Curriculum & Instruction Committee Fails to Move SBAC Resolution

Well, that was uncomfortable.

More to come but Directors Peters and Patu's resolution to ask that the SBAC not be used for AYP or graduation this year (as well as an "and/or" portion to suspend) failed to even get a second from the committee made up of Blanford, McLaren and Peters.

Peters was in disbelief that she couldn't even get a second to get a vote on the motion.  So there was not even a vote to move the motion forward to a discussion to the full Board.

Some of the discussion, especially from McLaren,was disturbing in its ignorance and simplistic thinking.


Anonymous said…
I remember helping Marty's campaign 4 years ago & I won't be helping her. Several people I know from that campaign won't be helping her.

Jonathan Knapp is great at grovelling to the Alliance for Education - maybe Marty will be funded by Gate$ and his buddies, with the patina of "union" support.

(ya all know all about that all powerful teacher's union, right? the 1 which spends hundreds of thousands every year on lobbying so that teacher's & education workers do NOT get COLAs, do NOT get smaller classes, do NOT get progressively worse evaluations every year ...?? Just don't look behind

Yes, I note that the current Times editorial on the different budgets in the Legislature is more even-handed than usual BUT manages to take a dig at teacher COLAs. It's been 7 years. Sigh.
IgnoranceIsn'tBliss said…
Marty McLaren's ignorance is stunning. Does she not realize that 10th graders will need SBAC to graduate and we're expecting a 60% failure. rate?

McLaren's ignorance is stunning.

In other news: SBAC requires students to sit for long periods of time. In preparation of SBAC, students in one school are having "sitting practice"
I am hearing these issues:

- Computer issues
- earthquake drill during SBAC
- Some classes hadn't read preliminary yet
- What to do with first period students who are late?
Anonymous said…

Thank you to Directors Sue Peters and Betty Patu for trying.

Melissa, I hope you will run for school board.

Anonymous said…
What was "disturbing in its ignorance and simplistic thinking"?

North of 85th
Anonymous said…
Meanwhile, at IHS, the test coordinator told me this morning that over 100 students opted out of the SBA. She didn't have an exact figure because, as you might imagine, she was a little busy.

It was enough to free up one of our computer labs.

David Edelman
I will get back to flesh this out - still in the meeting - just wanted to get vote known.
Anonymous said…
So McLaren thinks it's perfectly fine to use a brand new (controversial) test to judge schools, kids, and teachers? A test - and its accompanying standards- that was rammed down the throats of students and teachers with almost no discussion, very little research, and a whole lot of billionaires' bucks? And she can't be bothered to read the resolution beforehand?



Anonymous said…
Just FYI, The SBAC graduation requirement is a lower "exit exam cut score" ... not the career and college ready score. (We set the exit score here in WA, via state board of ed. Kids also still need to pass biology end of course. That cut score is also set by state board of ed. ... BTW: The state legislature is the one that made exams graduation requirements. And it could delink them, as well. )

- Ramona Hattendorf
Watching said…
Thank you Director Peters. There was a tape of you on King 5 and you were discussing the inequity related to computerized tests. These tests will have a negative impact on our most vulnerable students.

It is a shame that neither Marty McLaren or Stephan Blandford felt it necessary to have a further discussion; a lot of the students that will get impacted fall within these two individual's district's

Thank you for your courage and leadership.
Watching said…
I also hope Melissa runs for school board. We desperately need informed individuals on the board and I'm confident Melissa has the the knowledge to do so.
Anonymous said…
Marty McLaren was ill. Is she competent?

Anonymous said…
Sitting practice is contrary to current health recommendations. Sitting is bad for one's health. Even if people exercise regularly, having a sedentary day life is not healthy. So, practicing sitting is the opposite of what they should be practicing, in my opinion....
Anonymous said…
And now a word from our sponsor

Take meds
Anonymous said…
Thank you, Ramona, for providing the link. Also found on that website are the state's top ten reasons for switching to the SBA. They make for quite an interesting set of assumptions.

David Edelman
Lynn said…
I especially liked Reason #3:

Expertise and collaboration
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium took advantage of each member state’s
technical, practical, and political expertise to ensure a blend of everyone.

What is a blend of everyone? Why is the writing associated with this test so awful? Why are we allowing the people who wrote this test to judge our children's academic skills?
Anonymous said…
#5 More accessible
These tests are designed with three levels of support to accommodate all students, including students with disabilities and English language learners.

Does anyone know what these 3 levels of support are?

#8 Higher expectations
Proficiency rates will be lower at first than what we’re used to. That doesn’t mean students have
“failed.” As students adjust to the college- and career-ready standards, results will improve.

Tell that to a 10th grader! (and even if they reduce the cut score by 20% - there will still be 40% of 10th graders who will have not met their Reading standard.)

