Friday, April 24, 2015

News That is Spreading Across the Country

186 comments:

Anonymous said...


This is just great--we are so proud of the teachers, students and parents at Hale.

You can learn a lot more about opting out in Seattle by engaging with the Seattle Opt Out Group via the FB page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seattle-Opt-Out/430265387124998?ref=hl

-Garfieldmom

Anonymous said...

Like to imagine the JSCEE crowd is huddled together for warmth this a.m. as our students and parents and (hiding out of fear yet letting their feelings be known oh-so-clearly behind the scenes) teachers have given them the big cold shoulder. Such a cold shoulder that this will be nationally reported. Brrrrrr. Might hurt the bureaucrats careers to be in charge of a district that refuses to kowtow to governmental and ed reform insanity. Good.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

I have frequently communicated on this blog (and elsewhere) that parents/families have the right to opt their children out of testing if they feel that is the best decision for their children.

However, when 100% of students opt-out, that's no longer a personal decisions but a political statement intended to change public policy. That too is their right (if not their civic duty). But there are consequences for these actions, despite the fact that many parents want these political statements to have no consequences. And those who don't share the ideology of the opt-out movement also have the right to take action.

Here's what I'll predict we'll start seeing --- since the requirement for 95% students testing is a requirement of Title I of ESEA/NCLB, then the consequence of not achieving the testing threshold will be the loss of Title I funds for those schools.

Essentially, these parents are choosing to opt out of Title I, which is their right. Testing is a condition of receiving Title I dollars, like it or not. No testing, no money.

--- swk

Po3 said...

Looks like the Feds are going to be needing to change their Title 1 policy.


Anonymous said...

At a 100% opt-out rate, it's hard to believe there isn't a bit of pressure or even intimidation of students to opt-out.
Have these students really been given the whole story on NCLB and Common Core? Do they know the rationale behind a national standard? Do they know that the US is probably the only western democracy that allows local school boards to teach creationism and abstinence only sex education?
Have they compared education in France or Germany to the education in the US and have they seen the stats on kids graduating but not being able to read their diploma?

I see a big bandwagon but not a lot of educating of these Hale students about the real issues.

Turtle

Anonymous said...

Mirmac noted Hale on another thread regarding their philosophy that inclusion makes the entire school stronger.

If whatever is going on at this school is a "bandwagon" approach, as Turtle seems to fear, I'll take it.

If it's a "political" movement, as SWK fears (and stokes his/her typical "punishment" claims from the Orwellian powers-that-be but mostly, I'm convinced, he/she is fearing for job security), good!
I'll take that, too.

Way to to go, Hale! Your energy and action is toward change for the better. If some of the fence sitters are conforming right along, the lesson here is that the history of revolutions has followed just such a trajectory.

Happy Friday...

--enough already

Anonymous said...

swk says:

"But there are consequences for these actions, despite the fact that many parents want these political statements to have no consequences. And those who don't share the ideology of the opt-out movement also have the right to take action."
--
Which is correct. But it is incorrect to say that the "parents want these political statements to have no consequences." Not correct at all. The desired consequence here is a change in the Title 1 policy, as Po3 says, away from the testing requirements.

The bureaucrats will do what all bureaucrats do. They will seek to protect, preserve, and perpetuate their policies, privileges, and perquisites. Time will tell who prevails. I don't think it will be the bureaucrats this time.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

Ya down with OPT?

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

Ivan, I stand corrected. You make a good point regarding desired consequences for parents choosing to opt out as a political statement.

But let's be clear --- it's not the bureaucrats determining the ESEA Title I testing policy but rather members of Congress. It is part of the ESEA/NCLB law, not Department of Education policy.

FYI - The annual testing policy is included in both the Senate and House versions of ESEA reauthorization as well as the 95% testing requirement. In their opening remarks during the Senate markup of their ESEA rewrite last week, both Sen. Alexander and our own Sen. Murray vigorously defended the annual testing requirement.

It will be interesting to see who prevails.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Discussions around testing have been ongoing at Hale all year. There were a series of parent meetings, and there was a legislative town hall at Hale several months ago, where concerns about the testing and SBAC were raised, as well. The Hale juniors have been very informed and engaged.

I have been a SPS parent for 10 years now, and have never opted my kids out of a standardized test until this year, when we opted out our 5th grader from the SBAC assessment. His class is scheduled for 4 half-days of SBAC, followed by the Science MSP on Friday. A full week of standardized testing. Our son will take the Science MSP.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

I'm obviously not up to speed on all things SBA, but there are two different "punishments" as I understand the law.

If opt-outs are substantial no money from the feds but if a school tests and has a high failure rate, there is more money, mandatory tutoring for students,and the option to attend a better school.

Is that right?

And @enough, aren't you a teacher? You really approve of a mob-like mentality just because it reflects your ideas?

This issue has some nuance, it has valid arguments on both sides. It's not crystal clear to me and I doubt it is to the busy students at Hale.

100% opt-out smacks of either a fun game, coercion or both.

Turtle

Anonymous said...

@Turtle:

Your name kind of says it all. The mentality from which you speak is fear-based, illogical, and intensely insulting--aka "If they don't don't what they should they will get into trouble; therefore, they didn't know what they are doing and, therefore, they were coerced."

What I see is civil disobedience in action. When the system is working against the people and the powers-that-be don't listen to the needs and wants of the people, the people are left with no choice other than to disrupt things in order to make themselves heard. And the disruption that the parents and students have take is civil and peaceful disobedience--which is quite graceful and beautiful to watch.

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

Turtle, your point about coersion is well taken.

On the other hand, what are the positive reasons for 11th graders to take this test this year? Is there any good, legitimate reason for an 11th grader to take the test this year? I haven't heard one.

Obviously, they didn't invite SWK for a rebuttal.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

Please SWK. The pawprints of Arne Duncan and his minions are all over this bill. So no, DOE doesn't get a pass. Once upon a time, there was some buffer between Dept heads with their political appointees and career civil servants. Not anymore. This bill was hashed out by both parties and lobbyists ever since education went up for sale.

reader

Anonymous said...

It's a nice political statement on the surface, but since 11th graders don't really have any skin in the game re: this year's SBAs, I'm not sure Hale's high opt-out rate means that much. It's a temporary blip, since starting next students will need it for graduation. I think it's great that so many juniors have made the sensible decision to opt out this year, but I have a hard time applauding them for doing something so "brave" and "taking a stance" when it really seems to be motivated primarily by self-interest--they don't see a point in taking a test they don't need, especially when they have lots of other exams to deal with and when many kids might not do very well on the SBA.

Half Full

Lynn said...

The only high schools that receive Title 1 funds are Cleveland, Interagency, Rainier Beach, Seattle World School and South Lake.

IF the only repercussion of opting out is the loss of Title 1 funding, why would juniors at any other high school take the tests?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Turtle, unless you are staff or a parent at Hale, you have no real way of knowing what you have stated. Hale has a tradition of being much more free thinkers and I don't have much of a problem believing the students did this on their own. Did they all do it for the same reason? I doubt it.

"Essentially, these parents are choosing to opt out of Title I, which is their right. Testing is a condition of receiving Title I dollars, like it or not. No testing, no money."

Again, this is civil disobedience. If Duncan and others cannot see that parents have their own rights over their students' education, even public education, I'd advise him to go to court.

There is a string of court cases from the Supreme Court, supporting parents rights around public education.

I note that SWK is kind of throwing a little shade there on that "No testing, no money" because it then becomes a guilt trip on parents whose kids are not at Title One schools. I note that nationally, there is also this drumbeat of "it's only white suburban parents opting out and shame on them."

Not buying it. Especially here in Seattle where the NAACP came out loudly against SBAC.

This "get tough" stance is one I have to wonder about. Is Duncan blaming teachers? parents?

There are multiple states involved here; he's going to issue a smackdown on all of them?

We'll see but setting forth an adversarial tone, right from the get go, is not the way to win over parents.

Maureen said...

Didn't Goodloe Johnson increase the Title 1 limit to 50% FRL or more? I doubt Hale is eligible for Title 1 money. Maybe the 0% average will entitle them to some tutoring funds. If so, they come out ahead in terms of money (in addition to the obvious gains in instructional time.)

Maureen said...

Ah, Lynn beat me to it!

Anonymous said...

I have not heard any reason that an 11th grader would choose to take SBAC this year. How would an 11th grader this year, benefit from spending the hours to take this exam?

-HS parent

Anonymous said...

When I read the words "civil disobedience", the boycotts I think of are table grapes, Birmingham buses, and South Africa, not standardized tests. I also think about Selma, lunch counters, Rocky Flats, baby seals, stuff like that, maybe the anti-vivisaction rally against UW's new animal lab this Saturday, but 4 days of testing...
Sure, it is very debatable,but its intended purpose, however one feels about the implementation, is noble,i.e. assure that the most vulnerable students in our country receive an education that will help them to get a fair shake in America.

Turtle

Anonymous said...

In addition to 11th grade, there is zero reason for students grade 3-8 to take the test. Zero. A lot of grade school parents are still wide-eyed about the system and afraid to buck 'authority' ......'authority' in quotes because really, why would someone look for student-first policies from downtown SPS administrators or some hack state elected (Dorn) trying to keep his job by bowing down to Federal bureaucratic mandates.

I hope parents and students in 3-8 look at what the older-wiser families in our high schools are doing and start asking some hard questions about why their kids should waste weeks, yes weeks, on test prep and test taking. It is pointless. There are other means of evaluating students. There are other means of taking a national look at how subsets of minorities and those without economic means are faring. There are other means of pushing for strong classroom standards.

SBA? SBAC? is pointless. So pointless people can't agree on the dumb acronym for the test.

Opted out

Anonymous said...

As to Turtle's claim that SBA? SBAC? is the only way to ensure that minorities and poor kids get a good education, there isn't enough allowed room in a single blog post to list the ways this is incorrect. In fact, emphasis on SBA? SBAC? takes away opportunities for these kids to thrive in classrooms.

Further, the NAEP already exists as a national test comparison. Itself controversial, at least NAEP doesn't turn every classroom upside down for weeks at a time. SBA? SBAC? doesn't even have a national reach. Some states are doing PARCC, some SBA?SBAC?, and some neither.

SBA? SBAC? = pointless.

