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Update, Aug. 28: The state Department of Education reconsidered its action and began restoring past testing data on Friday. Go here for details and a statement from Bill Ainsworth, director of communications.

California Department of Education officials have repeatedly cautioned against comparing students’ scores on past state standardized tests with forthcoming results on tests aligned with the Common Core standards. The academic standards have changed and the tests are different, making comparisons inaccurate, they and others have warned.

Earlier this month, as the department got ready to send parents the initial student scores on the new tests sometime over the next few weeks, department officials deleted old test results going back more than 15 years from the most accessible part of the department’s website, impeding the public’s ability to make those comparisons.

The department has removed results dating back to 1998 in math and English language arts from DataQuest, the website where it posts education data it collects. That includes the database of the Standardized Testing and Reporting program, known as STAR, which enabled the public to search results by district, school and student subgroups from grades 3 through 12 since 2003.

Currently, the only test score results that remain on the site are those from science and history tests, which have not changed because the state academic standards in those subjects remain the same. For individuals adept with Excel spreadsheets, the data do remain available as downloadable research files, which can be found here.

On Monday, the department said it removed the data in order to comply with the 2013 state law that set the timetable for ending tests measuring performance under the old state standards and starting new Smarter Balanced tests in math and English language arts aligned with the Common Core. The new tests in California have been named the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP.

“DataQuest is a living, breathing database that we periodically update so that it provides the most relevant information to the public.”– State Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley

The 2013 law, sponsored by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and backed by the State Board of Education, forbids state agencies and local districts from comparing results of the two different tests (see page 6 of Education Code document for precise wording of EdCode 60641(a)(2)). The law says the California Department of Education and local school districts “shall not use a comparison resulting from the scores and results” of the new tests “and the assessment scores and results from assessments that measured previously adopted content standards.”

The law says nothing about whether the old test results should be made available to the public.

On Wednesday, state Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley issued an additional statement saying the education department removed the data to “avoid confusion” regarding the new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress System.

“DataQuest is a living, breathing database that we periodically update so that it provides the most relevant information to the public,” he wrote. “We removed the STAR test results from DataQuest because we are soon going to put up the CAASPP test results and we want to avoid confusion because the two tests cannot be compared.”

Critics blast the action

Others criticized the move as an overreaction.

“The department did not have to bury the old test results,” said David Plank, executive director of Policy Analysis for California Education, a Stanford University-based research nonprofit.

Republicans in the Legislature are drafting a letter to Torlakson asking that the data be restored immediately, Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, the Senate minority leader, said Wednesday.

“CDE (the department) is allergic to transparency and anything that might show schools in a bad light,” he said. “It’s important for parents to be able to look back over 10 years to know if there have been patterns of improvement.

Torlakson and other state officials have argued that the Common Core standards are more rigorous and the new online tests, which include more writing and problem-solving questions, are very different from the former pen-and-paper tests, making comparisons inappropriate. They’ve predicted that the initial scores in California will be lower than those on the old tests, which were last given two years ago.

“This is a new test that shouldn’t be compared with the old test,” State Board of Education President Michael Kirst said at a state board meeting earlier this year. “It’s a more difficult test with new standards, and the scoring levels are not as precise as they might appear.”

Kirst said the Smarter Balanced results will simply provide a base for comparison in future years, and schools won’t be held accountable for them for at least two years. Still, Common Core supporters are anxious that the public will blame the new standards and tests if the scores are low.

But that doesn’t excuse denying the public access to past data, said Bill Lucia, CEO and executive director of EdVoice, a Sacramento-based advocacy group. The state department misread the law to justify keeping information from the public, he said, adding, “Apparently the public and parents are too ignorant to understand or dangerous to be trusted with the facts.”

Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, executive director of Californians Together, a Long Beach-based organization that advocates for English learners and low-income children, agrees that results from the two assessments should not be compared. The anticipated low Smarter Balanced scores, especially for English learners, should serve as a “call for more supports and funding” for Common Core instruction, she said.

“That said,” she added, “the elimination of the (STAR) data keeps us from monitoring the gaps for student subgroups prior to and after the new assessments have been implemented. The exact scores themselves are not as important as being able to see if this new system exacerbates or diminishes the gaps in achievement.”

The database of old scores could yield other insights as well. Comparing, for example, Smarter Balanced scores of low-income students among schools and districts that had similar test scores in the past could indicate which have done better or worse than expected implementing Common Core instruction for those students.

Some partial results of past English language arts and math tests in sources other than DataQuest can still be found by searching the education department’s website. Besides the research data files, the department has not taken down annual press releases summarizing statewide California Standards Tests results; they can be found here and here. And Ed-Data, a separate database, contains rates of proficiency by school and district on the old tests. Ed-Data is a partnership of the department, EdSource and the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team.


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  1. Michelle Bennett 2 months ago2 months ago

    Hello! I am a public education, single subject, English teacher in California. I have a large concern: this year, our school does not have a STAR History assessment scheduled. We have our CAASPP English and Math (like last year) and our STAR Science scheduled- but NO History! How can California send the message that not only does CAASP or SBAC feel history is not a priotity to revamp from STAR, but that even the … Read More

    Hello! I am a public education, single subject, English teacher in California. I have a large concern: this year, our school does not have a STAR History assessment scheduled. We have our CAASPP English and Math (like last year) and our STAR Science scheduled- but NO History! How can California send the message that not only does CAASP or SBAC feel history is not a priotity to revamp from STAR, but that even the accountability of a History STAR is no longer necessary? This will be the third year that single subject history teachers, knowing there is NO accountability to administrators, districts, or our CA State Dept. of Ed. walk, light-heartedly, off campus at school bell time! Worse than that is the fact that our student population – three entire grade levels, and their parents, receive the, not ‘a’, but THE message that history is not important, valuable, or a viable “Core Content” area? What is California thinking? What will the adolescent and teens, who turn adults, be thinking about history? I am deeply concerned!

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 2 months ago2 months ago

      Michelle: State Superintendent Tom Torlakson is recommending that the state create a new assessment in history/social science structured more like the Smarter Balanced tests for English and math, though, assuming the Legislature agrees, it will take several years to create. Meanwhile, you are correct: There would be no state tests in history. You can read our coverage of the issue here.

  2. Pepper Moore 8 months ago8 months ago

    I'm outraged by this test. As a parent of a 12th grader who is busy applying for college I was shocked when I received the test results in the mail yesterday. I was not given adequate notification of the test nor the ability to OPT OUT. How is it a 12th grader is tested to standards they were not taught to? My son took A-G coursework, AP and HP classes in history, English and Science, as … Read More

    I’m outraged by this test. As a parent of a 12th grader who is busy applying for college I was shocked when I received the test results in the mail yesterday. I was not given adequate notification of the test nor the ability to OPT OUT.
    How is it a 12th grader is tested to standards they were not taught to? My son took A-G coursework, AP and HP classes in history, English and Science, as well as, participated in a Science academy with advanced study for two years. He has maintained a B average yet this test has rendered him NOT ready for college???
    We did all the recommended studies, testing and volunteering that the school advised to participate in. We have paid for private math tutoring to supplement OUSD’s terrible instruction since third grade.
    Now what? I have to pay for remedial coursework at the college level???
    I’m looking for an attorney.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 8 months ago8 months ago

      Pepper: The Smarter Balanced test results are not the only criterion that CSU will use to determine college readiness (private colleges and the University of California won't use the scores at all for admission or readiness standard). As my colleague Fermin Leal noted in a previous article: Students who score at Level 4 will be exempt from having to take English or math placement tests after they gain admission to a California State University campus. The … Read More

      Pepper: The Smarter Balanced test results are not the only criterion that CSU will use to determine college readiness (private colleges and the University of California won’t use the scores at all for admission or readiness standard). As my colleague Fermin Leal noted in a previous article:

      Students who score at Level 4 will be exempt from having to take English or math placement tests after they gain admission to a California State University campus. The University of California, with different admissions requirements, does not use the Early Assessment Program to assess students’ readiness for college-level work.

      Those who score at Level 3 are deemed “conditionally ready” and will be encouraged to take an approved English class, including the CSU-designed Expository Reading and Writing, or math class above Algebra II in their high school senior year and earn a grade of C or higher to become exempt from having to take placement tests.

