Sunday, April 05, 2015

Seattle Schools SBAC Testing Continues to Heat Up

Update: the SBAC ELA at Garfield was "cancelled" for the date noted but Garfield IS giving it at a later date.

end of update

From the Garfield High webpage:

All SBAC exams ELA - Cancelled

04/06/15 - 04/10/15

SBAC: Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
For all 11th graders and some 12th graders.
The SBAC is the group of tests that were developed to align with Common Core standards. Washington State is phasing in these exams to replace the HSPE and EOC exams in reading, writing, and math. There is an SBAC test in math and an SBAC test in ELA (English-Language Arts). These tests are CAD (Computer Adaptive) and will be given in the computer labs.
Schedule TBD within assigned LA classes.

I have no idea why or what will be going on otherwise.

As well, there is to be an announcement from a civil rights group against SBAC testing coming this week.  Stay tuned.

Also, listen to this incredibly articulate little girl, Sydney Smoot, from Florida stand up against testing at a school board meeting.  She makes a VERY good point when she says:
First of all, I do not feel good about a form in the FSA that you have to sign assuring that you can't even discuss the test with your parents. I am not comfortable with signing something like this. I have the right to talk to my parents about any and everything related to school and my education.
Exactly. Since when can't kids talk about their school day with their parents?

She got a standing ovation.

(Note: Florida had signed up with PARCC but pushback over Common Core led to that being dropped.  Florida then "rebranded" CC as "Florida Standards" with a few changes.  It also dropped the PARCC and bought another test from Utah.)


Jack Ashes said...

I'm hearing that moving 400 11th grade students through 2 computer labs is a nightmare. Teachers report that each day there are 8-18 students missing from class. Lasses don't move through testing as a whole.

North of Seattle: Teacher reports that 11th grade students don't care about SBAC exam and will score low. This will negatively impact AYP

Anonymous said...

Problems of implementation?

Who knew?!

I bet Mr. Charles Wright will fix this. He will divert more BEX and BTA money away from providing essentials (classrooms, masonry reinforcement, athletic fields, etc) and spend it on 'technology'. And not technology that students can use and learn from (go Rainier Beach programming and robotics students!), but technology to capture and 'manage' data, because that is his mission, that is his vision, that is what he cares about. Not actual kids.


Why does he get to decide anything for our kids' schools? Another Banda gift that keeps on giving.

As long as the 'Wrights' are in the cabinet, the priorities will never be centered on student needs. SBACs might be OSPI-driven, but they find a more-than-willing handmaiden in Mr. Wright.

Dump Wright

(hire 2 or 3 teachers with the annual savings of $225k)

Anonymous said...

Right on Garfield.

Please. How about... lets "cancel" the SBAC for all 10th graders too? That would be icing on the cake, and is really the only fair thing to do. How about it Garfield? Will you be the school with the mostest guts? You showed the world the way last year with your MAP test. Will you be the leaders in civil rights again this year? Come on Jesse!

Here are the disaggregated SBAC scores for high school students. Oh yeah, the data comes straight from the SBAC - should be the "Dumber-Limping-Along Consortium"

In some field test grades - less than 4% of ELL students pass. How can giving them a test, taking up weeks and weeks of time, that they're guaranteed to fail - be equitable? How can it be anything less than cruel and humiliating?

Your kid is in special ed? Your 10th grader trying to take his SBAC ELA graduation test? 76% of students with disabiliites score the lowest possible level. Level 1. No way they're passing. Only 7.8% score a passing score. How is that fair at all? The test WILL FAIL YOUR KID. And guess what? It counts.

Black students? Black high schoolers pass at a rate of 21%. (And, fail at the lowest possible score of 1, at around 50% - no way, these 10th graders are graduating)

If you care at all about special ed, or special populations - you will opt your kid out, or have them take the test with bogus results.

So, 10th grade parent. You still feel pretty good. Maybe you aren't in a minority group - and maybe your kid isn't in sped. Your English is awesome. Sorry. You aren't out of the weeds.

