test items but that was abandoned. I don't know why.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Jan, HB 2214 is Rep. Chris Reykdal's bill and his attempt to delink tests from graduation. He also intends to save the state (and districts) money by eliminating the alternative assessments, especially the Collections of Evidence.

My understanding is that this is his attempt at a compromise since a clean elimination of the testing graduation requirement is DOA in the state Senate.

--- swk

lemon said...

OSPI lists alternatives to assessments, called Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) options. It appears that students "must attempt an exit exam at least once" before attempting any of these options. http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/GraduationAlternatives/

There are also Graduation Requirements Checklists for each graduating year. Links for these can be found in the "Graduation" section towards the bottom of this page http://www.k12.wa.us/resources/default.aspx

Can individual districts add additional graduation requirements?

Lynn said...

Yes - and individual schools can add graduation requirements. (Which is ridiculous.)

Anonymous said...

swk: This makes no sense (to me). First, it doesn't delink testing -- it just eliminates all tests OTHER than the worst one, the one that:

1. Has the least validity (given that it is all proprietary, has never been appropriately field tested, and cannot be reviewed (in terms of questions or results) by teachers or students;

2. Has had no input whatsoever from Washington teachers and other educators in Washington -- either in terms of developing it, or in terms of evaluating its validity based on student responses;

3. Is NOT linked to classroom coursework in any way -- so it neither gives teachers feedback on how well students are getting the material they teach, nor gives students feedback on how well they learned what they were studying; and

4. Transfers the MOST student data to private corporations who can (and assuredly will) pretty much do whatever they want with it;

5 Is most prone to technological failure;

6. Takes the longest, and is the most intrusive (in terms of class time missed) to administer;

7. Evidently takes the most time in terms of test prep, because the entire technological interface is foreign and clunky, and the test questions are evidently abstruse as well; and

8. Although we haven't seen results yet, is rumored to be the one that the MOST students will be unable to pass (regardless of the fact that thousands of the Washington students who will "fail" would have gone to college and done perfectly fine 00 based on past performance).

But, I guess it DOES say you can take it over and over, hoping that maybe the random numbers will come up in your favor at some point (and certainly the dollars and data flowing to Pearson for that will make them happy, right?)

As "compromises" go, this one doesn't seem to pass the reasonableness test. It would be far better if the legislature, like half or more of the other states, would ditch the SBA and return to EOCs and MSP/HSPEs. That is STILL more testing than I would like -- but it is cheaper, more valid, less exploitative (in terms of data mining), and more likely to result in students passing (and not having to fill their senior years with "must pass" remedial classes.

I don't know Rep. Reykdal well enough to say anything about him or his legislating prowess one way or the other -- but I am hard pressed to see this as a genuine effort to delink testing and graduation.

Jan

lemon said...

Thanks, Lynn.

As I read it, HB 2214 does not delink tests from graduation. Rather, it makes smarter balanced English language arts and mathematics assessments administered in 11th grade the ONLY assessments that can be used the meet the graduation requirement for those content areas. (Science will use Next Generation Science standards.)

If a student fails to pass the tests on a second try, they have to take and pass "locally determined courses in their senior year."

The state will no longer recognize that some students can best demonstrate their skills in a different way.

Furthermore, students will no longer be able to use their math, science, reading and/or writing scores on the SAT reasoning test, ACT or ACT Plus Writing tests, specified Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations, to show they have key skills expected of high school graduates.

This bill is not an improvement over current options.

Anonymous said...

thanks swk and 10th grade parent for the answers!

It makes me wonder though why 10th graders didn't refuse this year as well, and wait until next year to attempt it, when they would have at least been taught the 11th grade CC standards.

Also re: 2214 - it may be "Rep. Chris Reykdal's bill and his attempt to delink tests from graduation" but the graphic linked a few posts up appears to show that within a few years it would remove EOC and HSPEs but replace w/ SBAC as the sole test to take. I hope I'm reading that wrong but it certainly appears to reduce and inhibit pathways to graduation instead of supporting our variety of students toward success.

I do hope it is DOA in the state senate as swk suggests.