      Students who score at Level 1 or 2 are considered not to be on track to take college-level courses and would be required to take English or math placement tests if they gain admission to a CSU campus. (Students who do well on SAT, ACT or Advanced Placement tests or pass AP or International Baccalaureate courses by their senior year are considered ready for college-level work regardless of their Smarter Balanced scores.)

      Based on your son’s other achievements, he may be fine. In some districts, the current high school seniors were at a disadvantage in that they may not have been exposed sufficiently to the new Common Core standards in math. The majority actually did quite well in the English language arts section for reasons that aren’t fully clear.

  3. Clayton Moore 9 months ago9 months ago

    This describes an interesting balance. Covey's Seven Habits describe a win-win perspective on negotiations. The CDE reporting new test results mandating that they not be compared, then deleting data described in your story that the new tests would be compared to seems appropriate for them to do. It may have been wiser to announce this policy more in advance. In this case however, the data is available through your reporting, and from the prior news summaries … Read More

    This describes an interesting balance. Covey’s Seven Habits describe a win-win perspective on negotiations. The CDE reporting new test results mandating that they not be compared, then deleting data described in your story that the new tests would be compared to seems appropriate for them to do. It may have been wiser to announce this policy more in advance.

    In this case however, the data is available through your reporting, and from the prior news summaries cited near the end of the article…from the CDE, thereby providing indirect access to the earlier results. Since comparisons are explicitly deemed inappropriate by the CDE this action reinforces their policy.

    We will see what the results show, and expect to be able to compare future results against this Benchmark. Other measures of student learning will also be considered in the new Blueprint plan context. Let’s give the program a chance.

    As a teacher, my goal for students regarding test scores is for each of them to get to the next level and make continual progress.

  4. Doug McRae 9 months ago9 months ago

    California switched from a normed test (SAT) to the standards-based test (CSTs) in 2003, but left the NRT results on their reporting website even though no direct comparisons were justified. Change from the standards-based STAR CSTs to the standards-based CAASPP Smarter Balanced tests is a lesser change in that both are standards-based tests. The differences between CA's 1997 content standards and the 2010 common core standards are considerably less than what was measured by the … Read More

    California switched from a normed test (SAT) to the standards-based test (CSTs) in 2003, but left the NRT results on their reporting website even though no direct comparisons were justified.

    Change from the standards-based STAR CSTs to the standards-based CAASPP Smarter Balanced tests is a lesser change in that both are standards-based tests. The differences between CA’s 1997 content standards and the 2010 common core standards are considerably less than what was measured by the normed SAT from 1998 to 2002 and what was measured by STAR CSTs from 2003 to 2013.

    Also, the major differences between the previous 1997 CA content standards and the 2010 common core standards are not WHAT we expect students to know and do, but rather HOW CA students are expected to learn. For rigor, the generally accepted analysis prior to mid-2013 was that the 1997 CA standards were roughly as rigorous as the common core standards, with perhaps the CC E/LA standards a bit more rigorous but the CC Math standards a bit less rigorous (mostly at the middle school and high school levels). But the change in how the CC standards were to be taught was greater for Math than E/LA. In Sept 2013 the political narrative changed in CA when the SSPI and Pres SBE put out a statement declaring the common core as much more rigorous than previous CA standards, to promote AB 484 then moving through the legislature to deep six the STAR CSTs and replace them as soon as possible with the Smarter Balanced CSTs. I’ve never seen expert analyses or opinion to support the change in political narrative executed by the SSPI and SBE Pres in early Sept 2013.

    The removal of prior STAR CST data from easy access by the public is simply an extension of the political narrative that became high profile Sept 2013, and has been fanned by CDE and SBE media efforts for the past two years.

    Replies

    • Don 9 months ago9 months ago

      Doug for SSPI!!

    • Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

      Doug: You state: " I’ve never seen expert analyses or opinion to support the change in political narrative executed by the SSPI and SBE Pres in early Sept 2013." Perhaps a way to explain what went on is to say that the change in "narrative" went form the totally political one driven by the standards-and-assessment/competitive/NCLB style decorated by Bush Administration Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in ED Week as one designed to "show the public" just how … Read More

      Doug:

      You state: ” I’ve never seen expert analyses or opinion to support the change in political narrative executed by the SSPI and SBE Pres in early Sept 2013.”

      Perhaps a way to explain what went on is to say that the change in “narrative” went form the totally political one driven by the standards-and-assessment/competitive/NCLB style decorated by Bush Administration Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in ED Week as one designed to “show the public” just how bad the schools were. Indeed, with the 100% of students to be a at “proficient” levels as included in NCLB, all US public schools would have been shown to be “bad.”

      That was the political “narrative” driven by last generation psuedo-reform efforts, all political and all malign.

      Another way to explain it, is that the current policy makers understand the previous paradigm was a total failure. Again, the NRC says it all.

      It is impossible to escape some political overlap in public school policy so, yes, there is an element of that in the switch to CCSS and CAASPP/SBAC. The new “narrative” is to support disadvantaged schools and students and move to improve them. Not condemn and shame them and shut them down so that their public dollars are harvested by the private sector charter school industry. The narrative as well as the goals are benign and constructive. It’s a revolution actually.

      Of course the counter-narrative is that, at the least (and it wasn’t even as productive as least), the fact that there were achievement differences between disadvantaged and second language students was “finally recognized.” Does anyone in their right minds think educators were not aware of achievement difference between mainstream students and disadvantaged students and were working hard, under conditions of severe underfunding, to resolve those issues? Well, yes, there are such people, and they are called the “public schools suck industry.”

      • Parent 9 months ago9 months ago

        Not all public schools suck, there are a lot of public charter schools that are excellent.

        • Don 9 months ago9 months ago

          This kind of statement doesn't help with your credibility, but it does speak to your credulity. At the extremes there are truly some excellent TPSs and charter schools as there are lousy ones. But the most important point is that charters are on balance no better than TPSs from a API point of view. Obviously many people wait in line to attend charters because there are other criteria they are … Read More

          This kind of statement doesn’t help with your credibility, but it does speak to your credulity. At the extremes there are truly some excellent TPSs and charter schools as there are lousy ones. But the most important point is that charters are on balance no better than TPSs from a API point of view. Obviously many people wait in line to attend charters because there are other criteria they are using, or strengths that attract them. That was the case for me and my younger son. It was also the case for my older son who attends a TPS. The second most important point is that schools are not all good or all bad. Each is unique and has strengths and weaknesses. It we use statistics for final judgements, we are lacking in good judgement. The statistics should help us as factors among many towards understanding. They are not the final arbiters as NCLB would have us believe.

          “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.”
          ― Mark Twain

      • ann 9 months ago9 months ago

        Name a single school that was "shut down". None. When schools are "not performing" they were and continue to be given money to improve. Not only by the Feds. There were the state QEIA grants; the Quality Education Investment Act provides approximately $3 billion which would authorize school districts and other local educational agencies to apply for funding to allocate to elementary, secondary and charter schools that are ranked in either decile 1 or 2 … Read More

        Name a single school that was “shut down”. None. When schools are “not performing” they were and continue to be given money to improve. Not only by the Feds. There were the state QEIA grants; the Quality Education Investment Act provides approximately $3 billion which would authorize school districts and other local educational agencies to apply for funding to allocate to elementary, secondary and charter schools that are ranked in either decile 1 or 2 as determined by the 2005 Academic Performance Index (API) base. The appropriations begin in fiscal year 2007-08 and continue through 2013-14. Followed by the SIG grants, oh don’t get me started.

        • Parent 9 months ago9 months ago

          QEIA is the BIGGEST scam there is. The districts would determine which students were making the test scores go down, labeling these students as “special-ed” to exempt them from test, and then use the QEIA money to provide the minimal special-ed services to these kids to make it look good.

          Once QEIA money came into play, the percentage of special ed students shot up. This has been documented as FACT.

          • Don 9 months ago9 months ago

            Parent, QEIA ended as of 6/30/15. Most of the money was used for CSR. AS far as exemption from testing, that implies students are required to take it which isn’t the case, unless it was the CAHSEE. I never heard of QEIA being used in the fashion that you are alleging. Districts want to decrease the number of students in special education not increase it.