Opted out

Anonymous said...

To quote Peter Greene from 4-21, Duncan's regrets,
"He also makes his equity point, that folks in the civil rights and disability community want their kids tested, and I've heard this from enough places that I believe it, but I still believe those folks are being hoodwinked, because 1) we don't need a test to tell us that poor urban schools need help and 2) in ten years of this testing regimen, we haven't lifted a dollar to actually help the schools that have been identified as being in trouble."

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

The Title 1 cut off was lowered (last year?) back to 40%.

I think Hale's FRL is somewhere between 30 and 40%.

My 5th grader's school, John Rogers, is a Title 1 school. Opting him out was an extremely hard decision for us to make as parents, and I know it was for other parents at the school, too.

For us, it came down to a statement against THIS test. We read some of the instructions and sample questions, and were shocked at how difficult it was to understand. Maybe it is naive to think that parent/student refusal will trigger change - either a different test, or a better written and better implemented test, but that is what I am hoping for.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Turtle, it confounds me too, but for a different reason. If standardized testing is the education panacea, then we should have it all fixed up by now given its 50 years history in American education. BTW, the marches continue on in different places now like Baltimore and Ferguson. We still have a long way to go.

reader

Greenwoody said...

swk and Turtle, what is going on here is absolutely a case of civil disobedience. Education reformers, like swk, have spent years refusing to acknowledge any of the concerns raised by parents, teachers, and students. All we hear is that everything is fine, we're just uninformed, we should just fall in line.

I have worked in government before and I can say that such an attitude is the exact opposite of how governments should respond to public concerns. But that dismissive attitude is fueling the national revolt against high stakes tests. Parents, teachers, and students have no other way to express their concerns other than to refuse the tests.

We see this all the time: The public revolts against a flawed policy that government blindly and arrogantly defends. Government tries to stamp out the revolt. We're at that stage right now - hence Arne Duncan and swk making threats to school funding.

In every case, what follows from that stage is always the same: the revolt spreads and intensifies. Repression is not going to destroy the opt-out movement. It will make it stronger than ever before.

The great irony here is that the education reformers can probably keep their tests if they would only listen to parents, teachers, and students, and make some adjustments and fixes. But they refuse to do so, and so the revolt spreads, history repeats itself.

seattle citizen said...

Opted out, the correct nomenclature: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium ensures testing through Smarter Balance Assessment Delivery, using school computers. So the acronym you're looking for is SBAC'S-SBAD. ; )

Patrick said...

I am not opposed to all standardized tests, but the last few years make me think the computerized, adaptive test is a fatally flawed concept. Schools don't have the numbers of computers that would allow those tests to be administered in a reasonable amount of time. They don't have the number of computer techs to make them work properly. Even the testing companies servers don't have the capacity to allow the tests to be taken. With enough money, it might be possible to overcome those problems, but schools everywhere are underfunded, so that would come at the expense of pressing problems.

When the test adapts it means every child is taking a slightly different test. We don't actually know if a child missed a question because of lack of understanding or a careless error or deliberately answering wrong so the test would be over sooner. So changing the test for each child means the tests are not directly comparable. That should be an equal justice issue, if the test scores are used to allow or deny services.

Anonymous said...

As a Hale Parent, I can say that we were well informed about the history of this test and Common Core. Yes, most other countries have common curriculum and common tests but what they don't have is vulture capitalist helping to set those standards. Nor do they do constant standardized testing.

I am so proud of my kid's school.

HALE YES!

HP

Anonymous said...

I agree with NNNCr, we have more than enough data about schools and what schools need the most help.

I have reviewed the SBAC's sample math test(s) and was pretty confused; and I work with complex software to analyze data; I am not sure my child can even get 50% correct. I am concerned about how the test data will be used by SPS and politicians.

Also, the District needs to move funds from central agency "pet" projects and funnel more dollars to schools. The funding models for schools need to be redone so schools don't have to fight and appeal for $$ to keep critical staff and maintain supplies.

Mid Beacon Hill SPS parent

Anonymous said...

Why do we need computer adaptive tests with such a complex badly designed interface anyway - that smells of business opportunity for companies to make money to selling an upgrade that we don't actually need and (here's the biggie) an opportunity to gather data - lots of data, that you can't gather and aggregate and combine with other sources of data when it's a paper and pencil fill in the circle test.
There is no reason why these tests- which are assessing whether students have learnt certain specific core skills, need to be computerized adaptive fancyschmancy anyway.
It would be fair and accurate to present ALL students with the SAME set of questions designed to assess whether they are proficient at these specific core skills. And that would be cheaper, simpler, less time-consuming, and a more "level playing field" (Most kids have preexisting exposure and familiarity with paper and pencils and fill in the circle - not all kids have a level of familiarity with computers that would enable them to navigate this test on a laptop without a mouse for example).
I'm not against testing our kids - I am against THIS test. It's a scam and we (and our kids) are the rubes.
Common core is fine!
Testing is fine!
Testing that is technology intensive, badly designed and implemented, inequitable, and therefore of questionable validity, that exists to build the empire of these testing, technology and data companies (Big Ed) are NOT!

Bring back paper and pencil tests

Viva Resistance! said...

Awesome! I hope other schools follow.

Get ready for the screws to get tightened....

Watching Cowards said...

With the exception of Peters and Patu, I've been waiting for Nyaland and the rest of the board to grow a spine. I'd hoped that, atleast, the board will inform parents that their 11th graders are being used for product development. I've come to the conclusion- with the exception of Peters/Patu our board have proven themselves to be a bunch of cowards.

Watching said...

swk,

Nathan Hale is not a Title 1 School and will not suffer loss of Title 1 funds.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree w/"Bring back paper and pencil tests" (PS you need a 2-word name or risk deletion)

What everyone on the Duncan/Dorn side of this argument seem to be missing is that parents aren't taking a stand against ALL standardized testing - just this particular iteration. Its a waste of time and resources - it punishes those kids who might not have as much computer skill development opportunities in their life.

Sure - use standardized tests - but realize THIS set of tests is counterproductive, and ill-designed in both content and delivery.

And I see raising the Title 1 issue as dangling the proverbial boogey-man

reader47

Anonymous said...

Patrick and Bring back, computer adaptive tests that essentially administer a different test to each student do not present "equal justice"and fairness issues, in and of themselves. If students are being assessed on the same content standards (which they are, the CCSS) and test questions in the same grade-level (or just below or above, depending upon the skills and knowledge of the student), these assessments are equitable.

Computer adaptive tests provide a more accurate determination of the score of students, especially those at the lower and upper levels of the test. In other words, fixed form tests --- those that give all students the same questions --- are more unreliable for students in the upper range of Level 4 and the lower range of Level 1 simply because there are fewer questions in those ranges. Because determining "proficiency" is of utmost importance, fixed form tests have most of the test questions clustered around the proficiency score.

A computer adaptive test can provide a high-achieving student more questions at her/his level and vice versa.

--- swk

Lynn said...

Who is going to make use of the information gleaned from these tests? Are we supposed to believe that next fall the English teachers at Nathan Hale who teach seniors were going to review the detailed score reports for each of their 150 students and adjust their lesson plans?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Watching. I am aware of the fact that NH is not a Title I school. Frankly, non-Title I schools have never been held to NCLB requirements since they cannot be sanctioned under NCLB. Only Title I schools are held to the "school improvement" requirements under NCLB.

BTW, I'm not advocating for the loss of Title I funds as punishment for not testing. I simply made a prediction of what is likely to come next.

--- swk

Watching said...


On the subject of boycotting standardized tests and Title 1 funding. You might want to read this article:

"Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School"

http://www.fairtest.org/why-you-can-boycott-testing-without-fear

Anonymous said...

Watching, Mr. Schaeffer (or whoever wrote the piece to which you linked) is significantly biased against standardized testing and supportive of opting out. He certainly does not speak for the Department of Education, any school board, or school superintendent.

His message basically is: There's a small risk here but you should definitely feel comfortable in taking that risk.

Good thing he's not responsible for any public fund, huh?

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Realizing the local NAACP has come out against the SBA, I looked up the NABSE, National alliance of Black School Educators, and they surveyed their members about the issue.

"Eighty (80%) percent of the focus group respondents felt that the CCSS would result in higher student achievement."

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDEQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nabse.org%2Fpdf%2FCCSSREPORT2014.pdf&ei=ur06VaGnLI79oQTr5oHIBg&usg=AFQjCNHORfVCRkWX_iXqtUUNSlf4rU3eLg&bvm=bv.91665533,d.cGU

Again, I'm trying to learn, but there are valid reasons for the test and this report from the NABSE represents educators on the ground.

Turtle

Anonymous said...

According to Fairtest.org,

"Third, in states without a waiver, every school must now have 100% of its students score “proficient.” As a result, almost all schools are “failing” and face possible sanctions. But if a school is already failing, there is no additional danger from a boycott.

Aren't all our schools "failing" already?

The semantics of this are absurd! Go Nathan Hale!

-Fedmomof2

Anonymous said...


My child said that both the 3rd grade Math and ELA SBA test did not appear to be adaptive. The level of difficulty of the questions did not change. It also sounded like most of the class had the same questions. This contrasts with the MAP test where the test questions do get noticeably harder.

-nh

Watching said...

"When I read the words "civil disobedience", the boycotts I think of are table grapes, Birmingham buses, and South Africa, not standardized tests. I also think about Selma, lunch counters, Rocky Flats, baby seals, stuff like that, maybe the anti-vivisaction rally against UW's new animal lab this Saturday, but 4 days of testing..."

Turtle is missing a few beats, here. The state made it a law to use our children for product development. When did it become ok for the legislature to mandate our children for product development?

The district, lawmakers, OSPI, board members and others fail to fully inform families that their children are being used for product development is beyond disturbing.

I hope the opt-out movement rages-on.

Patrick said...

@swk 'computer adaptive tests that essentially administer a different test to each student do not present "equal justice"and fairness issues, in and of themselves'

Is that just your opinion, or has that argument prevailed in court?

I know it's the theory that computer adaptive tests should give you more ability to precisely spot each student. But, does it really? The score reports don't include individual questions answered so they're not useful to plan instruction, even if a teacher had time to review 150 students' tests and revise their lesson plans accordingly. Teachers and parents who want tests to identify strengths and weaknesses have to make and grade their own tests... so why are we bothering with SBT at all?