QA mom

lemon said...

Jan, it appears we were typing at the same time but you said it much better than I. Thank you!

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I'm sorry this is so confusing. I'm doing my best to communicate what is a very confusing set of state policies."

And now there is this bill 2114 that will make it all more complicated.

Tell me, how will we EVER know what works when it shifts all the time?

It's nonsense (I'd use another word but my readers have sensitive ears) but again, I would support better teacher training and better teacher and school support than I would all the data and testing in the world.

But that's just me.

Anonymous said...

QA Mom -

As a parent of a 10th grader we took the test this year because we thought that if we passed it we were done.

But if I am reading all this info correctly, 10th graders will take the test again if they fail to show they are "college/career" ready this year, even if they passed the bar to meet the Reading and Writing requirements.

(So if this is correct you will see students who have met the state standards opt-out because they don't care about "fed accountability" bla bla.)

Those who have not met the standards will have to sit again for the SBAC as the alternative assessment route may be gone if this bill passes.

Do I have it correct SKW?

10th grade parent

Anonymous said...

Jan, I started to respond point by point to your numbered list above and decided such a response would be, as Ulysses Everett McGill would say, "the acme of foolishness."

I've refuted the same points you've made over and over again with facts and evidence, but to no avail. There are simply people who are going to believe what they believe no matter what effort may be made to correct and/or refute such beliefs.

As matter of fact, the more evidence I provide, the more people dig in their heels. What a waste of time for all involved. I'll frustrate you no more on this front.

Carry on.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Melissa, from my reading and understanding of HB 2214, things will become significantly less confusing.

Here's my understanding if the bill passes (which it is unlikely to do): The 11th grade SBAC ELA and math assessments will be the only high school assessments. The EOCs will be eliminated as would be the administration of the SBAC assessments in 10th grade.

All of the alternative assessments would also be eliminated.

If students do not meet the high school graduation cut score, they can retake the assessment but they don't have to. They need only take and pass a "transition" course.

--- swk

seattle citizen said...

swk and Melissa and others have said that students aren't required to take the test (meaning they are legally able to opt out) but let's be cLear that in order to graduate from HS in Washington state one needs to take the test or an alternative (COE, etc.)
Don't take the test? You're not graduated, as far as the state (and districts) are concerned.
Not that I think this is right, but students and parents should be aware of this, if they aren't already.
What I'd like to see is employers and colleges blowing off the state tests (which have no relevance to them) by merely asking 18 year olds to show them their HS transcripts, make sue there are enough credits there and the grades they want, and saying, "yep: you've done what you need to do; c'mon in!"
The state's test requirement really is pretty meaningless.

Anonymous said...

Now for the latest SBAC idiocy.

Students with disabilities take an off-level SBAC as a graduation requirement. Unfortunately, - since there's a "performance" test included with each SBAC - which takes an entire period, there's NO TIME to give students in high school the SBAC at the required off-grade level. The school can't even tell me when they will be able to schedule the SBAC for my 10th grader. Essentially, high schools have to be able to give ALL previous grade level SBACs at the SAME TIME, and by the end of the year. Inevitably, large high schools will have students with disabilities taking the SBAC at all grade levels. And they have to GIVE CLASSES at all those grade levels in order administer the "performance" piece of the SBAC. How will they do this? ???? There isn't time in the year left for it, and there isn't staff for it. !@@#$###!!!!

So far, my kid's high school has not been able to tell me when or where they will schedule his test.

The whole thing is so stupid. Students who are unable to read at grade level, have to be provided an actual class at the WRONG grade level - even though this NOTHING like what they ever have to do in real life. To make matters worse, there are NO CLASSES in the high school - which are at the wrong grade level. Why should kids have to take the "performance" piece of the ELA at the off grade level - just because they read at the wrong level?

Having also administered the SBAC - having a class for the performance piece, including an entire class present and participating - for the discussion - is key to success. Students with disabilities will NOT BE ABLE TO HAVE THE BENEFITS OF AN INCLUSIVE CLASS FOR THE PERFORMANCE task as they would if it were a "real class" or a "real performance task".

