Let's Talk SBAC Scores - Part One

My apologies for taking so long to get to this.  Our discussion on SBAC will take three threads.  One, an overview.  Two, what was said at Superintendent Dorn's press conference last week on the results.  Three, some topline impressions from looking at the scores.  (If anyone has been looking at the scores in-depth, let me know.  I'm probably not going to be able to deep-dive them myself so any impressions you have would be helpful.)


The most basic takeaway - both from Dorn and others touting the Washington state scores - is a big fat WHEW.  The scores were not nearly as bad as they could have been.  We can debate why that might be later on.

 One big consideration is the difference between states using SBAC and those using PARCC.  Sixteen states (and what are called "affiliate" states) are using SBAC and 11 states and D. C. are using PARCC.  ( To note: PARCC had been in 26 states and the drop to 11 caused the Boston Globe to say the test is in a "death spiral.")  Other states are using their own tests or some tweaked version of either SBAC or PARCC.

They are two different tests.  To compare the test scores against each other is going to be apples and oranges and that's why I was surprised to hear a Seattle Schools principal brag about how much better Washington State did than NY State when Washington is an SBAC state and NY State is not.

SBAC has created its own cut scores but states are free to make their own.  (Vermont and New Hampshire abstained from the vote on approval of SBAC cut scores.)  From Ed Source:
Under NCLB, cut scores “led to dysfunctional behavior” in which school districts focused their attention on “bubble kids” – raising scores of those right below the cut score while ignoring those further below or above the line, she said. Schools would not get credit when students showed growth within achievement levels from year to year or when scores grew significantly but fell short of proficient.
One thing to keep in mind, no matter the actual scores, is this from an Ed Source article in Jan. 2015 on California (which also just started taking the SBAC test):
“Let’s be frank: All scores will be shifted to the left,” he said, meaning lower on the point scale, with fewer students deemed to be proficient than under the old state standards and more students scoring at basic or below basic levels. “We have to educate parents about that. It’s not that your kid got dumber; there has been a shift in systems.”
I think that's probably quite true.  You cannot expect a shift in both WHAT is taught and HOW it is tested without seeing a downward shift in scores (at least on a large scale - individual schools may have done better).

I'll have to ask the District what their view is but California's State Board president said it will take "five more years for full implementation of the new standards, with fully trained teachers using fully developed curricula and textbooks."   I think that is also true as well.

Of course, there is the obvious - like much of what is in vogue to do in public education - this is all the grand experiment.  No one really knows if these are the best standards (and given that they cannot be tweaked much by input from teachers and administrators, we may be stuck) or if SBAC or PARCC are the best testing instruments.  But if we are not happy with current outcomes, then some change had to happen.

One thing that does have to change is delivery of the scores to districts, teachers and parents.  Dorn repeatedly blamed the vendor for the time delay but did not reassure taxpayers as to whether the State will see some kind of refund for the vendor's failure to perform.

According to SBAC:
  • 4 weeks after student finishes testing, preliminary results are sent to the district
  • 4 weeks after entire district finishes, results go to the district
  • 8 weeks after entire district finishes, results for individual students are sent to the district.  The district then decides when to send the reports to parents.
  • the public gets the results whenever the state agency decides to release them


Anonymous said…
What a waste of time and resources and goodwill on the part of students, teachers and families. What does it accomplish? Nothing. No child in an impoverished home is suddenly going to be elevated because of an elaborate (and poorly written and poorly deployed) test.

A child living in Public Housing with a single parent who is trapped in a generational cycle of poverty is NOT going to be helped with this extreme testing regime. Teachers already know exactly what that child needs: time and care and attention. Testing will not deliver any of those three things.

Anyway, we opted our kids out. Because we want this enormous 'heft' of money and time and effort and resources to be directed to children directly, not to spinning bureaucrats. And all of the children in our kids' classes passed no problem, but then again, we are at Lincoln.

Opted Out
Anonymous said…
Can we bring back the ITBS? We'll be opting out of SBAC (and the Amplify Beacon testing) for as long as we can.

-another opt-outer
Anonymous said…
Where are the results posted?

-Thanks MW!
Anonymous said…
SBAC results for Seattle:


Anonymous said…

thanks anon
Anonymous said…
Do you have any idea which common core standards are being taught well in your child's class, school or by the district, and which standards could use some more focus now that you have results? I don't. No One does. This is not a common core test, or you would see common core results. This is a property value rank only. This in no way helps our children. It only wastes their educational time and resources. Whoever agreed our state and district should buy this test should loose their job. We should get a refund because the test that was delivered was not what we were sold. Please Boycott this year.

Eric M said…
Getting results now is useless for scheduling remedial classes for students starting school 2 weeks from now.

I guess it was never about that, was it ?
Anonymous said…
It was never about remediation. That was always a lie. If this were about remediation you would have content specific reports before spring quarter remediation tutoring, or summer school.
West Parent
Christina said…
We're opting out my child from SBAC testing at his request this coming year. I'm sure he passed his ELA and Math but that's not the point. In May his math teacher talked to me five days after he concluded Math SBAC about his placement for the 2015-16 year. I trust the teacher to accurately assess his mastery of concepts through a year of in-class observation than a one test measuring my kid's few hours sitting at a computer.
Anonymous said…
Who adjusted their real estate portfolio based on these results? Arnie Duncan? Toner? Aren't you glad your children could spend hours and tears to provide the 1% with their investment data. Oh, you got nothing out of the exercise? So, sorry.
Anonymous said…
Where are the 10th grade scores? Those are ones that replace HSPE for graduation requirement.

-HS parent
HS Parent, I will have to ask about those 10th grade scores. They appear to be missing.
seattle citizen said…
^^^^^^^^^ Maybe students could take Cheap Essay Writing Online where the result posted and we could then compare THOSE results. Anything's better than the SBAC.....
seattle citizen said…
This comment has been removed by the author.

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