Dorn threatens Nathan Hale

According to this story in the Seattle Times, State schools superintendent Randy Dorn is threatening to withhold funding if Seattle's Nathan Hale High School doesn't administer the SBAC tests to 11th graders.


Anonymous said…
I don't know if Randy Dorn is planning to run again in 2016, but Erin Jones has reportedly said that she is planning to run for State Superintendent.

David Edelman
Ready to stand up to the destroyers of public education said…
I hope that the courageous stand by the Hale staff will inspire the rest of SSD staff and community to take a stand against the corporate destroyers of public education in our land. Teachers, administrators and parents need to see the folly that is taking place in our city, state and nation!
Anonymous said…
I hope more follow Hale's example. And I will wait to see OSPI and the Feds blink. The double standard they are applying in their waivers, funding, mandates, etc. is going to bite them back. They've given themselves a bed of marbles to stand on.

Cage rattling from Dorn.

Here's what one reader at the Times (rightly) points out is lacking in this article:

Reasons for refusing the SBAC for 11th graders included (summary):

1. Not required for graduation

2. Colleges will not use them this year

3. Since NCLB requires all students pass the tests by 2014, and since few if any schools will be able to do that, all schools will therefore be considered failing by that standard. There is thus no reason to participate in erroneous and misapplied self-labeling.

4. It is neither valid nor reliable nor equitable assessment. We will use classroom based assessments to guide next instructional steps.

5. Cut scores of the SBAC reflect poor assessment strategy and will produce invalid and unreliable outcomes.

6. Student made this point: “Why waste time taking a test that is meaningless and that most of us will fail?”

7. The SBAC will tie up computer lab time for weeks.

8. The SBAC will take up time students need to work on classroom curriculum.

There are now multiple news article on public ed where the Times is not presenting a balanced picture. You have to wonder why.
Anonymous said…
We're in it now.
-Hale Yes
Anonymous said…
Reasons #2, 4, and 5 are false statements.

The colleges and universities in our state have declared they will use this spring's results in placement decisions when students arrive at a college or university.

SBAC has done significant work on reliability and validity determinations and have posted this work on their website.

I have posted links to the evidence above previously. People only need to find them.

I'm surprised NHHS made these false statements following the "careful consideration" they claimed they made. But I'm wondering now if any viewpoint was provided that differed from that of Wayne Au.

--- swk
Opting Out said…
Say what you like, swk. I"m opting my 11th grader out of SBAC.

11th graders will be taking final exams which include language arts, history, math, science and electives. There are AP exams, IB exams and college entrance exams.

Students are in the midst of college tours, class projects etc.

Expecting 11th graders to pilot SBAC for 8 hours is heartless.

Very easy for individuals to sit back in their recliner chairs and make decisions for our children, when they aren't having stressed kids in their homes.

Anonymous said…
Opting Out, I have no problem with you making a decision for your child and your family that you deem reasonable. I have said many times in this blog that parents have every right to opt their children out of testing and should be afforded that right.

But I do have a problem with a public high school administration deciding to defy state and federal law because they don't like that law. This isn't civil disobedience. Those administrators are agents of the state and the public. If they don't like it, they can perform an act of civil disobedience and resign.

Finally, and again I've stated this numerous times, the SBAC assessment have already been piloted. They were piloted in the spring of 2012 in states across the consortium --- including Washington --- and they were field tested in the spring of 2013 in states across the consortium --- including Washington.

--- swk
Opting Out said…
"But I do have a problem with a public high school administration deciding to defy state and federal law because they don't like that law."

Give me a break, swk. These teachers have said- enough- and have the courage to stand-up. I"m glad these these administrators and teachers are not sheeples.
Opting Out said…
Lastly, I will say that Olympia and the Feds are very disconnected to the actual classrooms.

Anonymous said…
No disrespect intended here, swk, but in my experience, people who engage in civil disobedience set their own parameters for it. It's neither your place, my place, nor anyone else's place to decide how anyone else should engage in civil disobedience.

I can only presume that when Crispus Attucks and Sam Gray threw rocks at the armed redcoats in Boston in 1770 that they knew they risked getting shot, in what has become known to history as the Boston Massacre. It is unclear if the redcoats knew what the consequences might be for them when they did the shooting.

-- Ivan Weiss
Anonymous said…
On this topic, reasonable people can disagree.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Ivan, I took no offense and found no disrespect. The difference between your example and what is happening here is that the HHHS administrators are not acting as citizens engaged in an act of disobedience but rather agents of the government defying their public duty and responsibilities.

If they are aware of the consequences and are willing a lose their jobs or suffer suspensions over this defiance, I have a great deal of respect for that.

--- swk
mirmac1 said…
I have a great deal of respect for teachers and administrators who view our students'learning as their " public duty and responsibilit(y)"
Anonymous said…
As do I, mirmac, as do I. I simply view the state tests as part of teaching and learning. I guess we might differ on that point.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
As a parent in the SPS, I have spent an immense amount of time trying to get the SPS to follow state laws. This just gives SPS more ammunition to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

I don't have a problem with testing. In fact, the HCC math curriculum was so poor at Hamilton International Middle School my daughter said she enjoyed taking the MAP tests because it was the one time she got to do some math.

Where is all this wonderful curriculum that students are missing while taking these test??. Nowhere, that's where.

Anonymous said…
Some might regard it as their duty to commit civil disobedience by refusing to comply with an unjust law. The point of civil disobedience is to bring attention to an unjust law and attempt to change the minds of those responsible for the law.

One very important element I don't hear in this debate is what the justification is for moving from the HSPE to the SBAC. Sometimes one hears, as in the recent Seattle Times article, the argument that it's all about raising standards. But raising standards for what purpose?

I personally would never ask my principal to refuse to administer the SBAC, nor would I ask our capable test coordinator to refuse to administer it. All staff at our school can do is to state their views and express support for parents who wish to opt their children out.

One thing that I don't understand about Nathan Hale's stance is how they will handle those students who failed some element of the HSPE in 10th grade. SBAC is a make-up exam for them. Are they administering the test to those students?

David Edelman
SWK, that's in-state. Colleges and universities, on the whole, will not be using them.

SBAC is not valid. They have done some of what is needed but to say it's a valid test at this point? Nope.

Also, that reasoning - as I stated - is from a reader at the Times' comments section, not NHHS.

Also, the principal at Hale is not for this (that's my understanding).
From Rep. Gerry Pollet's Facebook page (his district covers Hale):

"Standing with Hale HS against being forced to take more tests! And I will be telling Superintendent Randy Dorn to back off (again).

In January, we held our 46th Legislative Town Hall at Hale HS with a special Town Hall just for students before the public event (with about 200 constituents). In both forums, we were asked what can be done about the huge amount of time being spent on testing, and the new 11th grade tests for graduation.