Guess what else? You have a 10th grade boy? Only 34% of 11th grade boys "pass". 80% passed last year's HSPE in Washington State. Will they be getting some little boost as a 10th grader? No matter. 34% of boys score level 1 - Lowest possible level. No way they're passing with a graduating score of 1. Guess class of 2017 was just born in the wrong year! (Girls "pass" SBAC ELA at 13% point higher rate than boys.) HSPE boys and girls had a very small differential in terms of pass rates. Not so for SBAC. Count on boys becoming the new "special population" if we stay with SBAC.

So Garfield - stand up where for 10th graders too!

Grade10 Parent

No Name said...

Grade 10 parent has a point. These students were just thrown into CCSS curriculum and didn't have the lead-up. 60% of these students are expected to fail.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's pointless to once again point out that 60% of students are NOT supposed to fail, and that there will be separate cut scores set for determining high school proficiency (a.k.a. "passing"), and that those cut scores will be set to be pretty consistent with the sort of pass rate trends we've seen in the recent past, right?

Half Full

StringCheese said...

Sorry Half Full, but the data from SBAC supports the expectation that 60% (or much more in some demographics) will not meet proficiency = fail.

Go ahead, look at page 6 and beyond. Here are a few highlights:

3rd Grade FAIL rates:
Native American 79%
African American 78%
Economically Disadvantaged 77%
IEP 84%

Grade 5 FAIL rates:
ELL 92%
Male 61%

Grade 7 FAIL rates:
ELL 96%
Economically Disadvantaged 74%
Male 68%

This is SBAC's own data from December 2014. People have not been making these numbers up. This is what SBAC expects to happen based on field tests.

Don't forget that, at this point, these tests are basically government mandated participation in for-profit product development. The SBAC, according to SBAC, will NOT be valid this year. They need our kids to be guinea pigs so that they can attain external validity for their stupid test. Last I heard, they need express parental permission to use our children in experiments.

This spring's testing is Phase II of their product development:

How is this legal?

Anonymous said...

String Cheese, those are not fail rates--they are " college and career ready" rates, according to criteria set by the SBAC. As has been stated elsewhere, the WA State Bd of Ed will determine different cutoffs to use for determining the proficiency level required for graduation. Those scores will be much lower--so more high school students will "pass." The state's proficiency level thresholds, not the SBAC level 3 cut points, are what will determine the failure rate for HS graduation purposes.

Half Full

StringCheese said...

Half Full,
How is not being proficient in what the test is designed to measure not "failing"? The SBAC was designed to test CCSS which were created to get students "college and career ready." Scores below the 3rd level are not proficient = failing.

definition of failure: "nonperformance of something due, required, or expected"

As for establishing cut scores -- this is one of the major issues for this test. Allowing states to set their own cut scores renders the results arbitrary and useless in regard to the point of establishing federal standards.

Anonymous said...

StringCheese, the states are not setting their own cut scores for the SBAC ELA and math assessments grades 3-8 and 11. Our own State Board of Education is determining a separate cut score for 10th graders for high school graduation purposes only.

States have agreed to the grades 3-8 and 11 cut scores on the SBAC assessments and will report for state and federal accountability purposes student performance against the agreed-upon consortium-wide cut scores.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

String Cheese, by the same logic, how is graduating from high school but needing remedial level classes before being able to take college-credit classes "passing"? That's what we have now. The current exams define proficiency using too low a bar--so we have a bunch of kids who "pass" (and thus graduate) but really aren't "college and career ready."

Think of it this way. Under the old system, "passing" meant scoring a minimal level of proficiency. The majority passed, but many of these still needed remedial classes. They weren't college ready. But "proficiency" levels were set much lower than college readiness, so hence the discrepancy.

Under the new system, not much has changed. A minimal score (to be set by the state) will be required to demonstrate proficiency, and thus "pass." These scores will be based on past rates, so a similar percentage now vs. then will pass. But many of those who "pass" will not have attained Level 3, which allows them to automatically test out of remedial college classes. So just like in the past, many of those "proficient" enough to graduate under the new system will still need remedial work, because they are not "college ready." We will have the exact same type of discrepancy under the new test than we've had--students will be proficient enough to graduate in high numbers, but not proficient enough that they don't still need remediation.

Half Full

Anonymous said...

