Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Comparing SBAC Scores with Other States

Update: Want some really deep-dive thinking on SBAC and PARCC versus ACT/SAT for reading comprehension? From the We are More blog by Gerri K. Songer:

A Lexile analyzer is available at to confirm the findings below. I am using the Lexile score needed for students to read independently since Lexile scores reflect only 75% comprehension.  Students should ideally independently comprehend 100% of text in order to accurately respond to assessment questions.

A research study published in 2008 indicates the possibility that repeated and targeted brain activity to specific parts of the human brain may weaken, or eliminate the use of, other areas of the brain. The brain only has so much neural support. If the brain is trained through repetition to narrow this neural support to a specific region of the brain, then neural activity will supply less support, or perhaps no longer support, other very important areas of the brain, specifically those areas enabling students to think conceptually and creatively.

Based on these findings, my first recommendation would be to file legislation calling for a moratorium on the use of standardized assessment until this possibility is further researched.

end of update

This story covers SBAC results from several states including Washington State and comes via the Hechinger Report:

Students in 18 states took Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exams for the first time this spring. Missouri and West Virginia released their official statewide results this week, while Oregon and Washington reported preliminary information from the vast majority of their districts last month. All four states reported students exceeding expectations. 

But all four of these states did better than that field test on the English exam and all but West Virginia and Missouri’s eighth graders improved on the math exam. (Missouri’s eighth graders who are taking Algebra, generally the higher performing students, did not take the Smarter Balanced exam.)  Smarter Balanced officials said that it was too early to hypothesize what could have caused these increases.

(Keep in mind - Oregon and West Virginia don't have stellar public education systems.  Missouri is one I don't know much about.)

So Washington comes out second in Grade 4 to Missouri and even with Missouri and Oregon in Grade 8 for percentage of students passing the LA portion of the SBAC.

In math, Washington bested those other states in Grade 4 and Grade 8.

Washington did do worse on the SBAC - for both math and LA - than the old state exam (by a fair amount) while Missouri and West Virginia did mostly better.

Both consortia looked at the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, when determining their cut scores for proficiency – albeit in slightly different ways – leading to speculation that the results might look similar to the national exam. In June, Smarter Balanced told Hechinger that its results likely wouldn’t be “wildly different” from NAEP. Yet for these states, particularly in English, pass rates on Smarter Balanced far exceed those from the 2013 NAEP exam.

All the states did better on SBAC than NAEP (considered the "nation's report card") by fairly wide margins in LA and only slightly worse for math. 

Martineau (senior associate at the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment) says NAEP will likely always be the hardest test around – and that’s okay.
“If you compare NAEP with Smarter Balanced and PARCC, you will see the expectations are similar but it’s a matter of very high aspirations for students verses high but realistic aspirations for students.” 
Wait, what?  I thought all ed reformers thought that expectations were set too low especially for students of color and so the new norm is "high but realistic?"


Po3 said...

Would be nice if parents could get a look at their kids scores.

Anonymous said...

Both consortia look at NEAP and then determine cut scores. Guess competency based on mastery of standards is not as important as "other factors."

I expect those cut scores will receive "additional adjustment" annually.

So why are we using this system? ... just follow the money.

Inquiring Mind

Anonymous said...

Are we using amplify. Looks like it's been sold. How's that data protection? From nytimes...
West parent

Anonymous said...

Take a look at CCSS and SBAC here =>

Group sues over Idaho's participation in Common Core

In the lawsuit, Idaho Freedom Foundation board chairman Brent Regan contends that Idaho's participation in an agency that helps test and implement Common Core standards is illegal under federal rules governing agreements between states.

There you have it. This entire operation has been in violation of Federal Law since its inception.... but when the Billionaires want it to happen it happens.

Just follow the money and ignore the laws, if you want to see the future.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Missouri is one of those states that retains third graders who cannot read at a certain level, therefore their 4th grade ELA results will look higher. None of the low-scoring kids there took the test because they're all sitting back in 3rd grade. Again.


Anonymous said...


wrote: "Missouri is one of those states that retains third graders who cannot read at a certain level, therefore their 4th grade ELA results will look higher."

What you say is accurate but is that a criticism? How many non-readers are being retained and is that a good thing or not?

Consider two thoughts:
#1 Historically is has been argued that grade level retention is not effective.
#2 Class size reductions are not cost effective in advancing student proficiency.

Florida put in place class size reduction and retention of poor readers at grade 3 instead of advancement to grade 4. Over the years the number of students retained has declined and the reading proficiency of students reading has improved in all grades as tested in grades 3 through 8. All primary grade teachers and most parents are focused on reading proficiency and the results are very impressive.

Florida put in place the largest grade level retention system ever and reduced class sizes.

Florida's improvement in performance on NAEP reading leads the nation since putting those changes in place.

Missouri is to be congratulated if it is putting in place the support needed to make this work. Retention alone will likely not do much.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Really awesome. So, how many years should we have 3rd grade "retention"? Should we put 18 yos in 3rd grade? What about 12 yos? Or maybe we should just dump them in special ed, and not count them that way. ??? My guess is that Missouri likely does this. As usual, Dan is a hypocritical pot stirrer but makes very little sense. According to him SBAC is really dumb, yet he can't resist posting table after table bashing the district, or other districts for their performance on the very same SBAC that he thinks is worthless. Pretty illogical. He did the same thing on WASL and MAP. Why? Well, he just really wants us all to switch over to DI... Read Mastery, the canned instruction that occasionally props up student test scores, and similar math products. Dan, we don't want that. You're right, SBAC and standardized tests are only marginally worthwhile. Nobody, truly nobody, wants them to be the basis for anything.


n said...

Without supports, retention is aimless. Usually non-readers have language disorders that rarely receive the attention they need. With all due respect, school districts do not equip themselves with the kind of sp.ed. services they need the most: reading programs for langauge disordered kids. As has been said on this blog many times: see Hamlin Robinson which is now more accessible to Seattle Schools than ever.

Gerri Songer said...

I'd like to point out the lack of research pertaining to baseline level student reading comprehension skills. If students begin their junior year comprehending text written at a 1050L, then comprehending text 1150L is an obtainable goal by the end of the school year. Yet, if students begin at 800L, without intensive remediation, comprehending text between 1500L and 2000L+, as required by certain standardized assessments, would be an unfair expectation. High text complexity filters out student achievement based on irrelevant criteria - how can students respond to a question they know when written in a language they don't? For instance, a student may not understand a question, or the text in which it is based, due to the vocabulary used to express it; yet, the very same student may notice grooves in an agricultural field and imagine that information scanned the same way could produce what later became the foundation of technology used to produce television. Genius has nothing to do with vocabulary and the memorization and recall of facts. It has everything to do with observation, contemplation, problem-sovling, creative thinking, and expression.

Test-makers are nothing more than corporations looking to make a profit. These people are not smart just because they say they are - perhaps what we really need to question is why we "buy" into their propaganda. Advertising does not take a lie and from it produce truth. "Buy-in" takes active participation on behalf of those who "buy" into it. Just because a man or woman assumes a position of authority doesn't mean he or she was ever meant to have it.

Think for yourselves.

Gerri Songer said...

The quality of a student cannot, and never will be, summed up in a number. Creativity is paramount, and creativity will never be a measurable quality - it is subjective, not objective. Wake up - our children are beyond a number. They are unique, and they have a purpose.