Tuesday, September 08, 2015

SBAC - Two Connecticut Schools Take Wrong Test

From noted ed blogger, Jonathan Peltier  via the Hartford Courant:

High school juniors in North Haven and Westbrook won’t be getting Smarter Balanced test scores.
It turns out, they took the wrong test.

School officials in both districts said the confusion resulted from a drop-down menu that listed several possible tests. Students were apparently told to click on an “interim” or practice test, instead of the comprehensive year’s-end test and the mistake wasn’t caught until after the test was completed.

“It was very disappointing,” said Westbrook Principal Tara Winch. “I asked the state, why would the interim assessment even be up there during the actual testing time? Those shouldn’t even have been part of the testing window.”

Kelly Donnelly, chief of staff for the state Department of Education, said it’s “regrettable” that “test proctors administered the wrong version of the test in these two schools. These two isolated instances were unfortunate, and we will of course be working with the vendors to limit the chance of this happening again.”

Apparently a similar error occurred in New Hampshire. 

The irony?

[Westbrook High School Principal] Winch said the error was particularly frustrating because state records now say that Westbrook High School’s participation rate was a zero, when, she said, the school had 99.9 percent of the students take the test, albeit the wrong test.

“We are so proud of our students and the teachers who really took this seriously in a year when there were many opting out,” Winch said, referring to other districts where substantial numbers of high school juniors refused to take the test.

Kelli Gauthier, a spokeswoman for Smarter Balanced, said in an email: “This is really a district-level issue. Having said that, we will, of course continue to work with our member states, who in turn work with their districts, to ensure test delivery runs smoothly.”

You mean like warn the districts that you will include several different tests in the drop-down menu?

There are districts getting money back from this kind of error as Peltier's report continues:

Measured Progress is giving Nevada almost $1.3 million back for their botched implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment last Spring.


Lynn said...

Connecticut just decided to switch to the SAT for high school accountability testing.

dan dempsey said...

Hechinger Report - December 2014

Who was behind the Common Core math standards, and will they survive?

Hechinger's article is a typical puff piece. I left a comment but it has not yet been approved. It seems the general public is gradually catching on to the CCSS indirectly paid advocates.

Why is all this testing taking place? What was gained last year by WA State from SBAC?

My website comment =>

The CCSS were unproven, hurried, untried, untested and pushed by "Arne Duncan's abuse of funding" via Race to the Top dollars.

This Hechinger article appears to be a "somewhat dishonest" propaganda piece.

"the Common Core only contains broad guidelines about what students should know, not directions about how textbooks should be written or how teachers should teach."

Check the Geometry Standards – these look like something tried in the Soviet Union long ago and without success. Clearly a strong logical proof centered Geometry text like Jurgensen’s would not meet the CCSS-M focus.

The Standards for Mathematical Practice and CCSS tests from SBAC and PARCC certainly seem to contradict the statement "not directions about how textbooks should be written or how teachers should teach."

The CCSS result has been a big boost to "No Vendor Left Behind" and "Race to the Bank" as Pearson, hardware vendors, and textbook sellers cash in.

A careful analysis of "Early CCSS Adopting" Kentucky's results reveals the failing nature of this misguided expensive overreaching centralized power grab.

John Hattie in "Visible Learning for Teachers" shows how to maximize student learning by the decentralization of decision making. He uses "relevant data" and intelligently applies it...... Unlike CCSS manufacturers.

dan dempsey said...

From the Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2015
comes a response as to the value of SBAC testing of Common Core Standards in Mathematics

What will the Common Core test results show?

About this editorial =>

"And it'll be years before it becomes clear whether the new tests and the new curriculum live up to their promise."

Nonsense. I worked through every one of the SBAC sample tests and they do nothing of their high-sounding rhetoric. The tests are a year or more below the grade level of the actual content specifications along with the excellent California Standards Tests that they replace but waste an immense amount of time arranging the answers in a form acceptable to the computer. A standard old "bubble in" paper test is vastly superior. The sooner California - and the nation - abandon this ed industry mistake and return to California's best-in-the-nation CA Math Content Standards and associated CSTs the better for California students especially for those from low education and low socioeconomic status who have little opportunity for upward mobility except through publicly-funded education.

Respectfully submitted,

Wayne Bishop

Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus
California State University, LA

Anonymous said...

So guess what? It happened RIGHT HERE IN SEATTLE and all of the affected staff were totally gag ordered and I wanted to throw up.

We were counselled to tell our 3rd graders that there was "just one more test" and it was all due to that drop down menu problem. There were so many issues: connectivity, kids understanding the laptops, the test set up, etc.

It happened all over our district.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Disgusted, could you tell me what school that was? Either here or at

You don't have to ID yourself but I can follow-up if I know what school it is.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable about making students retake the tests....one more reason to opt out.

Wayne Bishop's criticisms of SBAC are spot on. We used the old CA multiple choice practice tests to assess our children. The old tests covered more material, in less time, and in a more straightforward manner. We also hold Jurgensen's Geometry text in high regard. It was still being used at a local private high school when we toured a few years ago.

You can still view the released questions from the old California Standards Test (Algebra I):


-opted out

Concerned granadma said...

I remember that a third grade teacher at McDonald International School told me that this happened there.

dan dempsey said...

Well thinking about opting-out ... What is going to happen in WA DC about legislation?

ESEA High on Agenda of Education Issues as Congress Returns
By Lauren Camera

Fresh off a five-week summer sabbatical, members of Congress confront a handful of pressing education issues, high among them brokering a path forward for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, with dueling bills having already passed in both chambers.

Perhaps most urgent, however, the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and House and Senate appropriators have yet to pass a spending bill to fund the government past then. When they return, they'll have just 10 legislative working days to negotiate a funding plan for federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and its programs.

Perhaps legislators could begin by defunding a whole lot of nonsense.

dan dempsey said...

Thinking about SBAC testing and how we got here... comes the following article:

The surprising conservative roots of the Common Core: How conservatives gave rise to ‘Obamacore’

(The linked article above has a download at the bottom for a long paper on the history of how we got into this mess.)

In an article about Jeb Bush’s prospects for winning the Republican presidential nomination, the Washington Post warned that “The conservative base hates—hates, hates, hates—the Common Core education standards.”

That’s the conventional wisdom today about conservatives and the Common Core. But David Whitman clearly illustrates in this new paper that such rhetoric vastly oversimplifies not just the debate among conservatives over the Common Core, but the rich, conservative roots of the standards themselves. As this paper documents, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) embody conservative principles in setting goals for student learning that date back to Ronald Reagan.

The conservative roots of the Common Core are little known today, but efforts at education reform during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations laid the ground work for today’s national standards. In fact, those efforts make Barack Obama and Arne Duncan’s efforts to encourage voluntary state adoption of the Common Core standards look timid by comparison.