PS - People seem to be fixating on this 60%. I agree--it's outrageous that such a large percentage of high school students could be considered unprepared for life after high school. But THIS IS NOT NEW! High graduation rates mask the reality, that a huge percentage of those kids we've been graduating are NOT college ready. Being a high school graduate has not meant you are also college and career ready. But since the old tests didn't bother assessing for college and career readiness--just some off notion of "proficient" instead--maybe people didn't realize that? And that's what's so hard about the new test--that it forces us to come to terms with the fact that the bar for high school graduation has been shamefully low?

Half Full

Anonymous said...

I think that students who do not pass the SBAC with the college & career ready cut scores by 12th grade, should be encouraged to enroll for another year of high school to continue to improve their academics. We owe them that opportunity. What is the point of telling them they aren't prepared to move on & then cutting off their education. Some students need more time & attention.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, let's be clear on what "college and career ready" means. It means being ready for community college, not a 4-year college. As for career, I'm not sure I've ever seen a clear definition for that. If you know, please comment.

Anonymous said...

Half Full - does that moniker describe your mental state? According to the field test, 50% of our black students fail at the LOWEST possible level in high school. That is, they fail at level 1 - below "approaching" readiness. The cut score will not be low enough for them to graduate. Are we really OK with failing half of our black children? (The same thing happened with Math WASL, and that was punted pretty quickly to the EOC system.) Sure, the "cut" score may be low enough so that some of the 75% of black students who failed the field test - will actually squeak out a pass. But more than 50% will fail.

Also, students with disabilities take the SBAC.... OUT OF LEVEL! Unfortunately, those cut scores are indeed set, and not with their graduation even considered. So, students with disabilities have to take an out of level test, which they have no prayer of passing, AND, they have never been taught the materials being covered. How is that fair? How does it benefit anybody?

Are we really OK with failing so many boys too?

Grade10 Parent

Anonymous said...

Let's consider what's great about our current system.

What's great about our system is the enormous diversity present in those we educate. And, that we have a million ways to succeed. This isn't Japan, or Europe. In those places your fate is sealed in kindergarten. Everyone is tracked early for success - or something less. These systems likewise stunt creativity because the same people reap all the rewards, for being "standard". Creativity and "standard" are diametrically opposing values.

And where do we find innovative people and ideas - not Japan, not rigid European countries. We find it here - because we value it. And because we don't hold people to tracks based on testing.

We have great advanced offerings - AP, IB, IBX, running start, honors courses, Academies too numerous to list. Any student who wants a challenge can get it. And mostly, these things are offered to anybody willing to take a chance. (This is a good thing.)

And students can bloom late, and still take ANY path they want. They can fail, over and over again, and still get up and continue. They can go to college - after barely squeaking through high school. They CAN take remedial courses, sign up for community colleges... and continue on to medical school. Anybody, can be a lawyer with enough drive - regardless of how they spent their 10th grade. (This opportunity for continued success - despite failure is a good thing. It adds diversity and innovation to our system.)

And, people from all over the world come here for that opportunity.

What Half Full and others miss - SBAC doesn't deny anything for advanced students. They can still shine. It denies poor students, disadvantaged students, late bloomers, confused kids, and anybody else who struggles - an opportunity to continue. It shoots the legs out of their education. It seeks to deny them a basic high school diploma. Sure, maybe they would have had to take a "remedial" class in college. But now... that opportunity will be gone. Let's hope our legislature can shoot the legs out of SBAC - before it stifles our country.

I don't want a Japanese education for my kids. SBAC is un-American.

Grade10 Parent

Anonymous said...

You're right, Grade 10 parent-- I must be insane...for thinking that facts and accuracy matter in this emotion-driven conversation. Thanks for the reminder that critical thinking skills are not always valued. The SBAC has many problems that could be discussed honestly if people weren't so hung up on misleading statements, but the heart has definitely trumped the head on this one--the inaccurate statements play better in the media, and we want people riled up. Facts and nuance require too much critical thinking, right?

Half Full

Anonymous said...

While we're at it, Grade 10 Parent, where did you get the idea that the SBAC will deny people the ability to take remedial classes in the future? Or that the SBAC will lock kids into tracks? And this paranoia that the SBAC turns us into a Europe or Japan? Also, who said anything about the SBAC denying opportunities for advanced students to shine?


Half Full

Anonymous said...