#4 Quicker results
Individual scores will be available within three weeks of a student completing the summative tests.

So does this mean that high schools will get the 10th grade scores in May and immediately begin remediation? If so kudos! If not, then what?

#9 Computer adaptive
These tests present an individually tailored set of questions to each student and can quickly identify which skills students have mastered.

So every student gets a different test?
Can an adaptive test provide the information needed to determine if a student has meet the state reading requirement?

And does anybody find it odd other is no information on the 10th grade SBAC other than:
"The Washington State Board of Education will set the exit exam cut score. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will recommend to the Washington State Board a college- & career-ready cut score that, once approved, will be used for accountability in 11th grade. If a 10th grader meets the college- & career-ready cut score, he or she will not have to take the Smarter Balanced ELA test in 11th grade."

Does this mean that 10th graders need to be college ready, based on a lower cut score to meet the state Reading requirement? If they don't meet that lowered cut score then they have to take the SBAC again in 11th grade?

So many questions and very frustrating that the board refuses to even talk about them.

10th grade parent
Anonymous said…
10th grade parent,

Regarding accessibility: The three levels of support are universal tools, designated supports, and accommodations --- see the SBAC Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines at

Regarding higher expectations: The State Board of Education has stated that they will adopt cut scores that will essentially mirror the HSPE and math EOC performance rates of past students. So, if students have been passing the reading and writing tests at 94%, then the cut scores will be adopted to achieve those same passage rates.

Regarding computer adaptive: Yes, every student takes a different test. The test, for the most part, delivers questions at grade level but within the range of achievement levels. Computer adaptive testing provides more specificity regarding student performance within those ranges.

Regarding 10th grade student performance: Those 10th graders who meet or exceed the SBE-adopted graduation cut scores but not the SBAC-adopted college and career ready cut scores will meet the graduation requirement but the school would still be required to test them as 11th graders --- students are NOT required to test. Tenth grade students who meet or exceed the college and career ready cut scores will not need to be tested as 11th graders by the school.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
Lynn, the SBAC practice test items were written under a different process and by different people than those used for the test items on the operational tests being administered now. The operational test items were field tested and the practice test items were not.

The was some concern among the states and others regarding the quality of the practice test items but SBAC chose to release the practice test in spite of the concerns.

They are reaping the consequences of that decision.

That this information as you will.

--- swk
Anonymous said…

Based on what you know, which seems to be a lot I have a couple of questions for you.

Why do you have a wealth of knowledge and parents do not? Meaning, where is your information coming from and why has it not been widely distributed? I understand if answering may reveal who you are and understand why you can't provide this insight. But I think you see my point.

Second, do you think the SBE-adopted graduation cut scores will result in a higher pass rate than the college-ready cut score? And do you think the pass rate will mirror or come close to the current HSPE pass rates of 86% Reading 89% Writing? And again, why is this information not part of the public materials?

10th grade parent
Watching said…
Hi Swk,

I've been reading a lot about SBAC reliability/ validity and test development.

I'm finding it very hard that SBAC would have the ability to create a reliable and valid test within 6 months to one year.

I've also learned that there is a listening component and there has been some adaptation for deaf students. Again, I"m having a very hard time that these issues have been adequately vetted.

Where is the deaf community in all of this?
Watching said…
FWIW..our school is asking students to bring in head phones. There is a concern about spreading LICE!
Anonymous said…
The 3 levels of support are 1)Universal tools 2)Designated supports 3)Accommodations

Interesting to note that "print on demand" support is only available under the Accommodations, where a student needs an IEP or 504 plan to access.

So, a student with limited computer skills cannot access a print version of the test.

Universal Tools (all students)

Breaks, Calculator, Digital Notepad, English Dictionary, English Glossary, Expandable Passages, Global Notes, Highlighter, Keyboard Navigation, Mark for Review, Math Tools, Spell Check, Strikethrough, Writing Tools, Zoom

Breaks, English Dictionary, Scratch Paper, Thesaurus

Designated supports:

Color Contrast, Masking, Text-to-speech, Translated Test Directions, Translations (Glossary), Translations (Stacked), Turn off Any Universal Tools

Bilingual Dictionary, Color Contrast, Color Overlay, Magnification, Noise Buffers, Read Aloud, Scribe, Separate Setting, Translated Test Directions, Translation (Glossary)


American Sign Language, Braille, Closed Captioning, Streamline, Text-to-speech

Abacus, Alternate Response Options, Calculator, Multiplication Table, Print on Demand, Read Aloud, Scribe, Speech-to-text

10th grade parent
Anonymous said…
My kid and a friend reported that the math SBAC test did not seem to be "getting harder" or adapting in any way...hmmm. These kids are used to working above grade level and are also used to MAP, in which the adaptive nature is easily apparent to kids taking the test.


