Preliminary SBAC Test Results Released; No Big Surprise that Scores are Down

OSPI is calling this a "sneak peek" and frankly, I don't think it's all that amusing. 

It's interesting because it appears the overall Washington results on LA are higher than the field test last year. But with them hovering in the low-50s/low-60s, not so great.  One good trend is that the proficiency rate goes up steadily from 3-11 grade.  

Math is another story.  Again the Washington test results are better than the field test by at least 15 points but, in a reverse, the results get worse - much worse - from 3rd to 11th grade.  You have 57% of 3rd graders at proficient and that drops by about 10 points from 6-8th and then at 11th grade, only 29th % of 11th graders are proficient.  I suspect something is wrong with the test, what has been taught in preparation for the test (meaning teachers did not know what was on the test and the students may be seeing certain items for the first time) or the teachers didn't do a good job. 

OSPI cautions that this sneak peek is preliminary. Results are updated daily, as tests continue to be scored. Return rates vary by district, grade level and content area, so comparisons between districts should not be made until all tests have been scored. Disaggregated district-level results will be available during OSPI’s annual score release press conference at 10 am on August 17.

This week’s preliminary results do not factor in student refusals. What is reported here is the proportion of students who took the test and earned a level 3 or level 4. OSPI will release test refusal numbers, by grade level and content area for each school district, on July 9. For state and federal accountability purposes, refusals will be incorporated into the proficiency rates reported on August 17. Proficiency rates will be lower when refusals are included. 


Anonymous said…
Via my teacher friends who all needed to vent once this debacle was over: the math test questions were often very convoluted, online tools didn't always work, lots of kids got kicked out of the test and had to log back in multiple times, many just gave up. Usually several questions on each grade math test on content they hadn't covered yet or wouldn't cover until the following year. ELA - way too long for 3rd graders, tasks not developmentally appropriate. Many younger kids had difficulty following along on screen, issues with the split scrolling screen, and the reading passages given were not at grade level in many instances (and no, this was not the computer adaptive feature working). Friends in one district had unlimited computer time, meaning they had enough tech that their kids got as long as they needed to finish. A friend in another district said after 3 hours, time was up, and any kid not finished with that section was SOL. Writing tasks were different - maybe 3 or 4 in a grade - and some tasks were good & kids enjoyed them, other tasks were bad and kids were bored, disengaged, didn't try.
Lots of technical issues reported - again, kids getting kicked out over and over. They were frustrated with the responses from their assessment coordinator, AIR, and OSPI. Sometimes the response was "works fine for us, try a Windows machine" or "we can't replicate the problem so it must be user error" or "works for us try a Mac".
Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the OSPI/SBAC propaganda outlets tout test results within 3 weeks of taking the test as one of the reasons to switch to SBAC?

Anonymous said…
So these results are just for the kids that received a 3 or 4? Not those that might have received 1s and 2s? If so, why are they releasing only the higher scores like this?

- Fedmomof2
Anonymous said…
From OSPI on July 2, 2015:

“Teachers and students have been working hard this year to transition to more difficult learning standards and tests. While tests are just one way to measure students’ knowledge, these new tests give educators a clearer picture of how the system is doing and where instructional improvements need to be made.”

Sorry Randy... the CCSS Math standards are not "more difficult" than Washington's 2008 Math Standards. The tests are likely a lot more confusing. Is confusing a synonym for difficult?

these new tests give educators a clearer picture of how the system is doing

So true, the system is a mess because of Randy's acceptance of Duncan's extortion terms and pushing of top down Gates funded desires to the legislature.

Note: Stop Common Core in Washington State

The Washington State legislature passed SB 6696 in the 2009-10 legislative session. Section 601 of SB 6696 authorized the superintendent of public instruction to provisionally adopt the Common Core State Standards by August 2, 2010 and gave the authority to implement the standards after the 2011 legislative session unless otherwise directed by the legislature. Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn provisionally adopted the CCSS on July 19, 2010. The 2011 legislative session did not otherwise direct the superintendent so Washington State has formally adopted the CCSS. On July 20, 2011, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn formally adopted the CCSS. The standards will be implemented in the 2013-14 school year.

