The State Board of Education, as expected, voted Thursday to move ahead in the spring with the new Smarter Balanced tests on the Common Core State Standards while leaving open, for now, the decision on what to do with the test results.

At the meeting, the organizations representing the state’s school administrators and school boards said they support reporting test scores to parents and schools. But they would like to postpone using results to judge schools and districts. They argued that many districts aren’t far enough along in adopting the new standards to credibly appraise schools’ performance. The Association of California School Administrators said in a statement that each district “is at a different level of implementation.”

Joe Willhoft, executive director of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and Keric Ashley, director of the state Department of Educaiton's Analysis, Measurement & Accountability Reporting Division, discuss the new assessments at the State Board of Education meeting.

Source: State Board of Education webcast

Joe Willhoft, executive director of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and Keric Ashley, director of the state Department of Education’s Analysis, Measurement & Accountability Reporting Division, discuss the new assessments at the State Board of Education meeting.

The board didn’t discuss or act on the request, although board President Michael Kirst said afterward that the subject may come up at the board’s next meeting, in January or March. Last spring the state suspended nearly all state standardized tests, prompting the federal Department of Education to threaten to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in education dollars for low-income students. Although the department eventually backed off, a further delay could provoke another fight between state and federal officials.

The state Department of Education is recommending that the results of the 2014-15 Smarter Balanced tests in math and reading provide the base scores for schools and districts. They would then be judged on the growth in scores the following year to recalculate the state’s Academic Performance Index, or API. The school boards and administrators want to wait a year and use 2015-16 as the base year.

The proposed delay reflects the uncertainty of knowing how far along the state’s 1,000 districts are in implementing the more rigorous Common Core standards and in preparing to administer end-of-year tests, which for the first time will be administered on computers. Nearly all schools had a dry run last spring when they gave students a Smarter Balanced practice test either in math or reading.

Based on the experience, the state Department of Education reports that nearly all districts have the capacity to administer next spring’s tests. On Thursday, Cindy Kazanis, director of the education management division of the Department of Education, predicted that only about 50 schools out of 11,000 in the state would be giving the test using paper and pencil instead of computers.

But Doug McRae, a retired testing specialist who has criticized Smarter Balanced’s timeline for the tests, said the state has focused on technological readiness and not instructional readiness. Testing students before they have been instructed in the content of Common Core will produce invalid results, he said.

The school administrators association noted that some districts had used one-time Common Core money from the state to upgrade technology or buy instructional materials and not for teacher training. Sherry Skelly Griffith, director of governmental relations for the administrators association, noted that teachers aren’t yet able to use some of the essential tools that the state has purchased from Smarter Balanced. Interim assessments – practice tests that let schools know if students are on track for the end-of-year tests  – won’t be available until January.

The board also heard complaints about Smarter Balanced’s Digital Library, a 2,500-item resource that helps guide teachers’ instruction. The Digital Library went online Oct. 1, and 109,000 California teachers have signed up to use it, according to the state. However, technical glitches forced it to shut down a few days last week, and some districts have not given their teachers access to use it. “It strikes me as odd that if we pay for this to be available to teachers, and it is not, then there is a problem,” said board member Sue Burr.

Holly Edds, an assistant superintendent of the Orcutt Union School District, said that waiting a year would give districts a better understanding of the tests and would give teachers a full year to work with interim tests and Smarter Balanced’s digital resources. The state board has the authority under state law to delay calculating the API for another year, and should use it, she said.

Representatives of two organizations advocating for low-income, minority children agreed with the school boards’ and administrators’ position, with caveats.

Amber Banks, an associate with Education Trust-West, said if there were a delay, the state should consider short-term ways to identify low-performing schools needing interventions.

Liz Guillen, director of legislative and community affairs for Public Advocates, said that districts should use the results of student scores from next spring’s tests to direct funding and set goals under their Local Control and Accountability Plans for academic improvement. And she called on the state to do a thorough Common Core evaluation of districts’ readiness to meet the needs of English learners and low-income students.

But Deborah Brown, associate director of education policy at Children Now, urged caution in delaying the establishment of API scores. She said the state must explore carefully potential conflicts with federal accountability requirements.

And Bill Lucia, CEO of the nonprofit organization EdVoice, recommended moving forward with the base scores as planned. The Department of Education has made a reasonable recommendation, and the scores are an essential piece of the state’s new accountability system, he said.