Watching said...

My last comment. It is very interesting to follow state appropriations. Interesting to note: The state is spending $70M per year on standardized tests. It is also interesting to note that there are costs to local school districts, too. At least one school district is using levy funding to support standardized tests.

The state foist Common Core and SBA on districts without providing funding, and the state is failing to fund education. Irresponsible.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Turtle,
the 80% figure is not from the survey. In fact only one third of their membership took part in the survey representing 34 states.

The 80% number comes from 'focus groups' their advocacy committee created.

I'll take that with a pinch of salt

Anonymous said...

Turtle: One can be OK with the bulk of Common Core standards while declaring the test a disaster. Many of us feel that way.

Many of us are also resentful that Pearson will use the 'failures' on the SBA to market new materials and tutoring for raising test scores. You don't need Common Core level analytic skills to see the direct connection to big corporation moneymaking on the backs of our most vulnerable students. This, while we struggle with basic classroom supplies let alone enrichment activities.

Educator + Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Opted Out, I did call the SBAC group. They call the test "SBAC."

Greenwoody, what I find amusing is that the ed reform crowd thinks they own the term "civil rights." How come it's okay for them to wrap themselves in that mantle but pooh-pooh that others might be opting out as a form of civil disobedience? Hmm.

Patrick, your point on computerized test is right on. That whole states had to shut down their testing supports that statement and mine about not counting the scores this year. How fair is it to either teachers or students for something out of their control and yet it shakes up the whole cycle of testing?

Reader 47 also makes a great point because I read - over and over - ed reformers decrying parents who "hate testing" or want to "abolish" all testing. It's just NOT true. It's this test in this form.

I will also say what I tweeted to Dorn's latest statement (which I'll put in another thread) - to say that without testing families and schools won't know how their students are doing is completely ludicrous.

It was done for decades before computers.

Teachers are trained professionals and I'll bet - on any given day past 3-4 months in school - a teacher can tell you, with great accuracy, how each student is doing.

In fact, I wish someone would do at study like that comparing test scores to teacher assessments of students.

Testing can help. Test scores are ONE data point and yet it's like we're falling off the earth without those scores.

So, as Jesse Hagopian says, more than a score, no?

Anonymous said...

SWK argues don't get accuracy at higher and lower score ranges without the adaptive technology but why does this matter for this test anyway.
The test is testing proficiency - that is what the schools/ district is being judged on.
And really that is what this test is for- to judge how well the schools/teachers are doing, not how well our kids are doing. Teachers know how well our kids are doing, they do assessments throughout the year, they don't need (and won't get the SBAC) results to guide their classroom teaching.
The nuance at higher/lower ranges would be fine to have if teacher were actually going to see each kids individual test score and break down of questions and their strengths and weaknesses and be able to differentiate their teaching for the rest of the year based on that…… but clearly this is not going to happen in the last 6 weeks of school. As it stands the benefits of this adaptivity are lost on our kids - but perhaps it will give the testing company some great data to crunch and sell.

Paper and pencil

Anonymous said...

Here's what people want, and deserve in standardized testing:

1) LIMITED (as in, TIME Limited) annual testing. 3 hour maximum standardized testing in high school. 1 hour maxium standardized testing in elementary.

2) Immediate results that don't rely on $11/hour flunkies for grading. Why should a Walmart style employee be responsible for anything related to student learning? Why should we pay for that? We shouldn't. ITBS was fine. SAT is fine. Multiple choice that the computer grades isn't perfect - but it's way beyond our current system. Leave our teachers to grade the writing. We don't need standardized writing anyway.

3) No punitive measure. Not for students. Not for teachers. Not for districts.

Opt IN, not out. Voluntary tests. Report on all subgroups. Done. DONE!

What would possibly be a better measure of a school's success - than great scores on tests freely taken by most of the school's students.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...

Above points by Paper and Pencil and Reality Check FTW!

This thread's readers need to check out the latest scandal within SPS in the blog's next thread. English Language Learners so ill-served that the entire program must be up-ended. Oh, and the district didn't test more than 1000 kids for language skills that they were supposed to have tested. So now that has to happen yet this year during the SBAC. The district says Oops! Apologies! So sorry!

Looks like our ELL kids, who are supposed to fail the SBAC in droves if you go by the consortium's predictions, will also be missing another day for language testing. And their enrollment status at any particular school for next year seems up in the air.

But, yeah, Corp Ed Reform and the SBAC will fix SPS dysfunctionality. Not even.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

A computer adaptive test can provide a high-achieving student more questions at her/his level and vice versa.


Really swk. Who could possibly care? I have never met a high performing students who gave any hoot at all about the state mandated test - "getting" it right or "spotting" where they were in a test scoring range... that matters not one whit. Sounds like a lot of effort on the part of the test creator, and testing infrastructure, for no good reason at all. All that machinery costs - notice any machines crashing?

But finally SWK did say something intelligent though. There are consequences for opting out. In mass numbers. It's a protest. But right. Only when people with skin in the "opt out" game, can it really be considered a protest. This year's 11th graders are giving up nothing. So it isn't really that much of a protest. Some, but not much. When Title 1 schools opt out... that will be a huge statement. Let's hope they do it. Title 1 funds in no way comes close to paying for the testing machine's costs. The computers, the staff, the prep, the time. We have poor schools that can't even afford the computers they need to test. "Please give us more money - so we can hand it over to Pearson's" Right. And finally, when NEXT year's students opt out - with a diploma on the line (or this year's 10th graders) THEN it will really be a statement. Don't worry SWK - your party is over. That day is coming soon. People are very displeased.

Anonymous said...

Sign me,

Reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader (and everyone else) - the powers that be MUST nip this opting out in the bud. Because it will only get larger. And, for states like ours in their first year, well wait for those test scores to hit home.

The point, of course, for parents is how one year their child appears to be doing well and the next year, near failing. That would send any parent in a spin and all the reassurances won't help.

That the regional NAACP has come out against SBAC, well, that REALLY has to be nipped in the bud. And hence, the super secret, by invite only, event on Monday at the African American Museum put on by CPPS and the Equity in Education Coalition. (And maybe CC as its logo appears at CPPS.)

Now just recently, that meeting has been opened it but it was not at CPPS' website for quite awhile.

Because if parents of color get involved, you'll probably see those opt out numbers rise. And, for the powers that be, that - just - can't - happen.

Unfortunately, those test scores will come out and make a lot of parents - across all socio-economic and racial groups - take notice and consider their options.

Does Duncan really want to lower the hammer on states as an presidential election comes up?

Anonymous said...

This morning my principal told me that parent opt-outs plus student refusals amounted to 80% at Ingraham. Okay, it's not 100%, but still . . .

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Well this is fun. I typed SBAC into Google News just now and what is the top story? King 5's report on Nathan Hale's 100 percent Opt Out. More than 130 public comments after and maybe 5 were not congratulatory. The applause comes from people all over the country.

The article quotes the district as saying there are 2 more days of testing next week and then the district will speak to the opt out numbers------don't know what that means exactly, probably they are trying not to add tinder to the fire of refusals.

Also, re: David Edelman: 80 percent is impressive. Very impressive.

Opted out

And here is the King 5 story link. Opt outers like me will love reading the public comments. Seattle is not alone.

Anonymous said...

Reader, what party? Just like high school all over again. There was a party and I wasn't invited.

TGIF.

--- swk

cmj said...

I support the opt-outs that are happening right now with the Common Core assessments -- and I'm a person who generally supports standardized testing. Like Reality Check, I'll list the things that I'd like to see in standardized tests.

1. Short tests. It takes less than four hours to take the SAT. State tests should not take any longer.

2. Test results should be given to students by the end of the school year. If the tests show that they need to study, summer's a good time to do it.

3. The test should be reliable and the results meaningful.

4. Avoid computer tests. Adaptive assessment are great for placement tests. However, requiring every student to take a computerized test is a logistical nightmare.
- Not enough computers means either buying computers just for testing and booking computer labs for weeks. This is an equity issue because some students rely on school computers to do their homework.
- Internet connectivity issues.
- Software that is relatively untested being used by millions of students. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?
- Some kids aren't familiar enough with computers for their test results to accurately reflect their learning. Imagine if you had to take a test with your non-dominant hand. Even if you were only bubbling in answers and the test was untimed, you'd probably be too frustrated by your week, untrained, and sore hand muscles by the end of the test to think straight.

5. Minimal risk of students having to retake the test because something went wrong during test administration.

6. Test should be inexpensive.

7. Test is accurate. It should not rely heavily on short essay questions graded by a relatively subjective grader earning barely more than minimum wage.

Anonymous said...

cmj, FYI, some of your criteria conflict with each other.

--- swk

cmj said...

@swk, which criteria conflict with each other?

Ellensburg News said...

50% of 5th graders in Ellensburg opted-out.

Anonymous said...

Thornton Creek has about 75% opt out for 3-5th grade!

-elementary

Anonymous said...

Have third grade families who DID take it been informed when or how they will receive their student's results?

3rd gr mom

Anonymous said...

So in my kid's middle school the schedule for testing is M-Th of each week, focussed on one class (6th, 7th, 8th) per week. The rest of the students have a modified schedule with a brief 1st period, a 2 hour block where they will work on "packets" provided by their teachers, 4th period/lunch, and a 2-hour afternoon block to work on more packets. Fridays they have a regular schedule. So but for Fridays and 4th period, they have 3 weeks of either test-taking or a block period to work on packets....no direct instruction.

What the heck? Is this happening everywhere? This is prime learning time--early Spring--and we seem to be losing 3 weeks of instruction. I am dumbfounded. I cannot see how this will improve outcomes.

Whaaaaa???

n said...

swk - there are always consequences to acts of civil disobedience and most of us know that. That's why I applaud the forethought, organization and courage of those who performed this mini-rebellion. For heaven's sake, it is just a test. And I want to reinforce that Hale doesn't need Title 1 funds. And if they did, they might still rebel. And such a decision would their right as well. Really. What a frightful and judgmental set of responses for something Jefferson himself would probably celebrate. Civil disobedience. I wish more of us were brave enough to do it more often.

Anonymous said...