            • Parent 9 months ago9 months ago

              Money is fungible.

          • Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

            Parent:

            Actually there is solid research that shows QEIA was a real success when done right. You can find direct links in a WAPO guest piece I wrote, Reforms That Work.

    • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

      Doug, I missed the fact that the old NRT tests were left. But they are not there anymore, are they? Doesn't matter, water under the bridge. True, the tests are "different." But as others have pointed out, we are told that students must be "proficient" and both tests claim to provide an answer as to whether or not students are proficient. In that, it is not an apples-to-oranges comparison no matter how many technical reasons are behind … Read More

      Doug, I missed the fact that the old NRT tests were left. But they are not there anymore, are they? Doesn’t matter, water under the bridge.

      True, the tests are “different.” But as others have pointed out, we are told that students must be “proficient” and both tests claim to provide an answer as to whether or not students are proficient.

      In that, it is not an apples-to-oranges comparison no matter how many technical reasons are behind it all.

      That’s what matters to the public. They don’t care if one test is meant to measure fact recall and the other how to think. That’s immaterial to them. What they care is if their formerly proficient student is still proficient. If that’s not the case, then they will lose “faith” on the tests. And once you lose the confidence of the public there is no going back. Since that is what has been going on in New York (who could forget Duncan’s words about whiny suburban moms), California educrats are probably trying to avoid that.

      Sure, the politicians and people with an ax will try to shape the narrative one way or the other (we have had both ends of the political spectrum do that in the last, oh, 20 years). But people still expect that their schools will educate their children. If tests tell them different things, they won’t believe them. Don’t forget that people can opt out from the tests for no reason in California. And then what?

  5. Don 9 months ago9 months ago

    Before the CDE expunged the data as an intellectual public safety hazard, it cited the very same data to promote California’s rise in test scores.

    “Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of your likes.”
    ― Jawaharlal Nehru

  6. Andrew 9 months ago9 months ago

    The California Public Records Act requires that non-exempt records of public agencies, including the CDE, be made available to any member of the public upon request made under the act. Significant sanctions are imposed against an agency not timely complying with a PRA request. It is very burdensome and time consuming for an agency to comply with individual PRA requests, which is why many agencies post data electronically. … Read More

    The California Public Records Act requires that non-exempt records of public agencies, including the CDE, be made available to any member of the public upon request made under the act. Significant sanctions are imposed against an agency not timely complying with a PRA request. It is very burdensome and time consuming for an agency to comply with individual PRA requests, which is why many agencies post data electronically. The CDE apparently must have the staff with free time to go the burdensome and time consuming route. Historic test scores not readily available electronically can be requested by interested parties PRA requests. Forms and procedures, fairly simple, can be readily found on the internet under “California Public Records Act.” Let the PRA request flood begin, I suppose.

    Replies

    • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

      Andrew: they won't have to respond to PRAs because the data is still there. It is just a pain to access it, but it is there. They are not hiding it. Sure, an individual might say "but I want the data on my [...]" and the CDE will simply say "dig for it." Read More

      Andrew: they won’t have to respond to PRAs because the data is still there. It is just a pain to access it, but it is there. They are not hiding it.

      Sure, an individual might say “but I want the data on my […]” and the CDE will simply say “dig for it.”

  7. Don 9 months ago9 months ago

    First of all, nothing in the 2013 law requires the CDE to shut down data. That is the biggest phoney-baloney excuse in the history of phoney-baloney excuses. Or maybe they have a point. Perhaps the public can't be trusted (to use the data) considering the poor judgement it has shown voting Torlakson into office. As Ibsen said, "consider the woman" (or man), though a real man wouldn't act like such pawn. You know, it … Read More

    First of all, nothing in the 2013 law requires the CDE to shut down data. That is the biggest phoney-baloney excuse in the history of phoney-baloney excuses. Or maybe they have a point. Perhaps the public can’t be trusted (to use the data) considering the poor judgement it has shown voting Torlakson into office. As Ibsen said, “consider the woman” (or man), though a real man wouldn’t act like such pawn. You know, it is getting so bad that kids in school makes fun of the clowns in Sacramento. And next to Brown the biggest clown of all is Tom Torlakson, bagman for his union bosses.

  8. Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

    "They" can say all they want about there not being an "official" comparison, but what was so wrong with leaving the data up there? Sure, you can't compare a test to another test, but you should at least compare the outcomes, specially since CDE has insisted that both are "valid" measures of "academic achievement." (No, I don't agree they are, but that is a different kettle of fish.) Why can't the level of proficiency of … Read More

    “They” can say all they want about there not being an “official” comparison, but what was so wrong with leaving the data up there?

    Sure, you can’t compare a test to another test, but you should at least compare the outcomes, specially since CDE has insisted that both are “valid” measures of “academic achievement.” (No, I don’t agree they are, but that is a different kettle of fish.) Why can’t the level of proficiency of any given population be compared to what it used to be in the past?

    As for “steadily increasing” scores, well, sure, if 1 to 2% a year is “steadily increasing” for a process that was supposed to lead to 100% proficiency after 12 years. That did not happen because the scores even went down in the last year! IIRC, the proficiency rate never went above 60% in any test administration for any grade.

    Anyway, they may have removed access to the information from DataQuest, but they also removed the ability of the STAR interface to look at the old results too. And they also made it a bit difficult to get to the STAR program interface by burying the link.

    I could not reproduce the path I took to it so I won’t even try to tell you where it is. However, here is the link for the 2012 results: http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2012/SearchPanel.aspx

    A friend of mine pointed out that you can look at the everything except the ELA and math results. I couldn’t believe it so I checked and he was right. When I did that, they still had a link to the “research files” for the year, something I mentioned in a post here that I can’t find again (mysteriously removed or is it my incompetence?). I just visited that page and see that they now have this paragraph (in red font, no less):

    The Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program ended on July 1, 2013. The STAR program was replaced by the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System. Previous year’s STAR data, including scores from the CSTs, CMAs, and CAPA exams in mathematics and English-language arts are no longer available via online reports. However, scores from these assessments can be found in the research files. Researchers should not compare results from the STAR assessments with those from current assessments due to changes in the content being assessed.

    The words “research files” is a link to a web page

    http://star.cde.ca.gov/starresearchfiles.asp

    containing links to all the CST record files for all years. No doubt public outcry has forced them to make them available in this way. If any of you likes to download them, it’s not too big (no more than 100 MB per year). You can put the whole thing in one data DVD (and thumb drives are so cheap nowadays!).

    One more thing: LAUSD claims to have looked at the preliminary results and the scores are lower but ” it does not mean our kids are getting dumber.” Read all about it at

    http://laschoolreport.com/just-in-lausd-says-new-test-scores-lower-but-kids-not-getting-dumber/

    (It’s only fair to include the link to this because they every so often include links to EdSource material.)

    Replies

    • navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

      coolio. also, those on the second link are statewide files. Just above that is a set of three links that says view county list, district list and charter list. Each of those pages has links that will send you back to the research file page with an additional set of much smaller data files so that its easier to manipulate. This is helpful for people who want to only analyze their own district.

      • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

        I just saw that page today and have not had a chance to go spelunking. For my money, it is good to have the data available so that selected info can be pulled. But I am not about to embark on a major effort to reproduce what CDE used to provide for free. Let them put it back on as what they did should be reversible. Besides, those scores are a very screwy way to look at … Read More

        I just saw that page today and have not had a chance to go spelunking.

        For my money, it is good to have the data available so that selected info can be pulled. But I am not about to embark on a major effort to reproduce what CDE used to provide for free. Let them put it back on as what they did should be reversible.

        Besides, those scores are a very screwy way to look at the tests. I’d much prefer they give us the distribution of scores for state, county, district, and school. They should also publish the raw scores and their mapping into the weighted scores. Let the public see what Doug means by “art not science.”

        Which reminds me: the tests are sold to the public as if they are trustworthy and based on the best psychometrics can provide. But Doug admits that it is more “art than science.” In an LA Times article titled “Latinos struggle to close gap with whites in California ACT scores,” Anthony Carnevale, a Georgetown University professor who researches workforce skills and is a former vice president of the Educational Testing Service (and must have been higher on the pay scale than Doug) states: “A test score is a probability statement. The whole apparatus is an artifice designed to get kids from high school to Harvard.” If that’s the case, what are the CSTs, which were designed, developed, implemented, and tabulated by ETS? An artifice designed to get California believe that it was holding schools accountable, as the PSAA of 1999 claimed was going to happen?