Because, the high school diploma is necessary to go to college, even the lowest level technical or community college. Better to get to go to college with a few gaps, and take some remedial classes, than to be denied the opportunity to even go. Solving the remedial course "problem" was the whole impetus for the testing. But it was never really a problem at all.

This type of testing, tracking, and narrowed curriculum is exactly what they have in Japan. Is that the type of innovative culture we want? Our testing obsession is actually worse because no other country on Earth wastes 1/3 of its students' time in school on testing: SBAC, Amplify, preps for both. My kids school started testing March 23 and will be done June 1. That's just SBAC. For example, we're doing without some sports yearbook pictures because of SBAC testing.

Labeling students failures in 3rd grade is tracking. Duh!


Anonymous said...

G10P, a high school diploma IS NOT required to enroll in community and technical college in our state. If a student who is, I think, at least sixteen and not enrolled in a high school may take the placement test and enroll in college classes. A lack of a high school diploma will not be a barrier to enroll. Call any community college to verify if you are skeptical.

There are a small handful of adults learners every year who take a placement test at a community college, enroll in college-level classes, earn their AA transfer degree, and then transfer to a 4-year college without ever earning a high school diploma.

And the percentage of students needing remedial courses is a HUGE problem. Research indicates that taking even one remedial course in college diminishes a student's chances of completing her/his program and/or degree. Taking two remedial courses virtually guarantees that a student will not complete his/her program and/or degree. I'm not saying that some students aren't successful after taking the remedial courses they need, but it can be a significant hurdle for many.

--- swk

Lynn said...

How much research was required to determine that a student who has to take remedial classes in community college is less likely to complete a degree than a student who begins ready for college level work?

Anonymous said...

Who really cares? It isn't interesting at all. Of course a student entering college without a remedial course is probably going to be more able to finish college. It will take less time and they are probably smarter in the first place. But that really isn't germane to any point about testing. Failing to secure a diploma means a student is simply out of options. And that is never better. Is the district offering some sort of multiyear catchup program for students with lots of gaps? No. Is there some alternate educational/vocational offering for students unable to secure a diploma? No. It simply slamming the door shut. End of discussion. Sure students who actually DO HAVE the skills, maybe can still get into some adult educational program. But that isn't addressing the problem - the students without the skills. Remediation addresses that need. Testing with failure - doesn't.

The fact remains. Testing obsessively, and punitively, shuts out whole groups of people. And offers nothing to do those who fail. Nothing. So again? What is the point? Other than maintaining the status quo?


Anonymous said...

G10P, I'm not speaking to the testing issue directly, but I do have to say that your statement that "Failing to secure a diploma means a student is simply out of options" is absolutely, 100% wrong.

When I first began my career in education, I worked with a population of kids/young adults who had not earned diplomas and it was a struggle to convince them that their lives were not over --- that there were options available to them. I watched these kids/young adults come into the program discouraged at best who then left the program successful.

So, I'm not going to watch the pitch go by and let you suggest to other readers here that kids/young adults have no options without diplomas. It's a struggle, yes, and many doors may be closed to them. But their lives are not over. They can find success, even in college.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Is there any data that fewer kids will receive diplomas based on our switch to the SBAC? If the SBE is planning to set required scores so they are consistent with past state testing score trends, we should have similar graduation rates, right?

Half Full

Anonymous said...

The field tests are the "data". The only way to get the passing rates to be comparable to the previous pass rates would be to set the cut score significantly in the 1 range. That would be pretty incredible, and arbitrary indeed. Imagine that your kid failed... because his 1 was slightly lower than somebody else's 1. I would think that would be grounds for appeal. Then there's the fact that the test has so much bigger achievement gaps. Some groups will definitely not pass at the same rates as before regardless of the nee cut scores. What will they do then? Have different cut scores for blacks, whites, and Asians? Have different cut scores for boys and girls? Or are we really OK with a 15 point difference between boys and girls.

Anonymous said...

Previous post from.


Anonymous said...

Half Full, until the current 10th graders take the test this spring, OSPI runs the data analysis, and make a cut score recommendation to the State Board, we don't know the answer to your question.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

swk, that's what I thought. But everyone seems to be so convinced that all of a sudden there will be a huge increase in the number not graduating, so thought it wise to double check.

Half Full