Thursday, April 02, 2015

Ingraham Speaks (Again)

By a vote of 48 to 1, Ingraham staff passed the following resolution:
WHEREAS Ingraham High School strives to provide an excellent education to every student;
WHEREAS the Smarter Balanced Assessment is not required for graduation;
WHEREAS this computer-based assessment will take approximately eight hours for each 11th grader to complete and its confusing format is unlike anything students will experience outside the testing environment;
WHEREAS there are not enough computers to test the students in a reasonable amount of time and it is unacceptable for computers to be unavailable to non-testing students for such a long period of time;
WHEREAS the failure rate of the assessment is going to be extraordinarily high (possibly 60%) for the general population and even higher for students of color, ELL students, and students on individualized education plans;
WHEREAS student performance on this test will in no way be indicative of their learning and instead this test must be given to meet arbitrary, antiquated and poorly considered state and federal mandates;
WHEREAS graduation and standardized testing requirements in Washington State are confusing and poorly communicated;
WHEREAS the sheer number of state-mandated standardized tests is unacceptable;
WHEREAS in addition to other assessments during the last seven weeks of school, we must administer one month of International Baccalaureate exams, several weeks of AP testing, many weeks of 11th grade SBA testing, the 10th grade ELA exit exam, the Biology EOC exam, the Geometry EOC exam, and the Algebra 1 EOC exam, many of which are required for graduation or could possibly earn students college credit;
WHEREAS during this time we are also required to teach our students and administer year-end finals and projects; and
WHEREAS the detrimental impact on the school schedule and more importantly student learning cannot be justified simply to meet a superfluous bureaucratic requirement;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the members of the Seattle Education Association at Ingraham High School object to the administration of the 11th grade Smarter Balanced Assessment for spring 2015 as an unacceptable obstruction to providing an excellent education to every student.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Wow - I wish Ingraham cared this much about Special education, they would have a few less law suits.

Double standard

Maureen said...

I'm proud of the Ingraham staff for taking this stand. They can't refuse to administer it (witness what happened to Nathan Hale), but this statement makes it easier for parents and students ( including those with IEPs as noted ) to opt themselves out. From what I hear, many students are already doing that. I hope this statement will increase those numbers.

Anonymous said...

Good for them. I think teachers are in a tough position and the district is putting a lot of pressure on them. Even Hale backed down and will be administering the test to 11th graders.

RR Mom

Watching said...

I'm very proud of the Ingraham staff. In light of the events at Nathan Hale....the teachers at Ingraham showed courage.

It seems the Superintendent and board majority don't feel it necessary to discuss the absurdities of administering SBAC to 11th graders and discussing serious issues regarding SBAC.

Glad Ingraham had the courage to stand-up.

Ingraham Mom said...

The Ingraham teachers are taking a stand, and this stand makes it much easier for students and parents to refuse the test. Why should teachers risk losing their jobs when families can just opt out, and will opt out in greater numbers knowing where the teachers stand?Ingr

A student group handed out more than 80 refusal forms yesterday, with more to come today.

Anonymous said...

It's a huge mistake for IEP students NOT to take every government sanctioned academic test. SPS continues to attempt to lower the academic performance standards for special education students, WEA and SEA are working the back channels trying to exempt students with IEPs from teacher's performance reviews and NCLB.

DOE is closely monitoring academic performance of districts receiving IDEA funding. The worst performing district like SPS are under closer observation not only for administrative compliance, but for meaningful academic progress. IEP progress reports are notorious for being subjective and inaccurate, that's why you need measurements outside of SPS manipulation, like MAP, MSP and common core.

If you need to go to court to enforce FAPE for you child, SPS will use your OPT out AGAINST you and you will only have the SPS bias progress reports, which 97% of the time will NOT work in your favor.

So, don't listen to these self serving voices, make sure your student gets their progress document in standard testing, you will be glad you did if you land in court!

Get tested!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Get Tested, how can the district use opting out "against you?" As evidence you are not cooperating with your IEP? I don't believe that can be done (not legally).

As well I have heard from some Sped parents about issues like one of the tests being all verbal with no visual? When an inquiry was made about this here's what the district said:

"Yes, for the listening portion of Smarter Balanced, students wear headphones and listen to a passage, which they can replay as many times as they’d like. You can see examples in the practice tests and hear a brief snippet in our family video – both linked from our main page: The assessment is designed to accommodate students with any special needs."