Whaaaaaa? It's a lot more than 3 weeks. There's all the test prep and editor instruction, multiplied by every grade. Then there's make UPS, do overs, the slow testers. 2 months minimum. K-8s are more.

Been There

Anonymous said...

Are there any homeschooling parents that can suggest how to go about ITBS testing, without the expense of going through an approved psychologist? We'd like to opt out of SBAC, and simply have our child take the ITBS. We don't need the scores for AL.

ITBS?

Anonymous said...


3rd gr mom, our school said that they estimate 3 week turn around time for scores. That seems fast and makes you wonder how the written portion will be graded. Actually, that may not matter much because teachers on the Diane Ravitch blog have reported that they don't know how to answer some of the multiple choice questions. Basically the whole thing is meaningless and been a complete waste of time. Before I forget, the school also said the scores will be available on the source and 3rd graders that score 1 on the ELA portion will have a conference before school ends.

-nh

Anonymous said...

We sure are setting the bar low for what constitutes courage and bravery these days.

--- swk

lemon said...

Is there any validity to the "monetary consequences" Superintendent Dorn lists in yesterdays statement? Washington was already placed on high-risk status on August 14, 2013 and has since lost its waiver.

http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/pressreleases2015/TestRefusal.aspx

Anonymous said...

No swk, being a corporate shill is the low bar. Or, being duped by ed reformers and/or corporate interests into believing in testing of this type and extent, without the ability to listen to feedback of customers and constituents - is the low bar. Holding up an unreasonable standard, poorly conceived and articulated, and then attempting to shame children, families, and teachers when they don't meet that fabricated standard - is the low bar. Pretending to care about disenfranchised students and families, while hiding yourselves in exclusive private schools and enterprises - is the low bar.

Opting out, without much to lose, might not be monumental, but it is unprecedented, especially given that our kids have accepted 100s of standardized tests.

Reality Check

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thank you for those opt-out updates especially from Ellensburg. I had been trying to find out what was happening in other parts of the state.

Lemon, as I have stated in other threads, it seems more and more clear that the powers that be HAVE to stop this opting out. The states themselves - unless they already have something legally in place - probably cannot do anything. BUT Duncan can via NCLB.

But to what end? Withhold funds for poor children? Withhold funds for ELL children? Withhold funds from Special Ed kids?

That will look punitive beyond measure.

Now he could try to single out a couple of "worst offender" states and use them as an example (see NY and NJ) but again, that may look very punitive.

Duncan may have to find some lesser way to punish states or this could have political repercussions that the Obama administration (and Dems) will not like.

It's quite the standoff and you have to wonder who will blink.

"We sure are setting the bar low for what constitutes courage and bravery these days."

SWK, it is a fundamental right (if not a courageous one by your measure) to stand up for what you believe in our country. This is EXACTLY what Washington and Jefferson and all our Founding Fathers did. They asked the powers that be (in this case, King George) to listen to their concerns and he could not be bothered. And, in fact, he was dismissive.

So they rose up.

As well, it DOES take courage for a young person (a junior) to stand up to a principal or teacher and say no, not taking the test.

It does take courage for a parent to tell a teacher their child isn't taking a test, knowing it could upset or anger the teacher. Every single one of us with a child in school has - at one time or another - wrestled with something we might say to a teacher for fear that it might upset that teacher and color their attitude towards our child.

It particularly takes courage for a parent or student to say they are taking this course of action out loud to others. As someone who stood up to be counted long ago, I can tell you that people won't hesitate to tell you what they think of you and your actions.

It also takes courage for a teacher or principal to say to a parent or student, "you have to make your own best choice" and not try to shame or coerce the parent or student into taking the test.

Our country was built on people standing up for a belief and while opting out of testing may be a small belief, it still counts.

Anonymous said...

No more business as usual, when the business is morally bankrupt.

-NNNCr

lemon said...

Thank you, Melissa. We've opted out and that won't be changing. Be interesting to see what happens next.

Watching said...

swk, I appreciate your concern regarding Title 1 dollars. The state has mandated that thousands of students be used for product development. In your view: What parental and student action is appropriate?

Let's not forget: These kids are stressed with college visits, college entrance exams, plethora of final exams etc. and they have already taken state graduation requirements.

We're looking at coercion. It seems that using children and the poor are becoming increasingly popular.

Watching said...

swk,

My above comment was in relation to 11th grade students.

Anonymous said...

From the OSPI press release: "The decision to refuse testing doesn’t just affect the individual student. It affects students across the state. 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."

So, is anyone already doing a change.org petition or the like? If so, Melissa would you mind putting it in a new thread?

Totally agree with Melissa, it is not easy to opt out.

-Doubting

Anonymous said...

Don't compare opting-out to committing treason, which is what Jefferson and the "fathers" did in 1776. Death by hanging was their end if things didn't turn out well.

Eagle

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, the Founding Fathers pledged their "sacred honor" to what they were doing so they well knew the consequences. And, as we all know, they fought a war over it.

That's how we got here today - a lot of people standing up for a common belief.

Anonymous said...

@swk:

Geez. Commenting that it doesn't take courage to opt-out shows how disconnected you are from the reality of today's parents and student. Not only is it courageous to stand up to the powers-that-be for something you believe in, it is doubly so in this current educational climate, which is infused with fear that one wrong move will result in a life of failure. I (as a former educator) know that the "life of failure" part isn't true, but this is the current environment. Parents and students and teachers will to take the risks to opt out or not give the test are extraordinarily brave.

Also, to everyone, including Turtle, who dismisses this situation as unworthy of civil disobedience: Since when are there set guidelines of acceptability for what does and does not constitute civil disobedience? Protesting unfair labor practices is "in", but protesting unfair educational practices is "out"? That doesn't make sense. Standing up to those who hold power is civil disobedience, period.

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

Melissa, in regard to the NHHS juniors, it took very little courage or bravery to collectively opt out of the test.

They knew from the Senate vote and the letters from their principal that the school was in support of the opt out, i.e., they were unlikely to face an angry principal and/or teacher.

There were zero negative consequences and no costs to them to opt out.

They were nearly universally praised in the media and by their parents for opting out.

How again is it brave to take an action that would cost them nothing and garner them fawning praise?

Please, let's not compare them to signers of the Declaration of Independence, who knew they were very likely signing their own death warrants.

They might be commended from standing up in something which they believed in and following that up with action. But let's hold off on calling them courageous and brave.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

North End Parent, I am the parent of two teenagers. Check your assumptions.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Also, civil disobedience is not what the Founding Fathers did. What the Founding Fathers did was an act of war and they knew it. Civil disobedience is also known as "non-violent resistance."

Civil disobedience is a tool used by citizens in all sorts of settings to protest against those with more power than they--usually against government or those who govern a part of their world. Refusing to take what they see as an unfair test is absolutely civil disobedience. Just because the students aren't at gunpoint doesn't mean they are not taking part in civil disobedience or that it isn't a brave act.

North End Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

You know for certain there were "zero negative consequences." You know this for a fact? I don't think that's possible.

You do not know they were "nearly universally praised" by their parents - there's no way you know that.

seattle citizen said...

swk, for...over a year now, you have intent on selling CCSS and SBAC on this blog. While it is clear you have some sort of "reform" connection, and might even be a paid commenter (yes, sadly these exist) marketing SBAC, you are crossing over the line in demeaning these opting out students as uncouageous and playing the heavy with the doom and gloom about "serious consequences." These are good people, parents and students, following their consciences. Whether you agree or disagree, at least applaud their activism.
The "party" of reform excess is indeed over. Put away your dark reminders of the Power of the DOE and relax. It's over, "reform" has lost on this one.

Anonymous said...

@swk:

Actually, I assumed that you have some sort of personal connection to the SPS system based on your comments. What I was saying is that you seem disconnected from how many others are experiencing the SPS system and the overall education environment as it currently is.

It is a scary environment right now for parents and children (in terms of perceived consequences of anything they do) and high stakes testing isn't helping things. My perspective is that, given the fear I perceive out there, it absolutely takes courage to opt-out of these tests.

North End Parent

Po3 said...

SKW-

You are missing the bigger picture. Hale's opt out is not about courage, bravery, civil disobedience or consequences.

It's about contributing to the national conversation about Common Core testing.

Thanks to Hale 11th graders Seattle has now joined and contributed to this conversation.

Last I checked, we are a democracy. Imposing harsh punishments on schools for opting out seems very dictatorial.

So maybe it is time for the Feds to consider that maybe the massive national opt out is a no vote for SBAC/PARCC testing.

Anonymous said...

seattle citizen, if you read carefully, you will find that I have not demeaned the students. In fact, I actually suggested that they should be commended for taking responsibility for their beliefs.

If I'm demeaning anyone (and I don't think I am), I'm demeaning the adults here who are crossing the line in overzealously praising the students' courage and bravery.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Po3, I agree with you regarding the point and implications of the action of the NHHS opt out.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

The kids at NHS are refusing a request, but as there are no consequences for the individual students, it doesn't really qualify as civil disobedience. Any more than putting a recyclable cup in the landfill container, or not busing your trays at Red Mill.But I applaud them for taking the time to learn about the issue. It sounds like they have a great school, although I've seen two articles in their paper about lack of rigor for kids who want it, but at same time, the authors go out of their way to commend the inclusive atmosphere at Hale.


Anyways,a good article on demonizing Common Core supporters from Newsweek:

http://www.newsday.com/opinion/columnists/lane-filler/where-the-opt-out-argument-goes-wrong-1.10310189?obref=obinsite

People do have good intentions sometimes.

Julie

Watching said...

swk,

Perhaps you didn't see my question. Reposting:

1. I appreciate your concern regarding Title 1 dollars. The state has mandated that thousands of students be used for product development. In your view: What parental and student action is appropriate?

Anonymous said...

@ Watching, can you please clarify what you're talking about when you keep saying that students will be used for product development? You don't mean the State Ed Board using 11th grade scores to help determine appropriate graduation threshold scores for next year's testing, do you? That's not a product development issue--it's a matter of the state figuring out how they want to use the existing product.

Or is your point that you don't think the SBA is ready for prime time and think it needs more pilot testing--but on other kids, just not ours?

Half Full

cmj said...

I have to agree with Julie and swk that we are exaggerating the courage that it takes for high school students to opt out. They're taking a stand, but let's not compare them to revolutionaries.

