A Lexile analyzer is available at www.lexile.com 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?"