Legislative History of SB 6696

A section of the law requires the use of one of the four unproven and ineffective intervention action plans for low achieving schools

(2) A required action plan must include all of the following:
(a) Implementation of one of the four federal intervention models required for the receipt of a federal school improvement grant, for those persistently lowest-achieving schools that the district will be focusing on for required action.

In part VI of the law appears this:
(2) By January 1, 2011, the superintendent of public instruction shall submit to the education committees of the house of representatives and the senate:

{{ Note: Randy Dorn did not complete this requirement until Jan 30, 2011, which gave few if any time to review it prior to a hearing 4 days later. WEA did not mind this violation of the law because WEA leaders were pushing SB 6696}}

(a) A detailed comparison of the provisionally adopted standards and the state essential academic learning requirements as of the effective date of this section, including the comparative level of rigor and specificity of the standards and the implications of any identified differences; and

(b) An estimated timeline and costs to the state and to school districts to implement the provisionally adopted standards, including providing necessary training, realignment of curriculum, adjustment of state assessments, and other actions.

(3) The superintendent may implement the revisions to the essential academic learning requirements under this section after the 2011 legislative session unless otherwise directed by the legislature.

I urge every one to read all of SB 6696 to see exactly how much this law dictates what must be done. Gates Foundation at work controlling education in WA State.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Are Grade 11 math results dismal because SBAC was not required of those already having passing EOC scores? I would expect an uptick in pass rates when all high school students are required to take the math SBAC, but, wow. It's going to look even worse when refusals are included. Will Washington stick it out, or join other states in abandoning PARCC and SBAC?

-opting out
Lynn said…
The math and language arts SBAC were both (in theory) required of all 11th grade students while 10th graders were only given the language arts exam. Last year's sophomores have to take the ELA test to graduate. I would assume juniors who haven't passed the EOCs were more likely to take the SBAC and that the sophomores who took the ELA exam had a broader range of skills.
Anonymous said…
The high school CCSS math standards for Geometry are bizarre. The only place similar standards were used was in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. It was unsuccessful and abandon.

Unproven and untried by nationally required . . so sad.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Unproven and untried but nationally required by about 45 states now. Time to get out of this mess.
Anonymous said…
My 9th grade daughter took the 11th grade SBAC math test (for practice) in her double jump Algebra II/Trig class (i.e. the kid is an excellent mathematician). She said it was the worst test ever - obtuse language made it difficult to discern what the test items were asking. She said she was able to eventually figure out what concepts or mathematical processes were required to solve the items, but had to spend precious time translating. She did not feel this was deep critical thinking in action, but rather a case of purposefully confusing language used to trick students or evidence of test writer incompetence. As you might guess, she has now demanded that I opt her out of any future SBAC testing.

Future opt-out parent
Anonymous said…
Sneak peak results? Where are they?

Anonymous said…
The scientific process asks one to ask why, 15 to 20% gains from 2014 to 2015?

A) The sampling was not a representative cross section, in which case, why compare the data?
B) They have taken great liberties with the cut scores, in which case, objective measure has been bypassed for glorified propaganda.

Anonymous said…
@ NNNCR, the 2014 field test results are based on scores from across the Consortium. The 2015 scores you're looking at are WA specific. It's possible WA is scoring above the SBAC average.

Anonymous said…
NNNCr wrote:

"B) They have taken great liberties with the cut scores, in which case, objective measure has been bypassed for glorified propaganda."

Hey that has pretty much been the story of state testing ... manipulation of cut scores.

Usually the cut scores are determined after all the tests are scored.