But the parent was told that the teacher/aide would "practice" and see how it goes. As well the aide uses a system that is not word for word which would seem to invalidate the test and/or hurt the kid.

Anonymous said...

Good for them. I think this is a well written and well-reasoned statement on the part of the teachers. It succinctly points out the flaws and the lack of logic in giving the SBAC now.

North End Parent

Maureen said...

Get tested, It's the TIME involved, and taken away from instructional time, that I think is so wrong. Students with IEPs (all students) should have access to meaningful objective evaluations that don't take this insane amount of class time. I think it's criminal to require my IB diploma candidate to miss 8 hours of class time for the SBAC. The loss of instructional time, and the actual physical challenge of the test time, has an even worse impact for a student with an IEP. And what sort of meaningful information do you get by administering a test that 60% of 11th graders are expected fail to a student with severe learning disabilities? I think the whole thing is unethical.

Anonymous said...

Get tested - the range of needs and abilities for kids with IEPs is huge, so you can't make a blanket statement of whether or not they should be tested. Certainly for children who are at or near grade level academically, there may be some advantage to it, especially if they test well, but one still needs to consider whether the proper accommodations are provided, how stressful it might be, etc. It's very individual. I have two kids with IEPs, and they are at opposite ends of the spectrum - one just has some fine motor issues, so computerized test are actually good for him, because his accommodations primarily involve not having to write by hand. His IEP is not a factor in any decisions about opting him out of testing or not. My other child with an IEP has Down syndrome, so she simply will not ever be taking grade level standardized exams.
It would be more helpful if you explained what type of needs you are talking about, and how having standardized test scores can assist the student in getting services.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

This may be a little late to post this, but I'll do it anyway, in case it is helpful to anyone. The RHS principal sent out an email this week to 11th grade parents re the SBA. Among other things it contained links to Nylund's Q & A, the refusal form, and the letter signed by the WA universities re use of the test scores in college placement decisions. He requested that all refusal forms be turned in to the school by today -- the math part of the testing is to be administered next week.

I've opted my 11th grader out but wanted to triple check that he wouldn't be missing anything useful in terms of the SBA use in placement decisions. I wasn't concerned about math, because colleges have so many tools that they use to decide what math class to put students in, and I feel confident that we'll be able to get him in the right class using those existing tools. But because the principal's email contained a link to the universities agreement, and I hadn't seen the document before, I decided to take a look at it and compare it with graduation requirements for a couple of schools on my son's list.

I was really amazed at what I learned. The Washington agreement says that if you score a 3 or 4 on the SBA ELA, you get to go directly into English 101. Yay! So I looked at Western's grad requirements. Guess what -- English 101 is the writing course that everyone at Western is required to take. There literally is no lower level English class.

I also checked the Oregon agreement (virtually identical, as Oregon is part of the consortium), which says that students earning a level 3 or 4 will be eligible to enroll directly in WR 121 class. When you look at the U of O graduation requirements, turns out that virtually all students -- including any student that scores between 0 and 700 on the SAT, take WR 121.

So the notion that an SBA score of 3 or 4 on ELA would actually benefit this year's 11th graders is entirely specious.

What's more, it makes me wonder whether getting a 2 on the SBA could negatively impact a student. I know that the scores won't go on transcripts, but does anyone know how the scores will eventually be given to colleges/universities to use in placement decisions? Sent by the high schools? If so, would parents have the choice of having the schools not send the scores?

RR Mom

Anonymous said...

@ Maureen

Thank you, your post is a prime example of the elitist attitude of IB students and parents at Ingraham.

Truth exposed

Anonymous said...

Also, re the advice from Get Tested:

Every kid is different. My son has an IEP for an SLD. We long ago gave up on him receiving any meaningful SDI, so won't be filing any lawsuit. My son's SLD particularly impacts math. The absolute last thing he needs is to fail another math test. We're putting our time and resources into supporting him in his math class, and in tutoring to improve his math SAT score.

RR Mom

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of the SBAC, but I AM a fan of facts. I think it's irresponsible of staff to continue perpetuating this idea that 60% of kids will fail the test. The State Board of Ed will be setting a 2nd set of cut scores that indicate proficiency, and these will be much lower than than those "college ready/60% fail" cut scores developed by the testing consortium. This means that the scores required to meet the graduation requirement--a.k.a. "pass" the SBAC--will be much lower, and a much higher percentage of kids will pass.