Does it take courage to opt out in the belief that it is harming their education when JSCEE (and possibly their teachers or principals, who control their grades) is condescendingly informing them that they're hurting themselves and other students by opting out? Yes. But, when compared to American revolutionaries or MLK, the students have little to lose from expressing their disgust with the current law by opting out. I don't think that they're committing civil disobedience, since they're not breaking any laws by opting out. They certainly can't be jailed or fined for opting out. Right now, it doesn't seem like they're facing much in the way of consequences for opting out, except for a few nasty letters from Nyland and perhaps the ire of some teachers. Are those intimidating for some 11th graders? Yes, but less so that the prospect of being arrested during a sit-in.

We may see the students who opt out this year facing greater consequences for opting out this year. Perhaps Nyland will pull certain funds from schools with large opt-out numbers. I certainly hope not, and I don't know if he even has that power.

The teachers (like Jesse Hagopian) that speak out against the tests are facing huge consequences for doing so. Because they can be terminated for "insubordination," their jobs are possibly at stake here.

Anonymous said...

Jesse Hagopian has courage. Who could doubt that? Even SWK must admit it. Our 11th graders are supporting him, validating him. He isn't alone. He's standing for students who are standing with him. That is the act and the message.

Reader

Anonymous said...

Right Half Full. Students who aren't facing missed graduation - should get to test drive SBAC. It should be voluntary. Now and forever. Nobody would mind it, if that were the case... and if it were about 1/3 the length. The SBAC ELA is about 8 hours. And, first day out of the box, it's a graduation requirement. Suddenly and without warning. The entire MCAT and/or LSAT is about 4. Why should our high school students have to take tests that are 4X longer than tests for medical school?

?????? Who can defend this crap?

10th grade parent

Anonymous said...

We have had standards & standards based assessments for years. My kids took DRR, ITBS, WASL, MSP,& HSPE

Many hours of testing that substituted for time spent learning. The problem I see with SBAC is the same as the problem with the other tests. It does not inform or change instruction for individual students.

So what happens if you fail the SBAC? Do you get an 8 period day with small remedial classes that teach the standards individual students are missing? night school or summer school opportunities? Do students retake classes that move more slowly & replace failing grades? How about seminars that provide extra period of instruction during school to march with a required class. Fifth & sixth year of high school? Appropriate SDI from highly qualified special ed teachers in a least restrictive environment.

Nope, you just fail.

If it won't happen, why should we spend time on the test?

-Unconvinced

Anonymous said...

It seems to me like the opt out movement serves as an avenue where frustrated families can express their overall dissatisfaction with public education. In this way, opt out represents so much more than just testing. Additional testing wouldn't be a problem if it were met with additional teachers, classes, funding, opportunities, rigor, inspiration. You fight with what you have available. Classic civil disobedience. It is to the shame of the leadership at all levels that it got to this point in the first place.
I recently had a conversation with two friends who immigrated from Africa 10 years ago and have children in SPS. Their comment, "What is wrong with the school system here? Hard work, talent, and family commitment doesn't translate into increased opportunities? The children are not challenged." I hope the movement continues because it is one of the only ways families (particularly families with limited time/money/political know-how) can get involved and make their voice known.

South parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

"What the Founding Fathers did was an act of war and they knew it."

Yes, but before they went that route, they DID try to talk to the King about their issues. Then the Boston Tea Party. Then the Revolutionary War.

A journey starts with a single step. Helping kids know what taking a stand looks like - especially one that is high profile but yes, will not have a direct consequence (except the possible anger of teachers/principal which is no small thing).

That can inspire in youth the (real) courage to move on to bigger issues.

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa -
Are you suggesting there were intermediate steps that need to be taken before opting out? I have elementary children and am involved with the SBAC on a peripheral level this year (Although I have opted out of MAP, for the reason that my HCC kid scored low on it and his teacher can't seem to see him through any other lens than his MAP score).
Back to the intermediate steps. It seems that research is the language spoken by the decision-makers. There are many kinds of research with a wide variety of results. But there seems to be a closed circle between certain kinds of research, attracting federal dollars, and subsequent "products/tests/consulting." Without quantitative research (extremely limited in it's own right), it seems like families and students have no voice?

South parent

Anonymous said...

I am a school administrator in another district (used to be in Seattle) who is in charge of my building's testing programs.

I sit in a weird position, because personally, I find the SBA to be a horrible and inappropriate test, but professionally, I am required to administer it. I have been instructed by my district that I am to have an individual conversation with any parent or student that refuses the SBA and tell them about all the "positives" in taking it. The list they gave me is laughable, and every time I have to go through it with someone, I want to vomit. I hold to the letter of what I have been instructed to do, but I can't and won't put much effort into it.

I can say with total confidence that even though I think I'm very friendly and approachable, a great many students find me very intimidating just because of my title. They simply can't get past the fact that I'm an administrator and see the person underneath. Some have long histories of discipline and simply assume that they're getting yelled at.

Any student who stands up and tells me "no, I won't take that test," is committing an act of bravery--and for some it is an extreme act of bravery. They have no idea what I am going to say back to them, what repercussions they might face. They don't know that I'll only do and say exactly what I've been instructed that I have to and then let the matter drop.

Why then, do we have some that pooh-pooh their bravery by saying it's not at the same "level" of civil disobedience as MLK or the Founding Fathers? As friendly as I am, standing up to me is one of the hardest things a student their age could ever be asked to do.

Bravery is bravery. Don't minimize their courage and the importance of their stand. Their lives may not be on the line, but proportional for their age, this is a massive stand for them to take.

We tell our students all the time that change starts somewhere. We quote Ghandi, telling them to, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." How dare anyone not recognize them for choosing a cause and taking a stand, or saying that their stand is not worthy when to do so takes so much courage?

--Unwilling Administrator

Anonymous said...

Unwilling admin, grow a pair. Seriously. Nobody can hurt you. Right now is always the right time to do the right thing. You don't need to follow a script for testniks. If you want to vomit because of what you're saying, you are betraying your own body and conscious. Give em a high five, and buy em an ice cream cone. Maybe more will follow suit.

Empl

Anonymous said...

Unwilling Administrator,

Thank you for your perspective.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

Ok...but those same students didn't opt out of the EOCs or other tests when they were graduation requirements. They can now opt out of the SBAC because they took those other tests. I am glad high school students are taking some action by opting out, but let's keep it in perspective.

-parent

Anonymous said...

SWK,
You mentioned that you are the parent of two teenagers. Are they in public or private school?

-curious

Watching said...

I am noticing that swk has not answered my question.

I have one more question for swk- Are you a paid commenter?

Half full- SBA is an ongoing process to determine validity/reliability and it began last year. This year, the state mandated that our 11th grade students be used to help determine cut scores and these scores will help establish placement within our higher education systems. One could argue whether or not our children are being used for "product" development and/or used to determine validity and reliability. Either way, our children are being used and SBAC consortium stands to make MILLIONS of dollars. Our children have been used.

I also note- there are attempts to weave SBA DEEP within the fabric of our state's educational system. The consortium must be very pleased.

Anonymous said...

How is this any different than the rollout of the WASL or MSP, in terms if setting cut scores? Your students were also "used" in norming data on NWEA MAP tests. Would you prefer they determine cut scores in the absence of actual test data??

I am very skeptical of the value of the SBAC based on the time it requires to administer, and I think they should just drop the performance task portion, but no matter the test, you need to have some data to set cut scores.

-devil's advocate

Watching said...

Devil's advocate,

11th graders don't need SBAC to graduate. Yes, our children are being used.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am all for a spirited discussion but not for trying to seemingly attack a commenter.

It's actually no one's business if someone has a child in public or private school. I'm on record as saying parents should do what they feel is best for their own child.

As well, there are NO paid anythings on this blog. If there were, I'd be first.

South, you asked me this:
"Are you suggesting there were intermediate steps that need to be taken before opting out?"

No, I didn't. I'm not sure how you got that but it's not what I meant. I think any parent considering opting their child out would be wise to do due diligence about their test and ramifications for opting out.

Lynn said...

It's terribly important to get SBAC scores for our 11th grade students. Otherwise the time and money spent on the 'free' SATs they just took will be wasted.

From the SBAC Comprehensive Research Agenda:

Other validity evidence that is based on test content and that will be used in the validity argument for the college and career readiness determination includes content overlap (alignment) studies that will be done to gauge the similarity of knowledge and skills measured across the summative assessments and external assessments that are used to evaluate the readiness standards. Postsecondary admissions tests (e.g., ACT, SAT) and college placement tests (e.g., ACCUPLACER, AP, Compass) will be used in concurrent and predictive validity studies, and so the overlap of skills measured must be documented to properly interpret the results. The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) recently began a program of research in this area to set college and career benchmarks on the grade 12 NAEP assessments. Its research agenda began with comprehensive alignment studies that evaluated the overlap of NAEP and external assessments (Loomis, 2011; NAGB, 2010).

Anonymous said...

Some of us opted out from this madness of testing from the very beginning by going to private schools. Fortunately or unfortunately, my youngest wanted to go to public school for high school. I opted my kid out of every test I could, the SBAC included. My kid has only taken the tests required for graduation. My older kid went to private high school and didn't have to take any of these tests. My younger kid is getting a good education at Hale but I am not happy about all the testing occurring in public schools.

HP

SBAC Practice said...

A north-end middle school has missed 5 periods of instructional time due to SBAC practice exams.

seattle citizen said...

Melissa, unfortunately any one of us could be paid for commenting. It's increasingly common for companies to pay for tweets, fb posts, blog comments...they're looking to monetize these platforms to advertise or steer public opinion. In fact, I might have read that Pearson or some CCSS group was doing that, paying blog commenters. Need to do some research on that one...

dw said...

I am all for a spirited discussion but not for trying to seemingly attack a commenter.

It's actually no one's business if someone has a child in public or private school.


I'm very much against personal attacks - and 100% against anything that resembles "outing" someone here on the blog, but I didn't feel like curious' question was either. If swk wants to answer, they can, if not, no biggie. If this question was asked repeatedly or in an intimidating way, that would be a different story.

As well, there are NO paid anythings on this blog. If there were, I'd be first.

Watching and seattle citizen both asked this question, and I think you may be misunderstanding.