There is no quest to determine real competency (objective measure) in this testing.
Everything is relative.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
@ Dan, while it's true that cut scores are "manipulated" in the sense that there's (a) no clear, objective measure of what score objectively represents competency, and (b) that they are often determined after the fact--as is the case with the "graduation" cut scores, not to be confused with the college and career ready cut scores--your argument doesn't make sense in the case of NNNCr's question. In this case the cut scores WERE determined ahead of time, based on the field test, so it's NOT manipulation of cut scores that's responsible for the higher scores observed between the 2014 multi-state field test and the 2015 WA statewide testing.

Anonymous said…
Wrong HF. Cut scores haven't been determined. Just that "about" the same percentage would be cut as before. Is so, what then is the point of the test... if the cut can be anywhere. We're simply deciding the number of students we should throw away. Dumb.

Stop the Insanity
Anonymous said…
Wrong, Stop the Insanity. The comparison that NNNCr referred to was based on SBAC's college and career ready cut scores, which have already been set.

You're thinking of the WA state graduation cut scores, which are soon to be determined by SBE. So there are two levels--one that the consortium decided represents C&C readiness, and another that the State Bd of Ed will say is good enough to graduate. Presumably there will be a wide gulf between the two. The issue TBD is whether the State Bd of Ed gradually increases the graduation cut scores so they are closer to C and C ready. They havE hinted at this.

The "about the same percentage passing" idea is to minimize the effect on current students, who haven't been taught under the new standards as long. Other options would be to require much more now (and have a very low graduation rate), or lower the bar for graduation so everyone graduates (although a diploma won't mean much). Do those sound better?

Anonymous said…
Yes. They sound a lot better. Graduation means a lot, to a lot of people, even if you score a 0 on some ridiculous test. Btw. I don't know any LA teachers who could pass the middle school math SBAC. Should we take away all their degrees?

Yes. I am talking about cut scores for graduation. What else would I be talking about? We all know that "proficient", eg 3, is the cut score that matters otherwise. Graduation cut scores are the only ones that matter. And given that they are simply an arbitrary score, not based on anything, except the number we wish to fail, not based on proficiency, what is the point of this assessment. Guess we need make sure we keep minorities and disabled from any dignity at all. (sarcasm)

Stop the Insanity
Anonymous said…
@ Stop the Insanity,

This whole back and forth started in response to NNNCr's comment about how much higher the sneak peek WA scores are than the consortium wide field test scores were a year earlier. Those comparisons were based on SBAC CCR cut scores, not WA SBE graduation cut scores. I simply pointed out to NNNCr and Dan Dempsey that the scores were based on a different population, and that contrary to Dan's suggestion, the relevant cut scores were in fact determined before the 2015 testing.

Now you keep arguing about graduation cut scores. Yes, these are arguably more important--but this has nothing to do with the original issue being discussed here. You were looking at things out of context, so it was you that was wrong, not me. (And FYI, if you'll go back and reread things carefully, you'll see that I pointed out, before you did, that the WA graduation cut scores are still TBD. Still not relevant to the conversation that was at hand, but I was clearly aware of it.)

Moving on now, I think conversations about what exactly a high school diploma should represent, and what criteria should be used to determine when it has been earned, would be valuable. In the interest of "dignity for all" (as you put it), we could decide that everyone gets a diploma, no matter what. (Reminds of those youth soccer teams, where everyone gets a medal. It was exciting at first, but once it dawned on the kids that it didn't represent much aside from showing up it kind of lost its appeal.) We could decide that as long as you put in x number of hours or "pass" x number of classes of your choosing you get a diploma, regardless of what or how much you learned. Or we could decide that a diploma is supposed to represent some basic level of knowledge attainment in some core areas, some minimum bar that represents what we think is important to be a contributing member of society. I think that's what the current system aims to do, but maybe that's not important to the majority of people, or maybe the specific criteria used need to be revised. I don't have the answers. I think it's a philosophical debate, and I'm sure there are reasonable people on different sides. But when you throw out comments like "number we wish to fail" and "keeping minorities and disabled from dignity" and "number of students we should throw away" it doesn't really help further the debate. If you want to come down on the side of no graduation testing, great. But it would help for you to be honest about that, and explain why you think that makes sense. What should a high school diploma signify exactly, in your eyes? Should there be any requirements at all?