        I think that we have been sold a pig in a poke. After all, nobody knows, by law, what was in the CSTs. It was another instance of “trust me.”

        Hey, isn’t this what is happening with the SBAC tests too? History repeats itself, I guess…

  9. Brook Putnam 9 months ago9 months ago

    Time to end all of this nonsense. We have the National Petition to End the Common Core Exams at http://takebackyoursixpercent.com

  10. Parent 9 months ago9 months ago

    Quite possibly a vain attempt at keeping lousy schools off the parent trigger list.

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 9 months ago9 months ago

      If there's worry about parent triggers these days, it's the insiders worrying that their funders are about to cut them loose for lack of results. So that's not likely to alter any state policies. The parent trigger has hardly been sweeping the nation, despite Parent Revolution's original hype that it would be turning huge numbers of schools into charters. It's been five years, and they've turned a grand total of one school (Desert Trails, Adelanto) anywhere … Read More

      If there’s worry about parent triggers these days, it’s the insiders worrying that their funders are about to cut them loose for lack of results. So that’s not likely to alter any state policies.

      The parent trigger has hardly been sweeping the nation, despite Parent Revolution’s original hype that it would be turning huge numbers of schools into charters. It’s been five years, and they’ve turned a grand total of one school (Desert Trails, Adelanto) anywhere into a charter (with mixed reports — glowing in the local MSM, scathing elsewhere). Parent trigger organizers are now struggling through one more charterizing effort (Palm Lane, Anaheim), but the parent trigger insiders have been turning against each other along the way, so a new set of insiders is behind this one. And Parent Revolution, which launched the parent trigger originally, stopped early on announcing when it was starting a parent trigger in one or another school, because so many of them fizzled. None have been reported in any other states despite the massive publicity about their passing parent trigger laws. The fact that charter operators actually don’t want to take over existing struggling schools has thrown in a monkey wrench too.

      So, that’s probably not actually the reason.

      • Parent 9 months ago9 months ago

        It is the reason cited by the Anaheim School. But yes I agree with you that charters usually just want to start a new school from scratch other than go through the whole parent trigger thing on a lousy school.

        • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

          Which is therefore evidence that just changing the administrators and teachers put in that lousy school by a school district for a set of administrators and teachers selected by a charter school operator is not going to change things because it is the students who are lousy to begin with. Either that or the building needs to be exorcised of its ghosts. Seriously, though, a charter operator should be able to transform a school if they put … Read More

          Which is therefore evidence that just changing the administrators and teachers put in that lousy school by a school district for a set of administrators and teachers selected by a charter school operator is not going to change things because it is the students who are lousy to begin with.

          Either that or the building needs to be exorcised of its ghosts.

          Seriously, though, a charter operator should be able to transform a school if they put in their own people. The fact that they refuse to do that with an existing school is because they have failed wherever they have tried it. They’d rather start from scratch which means they get to select the students “most likely to succeed” within their boot camp, excuse me, operating model.

          That’s not entirely surprising, but it would be nice that the charter people and their supporterts stop making excuses and admit the truth.

          • Parent 9 months ago9 months ago

            Spouting your made up facts. Calling the students lousy. Typical union.

            • TheMorrigan 9 months ago9 months ago

              Lousy school.
              Lousy neighborhood.
              Lousy teacher.
              Lousy student.
              Lousy administrator.
              Lousy law.
              Lousy situation.
              Lousy Parent.
              Lousy standard.
              Lousy commentary.

              Satire and mockery are mirrors to the world, except for the part of the world that refuses to look.

            • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

              No, not quite. What makes a school? Is it the building? Is it the students? Is it the administrators? Is it the parents? If an organization (or an individual) calls a school "lousy," what does it mean? How does one improve a "lousy" school? The charter people used to claim they could do that by changing the personnel running that school, that is, the teachers and administrators. (This method was first enshrined in the Race To The … Read More

              No, not quite.

              What makes a school? Is it the building? Is it the students? Is it the administrators? Is it the parents?

              If an organization (or an individual) calls a school “lousy,” what does it mean? How does one improve a “lousy” school?

              The charter people used to claim they could do that by changing the personnel running that school, that is, the teachers and administrators. (This method was first enshrined in the Race To The Top announcement in the Federal Register, IIRC. It was then reflected in the Parent Trigger law.)

              But now you tell us that the charter people don’t want to deal with lousy schools. Well, what’s left once you remove the adults from this lousy school? You are left with the students. So they must be the lousy ones.

              Now thanks to TheMorrigan I see I erred: it is lousy parents because they are responsible for these lousy students.

              So, tell me, “Parent”, what makes a school “lousy” in your right-to-work world?

              (For the peanut gallery: I was a parent of public school students and, no, I am not, nor have I ever been, a union member.)

  11. John Fensterwald 9 months ago9 months ago

    EdSource will be pointing out, in our Smarter Balanced coverage, that it would be inappropriate, as Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley, Michael Kirst and others have said, to make one-to-one comparisons between scores on the former California Standards Tests and Smarter Balanced tests. Shelly Spiegel-Coleman of Californians Together, however, made an important point when she said that historical data are critical in determining whether disparities between English learners and other low-performing student groups and higher achieving … Read More

    EdSource will be pointing out, in our Smarter Balanced coverage, that it would be inappropriate, as Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley, Michael Kirst and others have said, to make one-to-one comparisons between scores on the former California Standards Tests and Smarter Balanced tests. Shelly Spiegel-Coleman of Californians Together, however, made an important point when she said that historical data are critical in determining whether disparities between English learners and other low-performing student groups and higher achieving students on standardized tests – one measure of the achievement gap– have risen with the results of Smarter Balanced. There could be many contributing factors if this occurs, as some predict it will. An honest answer must start with a hard look at the data, current and historical.

    Had it left the STAR data up, the department could have pointed to the results of the 2003 tests to illustrate that first-year scores were comparatively low then, too, and improved steadily over the years. State education leaders will no doubt draw a parallel between 2003 and 2015 scores. You’ll have to trust them with the numbers that you won’t see on DataQuest.

    Replies

    • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

      Trust them?

      Really?

      Can they be trusted?

      🙂

    • navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

      Next time I write a research paper I am going to put in all the references at the end of the paper the words ‘trust me’. Think it’ll fly?

    • Don 9 months ago9 months ago

      I don’t interpret John’s “trust them” comment to mean you should trust them, only that, short of more information, you’ll have to.

      • John Fensterwald 9 months ago9 months ago

        I and others in the news media rely on CDE all the time for information and I have found folks there to be responsive and usually straightforward. My point was it would be awkward to make an argument based on archival information that the general public can no longer see.

        • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

          But that's just the point: individuals at CDE might be responsive and all but they are "company wo/men" after all. They don't get to make policy. It is the higher ups that do. It is clear that the higher-ups want to make it awkward to question what they are doing. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe that is why the Stanford 9 and CAT-6 test results were never made available to the … Read More

          But that’s just the point: individuals at CDE might be responsive and all but they are “company wo/men” after all. They don’t get to make policy. It is the higher ups that do.

          It is clear that the higher-ups want to make it awkward to question what they are doing. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe that is why the Stanford 9 and CAT-6 test results were never made available to the general public but only to academics and people in the education industry (lobbyists and vendors).

          Now that plain citizens of varying degrees of expertise have access to the data they are wondering how they are going to put the genie back in the bottle. Hiding behind a piece of legislation passed while none of us was paying attention (hey, as hard as it might be to believe most of us have a life outside this place) is not going to cut it.

          I have a modest proposal: EdSource should host an interface to those files. It might be awkward given its relationship with CDE but someone has to do it. If not you, who? If not now, when? 🙂

        • ann 9 months ago9 months ago

          John, are you seriously defending this?