Organize, I replied, and join the boycott, which helps us in Olympia to stand up and fight to eliminate the tests as graduation requirements and reduce the number of tests.

Ironically, Randy Don (State Superintendent), this week,helped sink legislation to improve special education in Seattle and our State. We are at direct risk of losing far more federal funding due to OSPI's failure to have a 21st century special education program based on improving education for students. Seattle would lose 150% of the amount we are required to shift under the punishment for not using test scores to evaluate teachers.
Our students literally spend months of the school year being tested instead of learning. The new Common Core /"Smarter Balanced" tests are normed for 65% of students to fail, so Hale's teachers and administrators are right on to ask why should they give the test?"
swk, what other option do you suggest here? Ed reformers continue to put their fingers in their ears and refuse to listen to parent and teacher concerns about the SBAC - or mock those parents and teachers for voicing concerns. The state legislature is AWOL and Randy Dorn has abandoned students and teachers to side with Arne Duncan.

In that situation, civil disobedience is not only necessary, but justified. The ed reformers and state officials have left schools with literally no other option.

It's unfortunate that it's come to this, but here we are. To paraphrase JFK, those who make sensible changes to flawed education policy impossible make civil disobedience and mass rejection of those policies inevitable.
Anonymous said…
"One thing that I don't understand about Nathan Hale's stance is how they will handle those students who failed some element of the HSPE in 10th grade. SBAC is a make-up exam for them. Are they administering the test to those students?"

11th and 12th grade students who have not passed the HSPE will not be taking the SBAC tests. They will be taking the HSPE again in March.

HS Teacher
seattle citizen said…
And if they took, and didn't pass HSPE last year there are other alternatives, such as the Collection of Evidence process (which, unlike the test, actually helps the student), or using SAT or ACT scores of a certain level, which count, thereby, as HSPE for purposes of state's CAA (Certificate of Academic Achievement - the state's necessary component of a "valid" diploma, achieved by HSPE, SAT/ACT or COE. Oh, and I guess now by EOC in some classes...last year. Or this year. Or next. Who, really, can keep track of the constantly shifting and murky requirements, let alone the standards...Well, swk, yes, but who else?
seattle citizen said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Po3 said…
--- swk

It's due to the courage of brave teachers that our high school students no longer have to take MAPS.

I am thankful for these leaders in our schools.

Personally, I hope Dorn does withhold funding, the media S**T storm that will create will be golden.

Anonymous said…
Melissa, there are particular protocols that must be followed for any test to be deemed valid and reliable for the purposes in which it was designed. SBAC has followed those protocols and can be declared a valid and reliable test of the Common Core State Standards. I am talking in technical terms and it is a valid and reliable test.

I can post their protocols again. Can you post evidence to the contrary by testing experts who have knowledge of the SBAC test specifications and its content domains?

Also, all of the colleges and universities in the SBAC states have signed agreements to use this spring's 11th grade assessment results in placement decisions.

Finally, the reasoning is from NHHS Senate and provides the basis for their resolution and was copied by the Seattle Times reader. At least that's my understanding.

And if the principal is against this, then I imagine the test will be administered this spring.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Po3, the MAP is not mandated by state law. And the school board is not bound by state law to require the administration of MAP.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Robert, please tell me in your own words how the Common Core State Standards differ from the EALRs and GLEs. Also please tell me how the SBAC assessments differ from the MSP/HSPE/EOCs. And once you spell out these differences, please tell me how those differences would lead a policymaker to conclude that a "mass rejection of these policies [was] inevitable."

--- swk
Anonymous said…
swk - interesting how many diaries on Diane Ravitch's blog probably mess with your phake science arguments - and it is a waste of time looking for them for people like you.

THE FACT is that you're taking the lovers-of-Gate$ approach ... you're reasonable (so others aren't), you're factual, (so others aren't), and ...

let's ignore the hotmess of Gregroire & Chopp & Murray & Inslee ... how they've sided with Arne and his liars. Let's ignore the liars tactics & strategies of blaming teachers with phake evaluations founded on junk-test-scores.

like a broken clock, you all have a few facts right a couple of times a day. let's argue on your terms so no one notices the liars behind

"Can you post evidence to the contrary by testing experts who have knowledge of the SBAC test specifications and its content domains?"

First, you know that a lot of it is not available to the public as it would be to someone like you on the inside. Second, whose protocols? A lot of things can be "true" - that doesn't make them right.

I do like the questions asked here:

From the SBAC website:

"Is the Smarter Balanced summative assessment designed for use in college admissions?

No. The Smarter Balanced assessments are not designed to serve the function of admission examinations. Use of Smarter Balanced assessment scores in admission decisions is ultimately a policy decision for higher education systems and institutions, but Smarter Balanced is not designing its assessments for this purpose."

That's not admissions; that's placements. See below.

"Will performance on the Smarter Balanced assessment have any impact on students’ college experience?

Yes. Smarter Balanced Governing States have agreed on a College Content-readiness Policy that guarantees exemption from developmental coursework to students who perform at an agreed-upon level on the grade 11 summative assessment and meet state requirements set jointly by K-12 and higher education for grade 12 course taking and performance. In 2014-15, after the Field Test is complete and preliminary performance standards have been set, colleges and universities in Smarter Balanced Governing States will be asked to agree to abide by this policy beginning with students who enter college in fall 2016. To help colleges and universities make this decision, Smarter Balanced will provide information on how scores on the grade 11 assessment compare to scores on commonly used admission and placement examinations and conduct a series of studies of predictive and consequential validity."

I'd be willing to bet any student could ask that their scores on other tests/classes be used in lieu of SBAC for placement.

chunga said…
swk - the external validity has not been confirmed for SBAC as acknowledged by SBAC itself (

Also refer to which describes how SBAC is neither validity or reliability.

For this reason, the cut scores are similarly not well supported.

In term of how colleges use them, it's true that WA colleges are considering them although there is scant mention on any school's admissions pages and they are certainly not required. In any case, we already have multiple mostly meaningless tests (SAT, ACT) that colleges generally use - forcing every student to take SBAC because some colleges might consider it as a small part of admissions decisions is completely overkill.
Anonymous said…
chunga, both links you posted address external validity. External validity does not relate validation by external parties, as the second link infers. External validity relates to how test scores relate to external variables like grades, scores from other tests, etc. It would obviously be impossible to do external validity studies before the test is even administered.

However, internal validity is what is necessary at this point and the first link verifies its internal validity. Internal validity and reliability is used to determine that a particular test is "valid and reliable" for the purposes in which it is designed --- in this case, does it test student knowledge of the Common Core State Standards.