From the State Board of Ed:
The legislature…intends that the eleventh grade consortium-developed assessments [Smarter Balanced assessments, SBAC] have two different student performance standards: One for the purposes of high school graduation that will be established by the state board of education and one that is intended to demonstrate a student's career and college readiness.

Also from SBE:
Graduation level will likely fall in the range of minimal to partial ability to use knowledge and skills associated with college content-readiness—a Level 1 or 2 on the SBAC. [The 60% rate is based on attaining Level 3+.]

Re: having 11th graders take the SBAC, it does seem like not a great plan. The intention was to use their new SBAC scores to help determine the appropriate cut scores for those in 10th grade, and you can see the logic in that--having two sets of scores (the old and new) for the same kids helps you see how the tests really compare). However, it seems like there were other ways they could have come up with the proficiency scores that did not involve wasting 11th graders' time, teachers' time, school resources, etc. They might even need to resort to using an alternate method anyway, since scores probably won't be very representative if there's a high opt-out rate among 11th graders. Oops.


Anonymous said...

I am SO proud of the Ingraham staff! There is no good reason for ANY 11th grader to waste time taking the SBAC.

RS Mom

Anonymous said...


A "good" standardized test result will give a building administration or Sped Superivisor the ammunition they need to YANK an IEP and disqualify a child from SpEd.

I've seen it. Yet, the disability does not go away just because there is one good test result.

My instinct told me to opt out of MSPs (now SBACS), so glad we did. Another SpEd mama in our building said they demoted her son from an IEP to a 504 when clearly he still qualified for and need to have SDI. Yes, they could get a lawyer and sue to protect their child's civil rights. They just turned to partial home schooling, which was their most effective, educationally productive, child-centered, least expensive option.

So opting out PROTECTS students and their civil rights. Write an SBAC, and your IEP may get pulled.

Some buildings are especially bad in this regard and gatekeeper like crazy. Oh wait, the John Hay principal is now the fox in charge of the hen house.

Bottom line: every SpEd child/family is unique and should act according to their best judgment. Now you are forewarned about the other side of the coin.

Opted out (again)

Anonymous said...

"demoted her son from an IEP to a 504"

You don't know what your talking about.

You can't be demoted to a 504, that's plain wrong. Know your legal rights and stop posting incorrect information to scare people. I would guess if someone moved to a 504 plan from an IEP the 504 plan would deal with accommodations, most likely assistive tech. That falls under the OCR. Many buildings are trying to mitigate the stigma of students being in special ed by moving them to 504 plans. This can work for some students in high school.

Have you ever attended a Due Process Hearing? Go read a few SPS legal responses to complaints. In many denial of FAPE cases, SPS lawyers successfully argue that the subjective IEP progress reports show progress and because the plaintiff could not provide other evidence to the contrary the ruling went in favor of the district. Of course if you have thousands of dollars you can always have an IEE performed every year. BTW the IDEA does not require districts to reimburse parents for IEE when used as "expert witness information" in due process.

Good Luck

Maureen said...

Get tested and Truth Exposed, I don't pretend to speak for all IB families and I'm always happy to learn from people who are traveling a different path. If you contact me by email (I'm the only maureen whose contact info is currently on the Weekly Bulletin at IHS) maybe we can arrange a time to talk and you can help me understand. (This goes for "Ingraham Grad" as well.)

Maureen said...

Oh AND Double Standard (and anyone else I've missed!) I'm on the Facebook group too--you really can't miss me there. :)

Anonymous said...

My kid informed me that the McClure orchestra class will miss 12 sessions due to SBAC scheduling. I'm sure scheduling it was a nightmare. I cannot understand how this test could do anything but get in the way of actual learning.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Steamed, I'd be steamed, too. I'm sure many kids will miss not having that class for so long.

Anonymous said...

Get Tested.

What for? Not for the benefit of the student with a disability. At least 90% of students with disabilities failed it during the field tests (grade 11). Overwhelmingly, at the lowest possible level. Does your kid really need that type of humiliation? When the thing was obviously designed from the start to fail them?