  12. Joanne 9 months ago9 months ago

    We don’t know yet if the new tests are even an accurate assessment tool… I’m in public education and many people hired or elected to be in charge are frightening to me 🙁

  13. el 9 months ago9 months ago

    To me, the purpose of the language in that bill was to prevent the state from coming up with correlating scores - ie, trying to say that Score X on the old test equals Score Y on the new test. I support that... it's like saying that score X on the science exam is equivalent to score Y on the math exam. You can't make a true equivalency. But, having both scores is still data, … Read More

    To me, the purpose of the language in that bill was to prevent the state from coming up with correlating scores – ie, trying to say that Score X on the old test equals Score Y on the new test. I support that… it’s like saying that score X on the science exam is equivalent to score Y on the math exam. You can’t make a true equivalency.

    But, having both scores is still data, and still interesting. For example, if you know that a group of 8th graders were 80% proficient in science and that same group is 10% proficient in math, it’s not a huge leap to feel the problems you have are probably different than if both subjects show 10% proficiency.

    The miracle of the web is that there’s no real cost to keeping that data alive and available to the public, who paid for it, for whatever value it has. The state should put it back.

    Replies

    • Doug McRae 9 months ago9 months ago

      el -- You are correct we cannot conduct a study of true equivalency between a math test and a science test. But we can make a strong estimate for equivalency between a new test and an old test in the same content domain -- i.e., and old E/LA test and a new E/LA test or an old Math test and a new Math test. Such equivalency studies have routinely been conducted by test makers for … Read More

      el — You are correct we cannot conduct a study of true equivalency between a math test and a science test. But we can make a strong estimate for equivalency between a new test and an old test in the same content domain — i.e., and old E/LA test and a new E/LA test or an old Math test and a new Math test. Such equivalency studies have routinely been conducted by test makers for the 45 years I’ve been involved with K-12 widely used tests.

      The studies are technically called “equating” studies, and they require some double testing where kids take old tests and new tests within a few weeks of each other. But, such studies do not demand administration of full old tests or new tests. Rather, they can be conducted by embedding a good sample of old test items in a matrix-sampling item-tryout for the new test, with very modest impact on both cost and student test-administration time for an item-tryout field test for the new test. This could have been done with the spring 2014 Smarter Balanced field test here in California, but instead it was banned by AB 484. In terms of routine good large scale testing practice, that was a blunder for which we are now paying the penalty, to wit, no direct comparability information from old STAR CST results to new Smarter Balanced results to help interpret the credibility and meaning of the new Smarter Balanced results.

      • el 9 months ago9 months ago

        Doug, no question that you are more expert than me in this field, and I deeply appreciate the time and thought you put in to participating here. I have not had a chance to fully experience what the SBAC computer-administered tests are like, so I'm even more ignorant than usual. However, the universe we define as "math" and "ELA" is fairly large compared to what is tested, and it seems to me a substantial change in the … Read More

        Doug, no question that you are more expert than me in this field, and I deeply appreciate the time and thought you put in to participating here.

        I have not had a chance to fully experience what the SBAC computer-administered tests are like, so I’m even more ignorant than usual.

        However, the universe we define as “math” and “ELA” is fairly large compared to what is tested, and it seems to me a substantial change in the test methodology and the standards does basically leave us in a place where comparing scores on STAR versus SBAC for the purposes of evaluating the change in quality of a particular school or student from far away is inappropriate. You can for example go through the same process to correlate scores on the math test and the science test, and yet it’s not the case that you know a child’s rough science score from the math score… especially given the possibility that the particular child measured wasn’t instructed in science.

        An additional factor is how much computer literacy affects the score.

        So, I’m quite against the comparison for the purpose of law or sanctions or applying corrective measures to an individual school. (To be fair in full disclosure, I don’t think the STAR was great for that either.) That said, I do love data and I’m quite in favor of the numbers being available to inform us all about how different tests and standards run their course through the schools and through time, as a matter of academic interest and human knowledge and even perhaps as diagnostics for individual school leaders to use in understanding how their kids are doing.

        Of course, individual schools will still have their own data available from their old Site Plans etc, but CDE should return the data to its rightful place as an easily accessible public archive. Students’ valuable time and taxpayers’ valuable money was spent making it, and it’s public property.

        • Doug McRae 9 months ago9 months ago

          el -- To clarify a tad, in the context of a substantial change in test methodology or even a moderate change in standards, I would not recommend use of estimate equivalency scores for purposes of high stakes evaluation of change for a school or a district, and I would be absolutely opposed to any use of estimated scores at the student level. Rather, estimated equivalency scores can (and should) be used on an one-time basis … Read More

          el — To clarify a tad, in the context of a substantial change in test methodology or even a moderate change in standards, I would not recommend use of estimate equivalency scores for purposes of high stakes evaluation of change for a school or a district, and I would be absolutely opposed to any use of estimated scores at the student level. Rather, estimated equivalency scores can (and should) be used on an one-time basis for interpretation of 1st year results for a new test, to provide context for that first year. In other words, equivalency estimates (from old to new) have limited and transient utility, and I would strongly warn against overuse.

          • navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

            Although it may not be scientific, the state will create an implicit equivalency mapping when they set the cut offs that define 'proficient'. There isn't really any way around that as 'proficiency rate' has become the defining term in the lingua franca of performance measures, especially for the masses. I believe ny simply set level 3 as their cut off. Unless I missed it, ca has yet to specify this. Would be interesting if they … Read More

            Although it may not be scientific, the state will create an implicit equivalency mapping when they set the cut offs that define ‘proficient’. There isn’t really any way around that as ‘proficiency rate’ has become the defining term in the lingua franca of performance measures, especially for the masses. I believe ny simply set level 3 as their cut off. Unless I missed it, ca has yet to specify this. Would be interesting if they abandon that term altogether. But given that one of the goals of shared tests is to more easily compare states against one another, I expect there will be some momentum to follow other states’ suit.

  14. Laura A. Gonzalez 9 months ago9 months ago

    Great article! Just an fyi…CA DOES have new science standards. The Next Generation Science Standards were adopted by the state of California. We just don’t have an assessment that is aligned to these current NGSS standards.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 9 months ago9 months ago

      Thank you, Laura. Of course, you are right about NGSS. The state has not only adopted new standards but is making great progress in preparing the curriculum frameworks to teach them. The current science tests, required by the federal government under No Child Left Behind, continue, for now, under the old standards.

  15. SD Parent 9 months ago9 months ago

    Let's see, the old CST data should be scrapped because the new test is different from the old test. The new fest data should be ignored because it's only the first year. But, hey, the LCAP is wonderful because it's going hold schools and districts accountable to close the achievement gap! Uh...what achievement gap? There is no good data available--current or historical--to even effectively measure achievement gaps, so that makes the … Read More

    Let’s see, the old CST data should be scrapped because the new test is different from the old test. The new fest data should be ignored because it’s only the first year. But, hey, the LCAP is wonderful because it’s going hold schools and districts accountable to close the achievement gap! Uh…what achievement gap? There is no good data available–current or historical–to even effectively measure achievement gaps, so that makes the LCAP a joke as well.

    Seriously, does anyone in Sacramento do any of that critical thinking they want to teach kids with the new Common Core standards?

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

      SD Parent: You, inadvertently I'm sure, made a very good point. The principle behind closing the "achievement gap," like a sturdy stool resting on three legs, rested on three principles.: standards for content; standards for achievement (as measured by valid and reliable assessments); and standards for support. The problem with the pseudo-reform movement of the last decade or so, was that "achievement as measure by tests" became the only reform worth mentioning. Content was suppressed because of … Read More

      SD Parent:

      You, inadvertently I’m sure, made a very good point. The principle behind closing the “achievement gap,” like a sturdy stool resting on three legs, rested on three principles.: standards for content; standards for achievement (as measured by valid and reliable assessments); and standards for support.

      The problem with the pseudo-reform movement of the last decade or so, was that “achievement as measure by tests” became the only reform worth mentioning.

      Content was suppressed because of the concentration on math and ELA, leaving science, social studies, the arts, PE, even recess, on the farthest back pedagogic burner. Tests were simplistic and uni-dimensional (bubble in) with outrageous prestige given to the most invalid and unreliable results.

      Finally, the standards of support: in-school support, small class sizes, counselors, specialist teachers, social workers were cut to the bone; and, out-of-school supports, medial care (now semi-remedied with ACA), dental care, eye care, living wage jobs for family stability, safe and secure communities, quality child care, and high quality pre-school were cut or totally ignored.