Finally, there is no intention nor has there ever been to use SBAC assessment scores in admissions. This is about placement. These are different things. Placement determinations occur only after a student has been admitted. Therefore, SBAC assessments are not, nor will they ever, replace SAT/ACT. They have different purposes.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Melissa, Rick Hess asks good questions --- ones I've asked myself --- and they've been answered by the consortia, I think, but I can't put my finger on them right now. I will do so when it's not so late at night.

You are absolutely right that students can use other test scores for placement purposes once they arrive at the college/university.

Colleges/universities don't use courses/grades, though. They use placement tests like Accuplacer and COMPASS (from the College Board and ACT, by the way) for this purpose. Students can avoid these tests once they're admitted if they have SBAC assessment scores.

--- swk

P.S. Sorry this has turned into a mini-seminar on test development. It's annoying, I know.
Anonymous said…
I have a couple other questions re: Hale's statement, in case anyone can clarify.

First, what do they mean that the test is not "equitable"?

Second, this just applies to the current 11th graders, right? Next year's class, and those that follow, will take the full slate of exams. Was the current crop of 11th graders going to have to take more tests than everyone else, or is this just seen as an opportunity to get a slightly better deal for one particular class, given the transition period?

If the test is sticking around, do others lose out by not giving it to current 11th graders? For example, will the 11th grade scores be used to help determine levels required to be exempt from remedial classes in college? If so, opting one subset of students out because it doesn't benefit them personally sounds a bit like the anti-vax argument to me...

seattle citizen said…
Part of the problem now is that no one has the slightest idea what's going on. While the test developers and Arne Duncan and Randy Don (and swk : ) ) evidently have had a plan, or know what is over the last few years, citizens, students, and educators stand aghast as the state tries (through districts and principals) to explain why CCSS and not EALRs; why SBAC and not WASL, no, MSP/HSPE (and what, again, is MAP for?) and what's up with EOCs? What grades? When? What classes? Is it EOCS 9th in Math pre-emptiness HSPE 10, and therefore SBAC is unnecessary 11? But it is? Because....because....cut scores! No, college placement! But wait, they're not grad requirements, maybe, Don 11 don't need them! They DO need them! Because! 40 million!
Please: if students and teachers ha'en't a clue what tests when, how they will be administered with too few computers and without crashing...if no one but the Edu-God's on high know what's going on and meanwhile schools are reorganizing to meet 1080 hours and 24 credits and data systems in classrooms are rolled out then crashing; if new eval are based on "evidence and artifacts" or observations or weighted by MAP scores of students one no longer has...
ALL this churn the last few years and now no one knows what tests to take when, how to cram those tests (EOC, IB, AP, SBAC, MAP still used? Who knows!) into busy springs with limited resources....
Almost as if the Edu-God's want schools to fail, so industry can step in and "do it for the kids" because those public schools are too chaotic."
Anonymous said…
You captured it perfectly.
Hot mess. When do we get to actually teach?
Watching said…
Field testing only required 10% of Washington State students to take SBAC. Does this constitute a representative sample and reliable sample for English Language Learners, and special need students? What about cultural competence? It is important to remember that SPS has over 90 languages spoken within SPS.

I would like to hear from a researcher on this issue and one that isn't connected to the Smarter Balanced Consortium.
Watching said…
"If they are aware of the consequences and are willing a lose their jobs or suffer suspensions over this defiance, I have a great deal of respect for that."

I'm sure Hale's teachers and administrators understand their risk.

Watching said…

I kept wondering why RTT funding was used to provide all students the opportunity to take SAT.

It is interesting to note--In theory, all 11th graders will take SBAC and SAT. There is plenty data available for comparison. As we know, student data can be used for educational research.

"To help colleges and universities make this decision, Smarter Balanced will provide information on how scores on the grade 11 assessment compare to scores on commonly used admission and placement examinations and conduct a series of studies of predictive and consequential validity."
swk, you are missing the point. You believe the SBAC is a "legitimate" test, and that therefore criticism of it is unwarranted, that parent and teacher concerns can be ignored.

It doesn't matter whether they're similar or different to other assessments. What matters is that parents and teachers across America have deep concerns about the content of the test, the purpose of the test, and the overemphasis on the test. Those concerns have never once been acknowledged by SBAC defenders, and they have never once suggested they will make the necessary changes to address those concerns.

So since the reasonable path - changing the test itself and the way in which it is prepped for and used - has been closed off, then there's no alternative to mass resistance. And that is precisely what we are seeing across America, a resistance that has arrived at long last in Seattle.
Federalist. said…
The results would be used for course placement NOT admissions.

Washington State Universities Will Use Smarter Balanced Test Scores for Placement
By Catherine Gewertz on October 8, 2014 10:13 AM

Public colleges and universities in Washington state have announced that they will use the college-readiness determination from the 11th grade Smarter Balanced assessment in course-placement decisions.

The announcement is significant because it puts teeth into the most pivotal claim of the common-core initiative: that a "college ready" score on consortium tests means a student is prepared to perform well in entry-level, credit-bearing work.

Until recently, this claim lived in the land of abstractia. Smarter Balanced and PARCC have been designing tests that aim to live up to that standard. And in order to get their federal funding, the two consortia had to enlist pledges of support from hefty chunks of their states' public higher-education systems. In their applications for funding in 2010, both consortia enlisted support from a hefty portion of their states' colleges and universities.

But those were just pledges in principle; the systems that signed on were pledging support only to the idea of tests that demonstrated college readiness. What they would do once they saw the finished assessments—and the cut scores for college readiness—was anyone's guess.

The decision by Washington state's public universities and its community and technical colleges is one of the first steps out of the abstract into the concrete. The public colleges and universities in West Virginia, too, have committed to using the Smarter Balanced 11th grade test for course placement in 2015, according to consortium spokeswoman Jacqueline King.

It's interesting that both systems have made those commitments even before Smarter Balanced has established its college-ready cut score (or cut scores for the other three levels of its test, either). That thorny process has begun, and member states' higher-education officials are taking part in it.

All four branches of California's higher-education system pledged support to Smarter Balanced in August, but have not yet made a commitment to accept its 11th grade test scores in course-placement decisions.
Federalist. said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chunga said…
swk -
external validity is important if a test is going to be used for college placement or to make claims about "college readiness". Reliability, which has also not been shown, is also critical for the kinds of uses intended for SBAC.

Thanks for clarifying that SBAC is intended as a placement test only. My point would still stand that it's grossly excessive to have every student take SBAC for this purpose.

regarding cut scores, you've failed to show how the cut scores are justified. We've already failed to reach the bogus 100% proficiency demands of NCLB (in fact, NAEP scores have largely stagnated since NCLB). What makes you think this bar will help?

also regarding your not approving of staff taking this action, my understanding is that the senate that voted on this was made of teachers, administrators, parents and students.

As professor Bruce Baker notes, there's really no good reason to test every student every year (much less multiple times per year) for state or district accountability purposes. Refer to Kudos to Nathan Hale for doing this!