Anonymous said…
But HF, setting the graduation score to something below "proficient" for the purposes of keeping the same number of failures.... is exactly the proposal. You like to say the same "pass rate", but really, the two are equivalent. Students who have earned all the credits (by doing the work), who done all the community service(by doing the work), who jumped through all the hoops... SHOULD get the diploma that they have earned. This is what a high school diploma has always meant. And it served our nation very well. Our economy, and ingenuity, resilience, creativity, are the envy of the world. Why fix, what isn't broken? High school diploma has never meant college ready, nor career ready. It's not the student's fault that the state endlessly changes standards, and endlessly creates tricky tests (gotcha!). What an asinine comparison... students earning a diploma but failing SBAC are like soccer players getting a medal for showing up. It smacks of racism and ableism, because those are exactly the students the cut score will drop, by design. And even if you don't buy that.... nobody can argue with the costs, and worse the absolute waste of time devoted to this rat hole, even if you love it. At least 1/3 of the school year is now devoted to testing... or waiting for testing. Notably, private schoolers don't spend their time on this.

Stop the Insanity
Anonymous said…
@ Insanity,

First off, I don't love the test. Never said or suggested I do. In fact, I opted my kids out.

Second, I also don't have a strong opinion on which is better--a requirement to demonstrate proficiency via tests prior to graduation, or no tests, just passing the required classes. I think it's an interesting area for discussion, though, which is why I tried to get that going.

Last, it's interesting that you think it's racist or ablist of me to suggest that a high school diploma is similar to a medal for showing up, since minorities and special ed students are most impacted by the proficiency requirements. However, one could argue the opposite--that awarding high school diplomas to kids who have taken the requisite classes but who aren't able to demonstrate proficiency in the core subjects does those kids a disservice. And you know how that group of kids will skew, right? That could be seen as a different version of racism and/or ablism. It shouldn't be acceptable that so many kids attend all those years of school and then come out unprepared.

You said: Why fix, what isn't broken? High school diploma has never meant college ready, nor career ready. How is that not broken? What good is a diploma then? Yes, the current system works for many ("we're the envy of the world", blah blah blah)--but what are the next steps for those kids who are not ready for careers or college? If we just sweep it under the rug and award everyone a diploma for meeting their credit requirements, are we just making ourselves feel better about the fact that many students leave HS lacking basic proficiency? "Well at least they got a diploma!"

I don't mean it to be obnoxious. I just don't think it's so black and white that one way is racist/ablist and the other isn't. It's more nuanced than that.

But in terms of cost--time and money both--yes, it's a giant rat hole of waste. I fully agree, and would be thrilled to see the SBAC disappear on that basis alone.

Anonymous said…
Most of my teachers prepped me for this and all of that prepping went to waste to that test. They asked me to create a narrative on the written portion of the test though all year I was practicing on how to write a Argumentative Synthesis Essay in 10th grade English. It was quite crazy for my big essay topic was the controversy of which bloggers should be journalists. it was an obvious no but I am not fond of blogging. I never knew what it was just before the test!
Believe me. The test was awful for it's question levels and confusing phrases and odd articles posted in the test booklet.
Washington wanted us to fail.
Christina said…
I know no one's reading this, but in the unlikely event someone is searching for "SBAC" "September" "SPS" and results, no they haven't been posted on, and I've just found a delta (i.e. change) in stated percentages of students of one sex in one grade: from 61.8% meeting standards in ELA to 56.8%, and 64.3% meeting standards in Math to 59.3%.

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