In the world of social media, especially on influential blogs such as this one, it is becoming more and more common for organizations to pay individuals to post comments that are favorable to their cause. It's a sad reality of the world of 2015.

Given the nature of swk's posts, I don't think this is an unreasonable question. Of course I have no idea why anyone would think that a paid commenter would answer such a question honestly, but who knows?

I also hope (paid or not) that swk doesn't leave, and continues to post here. Understanding the mindset of people you disagree with is both enlightening and helpful, on both sides of any issue. swk is well connected, has access to a lot of information, and is willing to take the time to share it here. I may disagree with swk's overall mindset/goals, but I appreciate the information in their comments.

dw said...

Opted out said: Well this is fun. I typed SBAC into Google News just now and what is the top story? King 5's report on Nathan Hale's 100 percent Opt Out. More than 130 public comments after and maybe 5 were not congratulatory. The applause comes from people all over the country.

A quick FYI: It may feel like this is big, national news when it shows up as G's top news story, but it's actually the result of biased curation.

Datamining companies like G build what appear to be generic Top News pages, but what they're actually presenting are news stories that they predict YOU will be interested in, based on YOUR habits, stories YOU read, topics YOU search for, where YOU live, and what your friends read and search for as well. It's more about what they know about you, personally, than general interest.

There are some benefits to this type of personal curation, but the days of seeing an unbiased picture of what constitutes top news stories of national or global interest are quickly disappearing. The power to shape public opinion over what is and is not of great interest is more and more in the hands of very powerful datamining companies.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh Seattle Citizen, I hadn't thought about your idea. Hmm.

I,too, appreciate SWK's insights even if I do not always agree.

Anonymous said...

Unwilling Administrator:

Thank you for your comments. I agree wholeheartedly. You bring up an important point that some others here are missing: there is a major power differential here. To stand up to that power, especially as a teenager, is quite brave.

You make the point eloquently here: "Any student who stands up and tells me "no, I won't take that test," is committing an act of bravery--and for some it is an extreme act of bravery. They have no idea what I am going to say back to them, what repercussions they might face. They don't know that I'll only do and say exactly what I've been instructed that I have to and then let the matter drop.

Why then, do we have some that pooh-pooh their bravery by saying it's not at the same "level" of civil disobedience as MLK or the Founding Fathers? As friendly as I am, standing up to me is one of the hardest things a student their age could ever be asked to do."

Also, Melissa: I agree you about civil disobedience and the Founding Fathers's initial actions. What I was responding to was the concept put forth by @swk that the students somehow aren't engaging in civil disobedience because it isn't Declaration of Independence caliber.

North End Parent

Watching said...

What Seattle Citizen said. It was never my intention to attack.

SBAC will be making millions of dollars and 11th graders are being used.

I will be exiting this conversation.

Anonymous said...

Dearest commentator "Empl",

I am quite comfortable with the size and configuration of my gonads and do not feel the need to "grow a pair." I am confident that I function quite adequately in my professional capacity with the set and style of gonads I was born with.

Thank you for your opinion on how I can be more effective in my job. I will give it consideration in proportion to the amount I paid for your advice.

Have a good weekend.

--Unwilling Administrator.

seattle citizen said...

Unwilling Admin nailed it on the "bravery" - No, it's not risking life and limb, but for a student and/or parent to say "no" to an admin sometimes DOES take great bravery. The more privileges we are, perhaps, the more used to and comfortable with telling people no without repercussion, the less we might see it as bravery.
UA, so glad you are comfortable with....oh, never mind! ; )

seattle citizen said...

Oh, I'm glad swk is around to give her/his perspectives as well, even though I disagree with most. Not saying swk works for Gates or Walton, not saying he/she paid by the column inch, who knows. I have my opinion but it is no matter :)

Anonymous said...

Federal law just requires testing once in high school. If Nathan Hale 10th graders tested, where is the violation of ESEA?

It's Washington State, not federal law, that is insisting both 10th and 11th graders to be tested.

Question for feds is: Does the 95 percent apply to all kids the state decided to assess, or 95 percent of a single class required under law?

-Ramona Hattendorf

Anonymous said...


Is anyone going to the CPPS event tonight?

I'd be curious to hear if they explain why Common Core standards and it's assessments are just for public schools. Why not private schools? This just seems so wrong.

-nh

Lynn said...

Ramona,

10th graders were only given the ELA exam. Those that have not yet passed an algebra or geometry EOC will take that, but many take no standardized math tests this year.

Anonymous said...

@nh:

I think the issue is that private schools can choose whether or not to use the CC curriculum and the accompanying testing. Public schools are required to use them. I have a friend who teaches at a private school here in Seattle. She says they use a modified version of the CC curriculum but not the testing, which they consider to be horrible.

North End Parent

Anonymous said...

Woah, I took Saturday night and Sunday off from commenting on this thread/blog and things go sideways. (Some might think I was business infiltrating other blogs, etc.)

Let's get a few things straight: (1) Where my children go to school is no one's business but my family's. Frankly, I've always found it a little bit repugnant when people bring other people's children into a debate. For a long time, other people's children were off-limits in the media and elsewhere. They're apparently fair game nowadays. Turns my stomach, though.

(2) No, I'm not a paid commenter. In fact, my employer would be quite unhappy with me. What I do find interesting, though, is that certain people think it's a reasonable assumption to make. I guess anyone who disagrees with the prevailing beliefs on this blog about standards, testing, etc. must have nefarious motives. No one who supports legitimate uses of tests could possibly care about the welfare of students. It creates quite the cognitive dissonance to think testing proponents could be something other than demons, profiteers, and/or "deformers."

(3) Finally, if you go back and read my posts over the past few years, you will find that I've made little attempt to persuade anyone of any particular point of view regarding standards, testing, etc. As I've openly stated, I have attempted (and sometimes failed) to objectively share the information that I have, to counter false information/assumptions about testing, etc., and expand the conversation/debate outside of the echo chamber so that parents, et al who come here to learn have ALL of the information they may need to make informed decisions.

--- swk

Watching said...


I'd only asked swk if he were a paid commenter. No assertions were made.

I've had the same question as Ramona

"Question for feds is: Does the 95 percent apply to all kids the state decided to assess, or 95 percent of a single class required under law? "

Anonymous said...

Watching, reliability, validity, and cut scores for the grades 3-8 and 11 SBAC ELA and math assessments have already been determined.

I do not know from where these misconceptions come but they keep getting shared on this blog and elsewhere.

Yes, the State Board of Education will be setting the cut scores for high school graduation purposes but they're not using 11th graders to do so. They'll be using the results of the 10th graders.

Finally, SBAC will not, in fact, be making millions. SBAC is a consortium of states, a non-profit, and comprised of a skeleton staff. It is run by state departments of education. This is another frequent misconception.

OSPI has contracted with AIR (and their subcontractors) to administer the SBAC assessments. AIR is the testing company. SBAC is not a testing company.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

swk, how and when will third grade results -- who took the tests first in order to allow time for parent conferences -- be delivered from AIR to the school level, and to parents? At our large elementary, third graders finished the testing on April 10th.

Results?

Anonymous said...

Ramona, NCLB requires that 95% of all students, including 95% of each designed subgroup of students, excluding any who are exempted from testing, be tested in both reading and math in each grade 3-8 and once in high school EACH YEAR.

Washington has determined, starting this school year, that 11th grade is now the NCLB accountability grade for the "once in high school" year. Therefore, AYP will be based on results of 11th graders in 2014-15, not students in the class of 2016. OSPI can't use their results from last year (when they were in 10th grade) because the test was based on different standards with different cut scores.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Results?, I don't know the answers to your questions. Sorry.

If you're in SPS, you could call the district assessment office.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Why belittle 11th graders as without "courage and bravery" because opting out will have "zero negative consequences and no costs to them." High school juniors are constantly told to knuckle under and do things solely because not doing so will narrow their college choices: take as many AP classes as you can, get good grades in those classes, take AP tests for each class, take the SAT or ACT multiple times and invest in time and money to prep for those tests, make sure that your teachers like you so that you get a good teacher reference for college apps, somehow develop a relationship with your high school counsel despite the fact that he/she has been assigned 100 students so that the counselor will write you a strong letter of recommendation, engage in a full plate of extra curricular activities. It is a life full of doing what you are told. We can debate the meaning of "civil disobedience", and my kid (who like all high school juniors is studying U.S. History) would probably laugh if I compared his behavior with that of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. But drawing a line as a 17-year old and refusing to take a meaningless test just because you are being told to do so does take some degree of courage.

And swk's admission that refusal of the test will have no negative consequences on high school juniors proves the idiocy of requiring these kids to take the test and the lie being perpetuated by SPS and OSPI, in multiple communications with the families of high school juniors, that taking the test will be of some benefit to them. All students in state colleges and universities that require freshmen to take a college writing class start those students out in English 101. Students don't need to pass the SBAC to avoid "remedial" English classes -- such classes don't even exist. And as to college math placement, we're told that passing the math SBAC would somehow solve the problem of the high percentage of students who are placed into non-credit earning remedial math classes as college freshmen. But isn't that only the case if there is some identified problem with the current placement tests inaccurately testing math proficiency? Isn't the real problem that so many students come into college needing remedial math classes? And doesn't addressing that problem meaning looking at how we teach and support high school math students, rather than how we assess them?

The latest missive from OSPI tells parents that 11th grade students, their teachers and counselors will be able to use SBAC scores to tailor their senior year math and english courses to address their strengths and weaknesses. That's just nonsensical. Every high school student, parent, teacher and counselor knows that, and if OSPI and SPS don't, then there is a major disconnect going on. High school juniors have already registered for next year's math and english classes. Their placement in senior year math was determined, for the most part, in 8th grade. Depending on their high school, there may not be a whole lot of choice in their senior year LA class. And no way are senior year math and english teachers going to somehow tailor their curriculum to reflect the SBAC scores of their incoming students.

Questioning the information that they are being given, assessing the evidence (and lack thereof) behind those statements, taking action based on that analysis in the face of authority instructing them to do otherwise -- isn't that brave? Isn't that what the Common Core is supposed to be teaching them to do?

Junior Parent

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Junior Parent, but your statement that, "All students in state colleges and universities that require freshmen to take a college writing class start those students out in English 101. Students don't need to pass the SBAC to avoid "remedial" English classes -- such classes don't even exist." is just flat out wrong.

