Update 2: SPS teacher (and parent and activist) Jesse Hagopian's essay on why he is opting his 1st grader out of MAP testing.
end of update
Update: just crossed my desk. The state of Colorado - over their holiday break - mysteriously and without warning, switched from using the ACT to the SAT. From Chalkbeat Colorado:
End of update.Colorado high school juniors will be required to take the SAT college-entrance exam instead of the ACT starting this spring, a significant change that grew out of a competitive bidding process required by hard-fought testing reform legislation.The state Department of Education announced Wednesday that a selection committee chose The College Board, makers of the SAT, over the ACT testing company, which has been testing juniors in Colorado since 2001.
High school sophomores, meanwhile, will begin taking the PSAT. Under the compromise testing legislation, sophomores and juniors no longer will take PARCC English and math tests, which debuted last spring and proved especially unpopular with high school students.
The SAT tests differ from PARCC and, notably, will take less time. For example, sophomores spent more than 11 hours on PARCC tests last spring, while the PSAT clocks in at just under three hours. The PARCC tests have been shortened somewhat for this spring.
From Seattle Opt Out:
KINDERGARTEN PARENTS IN SEATTLE: Do you know that today, Jan. 4, the testing window for MAP opens in schools that are choosing to administer it?
Most of the parents we've encountered WERE NOT INFORMED of this. Many have been confused about what is happening--principals are saying that they're "leaving it up to teachers," teachers are saying "my principal encouraged me to administer it," no one downtown at the District is answering the phone to get to the bottom of it, and many PTAs are simply unaware of the window having opened.
Confusion is part of the high-stakes game; it makes it more challenging to organize an opt-out campaign if no one really knows what the hell is going on. On the District's website it is listed as "required" next to the Jan 4-29 MAP for Kindergarten assessment. THIS IS CONFUSING, TOO, because it DOESN'T MEAN THAT STUDENTS ARE 'REQUIRED' TO TAKE IT! You can opt out!
You can even call your child's school, right now, and opt out verbally (per OSPI! Opt outs do not have to be in writing, no kidding). Or, tomorrow, you can send a handwritten note to your child's teacher or principal saying this:
Dear ________________,As well, there is this article from Education Week about the new ESSA (Every Student Achieves Act, formerly NCLB) rules on testing.
I would like to opt my child out of the MAP test during their kindergarten year. This includes make-up tests. Please provide a place for them to look at books, draw, or engage in another meaningful school activity.
You can reach me at ___-____-_____ or _______@____ if you have any questions. Thank you.
The questions are hanging over a provision of the Every Student Succeeds Act that lets states measure high school achievement with college-entrance exams instead of standards-based assessments.
That's because most states' current tests are based on their academic standards and are built to measure mastery of those standards. Moving to a college-entrance exam such as the SAT or ACT, which are designed to predict the likelihood of students' success in college, would mean that states had chosen instead to measure college readiness.Yes, using the ACT or SAT, rather than, I assume, SBAC or PARCC (depending on your state - WA state uses SBAC.)
Seven states have won permission from the U.S. Department of Education to use SAT or ACT for federal accountability. But a spokeswoman for the department said the states still must present evidence, through the peer-review process, that the exams are valid for that purpose. Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire won approval to use the SAT for federal accountability, and Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming got the nod to use the ACT that way.Is this so easy-peasy?
It isn't clear yet exactly which "nationally recognized high school academic assessments" the Education Department will consider acceptable, since regulations and guidance to implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act haven't yet been written.What does this mean for determining outcomes for any given school?
How well a national exam can reflect state standards is a central—and unanswered—question in the use of college-entrance exams for accountability purposes.
FairTest, a group that opposes standardized testing, warned that that provision in the new law "must be treated with caution; those tests are no better educationally than existing state tests, and they have not been validated to assess high school academic performance." The college-entrance exams have long been criticized, too, as biased in favor of wealthier students from college-educated families.
One danger, however, lies in what use states make of college-entrance-exam data. Using it to measure students' likelihood of success in college is one thing, but using it to make judgments about the effectiveness of a school, a principal, or a teacher would be another, assessment experts cautioned.
"Tests like the SAT or ACT can measure college readiness, but whether they can measure a teacher's or a school's contribution to college readiness is an open question," said Lauress L. Wise, the immediate-past president of the National Council on Measurement in Education, which sets standards for best practice in assessment.