 


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  1. James Realini 1 year ago1 year ago

    Teaching to standard means that you have a rubric/road map to a summative assessment that tells you if the student(s) met the standard. Designing the assessments (both formative and summative) are essential teacher tasks to developing the program of instruction that will lead to student success. Most teachers know this as the "backwards planning process." Keeping the test design A SECRET and not allowing the teachers to understand how the Smarter Balanced Test Questions (and answers) … Read More

    Teaching to standard means that you have a rubric/road map to a summative assessment that tells you if the student(s) met the standard. Designing the assessments (both formative and summative) are essential teacher tasks to developing the program of instruction that will lead to student success. Most teachers know this as the “backwards planning process.”
    Keeping the test design A SECRET and not allowing the teachers to understand how the Smarter Balanced Test Questions (and answers) relate to the standards, places teachers and their students in the untenable position of “you teach” and we’ll let you know if we think you taught it the way we think it should have been taught.
    Common Core Standards, for ELA & Math are wonderful; the teaching strategy (which includes the assessment activities) for Smarter Balanced is dysfunctional.
    Also, this unidimensional Common Core focus on ELA & Math, albeit there are Literacy Standards for non-ELA/Math disciplines, fails to address the content necessary for education in Science, History, Fine Arts & Music. This is critically important because observation of this Nations Financing of Education clearly demonstrates that monies will be allocated on Test Results in ELA & Math to the detriment of all other disciplines.
    The Common Core system of pedagogy is an unvetted program designed without true teacher input. Those in the ivory tower financed by philanthropic wealth have every right to dream, but the classroom teachers have the experience necessary to design a system that they know will work, but were not asked. If you are going to ignore countless years of experience then you surely must believe that no experience to teach is necessary.

  2. Common Core will be a Train Wreck 2 years ago2 years ago

    The only reason we have common core is because the federal government gave California (and other states) a boatload of cash and the state told the teacher unions that they would be exempted from testing while it was implemented. It is not a curriculum that was successfully implemented in a pilot program anywhere proving results. Common Core dictates how you teach, turning teachers into assembly line workers, because union contracts protect teachers from being fired without "due … Read More

    The only reason we have common core is because the federal government gave California (and other states) a boatload of cash and the state told the teacher unions that they would be exempted from testing while it was implemented.

    It is not a curriculum that was successfully implemented in a pilot program anywhere proving results.

    Common Core dictates how you teach, turning teachers into assembly line workers, because union contracts protect teachers from being fired without “due process” – meaning that teachers can not be held responsible if their students don’t learn anything.

    Unionized teachers have no incentive to make Common Core work, because that would mean re-accepting the yoke of testing.

  3. Michael Metcalf 2 years ago2 years ago

    This whole discussion is just plain silliness. The Smarter Balanced assessments are of AP quality. The average student will fail miserably. Even the "so called" gifted student will experience an incredible amount of difficulty. I wonder who will be blamed? I believe that students should be challenged and that work should be rigorous, but these assessments are way beyond the capability of 97.5% of our students. Imagine a beginning/intermediate … Read More

    This whole discussion is just plain silliness. The Smarter Balanced assessments are of AP quality. The average student will fail miserably. Even the “so called” gifted student will experience an incredible amount of difficulty. I wonder who will be blamed? I believe that students should be challenged and that work should be rigorous, but these assessments are way beyond the capability of 97.5% of our students. Imagine a beginning/intermediate piano player working on a simple one page composition one day. Now up the ante to playing a full blown sonata by Beethoven the next day. Good luck. It’s sheer madness or stupidity, or most probably a lot of both.

  4. Paul Muench 2 years ago2 years ago

    I assume that schools that were in program improvement under the old testing regime are still in program improvement, true? So using test scores for evaluating schools is particularly relevant for schools not already in program improvement. Will any of the prior history be carried over? For example, will years of missing growth targets be carried over towards determining evaluation as being in need of program improvement?

    Replies

    • navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

      Well, the 2014 AYP targets are 100% proficient so we can just assume everyone failed that metric. Even though API was removed from AYP for now that fact kind of makes it moot.
      It would be nice to have a better explanation than the cde description provides..

      http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/documents/aypinfoguide14.pdf

  5. navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

    Why would a district or it’s teachers need a better understanding of the test to implement the content standards?

    Anyway, if districts dragging their feet leads to a lower API, isn’t that maybe useful information?