Anonymous said…
10th grade parent, I definitely get your point. I can’t speak to why the information I’m sharing is not more readily and/or better communicated to families and the community. Let’s just say I’m trying to do my part to get this information out --- that’s why I choose to participate on this blog.

And yes, I think the SBE-adopted graduation cut scores will result in a higher pass rates than the college-ready cut scores. And yes, I think the pass rates will mirror or come close to the current HSPE pass rates.

Watching, it’s taken more than a year (and definitely more than 6 months) to develop the SBAC assessments. There were cognitive labs and small-scale trials in 2012-13. The test items and tests themselves were piloted in 2013 and field tested in 2014. Pilot and field testing in particular are used to determine the reliability and validity of test items as well as the overall results of the test. Other commenters have posted the process SBAC used to determine internal reliability and validity of the test, so I won’t repost it here. There are concerns about external validity, but external validity is not necessary to determine whether or not a particular test is valid for the purposes in which it is designed --- in this case, to assess student performance against the Common Core State Standards.

I can't speak with any intelligence on the particular accommodations, etc. of the assessment system.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
10th grade parent, most of that information swk has shared is available online. The district and OSPI and the SBE and the SBAC have not done a good job of explaining a lot of the complexities--but the info is out there for those willing to do some extra reading, testimony viewing, etc.

Half Full
Anonymous said…
I don't think parents should have to dig deep into the bowels of OSPI to find out that the high school test was changed from HSPE to SBAC for 10th graders and what that means for families.

SPS could have also stepped up and sent a letter.

Why the radio silence?

10th grade parent.

10th grade parent, the silence is that they don't WANT you to know too much until it's too late. Senior staff isn't truly interested in parents understanding the direction of this district - it's get in, sit down and shut up.

Too many times parents have been left in the dark or undernotified or notified very late. The Board wags its collective finger and staff promises to do better.

It's a pattern and there's a reason and it's getting bigger every single day.
Anonymous said…
Well, I have one getting out this year and I am sure we will get our 10th grader through the SBAC and whatever else they lob at us along the way. LOL

Ironic that my children will end up with good educations because of teachers and the classroom experiences they provide, not because of any test. Or the results of any test. Yet so much is about tests.

10th grade parent

Anonymous said…
Swk, you totally missed the boat. 50% of black students fail at the lowest level. 76% fail at level 2 and below. Are you trying to say that some black students will score level 1, "far below", and still make the 10th grade cut score for graduation? That is absurd. It would completely invalidate the test. Imagine it. "Your kid scored a 1, the lowest possible level, like half of all black students, but we decided to pass them anyway.". Is that your prediction?

Cut scores might bail out some unknown number of kids who score "approaching standard" for graduation, it won't help those kids with disabilities who are taking off level exams. Those cut scores have already been set, and they have so far failed 90% of students with disabilities. They are required to pass at the off grade level with a 3. And, kids need to pass on materials they have never been taught, as well as skills directly impacted by disability.

And no. Wrong again. OSPI website specifically tells parents, kids have to take SBAC again in 11th grade, for no good reason at all. Doesn't say how they can make you.

Again, Mad10, the State/district may be require to GIVE the test. Students in most grades do NOT have to take it.

That is it in a nutshell.

Now if SPS, because of the huge number of opt-outs decides to link taking it to something (like HC) then you'll see more students take it.
Anonymous said…
Mad10, I am simply reporting statements made by the State Board of Education regarding their process for setting the high school graduation cut scores and their estimated pass rates as compared to historical pass rates. If you are interested in these statements, look up an archived House Education Committee hearing from this year and a presentation by the SBE Executive Director, Ben Rarick. Feel free to look it up on your own.

Also, there is a statement on the OSPI website regarding the ability of 10th grade students who meet the college and career ready cut score not needing to test again in 11th grade. Again, you can look it up for yourself.

Finally, as Melissa kindly reiterates, OSPI and districts can state all they like that students are required to test. But the fact of the matter is that it is schools and districts that are required to administer the tests --- students are not required to take the tests --- they may opt out. It is their right.

Pleasant dreams.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
SWK, You sure like to work hard to defend this mess. Such an uphill battle. Doesn't it get old? Here's the actual link.

If you don't want to click. The expectation is spelled out:

Q: Are 11th graders able to take off-grade level test in lieu of the Grade 11 assessment for English language arts (ELA) and math to meet standard for Federal Accountability?
A: No. A student can access the off-grade level assessments for graduation purposes in 10th, 11th and/or 12th grade but are still expected to participate in the accountability assessment at grade level during their 11th grade year.