Once again - SBAC has failed to consider students with disabilities AT.ALL.

The inequity and unfairness is simply mindboggling.


Stop the Insanity

Anonymous said...

Thanks, seattle citizen, for the reminder. Both Melissa and I have made this point multiple times previously but it can't hurt to make it again.

--- swk

dw said...

Privacy Please said: I just spent time looking at the OSPI site, and couldn't find anything about who will have access to student-identifiable SBAC data, and how they will use it. I don't want anyone outside the school building to have the specifics of the data my child produced through testing. I don't want any student-level data provided to academics, non-profit or for-profit organizations. I don't want the test vendor to have access. I don't want this data combined with any other data to produce a profile of my kid. I want to be notified each and every time access is being given to this data, and I want the right to refuse that access.

Thank you, thank you! I couldn't have said this any better myself. But few people are paying attention to this problem, and even fewer are doing anything to fix it.

Who should we complain to? How can we effectively advocate for our childrens' basic privacy rights when large corporations are coming in and sucking up all the data. They don't just lobby school districts and state education officials, but our legislators, who have the ability to legally force our kids to hand over their personal data. SBA tests are just one example.

Melissa is doing her part by talking about the issues here, but we parents need to take it further. But how?

Who should we be complaining to? Anyone know? Melissa? Jan? swk?

Anonymous said...

"Somewhere along the way, America education became an issue of national security. The narrative out there is how our unprepared graduates are ill equipped to meet tomorrow's challenges because our kids lacked the rigorous STEM background necessary to build and be innovative. Our kids are behind the rest of the world. This fear imparts a threat to our great economic power. Therefore, we must fix this. Our public school system is vilified and shamed. It's time to reinvent. The engine which has been drumming this narrative pushes all kinds of fixes from TFAs, charters, to new and better common core curriculum and its testing.

"Somehow politicians have accepted gleefully this fearful narrative without much blowback."

Reader, that is a good summary of some of the driving forces behind the Common Core and its assessments.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Sorry, seattle citizen, swk, and Melissa -- but somehow I am stuck and unable to get this straight. As far as I understand it:

1. No penalty for 11th grade students who opt out. Whatever tests they have to pass to graduate, SBA isn't among them (which is why opting out is more or less "free" for them this year. Correct.

2. Sophomores (let's all assume no SB 2214 for purposes of this question as it hasn't passed and may not -- and complicates everything): they can legally opt out of taking this (or any) test -- BUT they cannot graduate/get a diploma unless they either:
(a) take and pass (whatever that means) the SBA OR
(b) take and FAIL (again, whatever that means) the SBA, but then pass some other assessment with equivalent merit (per lemon, I am assuming "math, science, reading and/or writing scores on the SAT reasoning test, ACT or ACT Plus Writing tests, specified Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations, to show they have key skills expected of high school graduates." Is that right?

AND -- as I understand it, they do not qualify to offer an alternate assessment unless and until they have attempted the SBA. So -- in the end, you HAVE to take it to graduate (you just don't necessarily have to pass it). Is that correct?

Jan

Anonymous said...

dw: I guess we:

1. Complain to our state legislators, in hopes of getting them to pass privacy protection legislation (or to include it in the content of other bills);

2. Complain to our federal legislators in hopes of getting them to pass national privacy protection legislation that is not filled with loopholes that give away the data of minors without their knowledge or consent;

3. Consider whether there is any possible grounds for some sort of legal action in the absence of legislation (or in violation of the existing weak legislation);

4. Request that our local school board and district officials refuse to enter into contracts with any entity unless they either forgo the collection, use, sale, lease, etc. of private student data without the express permission of parents; and

5. If the state legislators will not listen, consider whether it might be possible to draft a citizen's initiative to accomplish privacy legislation.

I have little hope that some of the above will be successful, based on past performance, but I cannot think of anything else. Given the data cravings of Gates, Pearson, the other big ed reform companies, etc., I have little hope that we can accomplish this without a significant effort -- and I would anticipate significant pushback.

Jan

seattle citizen said...