    Replies

    • Paul Muench 2 years ago2 years ago

      That surprised me too. I thought teaching to the test was a thing of the past now that we have Common Core.

      • Doug McRae 2 years ago2 years ago

        I'd agree with both of you. Focusing on what is on the test before implementing instruction on the common core is only useful if folks are planning on-teaching-to-the-tests, and teaching-to-the-test is a cancer that degrades both good instructional practices and good assessment practices. Initiating statewide testing before implementing common core instruction is a major flaw in the SBE/SSPI/CDE current plan . . . . as Dave Gordon, Sac Co Supt, said in a Sac Bee … Read More

        I’d agree with both of you. Focusing on what is on the test before implementing instruction on the common core is only useful if folks are planning on-teaching-to-the-tests, and teaching-to-the-test is a cancer that degrades both good instructional practices and good assessment practices. Initiating statewide testing before implementing common core instruction is a major flaw in the SBE/SSPI/CDE current plan . . . . as Dave Gordon, Sac Co Supt, said in a Sac Bee article last February — It isn’t fair to test students on material they haven’t been taught — that sentiment is just plain common sense.

      • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

        Teaching to the test a thing of the past? That's wishful thinking. Whenever there is a test for x that determines the status of y, then y will do whatever it takes to figure out how to ace the test. That's true whether you are a district trying to get out of purgatory (aka program improvement) or airmen certifying they can operate the missile launching pads. It's human nature. Not a cancer. The only solution is to simply … Read More

        Teaching to the test a thing of the past? That’s wishful thinking.

        Whenever there is a test for x that determines the status of y, then y will do whatever it takes to figure out how to ace the test. That’s true whether you are a district trying to get out of purgatory (aka program improvement) or airmen certifying they can operate the missile launching pads.

        It’s human nature. Not a cancer.

        The only solution is to simply stop using the tests for such high-stakes purposes. After all, I keep getting told that this was not the purpose of the tests when they were designed.

        Which brings me back to the same old question: are the SBAC tests designed to determine if a school is “failing” or not? Have they defined what “failing” is yet? Or do they just keep moving the goal posts to get the right distribution of scores as happens with the SAT?

        And the following questions are “if a school is failing because students did lousy on tests that did not directly affect them, will somehow the tests be included in the students’ grades? or are they just supposed to carry the scarlet letter of having attended a failing school?”

        Maybe we need a modest proposal…

        • tom 2 years ago2 years ago

          Although I agree with the CC mission to improve educational outcomes across the entire country, the teaching materials to match the curriculum standards are not even in place yet even at many "high performing" and large school districts! I know for certain my fourth grader is still using the old math textbook. Teachers are trying to change and augment instruction to CC type instruction but it is cobbled together from other sources, and … Read More

          Although I agree with the CC mission to improve educational outcomes across the entire country, the teaching materials to match the curriculum standards are not even in place yet even at many “high performing” and large school districts! I know for certain my fourth grader is still using the old math textbook. Teachers are trying to change and augment instruction to CC type instruction but it is cobbled together from other sources, and in some Districts there is teacher retraining going on. This slow progress is most reflective of a slow moving, large bureaucracy, which is always the case with government-run systems.

          Is this slow progress reason to suspend reporting of testing results, again? No way. I think the testing is useful and necessary so that schools (and Districts) can be identified and held accountable if they are not doing a good job of educating our kids. Even comparing test scores at different schools in the same School District are useful to parents as a measure of the quality of education our kids are getting, or not getting. With this data, individual schools can then design remedial programs. This is the purpose of the LCAP program after all. It should also help reallocate money to the poorly performing schools per the Governor’s LCFF program.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Tom, In your first paragraph you make a case for the poor implementation of CC. In the nest paragraph you claim we should report test results anyway because: 1. the test is useful and necessary 2. we can compare test scores as a measure educational quality 3. tests help to reallocate money to students You also make a large assumption that if students do poorly on the test they therefore received a lower quality education. We have no … Read More

            Tom, In your first paragraph you make a case for the poor implementation of CC. In the nest paragraph you claim we should report test results anyway because:

            1. the test is useful and necessary

            2. we can compare test scores as a measure educational quality

            3. tests help to reallocate money to students

            You also make a large assumption that if students do poorly on the test they therefore received a lower quality education. We have no idea if students who get no Common Core instruction at all learn more or less in a general sense than students who do get it.