Anonymous said…
We opted our 11th grade Running Start student out of SBAC testing. Missing so many consecutive days of community college classes was a ridiculous burden for her to bear, and the SBAC offers her no benefit. When she is admitted to a 4-year university, administrators there will use her community college course grades and her COMPASS test results to place her in the appropriate university classes.

RS Mom
Anonymous said…

I am thankful for your wealth of information that you provide to this blog--it's very useful.

The underlying issue here isn't the test itself or its reliability or validity. Its the fact that, like many of Gates' iniatives, Common Core had overrealiance on people like you (experts, policy wonks and/or people with ivy league pedigrees) and not enough on the people who deliver services and have "skin" in the game (like parents). The result can be a disconnect between theory and reality; it can also result in resentment by the stakeholders who had no voice in their own destiny.

You are against using these tests for teacher evaluations. Yet Gates has made teacher evaluation a high priority. It was inevitable that this test would be linked to teacher evaluations until Gates devises another method that he likes better. I, for one, don't doubt Gates and his wife's good intentions, by the way. I just think they are often very paternalistic, especially in the field of education where Bill Gates assumes expertise since schoolwork came easily to him.

Your facts are correct. What you are missing are the nuances. I think your statement of "fact" about the Hale teachers and the law, and Ivan Weiss' "nuance" about civil disobedience illustrate this very well.

On the other hand, you, like Gates. probably wouldn't be as astute in your field were you able to focus on nuances. This test, like the flag or laws, is a symbol or indicator--in this case of student learning and not the learning itself.

--enough already
Anonymous said…

its--should be it's

no comma after "law"

--enough already
Anonymous said…
Just to state the obvious that has been stated many times by others...

I want to clarify that "buying" state politicians (through campaign donations--the Democrats have been particular sellouts) who would put Common Core through by state legislation (to make it "look like" it's not the "federal mandate" that is actually is) without public input has also contributed strongly to the "backlash."

This was an intentional, well-thought out and documented Gates strategy that underestimated the "stupid" public.

-enough already
Anonymous said…
Thank you to the various voices on this blog who are turning this discussion back to the larger questions of what the purposes are of the SBAC and the Common Core.

The burden is on those who support them to explain what those larger purposes are. Otherwise, we can assume that students are simply being exploited for the purposes of producing data. And data, as I've explained previously, is a commodity that pays people's salaries and generates revenue for a host of entities, for-profit and nonprofit alike.

David Edelman
Anonymous said…
I think we've done some good work here folks --- we've pretty much covered the waterfront.

I'm going to exit this conversation for a few reasons --- (1) I've presented all the "facts" I've come here to present on this topic of reliability and validity of assessments and there's no more to say for the time being, (2) there's a danger of this devolving into something personal and/or conspiratorial --- which has already begun, and (3) it's a beautiful Sunday morning and my wife, dog, and I are headed to the Ballard Farmers Market for some fresh fruits and veggies (and yummy pastries that aren't good for me despite the lie I tell myself that since they're organic they must be good for me).

For those of you out there who are frequent if not daily readers of this blog but who never or only very rarely comment, there's a great deal of information in this particular thread posted by some smart, thoughtful people who care very much about learning, but who may disagree on things. You have a goo amount of information from which to make your own informed decisions.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Watching, you said: "To help colleges and universities make this decision, Smarter Balanced will provide information on how scores on the grade 11 assessment compare to scores on commonly used admission and placement examinations and conduct a series of studies of predictive and consequential validity."

Do you have a source for this? I had figured this is why the SAT for this class was free but didn't have any proof.

mirmac1 said…
Yes, SAT is free thanks to Gates, Duncan and their Road Map project. They have to establish a baseline for their new assessment tool and it won't work unless a broad spectrum of students are used as guinea pigs.
Linh-Co said…
The COMPASS testing exam for North Seattle Community College (see below) is pretty much given daily. The cost for both math and English placement is $25. You can finish both test in about 2 hours. The SBAC 8 hour exam is overkill. You get your results immediately after the exam. Almost every community college use these tests for placement. The 11th grade SBAC is unnecessary. Here's the testing schedule for North Seattle Community College:

(There is only one fee if you take both together.) Just drop in to the Testing Center to start your test anytime during Placement Testing drop-in hours. (See Testing Calendar for times on specific dates.)

Although Placement Testing drop-in hours are subject to change, they frequently follow this schedule:

Mon: 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Tues: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Wed/Thur/Fri: variable. See the Testing Calendar.

You may start a test anytime between the hours listed. Testing can continue at least two hours beyond the last start time (for example, if the placement test hours are 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., you can start as late as 4 p.m. and continue with testing until 6 p.m.). You receive results immediately after you complete the test.
Watching said…

I took the quote right from the horse's mouth aka Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium's web page:

The timing makes perfect sense. Provided all juniors "free" SAT exams in 2015 and universities will have comparison information for 2016.

"...universities in Smarter Balanced Governing States will be asked to agree to abide by this policy beginning with students who enter college in fall 2016. "

Nothing in life is "free".
Insider said…
A Missouri court has ruled SBAC unconstitutional. I don't know whether Missouri found SBAC unconstitutional based on the state or federal constitution.

It has been speculated that Washington State Attorney General-Bob Ferguson will not look into this issue because he wants to run for governor and he doesn't want to tangle with Gates.
seattle citizen said…
Enjoy your day at the market, swk. Thanks for your input on this important discussion. (Yes, because they're organic, pastries of this sort are indeed very, very good for you. Enjoy!)
seattle citizen said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Watching said…
Awesome day at the Farmers Market. I enjoyed coffee and shopped. Plenty of people with dogs--not sure if I saw swk....:)
Anonymous said…
Question -

Are the SBAC scores used by colleges for placement & credit or only for placement? Does the SBAC replace AP exams & SAT 2 exams? Or are they in addition to AP & SAT2 exams?

Anonymous said…
Another Question -

For students who already passed the EOCs in Middle School, do those still count or do they have go back to square one & retake math graduation exams?

seattle citizen said…
Wondering, SBAC does not count for credit (like AP). According to swk, it can/will be used as a placement test by colleges to determine level of college classes, like the Compass test.
As to EOCs in MS vis-a-vis EOCs, SBAC in HS, I haven't a clue....
seattle citizen said…
Wondering, SBAC does not count for credit (like AP). According to swk, it can/will be used as a placement test by colleges to determine level of college classes, like the Compass test.
As to EOCs in MS vis-a-vis EOCs, SBAC in HS, I haven't a clue....
seattle citizen said…
SBAC would not replace AP exams - those are separate.
I learned something fascinating today. Kids who go to private schools on public vouchers HAVE to take the state tests.

That must be very upsetting for the kids and problematic for the school in terms of prep/test scores, etc. I have no idea what those scores mean to a private school (would vouchers be restricted to some schools and not others if schools have poor test results for their voucher students?)