From current administration - that seems to be the feeling of the performance of current student performance going on now. And it will take hours and hours, days and days - read weeks. Have you taken this test? You can do the practice tests too. You should. It does NOT test anything that kids have been taught. Every skill is meshed together with every other skill. Really vague and very subjective ELA passages and questions. And tricky multiple choices with no great choices. Great! If you learned SOME things, well, you'll still get wrong answer because you probably didn't learn EVERYTHING. You probably have problems synthesizing all your skills all at once on an irrelevant sitting. And it is a supreme endurance test with NO applicability for anybody. It is an ability test. Your kid is DISabled, remember? If they could pass this thing - nobody would consider them disabled.

Sure, I know "most students with disabilities (LDs) have an average or better IQ." Guess what? IQ = 86 is "average", and it won't be enough to pass this one. And most of our disabled students fall into that low end of normal - (of course, there are some high ones too, but less than bloggers like to admit)

What will happen when all of this years' 10th graders with disabilities fail? They will move to LDA - "locally determined assessments". Who will add the administration of these tests to the cost and bottom line of SBAC? Somebody will have to administer the LDA, and somebody will have to pay for the alternate tests. Too bad our kids have to take more and more and more tests.

Sped Parent

Resolution/SBAC said...

Directors Peters and Patu will resubmit resolution regarding SBAC. Similar to Vermont, Peters/Patu are asking that SBAC not be used for AYP. The resolution acknowledges stress placed on 11th grade students. This item will be heard in C&I Committee on April 6th:

Anonymous said...

It's true that schools might use good scores on tests to refuse to provide services. My child had an IEP, went to the EEU. First grade we got letter from AL asking if they can test my kid. We agreed to the test. Child scored in the 99 percentile so they wanted to exit kid from Special Education. I objected because there were still delays and challenges. They wrote another IEP, allowed services another 8 months then refused to provide any further services (actually said that on the exit papers). Told us to use our insurance instead.


Anonymous said...

Q Range ("deviation IQ") IQ Classification[32][33]
130 and above Very Superior
120–129 Superior
110–119 High Average
90–109 Average
80–89 Low Average
70–79 Borderline
69 and below Extremely Low

Again, your being fooled by SPS,
There many students with IEPs that have an IQ over 130. These students score in the 99%tile in many areas, but MUST have a qualifying diagnosis to have an IEP. SPS can't simply decided to change a diagnosis because of one test score.

If you will consider the bigger picture, I would hope that we wouldn't have so many students on IEPs in high school struggling. They struggle because the district failed them in the k-5 years when they had the best chance at intervention.

SPS only cares about the 2 year IDEA statute of limitations, but if you have tests score that show poor performance you can overcome the statute based on administrative promotion which is a violation of civil rights. Keep in mind the SPS IEP progress reports will most likely be so generically written as to provide cover for the school.

All students have the right to "Stay Putt" while your case is being heard by the ALJ, it's the LAW!

get tested

Anonymous said...

We have students struggling in high school because they have lifelong disabilities, not because the district failed to fix them. Having a diagnosed disability does not qualify you for an IEP. You still have to qualify in an area of service. True, scoring well eliminates some proof. However failing the SBAC, as happens to 90% of sped high schoolers, doesn't mean some awesomely great service will appear, or that they will help you at all. Where's the magic bullet going to come from? Btw, you aren't legally entitled to progress, only to an IEP reasonably calculated to confer some benefit. It's a really low bar. So not worth arguing over.

Sped Parent

Anonymous said...

The bar is only as low as you the parent allow the district to place it. Having a qualifying diagnosis is the only way the district can apply for federal funding, else it's fraud. Some schools will manipulate findings to place students on IEPs or deny. A diagnosis by a medical doctor or clinical physiologist ALWAYS supersedes any district evaluations.

The original argument was that SPS can legally demote (not my words) a student from an IEP to a 504 based on a standardized test results, False. Look SPS can do what ever they want if you let them and do not exercise your rights, we have seen this across the district and just not around special education.

Get tested

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Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

Not having personal attacks nor trying to out people. I've said this before.

Anonymous said...

The problem is so many of us are exhausted. Fighting the district takes time, energy, and money, so if there's another route to get services for our kids we just take it. The district knows this. W hat's sad is we can't even really think of them as evil; it's all about money - the Legislature's criminal lack of funding for public schools is the cause of most of SPS' crappy decisions. Nothing will change until we find a way to fund education adequately. We MUST pass a state income tax, and get rid of that stupid super majority requirement for new taxes.