            How can the test reports be useful if students weren’t exposed to the curriculum on which it is based and how can we draw useful comparisons between students and districts when there is so much disparity on CC uptake in the first place? You don’t have to test students to find out whether a district is implementing CC. Additionally, two districts could both at the same point of implementation and get different results for many reasons that would not be explainable from the tests.

            As for reallocating, LCFF funding is not based on test scores.

          • tom 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, Sure some students are poor test takers or ESL students, but those are outliers and you can disagree, but I don't think it is appropriate to remove the link between test scores and the quality of education. This is particularly true in the comparison of "similar schools." Maybe you have a better way to measure a students knowledge, on a large scale, quantitative, other than a test? In … Read More

            Don, Sure some students are poor test takers or ESL students, but those are outliers and you can disagree, but I don’t think it is appropriate to remove the link between test scores and the quality of education. This is particularly true in the comparison of “similar schools.” Maybe you have a better way to measure a students knowledge, on a large scale, quantitative, other than a test?

            In your point about the comparison of test scores between Districts, the CC implementation is behind, unfortunately, and we all know this, but in the comparison of test scores within a District, I would argue that the test scores are very useful in evaluating the performance of kids between schools and even classrooms, and should not be delayed. We know at our school from the former testing, for example, that we have a significant number of kids behind in ELA and Math and more resources need to be focused toward those kids. That takes money and we can get more from either parents or the District LCAP program, which is required in the LCFF so there is a link. One has to be deep in the weeds to understand this link. Why wait any longer to get the CC and CBST testing worked out just perfectly? It’s coming and we need it.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            The problems they cite in wanting to delay a year will not be gone in a year, and they will call to delay them as long as they can get away with it. Tests really help figure out who is succeeding and why, and who is failing and why. Grades can be biased due to the teacher, but tests are across the board. We see that most of the income lag for blacks and Latinos … Read More

            The problems they cite in wanting to delay a year will not be gone in a year, and they will call to delay them as long as they can get away with it.

            Tests really help figure out who is succeeding and why, and who is failing and why. Grades can be biased due to the teacher, but tests are across the board. We see that most of the income lag for blacks and Latinos is due to education and testing, with black 12th graders reading at a level equal to white 8th graders and Asian 7th graders. Before NCLB, most people blamed this on racism, personal racism. The focus was on making society less racist. With education being a primary determinant of income, it is absolutely essential that we work very hard to get black and more importantly, Latino children to the current level of white and ideally Asian American students. Otherwise we are consigning them to poverty. Vergara showed teacher quality is a factor, albeit a small one. Parenting is a factor. Effort is a factor. Motivation is a factor. We need to solve this problem or we’ll become a 3d world country and fall behind China. California will not thrive if we don’t fix this, and we need these tests to be published every year.

            We can’t afford to put our head in the sand for another year and pretend there is no problem when there is a huge problem consigning millions of children to a future of near poverty, poverty and misery.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Floyd, you don't seem to understand that this article and discussion is about delaying reporting of results, not about taking test itself. State administrators and school boards have asked to not use these early and questionable results for purposes that can be harmful to districts. But if the results can't be trusted for accountability purposes, why should they be reported to students and parents who will also receive the same questionable results? Floyd, … Read More

            Floyd, you don’t seem to understand that this article and discussion is about delaying reporting of results, not about taking test itself. State administrators and school boards have asked to not use these early and questionable results for purposes that can be harmful to districts. But if the results can’t be trusted for accountability purposes, why should they be reported to students and parents who will also receive the same questionable results?

            Floyd, your position is basically caveman in style – test good. Period. You don’t seem to really care whether the tests have been properly developed, vetted or if they actually represent an accurate measure of student achievement at this point in time. In other words, you want it so badly, you don’t really care if they do or don’t. Of course, the worse thing that could happen for a person who holds your viewpoint is for the test to fail as an adequate tool due to poor and hurried implementation, which is a distinct possibility. That would do more to set back testing than any delay.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, I think they should not have had a year of not reporting scores. Getting these in the mail has been extremely valuable and helped me be a better father, helped me help my kids qualify for Lowell. I believe this improves their life, I know many say some are and some aren't the Lowell type, but I believe if you can become the Lowell type you are more likely to succeed and … Read More

            Don, I think they should not have had a year of not reporting scores. Getting these in the mail has been extremely valuable and helped me be a better father, helped me help my kids qualify for Lowell. I believe this improves their life, I know many say some are and some aren’t the Lowell type, but I believe if you can become the Lowell type you are more likely to succeed and it isn’t genetic, it’s habit and skill based. A person who is not that type in some, but not all, cases might have become the type with different habits over the elementary and middle school years, just like many could have been the Cal or Stanford type with better parenting, or even if they didn’t get unlucky and get a bad elementary school teacher for a key year. Types are malleable, not inborn.