Vouchers - there's another nightmare that makes charters look like a tea party.
Anonymous said…
Clarifying question -

So if SBAC is used for placement, you can take that instead of an AP exam if you only want placement, not credit?

As far as specific subject SBAC will test through college levels of calc, stats, composition & literature for college placement like AP? Will it cover higher placement levels than AP exams, like linear algebra?

I understand that it will not cover placement for any history, sciences, foreign lang. etc. Students would need to take other exams for placement in those areas?

Anonymous said…
@wondering, this year's 7th and 8th graders that have already taken either the Algebra or Geometry EOC (and passed) will have to take the math SBAC in high school. Current 9th graders that have passed a math EOC do not have to take the math SBAC in high school, but will still need to take the ELA SBAC.

Math EOCs will not be administered to any middle schoolers this year. The Biology EOC will continue to be taken until they come out with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the accompanying test.

Lynn said…

Here is a link to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Agreement.

As an example of current placement policy, you can find information on the UW's math policy here and the English policy here.

SBAC only applies to math and English. At the UW, if your student has an SAT critical reading or writing score of at least 490, there is no benefit to having an SBAC score. If your student has an AP Calculus score of 2 or higher or an IB Math HL score of 5 or higher, there is no benefit to having an SBAC score.
Anonymous said…
The CCSS for math do not go beyond Algebra 2, so that's about the highest level they can assess. SBAC assessments are not comparable to AP exams. See pg. 89 of this document:

Anonymous said…
Are you telling me that the reason the district made all the 11th graders take the SAT last week was so that they would have a point-to-point data comparison SAT vs. SBAC? They told us that it was to provide an opportunity for those who don't think of themselves as college bound to take a college admissions test. They told us (all of us, counselors, admin, teachers, students, etc.) it was in the name of "closing the opportunity gap." SMH

This makes me even MORE infuriated. I knew something was up when the SAT showed up on our calendar without discussion. Shouldn't kids and their parents have to sign-off as "human subjects" when they are used as such?
Anonymous said…
There was a question on here about why SBAC, and not HSPE.

1. The state tests are used to gauge whether kids have mastered state standards. Whenever the standards change (and in WA they typically do so every few years) the state assessments change. When we updated the ELA and math standards by adopting CCSS standards, we could either re-write the HSPE to align, or use one of 2 CCSS tests. We chose the latter and chose the SBAC.

2. Major difference: The old standards ended at 10th grade. CCSS are intended to be career and college ready. So while the HSPE told our kids, yes, you mastered learning standards up to 10th grade, the SBAC (in theory) will tell them how prepared they are for post-HS study and career.

3. Why? Because only about 19 percent of kids who enter 9th grade go on to complete a post-secondary degree (that includes 2-year and technical programs). Kids start college and flounder. They get stuck with debt. It's messy, sad, and a huge disservice to our kids.

4. Placement tests in college factor into this. Kids struggle on them (especially if they haven't taken math in a year or 2 year) and get placed into remedial classes. (About half of the kids in community colleges get placed in remedial math). Which means a 2-year program can stretch out to a 3-year program, etc. (So ... kids who most need that degree face biggest hurdles to get it).

There has been a lot of work to make sure that on the high school end kids are getting the foundation they need to succeed in post-secondary work ... And on the college end, to make sure their placement tests are fair to kids and an accurate reflection of what they are ready for. Accepting SBAC for course placement streamlines the college part of this equation. (Who wants to be tested a year or more after their last math class?)

This means, colleges use SBAC to decide (for example) if Molly needs to take alg2, Molly can start with calculus, or Molly can use her credits elsewhere because she already met her field of study's math requirements.

The huge worry, and reason for why eveyone thinks kids will "fail" the SBAC is that the old standards stopped so quickly into high school. And if success on the course placement tests was any indication, we could expect about half of our kids to fail this new test.

So ... we could go back to what we did (why? I haven't a clue. Huge disservice to kids) or we could actually better prepare all students (not just the talented, gifted and zip code-blessed) and forge ahead.

(BTW: I really don't know how good a test the SBAC is. Just trying to lay out for people what the rationale for action was, and the key differences between old and new state tests for high schoolers)

-Ramona H
seattle citizen said…
Wait, what? I also thought last week's SAT for 11s was to help push them towards college and provide equity. They are being used for SBAC research?!
Yes, "human subjects", indeed, and a total lack of transparency, if this is true.
maureen said…
spittin', If you don't want your kid to be a human subject this spring then opt them out of the SBAC. Then there won't be anything to compare their SAT score to and they will probably drop them from the data set.
Anonymous said…
Questions Answered Thanks

Well it sounds to me like the SBAC are not really placement tests if they stop at alg 2. If you took more math than that you will still need a different placement test for college. It doesn't sound like that is very transparent in the descriptions of SBAC where it is being called a college placement test.

Proficient said…
Ramona did a great job. The question becomes: Proficient vs College Ready.

Students can be proficient, but will fail because they are not college ready.
Anonymous said…

Let's just assume that a justification for the Common Core and the SBAC is that they will help students to be more college-and-career-ready.

The obvious question is: why would changing state standards, all by itself, make students more college-and-career-ready?

You are suggesting a kind of weak cause-and-effect relationship between standards and college-and-career-readiness. Yet, wouldn't it be fair to say that what makes students college-and-career-ready is multi-causal? If the argument is that changing standards, all by itself, will make students more college-and-career-ready, then I would say that the argument is based on a false assumption.

Consider this irony. At our school, we used to have a career counselor. That position was eliminated by Goodloe-Johnson, and now the former office of the career counselor is occupied by a test coordinator whose entire job is to coordinate the multitudes of assessments that are being conducted at our school. This is not a comment on our very capable test coordinator. Rather, it's a comment on the single-mindedness of the approach to preparing students for college and career.

I teach IB students, and I keep in contact with many of my students after they leave high school. I get frequent feedback on what instruction helped and didn't help them in their first years of college. I can assure you that I don't look to Common Core standards to figure out how I can better support my students. I find them to be superfluous, at best.

Finally, I reject the over-emphasis on college-and-career readiness. This reduces education to merely the instrumental. The purpose of education is to help students to develop the rich set of capabilities they need to experience being human in all its fullness. John Dewey warned of how the play of learning could be reduced "to a routine efficiency prized simply for its external tangible results. Achievement comes to denote the sort of thing that a well-planned machine can do better than a human being, and the main effect of education, the achieving of a life of rich significance, drops by the wayside."

David Edelman
Wondering, I think the day when the SBAC is considered as rigorous as an AP exam is a long time off. So while SBAC might be useful for placement (if you like taking a long test versus COMPASS which is shorter), a university would rather see that a student took an AP test and passed.