Yes, Jan. NOW, as things stand: For 11s - last year's HSPE pass = graduation. If not a pass, then this year's SBA. If neither passed, SBA again next year, and/or (all three recommended: cover all bases in case of any fail) COE or acceptable score on SAT/ACT (not sure how EOCs figure in...)
For 10s - This year or next year's 11th grade level SBA pass, if no pass same routine -retake SBA, or COE/ACT/SAT.
If ANY student doesn't first attempt SBA, they are not eligible to use alternate route to CAA (Certificate of Academic Achievement - the state piece for graduation, what is "earned" by tests.)
Next year? Who the heck knows what will be required. 1080 hours of seat time? Maybe. 24 credits statewide instead of current 20? Possibly (meaning high schoolers cannot fail even ONE class)....
Who knows?
It all changes every couple of years. Constant turmoil. Almost as if no one wants stability, as if some people hope schools, teachers, students fail because there is no stability. Nah...who would want that?

Josh Hayes said...

And because, why not have more complications:

This year at least, the "COE" alternative route -- that's neither the Church of England nor the Corps of Engineers, but rather the "Collection of Evidence" -- for Biology at least was not available to anyone but seniors. The operating theory there, I think, is that if one takes and fails to pass the [fill in the test here; in Bio it's the Bio EOC exam] as a 10th-grader, one can still take another crack at the same sort of test in 11th grade, and if one fails to pass THAT time, then the COE route becomes available.

I do not know if the same thing applies for the reading and writing COE alternatives. This year was the first for which the Bio COE was offered, and the state-wide pass rate was unbelievably low.

For the Bio graduation requirement, the current situation is that students have essentially three bites at that apple:

1) They can pass the EOC exam in either 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.

2) They can fail to pass the EOC in 10th and 11th grade and produce a (computer-based, at this point) portfolio for the COE option in the 12th grade, and pass that.

3) They can achieve a satisfactory "cut score" on the relevant portion of the ACT exam (The SAT does not have a science score); this year that cut score was 16. Meet or exceed that, and you achieve enough science literacy to graduate.

For students with IEPs there may be additional routes involving constructed assessments conducted by Special Ed staff on a school by school basis; I'm sure one of our numerous Special Ed experts here can weigh in on that with far more knowledge than I possess on the topic.

At this point there are no Common Core science standards in place, but of course they'll be coming down the pike any day now. The WA state Science standards comport pretty well with the NAS nationwide standards of about 15 or 20 years ago, and at the high school level those standards remain pretty darn good, IMO. I doubt that CC standards would depart much from existing science standards, but the question lies in the assessment for those standards, of course.

Confused yet? :-P

seattle citizen said...

CAA/TPEP =
CCSS + MTSS + 1080/24 (+ IEP/504)as measured by SBA/HSPE/EOC/COE/SAT/ACT formulated to VAM.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Death by Acronym.

Anonymous said...

seattle citizen, the 24 credits required for graduation won't kick in for SPS students until the graduating class of 2021. SPS requested and received a waiver from the State Board of Education to delay the requirement two years. The rest of the districts in the state (without waivers) will require the 24 credits for the graduating class of 2019.

SPS has a task force on the 24 credits, I understand.

--- swk

seattle citizen said...

Yes, swk, correct, 24 credits....might....kick in for SPS class of 2021 (students starting HS fall 2017; in two years)....or it might not. Who really knows. There's a task force: Yay. Been on a few of those myself. Impact of the many, many hours on them? Recommendations implemented? Zip. Maybe the state will look at the costs and problems raised by 24 credit requirement and pull away. Who has a clue. 1080 hours? Yes but no. Turns out HSs only need 1027, some sort of averaging game. Need 1027 now, next year, the year after? Maybe. Maybe not. It's all Newspeak; all truth until the next truth. "Jefferson was the Antichrist! Black is white! Night is day!"....*sigh*....."Teaching is dead."

Anonymous said...

And having Special Education personnel pulled away from their regular daily instruction of students with special needs in order to proctor the SBAC isn't hurting the needs of those students? I'll bet parents don't know that's happening! Get real...this test is a joke.