      All that was left were the lame tests, and a stool resting on one shaky leg. Not much support for kids or schools in closing the “achievement gap.”

  16. Dawn Urbanek 9 months ago9 months ago

    It is time to end all of this ridiculousness. Time to take power away from a corrupt Sacramento. Remind Governor Brown and our State Legislature that the California Constitution gives education funding a unique priority above all other state funding obligations by requiring that "from all state revenues there shall first be set apart the monies to be applied by the State for support of the public school system..." Cal. Const. art. XVI, §8. "First" means … Read More

    It is time to end all of this ridiculousness. Time to take power away from a corrupt Sacramento. Remind Governor Brown and our State Legislature that the California Constitution gives education funding a unique priority above all other state funding obligations by requiring that “from all state revenues there shall first be set apart the monies to be applied by the State for support of the public school system…” Cal. Const. art. XVI, §8.
    “First” means that the State is constitutionally mandated to provide school districts with adequate funding to provide every student with equal opportunities for learning before the State can fund any other program or entitlement.
    The State’s 2015 Five-Year Infrastructure Plan is projecting to increase spending on
    Transportation/High Speed Rail from it’s current level of $5,684 to 2019-20 levels of $52,802.
    The State’s 2015 Five-Year Infrastructure Plan is projecting to increase spending on the California Air Resources Board from it’s current level of $5,995 to 2019-20 levels of $365,893.
    The State’s 2015 Five-Year Infrastructure Plan is projecting to increase spending on Health and Human Services from it’s current level of $29,587 to 2019-20 levels of $179,674.
    The plan calls for no increase in funding for K-12 infrastructure spending through 2019-20. The cost to maintain, improve or build new K-12 facilities is being passed down to local municipalities. Local municipalities will not be able to sustain these levels of taxation and the result will be that students will go without.
    Source: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2015-Infrastructure-Plan.pdf
    The Governor and the State Legislature have unilaterally made the decision to alter the state’s spending priorities without a vote of the people, and in doing so are depriving students of their constitutional right to equal opportunities for learning.

  17. Frances O'Neill Zimmerman 9 months ago9 months ago

    "Bury the bodies" isn't just the M.O.of narcotraficantes and corrupt officials in Mexico who collude to make "things" happen. It has become the motto for this Democrat-majority California Legislature, Governor and State Department of Education -- all of whom are influenced by money or political support from the California Teachers Association, the most powerful lobby in Sacramento. This is education stakeholders' pay-back for the previous decade's sometimes extreme "business-model accountability" with demands for improved … Read More

    “Bury the bodies” isn’t just the M.O.of narcotraficantes and corrupt officials in Mexico who collude to make “things” happen. It has become the motto for this Democrat-majority California Legislature, Governor and State Department of Education — all of whom are influenced by money or political support from the California Teachers Association, the most powerful lobby in Sacramento. This is education stakeholders’ pay-back for the previous decade’s sometimes extreme “business-model accountability” with demands for improved student achievement — what one apologist here calls “the school sucks industry.”

    It is way more than discouraging: it is shocking to witness the total extirpation of any remnant of past education policy reform that may have served public school children who are, more than ever in the past, majority poor, majority of color, and English learners.In fact, public school DOES suck for these kids, and for many others who attend them — shoe-horned into classes of 35 or more students with overwhelmed teachers who have traded big class size for bigger paychecks. (Thank you, Governor Brown, for diverting tax dollars into the Local Control Funding Formula which is being used for teacher raises rather than direct
    aid to kids.)

    More evidence? The California High School Exit Exam is abandoned entirely, not updated or replaced, and even its respected author Jack O’Connell is enlisted here to say deep-sixing it is really okay: it was meant to be temporary. Teacher evaluation under the old toothless Stull Act is on the block without a better proposal in the wings. Common Core has been embraced (after a federal payoff for accepting it) and the accompanying test is new, computer-dependent, tougher than fill-in-the-bubble, and scores are less rosy, so published test results are mysteriously delayed until the Fall. Could that be why the State Department of Education now has destroyed 15 years of past STAR test records? To prevent invidious comparison with the STAR results that over time had demonstrated yearly “continuous improvement?”

    I would say school sucks less than the Sacramento wheeler-dealers and their oily apologists who are manipulating the system for their own benefit without regard for the difficult work of building first-rate public education in this state.

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

      Frances: The article makes clear, the scores were not destroyed, they are just a little more difficult to find, a couple of clicks away. The CSTs and SBAC are very different tests. There will be efforts to compare them anyway for biased political reasons. It will be like comparing a kid's shoe size with their temperature. Luckily the "schools suck" folks are not prone to taking on more difficult tasks, unless they are paid to, so … Read More

      Frances:

      The article makes clear, the scores were not destroyed, they are just a little more difficult to find, a couple of clicks away.

      The CSTs and SBAC are very different tests. There will be efforts to compare them anyway for biased political reasons. It will be like comparing a kid’s shoe size with their temperature. Luckily the “schools suck” folks are not prone to taking on more difficult tasks, unless they are paid to, so making comparisons even a little more difficult will achieve something.

      And, increasing compensation to teachers who, after all, have gone without for seven years and do provide the actual instruction in the classroom, is providing more in direct services to children. Want more yet? Support revision of Prop 13 and making the tax increases of Prop 30 permanent and upgrade CA’s lame revenue stream.

      And your implication that the last decades dependence on test score driven pseudo-reform has worked for children has been refuted by the National Research Council. The NRC asserts that student measured achievement has not improved on a national basis, and learning (Oh, that learning!) has actually decreased because of the narrowing of the curriculum to focus on ELA and math that was the focus of the test scores. Of course, the NRC relies on research and facts, and we know how those have a liberal bias. You must, therefore, reject the NRC finding on “principle.”

      • Paul Muench 9 months ago9 months ago

        Gary,

        Thanks for the heads up I missed the link on my original reading.

      • Ze'ev Wurman 9 months ago9 months ago

        Gary, Since you so glibly argue that "the scores were not destroyed, they are just a little more difficult to find, a couple of clicks away.," could you please provide us with Palo Alto Unified Algebra 1 STAR/CST scores of its 8th graders for 2012 and 2013? Surely it should be no problem for you to provide such a tiny and specific piece of information, given it is just "a couple of clicks away." Incidentally, comparing … Read More

        Gary,

        Since you so glibly argue that “the scores were not destroyed, they are just a little more difficult to find, a couple of clicks away.,” could you please provide us with Palo Alto Unified Algebra 1 STAR/CST scores of its 8th graders for 2012 and 2013? Surely it should be no problem for you to provide such a tiny and specific piece of information, given it is just “a couple of clicks away.”

        Incidentally, comparing CST and SBAC is NOT like “comparing a kid’s shoe size with their temperature.” It is like comparing shoes with American sizes and European sizes. Like comparing SAT scores with ACT scores. Like comparing CST scores with NAEP scores. All of those comparisons have been done since “forever.”

        • Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

          Zeev:

          You’re the computer whiz. It always pays to do your own homework.

          And comparisons have been done “forever,” and they are mostly lousy comparisons generating much heat and not much light. Like some commentators.

        • Ze'ev Wurman 9 months ago9 months ago

          Gary, I am, indeed, the computer whiz. And it takes a LOT of effort and skills to find out in the database what you could get until yesterday with the user interface with -- truly -- a couple of clicks even by people like you. But by evading the answer instead of providing such a trivial bit of data you just reasserted my point that you are either ignorant of what it takes to dig into the … Read More

          Gary,

          I am, indeed, the computer whiz. And it takes a LOT of effort and skills to find out in the database what you could get until yesterday with the user interface with — truly — a couple of clicks even by people like you.

          But by evading the answer instead of providing such a trivial bit of data you just reasserted my point that you are either ignorant of what it takes to dig into the database, or that you intentionally mislead. In both cases the results is the same … the “couple of clicks” is a blatant lie.

          As to the comparison being “mostly lousy” you again either show your ignorance or deliberately mislead. The SAT to ACT conversion (concordance) has been used for years by hundreds colleges, equating between students taking one or the other. Comparison between state standards (including CST) and NAEP has been done regularly every other year by the US Department of Education for over a decade..

          • Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

            Zeev: Right you are that you are a "whiz" at computers, and just about everything else as I'm sure you would assert. Everything except actually working in a school, but why quibble. From the article: "Some partial results of past English language arts and math tests in sources other than DataQuest can still be found by searching the education department’s website. Besides the research data files, the department has not taken down annual press releases summarizing statewide … Read More

            Zeev:

            Right you are that you are a “whiz” at computers, and just about everything else as I’m sure you would assert. Everything except actually working in a school, but why quibble.

            From the article:

            “Some partial results of past English language arts and math tests in sources other than DataQuest can still be found by searching the education department’s website. Besides the research data files, the department has not taken down annual press releases summarizing statewide California Standards Tests results; they can be found here and here. And Ed-Data, a separate database, contains rates of proficiency by school and district on the old tests. Ed-Data is a partnership of the department, EdSource and the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team.”

            And you say it can be done by digging around a bit. Take it up with Ed Source If you have a problem.

            I am not “ignorant” of accessing the data as much as I am disdainful of it. I was handed piles of spread sheets and data, for history and ELA, every year for about a decade as school started. Aside from good fuel to start my old charcoal bar-b-que, it was useless for informing instruction.

            As I stated elsewhere, there were three legs for actual reform to stand on: standards for performance, standards for content, and standards for support. The performance part (tests data) overwhelmed content, and extinguished student supports in and out of school for a decade. Hence the US record of some of the highest child poverty rates in the industrialized world.

            The new accountability system will bring the overemphasis on test scores down to size. The CCSS, NGSS, etc., are bringing more attention to content, as well as freeing teachers for the other obsession with demeaned scripted curriculum. And, various political forces are bringing attention to the nation’s and state’s neglect of disadvantaged children’s issues.

            If people find it more difficult to find piles of spreadsheets to wallow in, good riddance.

            I am often reminded, when I listen to the data obsessed, of ancient “scriers,” those mages who studied chicken entrails to get portents and omens of the future. At the end of the day the mages were just spreading waste matter around to no good end. So it goes, or so the research says, about the obsession with test scores. As the bumper sticker says: Waste matter happens. It just won’t happen in education as much as it used to.

    • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

      Wow, I did not know that the CTA had the influence to hide those CST numbers. If they were so powerful, how come they let them be there in the first place? Why didn't CTA take a serious look at how the raw scores were turned into the weighted scores reported? To claim that "CTA did it" is simply naive. BTW, has anybody looked for the old APIs? Are they still there? Following the logic used … Read More

      Wow, I did not know that the CTA had the influence to hide those CST numbers. If they were so powerful, how come they let them be there in the first place? Why didn’t CTA take a serious look at how the raw scores were turned into the weighted scores reported? To claim that “CTA did it” is simply naive.

      BTW, has anybody looked for the old APIs? Are they still there? Following the logic used on the CSTs, they should also be put away quietly since they can’t be compared to the “new and improved” APIs.

      To get back on topic, I think that our dear public servants at the CDE screwed up. They should have left things as they were and put out a huge disclaimer warning people not to compare scores because state law says so. Instead, they were forced to acknowledge that they went overboard by creating a page with the links to the research files. And they still are making it very difficult for the average citizen to get at the results.

      Which reminds me: Gary, the scores are not “a couple of clicks away.” The old results are buried in very large files. For instance, the 2013 scores are in an 891.6 MB file with 8,480,236 lines (in CSV format). Excel will choke on that so they have to be “edited” with a text editor for the district or school of interest and then the selected section can be fed to Excel. Of course, you first have to get the district or school code in order to do this. That info is in a file that is not too bad: only 11,473 lines in a 1.2 MB CSV-formatted file. This is not a task for mere mortals. You have to be a real numbers geek to do wade into this swamp and it still won’t have the pretty interface developed by CDE (unless you are a code nerd too and write scripts to pull the numbers and put them into an HTML page!). And that ain’t me. Can you do it? Do you know anyone who can?

      • navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

        Already did that for our district and was thinking about doing it for the whole state, but the only reason it would have been useful is to provide a better interface (eg dynamic graphs instead of just tables of numbers), so not much urgency. But now that they removed even the tables of numbers, I’ll have to think about doing it after all. Just to find the time…

        • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

          Maybe EdSource can host that and maybe even pay you for your expertise…

          Hey, it can’t hurt to ask!

          😉

  18. Roxana Marachi 9 months ago9 months ago

    The new computerized assessments fail to meet basic standards for testing and accountability, yet are planned to be pitched as being in some way representative as measures of being "on track" or not for "college and career readiness" http://eduresearcher.com/2015/07/06/critical-questions-computerized-testing-sbac/ The epic levels of educational fraud about to hit the public are unfathomable and the fact that the State Department of Education has just removed the last 15 years of assessment data should be red flags to … Read More

    The new computerized assessments fail to meet basic standards for testing and accountability, yet are planned to be pitched as being in some way representative as measures of being “on track” or not for “college and career readiness” http://eduresearcher.com/2015/07/06/critical-questions-computerized-testing-sbac/

    The epic levels of educational fraud about to hit the public are unfathomable and the fact that the State Department of Education has just removed the last 15 years of assessment data should be red flags to everyone to dig deeper and demand full transparency of past and present assessment practices (as well as plans for future assessments). It has been nearly two months since the 10 questions in the link provided above have been presented to the CDE. Will the new accountability task force address the evidence documenting serious violations of test validity? How can the public take action to ensure that children are no longer subject to unfair, flawed, experimental, and scientifically invalidated tests and that taxpayer funds be spent instead on evidence-based, authentic, and valid methods to support and assess learning?

    Replies

    • TR 9 months ago9 months ago

      Ask a teacher, not an educator!!!!

  19. Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

    An interesting question implied by PACE: "CA did not have to bury the old test results." What is made clear here is that, for those with a little persistence, they are not buried at all. What this action does is put a little stumbling block in the way of the "school sucks industry," like Ed Voice that Ed Source, in the most 'fair and balanced way," notes is a "Sacramento based advocacy group." Now, that's what … Read More

    An interesting question implied by PACE: “CA did not have to bury the old test results.” What is made clear here is that, for those with a little persistence, they are not buried at all.

    What this action does is put a little stumbling block in the way of the “school sucks industry,” like Ed Voice that Ed Source, in the most ‘fair and balanced way,” notes is a “Sacramento based advocacy group.” Now, that’s what Ed Voice is, an advocacy group, but the real equation is who do they advocate for?

    Ultimately, comparisons between the old CA Standards and the new CCSS. as well as comparisons between the CTSs and SBAC are comparisons between apples and aardvarks. Now the GOP and the “schools suck” people live by hammering schools, teachers, and their unions and embrace the thoroughly condemned practice of trying to use test scores to criticize schools and teachers. But this practice, outmoded and having been of no use to improve education for over a decade, is what they must cling to if they are to get their funding and stay in front of an ever more radical base.

    But! Let’s take a look at the inner working of Ed Voice, who competes with Ed Trust, to be the flag carrier of the whole “schools suck” enterprise (for that’s what it is) and check with the Diane Ravitch blog of, of August 17, 1012, to take a glimpse of the wheels within the wheels of Ed Voice:

    “EdVoice was founded in 2001 by Reed Hastings (CEO of Netflix, Microsoft board member, Green Dot founding funder) and John Doerr (venture capitalist, investment banker), along with and former CA state Assembly members Ted Lempert and Steve Poizner. Eli Broad and Don Fisher (deceased CEO of The Gap and major KIPP supporter) once served on EdVoice’s board.

    EdVoice has received a ton of money from all of the above as well as from Carrie Walton Penner and Fisher’s widow, Doris. Penner lives in the Bay Area and is a Walton Family Foundation trustee. She also sits on KIPP’s board, as does Reed Hastings, and the Fishers’ son, John.

    Back in 1998, Hastings also co-founded Californians for Public School Excellence with Don Shalvey. This is the organization that pushed for the Charter Schools Act of 1998, the law that lifted the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.

    Don Shalvey was involved with starting the first charter school in California, just after the passage of the California Charter School Act of 1992 (CA was the second state to pass a law). He is also founder and former CEO of Aspire Public Schools.