Spittin', there is value to taking the SAT... for the student. But yes, this year there is a LOT of value for districts in being able to compare SAT to SBAC scores.

Ramona, there is some dispute over SBAC being college and career ready testing. Maybe community college. (But thank you for your input and helping to clarify what the objectives for SBAC are. Whether that turns out to be true is another story.)
Anonymous said…
The SBAC isn't intended as a placement test (i.e., which level should you be in), but merely as a way to test out of a remedial test. Placement in any level beyond remediation will be based on other factors.

I have a feeling the role of SBAC in placement decisions may evolve. Someone mentioned a benefit to SBAC is that you can take it while your math class is still fresh, and not have to wait for a placement test just prior to starting college. I'd argue that's actually a disservice, not a benefit. If you score high enough on the SBAC in 11th to test out of remediation, then don't take math in 12th grade, by the time college starts you really may need that remedial class after all. Starting college with a class that's too difficult is a recipe for failure.

One of the comments above also mentioned the SBAC is valuable in addressing the high college drop-out rate. There seemed to be a sentiment that since the standards were lower, kids didn't realize they weren't college ready. So with SBAC they'll know, and won't have to bother em rolling in the first place? Is that the benefit? If the curriculum is the same, why would we expect greater levels of college readiness just because the standards and test have changed?

Half Full
Of course, the true irony here is that colleges are being pushed to align their curriculum to the Common Core. So rather than determining what "college ready" actually means and then building a K-12 curriculum around it, we have a K-12 curriculum that's been decided based on some theories about college readiness, imposed on schools, and now colleges are going to have to adapt to it.

Rather than plow ahead despite warning signs and concerns, why not just push the pause button? Bring together parents, teachers, college faculty, and researchers who know a thing or two about childhood development to take a look at Common Core and SBAC. See what makes sense and doesn't need to be changed, and see what needs to be fixed - and then go fix it?

We've heard the explanations of why Common Core and SBAC are structured the way they are. We're past that now. There have been plenty of government programs and ideas that didn't fare well on first contact with reality. In such cases the best move is to take a step back and adjust things as needed, especially when there is such strong and deep pushback from the public. (So far what we're seeing at Nathan Hale pales in comparison to the widespread revolt taking place in states like NY and NJ.)
Pre-kAndCC said…
The district's Strategic's Plan includes prek with aligment to Common Core.
cmj said…
I'm just not seeing any benefit to kids from taking the SBAC. I'm not opposed to testing: I'm just opposed to poorly-written tests that don't clearly benefit students.

The SBAC is not going to be used for placement in college courses except to determine which students don't need remedial courses (see link Lynn posted). It's scored on either a 4-point or a 5-point scale and just tells if students have mastered 11th grade coursework.

Some tests that are useful for some students:

-SAT/ACT: college admissions
-AP/IB: can early college credit at some colleges and they look good on college applications
-PSAT: If you're a National Merit Finalist, this looks very good on your college application, even if you don't take the scholarship. If you take it in 10th grade, it's good practice for the SAT -- though there's nothing wrong with taking the SAT in 10th grade instead of the PSAT.
- COMPASS: placement exam for students at Seattle community colleges. It's short. It's well written. It'll let students place out of introductory classes so that someone who's ready for differential equations isn't stuck taking pre-calculus.

I'm in favor of graduation exams -- because a diploma should mean something -- as long as they're well written. Unfortunately, WA has a history of using poorly-written state tests.
Opt-Out said…

SBAC will not generate valid test scores until 2016.

Our children are being used as guinea pigs.
Po3 said…
OK, so the SBAC is used to see if an 11th grader is college-ready in terms of Math and English.

My question is: What are schools prepared to do w/ students, who in 11th grade, appear not to be college ready? Where's the remediation at the high school level to ensure that these students are college ready?

Without any follow up in place, it's just a test for data.
Anonymous said…
Robert says, "...the true irony here is that colleges are being pushed to align their curriculum to the Common Core. So rather than determining what "college ready" actually means and then building a K-12 curriculum around it, we have a K-12 curriculum that's been decided based on some theories about college readiness, imposed on schools, and now colleges are going to have to adapt to it."

This is absolutely false and has no basis whatsoever in reality. Ever hear of academic freedom? There's quite a bit of case law on the subject. The colleges and universities themselves can't simply impose curriculum on their professors; therefore, there is no factual basis for Robert's rather outlandish claims.

--- swk

P.S. I had intended to simply follow this thread, which continues to be a really source of good information for parents, etc. on the 11th grade SBAC assessments. However, I couldn't let Robert's total fabrication go.
Anonymous said…
How many schools in the country took the SAT on February 24th?
Anonymous said…
I'm LOVING this thread -

if you had 140 students in your 5 period day, and you had about 150 full days of teaching in a year, that is at least 21,000++++ times kids walked through your door that year.

Suppose you tried to make a dent in those really marginal high school math skills? Oh yeah - can we get REAL about those skills? These aren't skills that are going to get you the pick of the programming jobs or get you the jobs being part of the MBS-CDO scam factories. We've had 4? sets of math standards in the last decade and test after test after test ... How about skills to participate in this world, and, skills to build on to help build a better world ... or keep reinventing the wheel because we're all going to go to MIT and we're all going to be rocket scientists! (hummm ... isn't that an optimal solution that only idiots could dream up?)

HOW does AP - SAT - ACT - WASL - EOC - MSP & their results months later help, day to day? Wait! Now we have this yuppie scum invented SBAC PARCC PUKE helping yuppie scum with their rank ranking systems! Your 21,000 +++ kids a year, get help on a day in a day out basis???? ha ha ha.

Anyone got any ideas to help REAL kids by this Tuesday? and all the Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays of their schooling lives?


Of course not - because most of you are products of an educational system which looks down its nose at actually accomplishing anything, actually making health care systems and transportation systems and food systems and sewage systems and education systems which WORK ... unless the systems are employing highly paid parasites with big titles.

I got an idea - FIRE everyone not in a building with kids, making over $75,000 a year. Put their names in a national accountability database, and NEVER let them draw a paycheck from public entity ever again!

Oh yeah - and buy James Stewart math books and

Unknown said…
@ swk

I think Robert Cruickshank's assessment is accurate.

According to this article:

“One of the first things David Coleman promised when he assumed the presidency of the College Board was to align the SAT with the Common Core,” Wurman told Breitbart News. “Now he delivers on his promise and dumbs down the SAT to match the low level of Common Core expectations.”

“Mr. Coleman and Common Core proponents have a problem: Common Core claims to prepare students for college, yet at most, its content prepares them for community and four-year, non-selective colleges. Its own authors admit as much,” Wurman said.
Please Stop said…
It should be noted that David Coleman was the architect of Common Core. Coleman is also sits on the College Board and is in the process of redesigning the SAT.