All community and technical colleges offer remedial courses in English (as well as math) for those that don't test into college-level, credit-bearing courses. For example, you can see the "Pre-college English courses" offered at North Seattle College here: https://northseattle.edu/programs/pre-college-english.

--- swk

Watching said...

External validity will be determined after spring 2015 test.

Watching said...

swk offers information, but he/she should not be considered an authority.

"Operational test reliability will be reported in the technical manual following the first operational administration in spring 2015"

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

Watching said...

"Evaluation Phase:
Once the Smarter Balanced assessments are administered operationally in spring 2015, it will be possible to determine “external validity,” which is the degree to which test results correspond to external indicators (consistent with expectations):

From previously attached link.

Anonymous said...

Junior Parent, about half of students who go straight to college after high school enroll in community or technical colleges and LOTS of them need remedial English classes --- not nearly as many who need remedial math courses, but a good many do need English remediation.

The reason you may not find sub-100 level English courses in the course catalogs of UW, WSU, WWU, EWU, and Evergreen is that they don't offer remedial English courses. You are correct about this. But this doesn't mean no admitted students are taking remedial English courses. If the students need them, the baccalaureates send them to the local community colleges for this coursework.

And I disagree with you the OSPI and SPS communications imply that student who opt out of the SBAC ELA assessment "are at risk of not being placed in entry level english/writing courses." They simply won't be able to use SBAC assessment results to avoid taking another placement test when they arrive at college.

--- swk

Josh Hayes said...

swk, I think I am misunderstanding something you wrote, to wit:

"Therefore, AYP will be based on results of 11th graders in 2014-15, not students in the class of 2016."

But aren't 11th graders in 2014-15 themselves the class of 2016, since they will be seniors in school year 2015-16? Or am I misreading this?

Anonymous said...

I'm reposting the gist of a previous post by me, because I think it may have disappeared:

I am just a parent, not an expert on college placement requirements. My information comes off of the websites of four year college/universities. I have to admit that I did not look at placement in community college classes, and that I did not look at every four year college/university in Washington and other SBAC states.

However, I believe that my statements are correct as to the two four year universities that I did look at, the University of Oregon, and Western, and their placement in required writing/english classes.

The Oregon SBAC agreement states that students earning a 3 or 4 on the SBAC will be placed into WR 121, the first of two required writing courses. The U of O website states that all students with an SAT score of 700 or below should enroll in WR 121. Those scoring below 470 have the OPTION of co-enrolling in a tutorial course. Those scoring above 700, or earning a high score on the AP or IB tests, can go directly into WR 122.

The Washington SBAC agreement states that students earning a 3 or 4 on the SBAC will be placed into English 101. The Western webpage on General University Requirements requires that all students take English 101, unless earning a high score on the AP LA exam.

I do not believe that students who opt out of the SBAC ELA are at risk of not being placed into entry level English classes at four-year college/universities.

And I do believe that the communications from OSPI and SPS imply otherwise.

And I have to ask, again, isn't the issue here that so many college freshmen NEED remedial work? Is there a perception that current placement testing is inaccurately identifying students as needing remedial coursework when in fact they do not?

Junior Parent

Anonymous said...

Watching, clearly you do not consider me an authority. That's cool. I never declared myself one. I'll let others decide whether or not they can trust the information I provide.

To that end:

Operational test reliability is reported following the operational administration of each test each year it is administered. Since there hasn't been an operational administration of the SBAC assessment until this spring, it's obviously impossible to report its reliability. However, every single item on the operational test administered this spring was field tested last spring "using the item pool after item review" and the reliability of those items has already been determined.

Internal validity and external validity are too different things. Internal validity, or "the degree to which the test functions as required, has sufficient reliability, and sufficient ability to measure the intended content and not unintended content" has already been determined and internal validity is all that is needed to declare a test "valid" for the purposes in which it is designed --- in this case, assessing the Common Core State Standards.

External validity, or "the degree to which test results correspond to external indicators" is good information to have but is not necessary to declare a test "valid" for the purposes in which it is designed. Examples of external validity studies include comparability studies between SBAC assessment results and SAT results, comparability of SBAC results and GPA.

But again, many SBAC opponents are claiming that the results couldn't/shouldn't be used because the tests are valid or reliable. For the purposes for which they are designed, the SBAC assessments have been found to be reliable and valid.

[BTW, much of what I'm stating above can be found in the link you provided. Guess I just have a different understanding of what's contained therein. And why I may not be "an authority" on the technical requirements of large scale, standardized tests, people who are recognized experts in this field have given the SBAC assessments the green light.]

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Josh. Yes, what I wrote, taken out of context, was written confusingly.

I was responding to Ramona's question, which I read to ask whether or not the "class" of 2016 could use their 10th grade HSPE/EOC results for AYP/95% threshold instead of their 11th grade SBAC assessment results. I responded that, no, their 11th grade results were what counted for AYP, etc. It's not about the class but rather the grade level.

Is that clear as mud?

--- swk

Anonymous said...

I am very curious what kinds of extra classes, remedial work, specially designed instruction, will be given to seniors who fail the SBAC as juniors to make them prepared for college level english & math classes.

What is the remedy being offered to students who find they are not college-ready when they get their SBAC scores?



-HS Parent

Anonymous said...

I meant to write, "But again, many SBAC opponents are claiming that the results couldn't/shouldn't be used because the tests are NOT valid or reliable."

--- swk

Anonymous said...

HS Parent, that's a good question for your high school.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

HS parent, probably the same supports as they have now (which I understand are not much). Since the SBE is planning to set graduation threshold scores so that about the same percent of kids graduate under the new tests as did under the old tests, I doubt much will change re: options for those that aren't on track to graduate.

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know offhand (or a source for) the costs of the SBAC v. the MSP test. I'm only wondering about the hard costs of buying the test, having it graded etc. Not the intangible costs of loss of instructional time.

thanks.
-katydid

Anonymous said...

@ swk, Really? You said: Yes, the State Board of Education will be setting the cut scores for high school graduation purposes but they're not using 11th graders to do so. They'll be using the results of the 10th graders.

I'm confused. That conflicts with what Ben Rarick said in recent testimony to the House Education Committee. The figure he showed is based on using scores for 11th graders who took both the old and new assessments. It's just past the 35 minute mark in this video: http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2015030095

The following slideshow by OSPI says the same thing--that level-setting will be based on how 11th grade SBAC scores match up with other scores. http://www.sbe.wa.gov/documents/BoardMeetings/2015/Mar/03.15_GraduationMinimumScores.pdf

Has something changed? These were pretty recent presentations...

HIMSmom

Anonymous said...

My question is not what supports are in place for the 11th graders who fail but rather what is the plan for all the 10th graders who do not pass SBAC?

How will districts across the state get these students state reading and requirements met?

Any money set aside for that remediation? Or just for testing?

Concerned 10th grade parent

lemon said...

I am having a hard time understanding how a test that does NOT yet have operational reliability or external validity (external validity concerns how far the results of a study can be generalized) can be considered "reliable and valid."

swk, you wrote, "For the purposes for which they are designed, the SBAC assessments have been found to be reliable and valid." How do you define the purposes of the SBAC assessments?

Anonymous said...

So SWK,

A high school that can raise money for an 8 period day, & double the number of special ed teachers & summer school, & remedial textbooks & assistive technology can bring students to college readiness after they fail SBAC, but schools who can't raise funds for that should start recruiting community volunteers? That is how SBAC is going to close the achievement gap? Really?

-HS Parent

Common Sense said...

Seattle is a diverse population and I'm having a hard time that SBA will be valid/reliable for a district with over 100 languages.

HIMSmom's links does not support swk's assertions.

Anonymous said...

HIMSmom, thanks for catching my error. I don't have a problem admitting that I was wrong. There was a discussion early on regarding the use of scores of this year's 10th graders taking the 11th grade test to set the graduation cut scores.

You are correct --- and I was wrong --- in stating that it is 11th graders and not 10th graders.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

HS Parent, I'm sure I've never claimed that SBAC was going to close the achievement gap (or the opportunity gap, for that matter).

If you can find evidence that I made some such claim, I'll stand corrected (as I did with HIMSmom).

--- swk

Anonymous said...

lemon, I stated above how I define the purpose of the SBAC assessment: To assess student knowledge of the Common Core State Standards.

--- swk

Lynn said...

If the SBAC is meant to be given in the 11th grade (and we are going to use that year for AYP purposes) why are we giving it in the 10th grade this year? Who will be using the data gathered from sophomores this year - and how will they be using it?

Common Sense said...

I also agree with HS Parent. The PTA in our school pours tens of thousands of dollars into IT to keep computer systems going.

I have a hard time believing that reliability/validity can be determined when we are looking at enormous levels of disparity.

Awaiting swk...5....4....3...2...1....

Anonymous said...

Lynn, 10th graders are taking the 11th grade SBAC ELA assessment for high school graduation. At minimum, I'm assuming students, parents, and schools will use these data to determine who graduates, or needs access to an alternative assessment.

--- swk

Lynn said...

I'm asking if this year's 10th grade students will be expected to take the test again next year for AYP purposes. If so, why have them take it two years in a row? If in the future we'll be using 10th grade testing for AYP, why use the 11th grade this year?

Melissa Westbrook said...

"For the purposes for which they are designed, the SBAC assessments have been found to be reliable and valid."

By whom? The SBA group?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll just say at this point it seems apparent that even for parents of high school students (as many seem to be here)that there is confusion.

Why, if a district or state wants people on-board, would this information not be clearly disseminated? Why do parents need to become research sleuths to understand all of this?

I'll answer it - because the powers that be WANT parents to be sheep and go along with "the plan." That parents are asking questions and holy cow! challenging and pushing back on SBAC is not good.

Just like Gates and InBloom, people are supposed to just believe it's all good and all the right things are happening for their kids without a whole lot of evidence.

Baaa.

Anonymous said...

11th graders are being tested this year to collect data to determine what needs to be done to ensure they can pass the test when it becomes a graduation requirement beginning in 2019.

So essentially these students are piloting the test for this years 8th graders who will have to pass it to graduate. I would assume that when they see the results they will re-tool 9th and 10th grade instruction so they are prepared to pass the test in 11th grade.