From this, you can see that they are expecting students to take that 11th grade test regardless of how they already performed. An "expectation" soon morphs into another graduation requirement.

Seems so stupid. A kid with a disability passes in the 10th grade. And then, OPSI is still expecting them to come back next year to take it again. What a joke! Who would do that?

I guess the real point is though. The pass rate is going to be extremely low for students with disabilities. Just going over the practice tests - you can see how incredibly poorly the whole thing is written. And many whole test areas - are in fact simply testing for disability.

Grade10 Parent
Anonymous said…
Ah, Grade10 Parent, I see the disconnect. You're talking about "off-grade level assessment" and I'm talking about 10th graders taking the Grade 11 SBAC ELA and math assessments for graduation purposes. The latter are not considered "off-grade level assessments."

If you scroll to the bottom of the page at, you find this statement:

+ The Washington State Board of Education will set the exit exam cut score. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will recommend to the Washington State Board a college- & career-ready cut score that, once approved, will be used for accountability in 11th grade. If a 10th grader meets the college- & career-ready cut score, he or she will not have to take the Smarter Balanced ELA test in 11th grade.

--- swk
Anonymous said…
And yes, Mad10, the SBE has stated that cut scores for graduation proses might actually be in the Level 1 range.

Half Full
Anonymous said…
Hi 10th grade parent,

I am also a 10th grade parent, and I just want to affirm that, yes, it is unreasonably difficult to figure out the new state testing policy for high school. It is not clear why 10th-grade tests are even being discussed (the SBAC is designed to be an 11th grade test; there shouldn’t even BE testing in 10th grade.) I believe this lands squarely with the state legislature for failing to adjust the state law. OSPI/Dorn is also to blame for consistently proposing convoluted solutions. And the WEA didn’t help. They let the issue get caught up in their political agenda to delink tests from graduation. Which I don’t disagree with BTW; but this political move turns a technical issue – change “10th” to “11th” grade in state law -- into a politically charged one calling into the nature of tests and the value of a HS diploma, and leading to a stalemate that somehow resulted in HS kids now being tested in both 10th and 11th grade.
At a fundamental level, there is no shared vision for what our state HS testing policy should be.
In 2010-12 years, the fight was about single-subject tests vs comprehensive exams. Kids failed the old math and science comprehensive exams in large numbers, and tests were about to be required to graduate. When the state switched to an end of course exam, they did MUCH better. Yay. Problem fixed. Only then along came Common Core and the possibility that its assessments would be comprehensive. And more rigorous. People didn’t want the SBAC to be the graduation requirement. So, then the fight was about maybe keeping the end of course exams and just layering on the SBAC. (Fight: How many tests are too many tests?)
Then someone else had the idea to make different cut scores for the SBAC: 1 for graduation purposes (equivalent to existing old HSPE standards) and one for “college and career.” Only HSPE tested to 10th grade-level expectations. So the state would in effect be tabling college and career, saying it was aspirational, not a requirement. All sorts of reform resistance to that notion.
Meanwhile, WEA has been working to delink tests from graduation requirements. Which would resolve some issues and save the state money (no more retakes/workarounds needed) but politically that was a non-starter in certain crowds.
In any case, end result for our kids: A test that is supposed to be offered once – in 11th grade – and be used to gauge readiness to step into a 2- or 4-year college/certification program/technical school without remediation has warped into a test for 10th graders with a low-cut score requirement (why? Who knows? Ask Dorn) AND a test for 11th-graders (because the whole point of the SBAC and Common Core is to see if schools can actually improve college and career readiness levels, and 10th grade tests don’t show you that.)
Bottom line, this is an issue about leadership at the state level. It's not an ESEA/NCLB thing.
The legislature could do 2 things:
1) Change the law and make it clear kids are to be assessed in 11th grade – not 10th; keep the high and low cut scores so kids can still graduate; maybe phase them out in a few years. The state would still need to figure out workarounds for seniors who didn’t clear the lower cut score.
2) Delink the tests. No longer require kids to pass to graduate, but make it clear that doing well on the SBAC will pay off because it will place them in the appropriate ELA/math class in college and possibly save them money later. (Note, few protest the ACT, SAT and AP exams, because they are perceived to benefit kids, but not punish or harass them.)

Ramona Hattendorf
n said…
Thanks, Ramona, for a splendid response including reasonable adjustments to fix the mess and naming exactly who it is that should be accountable for fixing it. I finally learned something I didn't know about SBAC!
Anonymous said…
The best point Ramona makes, delinking test scores from graduation. People should get to opt in, not be forced to opt out. Tests absolutely should benefit students, not enrich test manufacturers. And testing companies should absolutely have to compete for the right to test students.

Also notable, 30 to 40% of our students never have to endure all of this, nor give up 3 months of the school year to testing. They are in private school.


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