Students will be able to take "free" college prep tests on Khan--which of course, will collect data.
Anonymous said…
Lihn-Co, et al, I'm sorry but Robert Cruickshank's assessment in completely inaccurate.

David Coleman assuming that presidency of the College Board has ZERO effect on college-level curriculum and instruction. The College Board oversees the SAT and Advanced Placement (AP), which are given to high school students. The SAT is given to high school students to help predict success in college. College students don't take the SAT and it does not IN ANY WAY drive or affect college-level curriculum and instruction.

The College Board has ZERO authority over colleges and universities. It is not a college board like a state board of education or a local school board. The College Board doesn't oversee policy at the higher education institutions in our country. It was established to drive changes in American high schools.

Again, the SAT is a college admissions test and is given BEFORE a student is enrolled in a college or university. College instructors and professors couldn't care less about SAT content, etc. and they do not and never will align their curriculum and instruction to its content or results.

But more specifically, the Common Core State Standards in math run up through Algebra II and no higher. There are no College Algebra, Pre-Calculus, or Calculus standards in the CCSS. These are the beginning college-level math courses. Algebra II, or what the colleges call "Intermediate Algebra," is a high school course. If a student takes Intermediate Algebra in college, it is considered a remedial course and the student will not receive college credit for it. The CCSS have no college-level content in math.

So, no, Robert Cruickshank's assessment is completely false. The Common Core State Standards are not driving curriculum and instruction changes in our colleges and universities.

--- swk

Linh-Co said…
The video is important because it shows David Coleman admitting that Common Core is not really college ready standards as it's been touted.
Anonymous said…
Lihn-Co, I'm having a hard time understanding your point. Robert Cruickshank claimed that "colleges are going to have to adapt to [CCSS]" and I was refuting that point. And you came here and stated that this claim was accurate. I refuted that point with some evidence but now you seem to be changing the argument.

Now you seem to be claiming that CCSS are not "college ready," but this has nothing to do with the claim that colleges and universities will now have to adapt to the Common Core. Can we tackle one thing at a time?

--- swk
Anonymous said…
There are many colleges who do not require SAT or ACT tests and some who make it optional. All colleges take your best scores on the separate sections so you can take the SAT more than once and they will mix and match between the tests to achieve the highest combination. That combination is what is reported by colleges as their averages on SAT/ACT scores of their incoming freshman. SAT/ACT scores are not a good predictor of college success. Grades are a much better indicator.

That's All said…
Common Core and SBAC is part of a political agenda to destroy public education. Students can be proficient and not college ready.

Watching said…
There is a reason to set cut scores were to fail 60% of students.

There was not one k-12 public school teacher K-12 that was involved with CC and SBAC.

The Senate looks to pass a $15B transportation package, but wait and see, they will twist their hands when it comes to funding education.

Washington State is no different than many other states. Starve educational funding, claim public education a failure and promote charter schools.
Anonymous said…
Lihn-Co, did you watch the video? I did. First, that's not David Coleman, that's Jason Zimba (as the Youtube title page indicates).

Second, Dr. Stotsky is making a fallacious argument. She's essentially claiming that, since a small subset of students --- in this case, students aspiring to engineering, computer science, and other STEM fields at selective colleges like UC Berkeley, UW, etc. --- will not be college ready for their chosen majors, CCSS supporters can make NO claim of college readiness. This is a hard argument to justify IMO.

The vast majority of students in colleges and universities across our state (and the nation) enroll in community/technical colleges, regional colleges and universities, and non-selective research universities in non-STEM majors. The CCSS claims of college readiness are targeted at those overwhelming numbers of students who are not planning on being engineers, computer scientists, etc.

The bottom line is this --- if a student does plan on majoring in engineering or getting into the computer science program at UW, that student better have more than just Algebra II on her or his transcript. For the rest, meeting standard on the 11th grade SBAC assessments will be a true indication of college readiness given that the colleges and universities will allow them to proceed to college-level, credit-bearing courses in English and math. These aren't "some theories about college readiness." If a college says your college ready, you are. Period.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
HP-that's not entirely accurate. Even some colleges who are "test optional" require an SAT or ACT score for scholarship purposes. Such has been the case with schools my student has been investigating. If one is completely against all testing for any reason, they should be prepared to give up scholarships that would require test scores. That's simply not something we can afford to do.

I'm also not sure about college taking the highest score from each section of a test such as SAT. I believe that too is up to the individual college.There are some parent-run forums on college applications and searches that can provide a wealth of information on this, and they are not associated with any of the testing companies.

Frazzled mom
Watching said…
"CCSS supporters can make NO claim of college readiness."

Backers of Common Core realized that CC has negative connotations. Common Core has been rebranded- many times. Washington State has rebranded Common Core to "College Ready" standards.
Anonymous said…
HP, the strength of a student's high school course of study is the best single predictor of college success, even better than parental socioeconomic status. For evidence, see The Toolbox Revisited

And yes, the high school course of study (and GPA) is a better predictor of college readiness than SAT scores. But a combination of GPA and SAT scores is better than either one alone. That's why some colleges and universities continue to use SAT/ACT scores in admissions decisions.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Watching, your statement that "[t]here was not one k-12 public school teacher that was involved with CC and SBAC" is not accurate. There may have not been enough of them but your statement in its absolute terms is just not correct.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
All colleges take your best scores on the separate sections so you can take the SAT more than once and they will mix and match between the tests to achieve the highest combination.

It varies by college. Some only take the highest total on an individual test.

Po3 said…
"meeting standard on the 11th grade SBAC assessments will be a true indication of college readiness given that the colleges and universities will allow them to proceed to college-level, credit-bearing courses in English and math."

Great so all those students who don't meet this standard will be told sorry kiddo your not college material?

Or do schools have funding for intervention programs to help get these students up to the standard - and then of course give them the SBAC test again to see if the interventions worked.

No, they don't.

So starting this year we are about to tell hundreds, maybe thousands, of students across the state - you're not college material - based on one test.

Anonymous said…
@Po3, how is that really any different than now? If a kid doesn't have those skills, they need remediation. That's true whether it's the SBAC in 11th grade that says so, or a college placement exam later. At least with the 11th grade SBAC they know in advance, so they can work on that subject in their senior year and perhaps test out of remediation when the time comes. We don't do kids any favors by giving them the illusion they are college ready when they aren't....

Just checking in on this thread and wanted to make a few points. First, I'm not wrong to point out that there is a push for colleges to align their curriculum to the common core. I'll share just a few links:

New America Foundation report:

Inside Higher Ed article:

Just what is meant by "align to Common Core" varies depending on the author and the educational institution. The New America Foundation report emphasizes changes in teacher prep programs and remedial education. But the latter article indicates ways that university English departments, for example, are also feeling pressure to change their curriculum.