            These scores are very valuable. They should have given both tests one year and gone to Common Core the next.

            I also question mandatory computers. All I hear is don’t worry about computers, we can get them. Now everyone wants to delay a year. When we start, we’re going to hear that some schools did poorly because they had a poor network, poor computers, poor WiFi, so it will be a boon for tech. companies. Essentially it will become a minimum expenditure for every school to have maximum expenditures on computers and WiFi, or we’ll hear arguments of unequal opportunity. Taxes will go up but not to pay for game changing tutoring services for young children. It will seem as if all is the same.

            These scores show what works and what doesn’t. You can tell which teachers are consistently better than others at providing value and via algorithms you will clearly be able to tell that some teachers are way better than others, in constrast to the union claim that value is directly proportionate to seniority. The scores will show what parenting works, what habits work, what curricula work. And which don’t.

            When they passed this, they sold the public on the idea that there would only be a 1-year delay. It would have been hard to pass if they said there would be 2 years of no reports on kids, schools, districts, ethnicities, etc. However, once a year passes and we who remember and care about these tests are looking forward to a 3d grade test which provides a result when I got 2d grade results for my other kids, they then say just one more year, so wait till 4th grade.

            And honestly aren’t almost all of the people calling for this generally, philosophically, opposed to testing in general. I guarantee you after another year, they will be saying we didn’t get the computers, we haven’t been trained sufficiently, we aren’t prepared, this or that field test had an error, let’s delay another year. So then for one kid I don’t have a test until 5th grade, and another until 4th, when once it started in 2d. They’ll be just as upset next year or in five. They will delay this as much as they can. We have to do it over their objections or not at all. Ever.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            Maybe Doug can weight on my comment. Floyd, your have proved my point again that you care little for the quality or viability of the test. Your only concern is that we have it. As a big proponent of teacher quality I hope the irony is not lost on you, but I'm afraid it is. You say they had a year of not reporting scores. Do you understand that they didn't actual administer a … Read More

            Maybe Doug can weight on my comment.

            Floyd, your have proved my point again that you care little for the quality or viability of the test. Your only concern is that we have it. As a big proponent of teacher quality I hope the irony is not lost on you, but I’m afraid it is.

            You say they had a year of not reporting scores. Do you understand that they didn’t actual administer a test, only a test item try-out? If as you say the tests are so valuable, why do wantonly ignore the offensive disregard that the state and its partners in the consortium have shown to properly develop and administer the test as well as to insure the validity of its results in conjunction with the roll-out of common core? If you develop a high stakes test product with a definitive release date, what is the responsibility of the developer if it is released before it’s ready for public use?

            You also show a disregard for any qualitative appraisal when you assert that pencil tests are adequate. Given that the computer adaptive components are not available to pencil and paper test takers and that a computer test is a fundamentally different experience for the test taker, it would be very difficult to make the kinds of comparisons that you assure us are so valuable to you as a father.

            As far as the political circumstances of the delay, I don’t doubt that a longer one would have created more problems for politicians. Those circumstances are in part the result of the decisions made by the same politicians who don’t want to admit how slowly they instituted Common Core or how hastily they now must act to keep to an arbitrary time table that does not comport with the judicious use of high stakes assessment products. You don’t fill a damn with water until you finish building it.

          • Doug McRae 2 years ago2 years ago

            There is a lot of stuff in this line of discussion. Let me respond to several of the comments: To Manuel's comment dated 11/14 at 10:51 on "The only solution is to simply stop giving tests for high-stakes purposes . . . I keep getting told that this was not the purpose of the tests when they were designed." End-of-year summative tests administered under strong test security conditions are indeed designed for high stakes purposes, and … Read More

            There is a lot of stuff in this line of discussion. Let me respond to several of the comments:

            To Manuel’s comment dated 11/14 at 10:51 on “The only solution is to simply stop giving tests for high-stakes purposes . . . I keep getting told that this was not the purpose of the tests when they were designed.” End-of-year summative tests administered under strong test security conditions are indeed designed for high stakes purposes, and if they are well designed and developed they serve high stakes purposes well. The data can be used with great benefit to generally evaluate the results of instructional programs, to compare achievement from school to school, and in that manner focus on areas that are doing well and areas that need improvement. However, the results can also be misused, or overused indiscriminately. My view is that when the latter occurs, call out the misuse and correct it as best one can. But to simply stop giving the tests is throwing the baby out with the bath water. High stakes tests are controversial, and have been for the 45 years I’ve been involved with designing and developing such tests. Such tests have never been popular with students and recently not popular with many teachers and/or administrators reacting to the pressures of being held accountable; however, high stakes end-of-year tests get favorable marks from 70-80 percent of parents and policymakers and business folks and media and the general public, per long standing surveys published by the Phi Delta Kappa.

            To Don’s comment dated 9:24 on 11/15: You capture much of my view on the current proposal to delay use of Smarter Balanced 2015 test results. I have a lot of sympathy for the ACSA proposal to delay use for API for a year, to wait for 2016 results for a Base API which will set up a first Growth API based on 2017 SB test results. I think both ACSA and I have the same underlying reason for delaying use for APIs — and that reason that instruction using Common Core standards will not be sufficiently implemented in California schools to yield meaningful baseline results from 2015 data. But I’m very wary of distributing three million invalid scores to students, parents, school leaders, media, and the public — that would be a huge blunder, very difficult if not impossible to correct. Thus, I’m straining to find ways where California can isolate portions of the SB testing program that can yield valid results in 2015, and use those portions of the SB system to provide valid data to all users (including accountability uses) while also permitting local districts to administer other portions of Smarter Balanced tests for either practice purposes (if the LEA has not sufficiently implemented common core instruction), or perhaps for higher stakes local use (if the LEA has sufficiently implemented common core instruction) at local district option. So far, this line of thought has not taken hold among Sacramento players on this issue.

          • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

            Don, how many years do you feel it would take to properly make sure the test is valid in all ways? Do you think a 1-year additional delay would be enough, or do you feel it would take 3 years, 4? Lowell is changing it's admissions due to this, parents are losing a valuable tool. I remember when they started this I said I opposed taking a year off because 1 usually … Read More

            Don, how many years do you feel it would take to properly make sure the test is valid in all ways? Do you think a 1-year additional delay would be enough, or do you feel it would take 3 years, 4? Lowell is changing it’s admissions due to this, parents are losing a valuable tool.

            I remember when they started this I said I opposed taking a year off because 1 usually becomes 2 and yes, I understand the irony. I want better teacher quality. I want good test quality too, but I think the delay doesn’t actually make them do all these things. They oppose testing in general, so they say they aren’t ready, but when it comes close, they say they aren’t ready again and haven’t done all the things they ask for more time to do.

            I do think they should have stuck with the old test. The quality of the new tests is not worth the pain to the current generation of parents and teachers of having now 2 years off, and maybe more. The old test was fine. It was very valuable. It showed us which kids were on their way to a good college, some college, or prison/homelessness very accurately. When I told you it would take more than a year you blew me off and said that wouldn’t happen. Every government delay leads to more government delay. This one hurts kids.

            They should have put in enough to do it with no delay or not done it at all. The STAR test from NCLB was a fine test. They always want a new one. This one sells computers. It will be a huge argument in a year that any child without a great computer and fast WiFi can’t compete. Teachers will save time by giving Internet homework.

            They should have stuck with the old test until this was ready. They shouldn’t have lied to the public that they’d only need a year.

            It’s like someone who plans to lose weight or learn a language in a year. They don’t want to, so a year passes and then they still don’t want to. They say in a year, but when a year passes, that means now, doing it. So they don’t. It’s the same as that. It’s like the dog races, they never catch the bunny on a rope 6 feet in front of them. In another year, they’ll say something is not ready and ask for a delay. Even when this test is implemented, you’ll have people screaming they rushed it and we shouldn’t have done it without more training and billions in computers.

            This is such a mess. They should have kept the old test. I remember when I told you it wasn’t worth the 1-year delay you said I was being ridiculous. Now you say I should quietly be happy with this because there is such a crucial need for more bureaucratic processes that will be diligently taken care of with one extra year.

            My prediction is in another year some will be demanding another year, and you will believe their claim and be on their side. I can see it now. You’ll say whatever bureaucratic reason they come up with is crucial to it being quality. I’m not falling for this. I saw this coming.

          • Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

            Doug, thank you for the reply, which is, FWIW, wholly consistent with previous conversations we have had on the matter. I don't believe the Public School Accountability Act of 1999 called for the CSTs to be high-stakes tests in the sense that there would be dire consequences for a school not meeting objectives. In terms of what was supposed to be achieved, the text of Section 52050.5(k) of the Act says nothing about impending doom for … Read More

            Doug, thank you for the reply, which is, FWIW, wholly consistent with previous conversations we have had on the matter.

            I don’t believe the Public School Accountability Act of 1999 called for the CSTs to be high-stakes tests in the sense that there would be dire consequences for a school not meeting objectives. In terms of what was supposed to be achieved, the text of Section 52050.5(k) of the Act says nothing about impending doom for schools that did not show academic growth. Instead, it speaks of collaboration among all stakeholders to improve achievement.

            The Act also did not contain language that allowed the scores a student obtained to be reflected in the student’s classroom mark (or at least I couldn’t find any). In fact, the related Leroy Greene California Assessment of Academic Achievement Act explicitly allowed opting out of the tests, language that is still in the Ed Code:

            60615. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent’s or
            guardian’s written request to school officials to excuse his or her
            child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant
            to this chapter shall be granted.

            If any student can be excused from the test on a parent’s say so, how could it be a high stake test for the student? How then can we expect the student to take the test seriously? Has this ever been taken into account in test design?

            I agree that if a series of tests is introduced and there are problems with its implementation then those problems should be fixed. But was that ever the case with the CSTs?

            I know that you don’t believe me, but have you ever looked at the raw scores and compared them to the scaled scores? Do the distributions make sense to you? Does the scaling make sense?

            They don’t to me, but I don’t make a living looking at these issues. I make a living looking at data and extracting patterns and the patterns I see in those distributions raise all kinds of questions that will never be answered by the state nor its contractor.

            Is this what will happen with the SBAC tests?

            Finally, I’d like the Legislature to put teeth into this section:

            60611. (a) A city, county, city and county, district superintendent
            of schools, or principal or teacher of any elementary or secondary
            school, including a charter school, shall not carry on any program of
            specific preparation of pupils for the statewide pupil assessment
            program or a particular test used therein.
            (b) A city, county, city and county, district superintendent of
            schools, principal, or a teacher of an elementary or secondary
            school, including a charter school, may use instructional materials
            provided by the department or its agents in the academic preparation
            of pupils for the statewide pupil assessment if those instructional
            materials are embedded in an instructional program that is intended
            to improve pupil learning.

            This would rid California of the cancer you speak of.

            And I am sorry you do not like my modest proposal. 🙂

        • Paul Muench 2 years ago2 years ago

          High stakes testing is unproductive in that we don't want teachers "helping" students on the actual exam. But I thought the new smarter balanced tests would have the virtuous property that teaching to the test would be equivalent to teaching for learning. So why the issue over access to the SB online resources? Are the other Common Core resources so poor that SB has the best Common Core learning resources available. … Read More

          High stakes testing is unproductive in that we don’t want teachers “helping” students on the actual exam. But I thought the new smarter balanced tests would have the virtuous property that teaching to the test would be equivalent to teaching for learning. So why the issue over access to the SB online resources? Are the other Common Core resources so poor that SB has the best Common Core learning resources available. If true, a very unfortunate outcome due to the message it conveys.

          Clearly not everyone is convinced SB is all that virtuous either by intent or failure of execution. I’m still waiting to see how it turns out.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          As Alan Greenspan once said,“I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” I'm not opposed to some reasonable well-conceived and properly utilized standardized testing once a year.I was responding to the idea in this article and your comment that it is somehow OK to use what already is understood will yield inadequate measures of learning for the … Read More

          As Alan Greenspan once said,“I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

          I’m not opposed to some reasonable well-conceived and properly utilized standardized testing once a year.I was responding to the idea in this article and your comment that it is somehow OK to use what already is understood will yield inadequate measures of learning for the purpose of feedback to students, parents, the district, state or fed. If I get the results and my children have done poorly compared to their historical average, what does that mean? As far as I know they are still enthusiastic students who apply themselves and have good teachers overall. As far as I can tell the result speaks to the level of common core uptake. That is not what the test was designed to measure.

          As I said, I’m not opposed to some limited testing where results are not used to punish. I am opposed to the reporting of faulty results just as the CDE voids results when test conditions are compromised, as they sometimes are.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            By uptake I mean how districts are doing at implementing it.

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