I have no idea why the state made the decision to give 10th graders and 11th grade test, based on a set of standards they were not taught. And made it a grad requirement, other than it does ensure a 0% opt out rate and they will be able to collect data.

9th graders will also be required to take the SBAC next year to meet graduation requirements unless something changes at the state level.

Concerned 10th grade parent

Watching said...

"For the purposes for which they are designed, the SBAC assessments have been found to be reliable and valid."

By whom? The SBA group?"

Absolutely. I believe we will be hearing more on this issue.

Watching said...

"For the purposes for which they are designed, the SBAC assessments have been found to be reliable and valid."

By whom? The SBA group?"

Absolutely.

seattle citizen said...

A couple of people have asked what supports are in place for HS students who fail SBA, or any high-stakes test for that matter - EOC, HSPE....
Virtually none. While some few schools offer remedial math and/or reading classes, not all do. Furthermore, students have many credits they need to earn, electives they want to, or, frankly, should be taking so there is little time in most schedules for remedial classes.
I suspect that this is one of those areas where the focus on "whole schools" as successful or unsuccessful causes inequity and damage to individual students: I would posit that the schools with the most free and reduced lunch students probably have more remedial classes, but that's a guess. So perhaps a student who is struggling at one of the more generally high-achieving HSs might find fewer remedial options. Furthermore, those schools might typically have a) more extra-curricular activity; and b) the higher-achieving nature of the school might bias students against being placed in remedial settings - it would "look bad." For that matter, how many students want Reading Class on their transcript?
So what is the new new thing to address purported deficiencies in student proficiencies?
Differentiation! All teachers WILL differentiate instruction, assessment....unit planning....syllabus? to meet the needs of a variety of skill levels. This is why class sizes are getting bigger: it makes the variety of skill levels even greater and more fun to differentiate to! Wheeee!
Ask an admin, they'll tell you: differentiation is EASY!
This is how schools purport to support students who are not at "level" on the Test.
One thing I will say about standards: they DO provide a framework for vertical and horizontal alignment, so teacher at 9th grade might expect a certain sequence of instruction K-8. And 9th grade teachers in rooms next to each other, or across city, are MAINLY teaching similar concepts. But that's not to say it should all be measured and quantified and standardized and digitized - this is education, not a Samsung manufacturing plant.

Anonymous said...

"For the purposes for which they are designed, the SBAC assessments have been found to be reliable and valid."

By whom? The SBA group?

The answer to this is yes and no. The consortium, like every state with a state assessment program under NCLB, must have a technical advisory committee. TACs are made up of assessment experts from across the nation, mostly from universities. SBAC has a TAC.

One role of the TAC is to ensure that the consortium/state adheres to recognized standards for educational testing. The entire testing program is examined by the TAC to ensure the test makers follow these standards for reliability and validity. SBAC's TAC determined that standards and protocols were followed and that the assessments were/are valid and reliable.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

8th graders at our school were supposed to have finished the first half of the SBAC ELA in the 2 hour timeframe allotted. Unfortunately, we had to give them 3 hours. About 20% are done (with the first HALF of the ELA). About 20% of the students, are less than half done (with the first half of the ELA). Everyone will wait around while students finish. Clearly, we need at least another period (hour), and probably 2 periods. Periods are around an hour. I guess rapid finishing students can continue to do school service and homework as their slower classmates finish. THEN - they will move on to the second half of the ELA. Who knows how long that will take. Safe to say, the whole ELA will take 8 hours of class time or more. This amounts to about 2 weeks of class time. Then, students can press on to math. Clearly, we will not be able to offer preferential test times to students because there aren't enough "preferential" test times left in the year.

How can ANYBODY say 8, 10, 16 (if you count in the math) hours of computer testing is going to yield anything reliable? It isn't developmentally appropriate to sit around doing a computer test for that long, for middle schoolers. NOBODY else on the planet has to do that. And yet, you're saying "it's reliable". It's not developmentally appropriate, or appropriate period.

Stop the Insanity

seattle citizen said...

Stop the Insanity - This is where the differentiation I mentioned above comes in handy: Since the tests are taking so much longer than they should be in so many schools, teachers who have only half their class present (the rest are still testing) should continue with the planned instruction. When those students who were testing finally return.....differentiate! Continue planned lesson while also repeating previous lesson for those who were testing! Easy-peasy!
: )

Dorn Threatens said...

Dorn threatens teachers with investigation"

http://nwpr.org/post/students-refuse-tests-washington-superintendent-warns-consequences

Anonymous said...

SWK freely offers up that he/she has 2 teenagers. But when asked if they go to private school, which seems obvious - he/she eschews the questions. Too personal! BS. The only person who would love the SBAC - is one whose kids DON'T have to take it! No skin in the game. The kids went private.

Reader

Anonymous said...

Uhh no, Seattle Citizen. The teacher who is administering the class - is also administering the SBAC. SBAC wins. There isn't anybody to do "differentiation". I don't know any other way to do it - unless we go to a private company administering the test too. (Can't imagine any problem with that.) In that case, we'd get the good students (the ones who can finish in the 8 hours allocated for ELA and math) getting instruction when they finish - and the other students staring at a screen for weeks.

Stop the Insanity

Anonymous said...

Kids are going to be mentally spent before they even get to the math portion. Pretty sad. You can opt out at anytime...even in the middle of the testing. If a student doesn't want to continue with the testing, they can simply verbally refuse.

opt out?

Anonymous said...

HS Parent, that's a good question for your high school.

--- swk


No it isn't a good question. You say this as if there's any plan at all for increasing skills. There isn't. Getting around the testing requirements is already handled by high schools today. They'll just have to kick into high gear if we have a 30% pass rate. High schools offer COE (collection of evidence) class for kids who fail state tests. They already do this. In that case, their teachers create a portfolio from the work they do in class. Instead of students taking SBAC and failing it again, students spend their elective credits taking COE. So students who most need to develop a talent, skill, or hobby - are stuck in a lame portfolio class, collecting evidence of their worth instead of learning something that might be useful to them in the future. If students have an IEP, they have a number of options - all expensive to the school. School psych's can find and deliver an LDA (locally determined assessment) that the student can pass. This will probably be what is used often, soaking up valuable psych time. Or families can convince their IEP teams that they are in the lowest 1% cognitively, with regard to any given SBAC portion (or EOC) - and participate in a portfolio. No, you don't have to have a test. Way less than 1% of students do this now, so there's plenty of room on the "portfolio" boat so long as students are made to swallow their pride and admit to being cognitively deficient, for purposes of state testing.

Whatever the alternative route to SBAC testing - loads more time and money will need to be spent to jump through graduation hoops. None of it will benefit students. All of it will cost students who can afford it the least.

Reality Check

Anonymous said...

Stop the insanity, do you feel comfortable naming the middle school you were speaking about? I know our 8th graders are taking it now and that will for sure lock me into the opt our camp for my younger student.

If not I completely understand. And thanks for the update from the field.

-QA mom

cmj said...

katydid, the Smarter Balanced test costs about $22 - $27 per student (see
About the Smarter Balanced Assessment System
->
What will the assessments cost?
)
. I think that states pay slightly different prices depending on how many students they have taking the test.

In defense of swk: just because swk is promoting an unpopular opinion (that I disagree with) does not mean that he/she is a corporate stooge. Heck, by that logic, CollegeBoard could be paying me to promote the SAT and AP tests! If swk had only shown up recently and only commented on SBA, then I might be a bit suspicious. Yet that's not the case.

Anonymous said...

cmj, that small amount doesn't count the enormous computer infrastructure , used almost exclusively for SBAC and it's smaller, dumber cousin Amplify. Nor the maintenance cost of that computer infrastructure. We never needed those computers before SBAC. It doesn't count the fact that high schools have to all hire permanent and fulltime test coordinators. It doesn't count the salaries of teachers. 1/3 of a teacher's salary should rightly be billed to testing. Much like the sps central office claims their overhead as something like 7%, they claim testing is $22, when obviously it is a lot more. Any fool can see that.

And clearly, when they have to spend loads on advertising... defending why the SBAC isn't all that bad as it's reputation takes a beating, those PR costs won't be billed to testing.

Reader

Anonymous said...

Reality Check, we won't have a 30% pass rate in HS. The state is going to set graduation cutoff scores such that about the same percentage of kids pass via these mew tests as did via the old. New test, similar end result in terms of graduation rate.

Half Full

cmj said...

Reader -- fair point, the ~$25/test cost that SBAC gives us doesn't list the cost of computers (and district PR). I should have been clearer there.

In my defense, I was answering katydid's question about base test cost (computers presumably not included). katydid asked:
Does anyone know offhand (or a source for) the costs of the SBAC v. the MSP test. I'm only wondering about the hard costs of buying the test, having it graded etc. Not the intangible costs of loss of instructional time.

Anonymous said...

katydid and cmj, the fiscal note for HB 1450 (from the 2013 legislative session) indicates that OSPI reported that the SBAC ELA and math assessments would cost a combined $20 (not including the formative/interim assessments which would be an additional $8), while the cost of the MSP was $30 per reading, writing, and math test, or $90 combined.

I think OSPI significantly low-balled the costs of the SBAC assessments in their fiscal note since they're now reporting in their OSPI State Testing FAQ that the state is saving $6 million dollars by moving to SBAC assessments.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

I think you need to categorize state vs district costs. It may be cheaper for the state, yet the cost burden has been shifted to the districts in terms of technology requirements. SPS is also using the interim assessments at select schools (paid for by a grant this year?).

lotsa $$

Anonymous said...

lotsa, I am simply responding to katydid's very specific request. See above.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Much like the sps central office claims their overhead as something like 7%, they claim testing is $22, when obviously it is a lot more. Any fool can see that."

Indeed.

Po3 said...

What I find so sickening is that while the state is in contempt for under-funding schools they have NO problem finding money to implement SBAC testing.

And Dorn's threatening statement about opting out, while he ignores the testing chaos schools are experiencing, is insulting to the people he was elected to serve.

Dorn's Failure said...

I'm noticing comments related to costs associated with SBAC, but we got $40M RTT to institute this cr$%.

Dorn's Failure said...

Clarification: RTT funding committed the state to SBAC.

ConcernedSPSParent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.