K-12 and college standards have been linked for as far back as I can remember. My high school made sure we all knew about the University of California a-g requirements and which courses met those standards.

Common Core takes this to a new level, which is a fine concept. But we need to watch closely the implementation, and be willing to make changes and revisions as needed. So far, most Common Core proponents have refused to consider changes and revisions, which I simply do not understand.
Po3 said…
HF -

What is in place to "allow students to work on the subject?" What does that look like in our high schools? Double Math or English senior year? Summer school? Small tutorial settings? Before/after school mentoring? Who is responsible getting these students into remedial coursework, the student, the parent or high school staff? Who follows up to ensure the student is on track?

And where does the money for these additional resources come from?

And if SBAC is really about college-ready, why not just give every student the COMPASS test? Wouldn't it be cheaper, take less time and give the same results?

Always money for new fancy tests, while our students are starved of funding for their education.

Anonymous said…
Robert, thank you for circling back and for posting those articles. Both are very informative IMO. I think they highlight the intersection between high school and college. I don't think either supports your claim but I guess we'll agree to disagree on this point.

As for refusing to make changes and revisions to the CCSS and/or SBAC, it's not appropriate at this point.

You are suggesting, I think, that before the CCSS are fully implemented and after hours of professional development for teachers, et al, that we tell those teachers, "Oh, never mind. We know we've spent a good deal of money and you've spent hours in professional development on the CCSS but we've decided to change them now before we've even fully implemented them. We'll see you next year and probably the year after for new PD."

I would suggest rather than a review of and revisions to the standards now, we finish implementation and and administer the assessments as planned, then we do two things: (1) Eliminate any stakes for schools, teachers, and students based on the results for a year (or maybe two) and (2) review the standards in three years and every five years after that, as is common in any state content standards review process. I don't know of any CCSS proponents who are suggesting that the standards will never get reviewed and revised.

--- swk
CCSS should have been piloted and tested before it was adopted widely - many of these problems would have been caught and we wouldn't be in this position.

But here we are. Would teachers rather plow ahead with an imperfect CCSS or would they rather be able to see it improved and fixed, with their feedback playing an important role in that process? Most teachers will pick the latter option.

What you seem to be saying is that the Common Core standards should not be held to a high standard, that it's ok to have kids spend three years with them, despite serious concerns about the standards for the early grades. I just don't understand that. Adjusting and fixing CCSS should not be particularly difficult or onerous, and teachers would welcome improvements rather than being made to stick with something that they know can and should be better.
Anonymous said…
One thing that I find missing from these comments is the perspective of current high school juniors and their parents. My son is a junior at Roosevelt. Members of the Class of 2016 have already taken the following 4 tests, all required for graduation: Algebra or Geometry EOC, Biology EOC, Reading HSPE, Writing HSPE. As I understand it, future classes will not take the HSPE, but will instead take the Smarter Balanced ELA and math tests. Whatever one's opinion of the efficacy of Smarter Balanced tests, requiring this year's juniors to take a 5th test this spring is patently unfair. This is particularly so given the heavy standardized test load already built in to junior year. Last fall most juniors took the PSAT. College bound juniors will take the SAT or ACT this spring, and many will take it twice. Juniors seeking admission to selective colleges will potentially take at least two SAT subject tests. In May, college bound juniors will likely also take multiple AP tests. Second semester junior year grades are also perhaps the most important in terms of the focus of college admissions offices, so juniors are subjected to all of this testing while attempting to focus on their course work and keep their GPA up. Although Hale listed a number of reasons for their decision not to administer the Smarter Balanced tests to juniors, it appears to me to be first and foremost a student-focused decision not to place the burden of yet one more standardized test on this year's juniors. Notably, Hale is NOT refusing to administer the test to sophomores, for whom the test will be a graduation requirement. They are simply saying that for the class of 2016, enough is enough. I couldn't agree more, and I applaud them for the decision. And as to the use of the test results in college placement decisions, this strikes me as an after-the-fact attempt to attach some meaning to the test results for the class of 2016. I don't recall any sort of articulated concern among the state's colleges and universities that they were having difficulties with their current procedures for determining placement decisions for incoming freshmen.

2016 Parent
Po3 said…
Amen 2016 Parent. Amen.
Anonymous said…
So SBAC is not a college placement test, you still have to take those if you want to test out of French 101.

It is not a college readiness test unless you are going to community college or a non-stem field.

It is a test that should tell high schools what remediation a student needs to complete high school.

But that remediation is unavailable anyway.

And it does nothing at all for the juniors taking it this year.

Do I have that right?

Anonymous said…
@Po3, I agree there needs to be additional support for remediation in HS. That'll be even more true when the HS requirements change. However, there ARE options available now. Say a kid doesn't pass the math SBAC in 11th grade, and wants to go to community college after graduation but doesn't want to have to take a remedial math class when they do. Well, they can take a math class their senior year to work more on it. It's not necessarily a matter of doubling up - many kids do NOT take math every year, since only 3 years are required. That's probably more likely to be true of those who need remediation. Or maybe they can do some independent study or take a free online class or something. If they really don't want to have to take a remedial class in college, they might be able to find a way out. Otherwise, it's not the end of the world to have to take the remedial class--like so many have to now.

You also asked why not just give every student the COMPASS test? Wouldn't it be cheaper, take less time and give the same results? I don't believe it would give the same results. The COMPASS tests are used for placement, not a basic measurement of college ready or not. College ready means you could start in a math class, for example, that earned credit. COMPASS, on the other hand, would be used to tell you WHICH of the various levels of math is most appropriate. I would think that would be dependent on where you're at with your studies come time for college, not during 11th grade. I guess they could have all the seniors take it instead, but that even fewer options for reacting to poor results.

But all this aside, yes, I agree that we need to spend more on education and less on testing! We need to invest in support systems that help reduce disparities and ensure that everyone graduates prepared.

Anonymous said…
Robert, as I've mentioned previously, academic content standards don't get piloted. I don't know where this notion came from.

And the reason I know this is that I've been through two reviews and revisions to state content standards, which were incredibly difficult and at times painfully onerous. And it should be difficult --- it's important.

And as for "serious concerns about the standards for the early grades," there is no consensus on this. You often act as if consensus exists rather than there being a vocal minority in opposition.

--- swk
maureen said…
I agree with 2016 Parent. I wish their comment had appeared further up the thread.
chunga said…
swk - surprised you didn't have a response to my last comment.
R2C2 said…
I agree with 2016 parent. In addition, Dorn, Duncan and their ilk are playing a dangerous game when their best response to well-meaning parents (and students) is to threaten them with "consequences" when they invoke their right to not test. I feel that these bureaucrats have created this community pushback to unbridled testing by not listening to their school community. And realistically, the only method parents have of protesting this is by REFUSING TO TEST.
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