Update: Here's what the BOE had to say about yesterday's meeting and its outcomes. I think BOE head, Ben Rarick, has done a very good job in explaining the Board's thinking.
The Board followed through on its equal impact
philosophy, adopting a mid-Level 2 score requirement for the English
Language Arts (ELA) portion of the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessment
(scale score: 2548), and followed the same philosophy for the Math
End-of-Course exams. The SBAC math score (2595) was set to be
commensurate with the ELA requirement. These minimum scores are just a
little more than half way up the Level 2 scale; about 60% of the way
between Levels 2 and 3.
The Board wanted me to help explain their decision to you all, and
emphasize a few points we can all work on together for the betterment of
First, the Board wants to emphasize that Level 3 remains the goal for
all students on the new (SBAC) assessments. A Level 3 score represents a
career and college-ready score for our students. The Board wishes –
indeed expects – all students to eventually be able to achieve this
level of proficiency. Although the board has set a transition standard
at a rate below Level 3, this was done to ease the transition for our
system and demonstrate fairness to students. It was not done to compromise or confuse our ultimate goal.
Second, as exciting as the 10th grade results were, the
results from juniors on the SBAC were perplexing. Fewer than half of
juniors took the assessment, and those who did were greatly surpassed in
achievement by their sophomore counterparts. The sophomores
outperformed the juniors to such an extent that it is obvious that
something is wrong. As a result, the Board was limited in its ability to
use this data to set scores for the math SBAC.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, while these assessments are
important to our goals, but they are not the goals themselves. There is a
difference between taking these assessments seriously, and letting a
test define a student. No test defines a student.
Let’s acknowledge the important role that SBAC assessments play in career and college-readiness, without letting them become the definition of career and college-readiness. Kids are so much more.
end of update
I was following the tweets of ace ed reporter, Kyle Stokes of KPLU, yesterday as he sat thru the slog that was the State Board of Education meeting over figuring out cut scores for the high school SBAC test.
The struggle? So many 11th graders didn't take it that they could not figure out where to cut. Ann Dornfeld of KUOW reported this morning that the BOE even thinks that of the 11th graders who did take the test, many of them did not seem to be trying all that hard.
So the BOE went with a lower score with an eye to try to raise that score when they get more data from the next couple of years.
Except - what if 11th graders continue to opt out in large numbers? Quite the dilemma. And will it be the carrot or the stick to try to get students (and their parents) to buy into the value of SBAC?
What's that old saying? Power to the people, right on.
Links to come as soon as the stories from Stokes/Dornfeld come on-line.