    Reed Hastings has been a major source of Aspire’s financial backing, including its launch. In 2009, Shalvey stepped down from his post at Aspire and went to work for the Gates Foundation, but for a while he stayed on Aspire’s board. The Gates Foundation has given generously to Aspire.

    In 2011, Hastings and Doerr pumped $11M into DreamBox Learning, an online education company started by a former Microsoft executive and the CEO of a software company. It was acquired by Hastings with help from the Charter School Growth Fund.”

    So what we have is a cabal of right-wing foundations (GAP, Broad, Walmart) and vulture capitalists basically “voicing” the agenda of the charter schools industrial complex: Let’s see how may public dollars can be transferred to the private sector by using advertising and unrelenting criticism of the public schools focused on wrapping a huge amount of misinformation with a tine bit of truth (if the ‘tiny bit” is unavailable, the heck with it, press on with the criticism anyway).

    Replies

    • navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

      nice try, but that is not all they are good for.

      and the idea that transparency is transparency, regardless of how many ‘little [sic] stumbling blocks’ are laid in the way is absurd.

      and dont worry, there will be plenty of ammo for the ‘schools suck industry’ even without legacy cst results once sbac results are out..

      • TR 9 months ago9 months ago

        I would prefer that the first transparency is from the charter school industry in California. None have lived up to their ballyhoo, they still cull those students who will not advance their hype! They have gone from being that necessary “laboratory” of education to the latest game for the venture capitalists.

    • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

      Gary, I was going to opine that EdVoice represents its board and funders but you already said it. BTW, you forgot to mention (or maybe you did not know) that one Mike Kirst was an EdVoice board member between 2004 and 2006. I wonder if he was just there to add prestige or was he a true believer. You also did not mention Eli Broad. He has been there since the beginning and has not quit … Read More

      Gary, I was going to opine that EdVoice represents its board and funders but you already said it.

      BTW, you forgot to mention (or maybe you did not know) that one Mike Kirst was an EdVoice board member between 2004 and 2006. I wonder if he was just there to add prestige or was he a true believer.

      You also did not mention Eli Broad. He has been there since the beginning and has not quit the board as Hastings did in 2011 (Richard Riordan and John Doerr quit then too). Their main man is now Frank Baxter, prominently mentioned by the LA Times as “interested in making LAUSD better” (or some other boilerplate).

      It’s a small world, eh?

      • Gary Ravani 9 months ago9 months ago

        Manuel: I am aware of those Kirst connections. Nobody is perfect. His policy directions must create some interesting conversations with some of the groups he associates with. MY contacts with him have indicated he's a pretty straight shooter, though as political appointee of Brown and Brown's connections to charters, Kirst must walk a pretty thin line to say on the reservation and yet do the right things. Strange bedfellows and all that. Kirst is both a … Read More

        Manuel:

        I am aware of those Kirst connections. Nobody is perfect. His policy directions must create some interesting conversations with some of the groups he associates with. MY contacts with him have indicated he’s a pretty straight shooter, though as political appointee of Brown and Brown’s connections to charters, Kirst must walk a pretty thin line to say on the reservation and yet do the right things. Strange bedfellows and all that. Kirst is both a college professor and a political actor. My impression is the professor wins out most of the time on the most important questions.

  20. TR 9 months ago9 months ago

    Think carefully. It is not the general public that concerns the CDE & SBOE, it is the “uneducated” media out there who are interested only in headlines and $$$$$. Not to mention the education entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who need miserable news to fund charter schools, on-line education etc.!!

  21. Jack 9 months ago9 months ago

    WOW! Torlakson and his team have taken bureaucratic arrogance to a new level. The alleged concern about causing confusion about having two sets of data available for public viewing is simply a blatant example of the office's disdain and lack of respect for the public's right to know. This is nothing new with Torlakson's office and the way he runs the CDE. He is owned by the CTA and has simply carried … Read More

    WOW! Torlakson and his team have taken bureaucratic arrogance to a new level. The alleged concern about causing confusion about having two sets of data available for public viewing is simply a blatant example of the office’s disdain and lack of respect for the public’s right to know. This is nothing new with Torlakson’s office and the way he runs the CDE. He is owned by the CTA and has simply carried out one more closed door agreement with the true power calling the shots at the CDE. He has opened the door to legal action led by student advocacy groups across the state.

  22. Paul Muench 9 months ago9 months ago

    Oh well, the dataquest website disallows web crawlers to the data is not in the internet archive. Has someone else archived the data? Will they make it public?

  23. Don 9 months ago9 months ago

    With this scorched earth policy it appears they are preparing the public for some bad test results.

    Replies

    • ann 9 months ago9 months ago

      Exactly. And they think we can’t see through this? California is in real trouble but it is a slow moving avalanche gutting all accountabilty. I pity today’s students, the little lambs.

    • TheMorrigan 9 months ago9 months ago

      They simply do not want what happened in NY and a few other places to happen here, so they are meticulously managing the blowback with a Harvey Keitel/Jean Reno “The Cleaner” management style. I can’t say I blame them. I’d probably do the same if I were in their shoes.

      • el 9 months ago9 months ago

        Or they can simply re-norm the test for “proficient.” 🙂

        • TheMorrigan 9 months ago9 months ago

          They probably already did, el.

          • navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

            I think they started with the 2013 CSTs..

        • Manuel 9 months ago9 months ago

          It seems to me, el, that you know more about the tests that you let on. 😉

          (“When in doubt, re-normalize. When really in doubt, Taylor-expand.”)

      • Don 9 months ago9 months ago

        I was going to say it's a good thing your not, but it wouldn't make a difference anyway. For myself, I would not do the same thing because it is a thoroughly repugnant stab at the public right to information. It is a disgrace, but if the job at the CDE is seen as managing bad press rather than advancing knowledge, then I totally understand. We are overrun by political hacks who don't give … Read More

        I was going to say it’s a good thing your not, but it wouldn’t make a difference anyway. For myself, I would not do the same thing because it is a thoroughly repugnant stab at the public right to information. It is a disgrace, but if the job at the CDE is seen as managing bad press rather than advancing knowledge, then I totally understand. We are overrun by political hacks who don’t give one iota in a government of, by and for the people.

  24. Don 9 months ago9 months ago

    If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.

  25. PhillipMarlowe 9 months ago9 months ago

    impeding the public’s ability to make those comparisons.
    How and why would one compare an apple to an orange?

    Replies

    • navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

      i guess you're right. i should just let someone else tell me what i should think is appropriate. anyway, thats not the problem. this removes all ability to compare CST results to CST results as it relates to API and NCLB. if that's not relevant for discussions about whether our former policies made any sense whatsoever, i dont know what is. now, if you'll just direct me to the nearest sheep pen, i'll file in … Read More

      i guess you’re right. i should just let someone else tell me what i should think is appropriate.
      anyway, thats not the problem. this removes all ability to compare CST results to CST results as it relates to API and NCLB. if that’s not relevant for discussions about whether our former policies made any sense whatsoever, i dont know what is.
      now, if you’ll just direct me to the nearest sheep pen, i’ll file in there and quietly bleat to the rest of the flock instead. will you at least let me know when the fleecing is coming..

      • Don 9 months ago9 months ago

        Navigio, having someone else tell you what to think is exactly what the CCSS ELA standards do for literary criticism and analysis. Stop fighting the machine and embrace the standards. Nobody cares, certainly not David Coleman, what you think or feel.

    • Doug McRae 9 months ago9 months ago

      Direct comparisons from Smarter Balanced scores to previous STAR scores are inappropriate because AB 484 did not support comparability studies frequently done to support such comparisons when states change testing programs. I'd note that SSPI Torlakson initially supported such comparability studies in Jan 2013, but did an about face with his sponsorship of AB 484 later in 2013. But, it is possible to do statistically appropriate indirect comparisons (such as changes in relative rankings) and … Read More

      Direct comparisons from Smarter Balanced scores to previous STAR scores are inappropriate because AB 484 did not support comparability studies frequently done to support such comparisons when states change testing programs. I’d note that SSPI Torlakson initially supported such comparability studies in Jan 2013, but did an about face with his sponsorship of AB 484 later in 2013. But, it is possible to do statistically appropriate indirect comparisons (such as changes in relative rankings) and gap analyses over time, as others indicated in the post. Taking down previous STAR results is simply an effort to make it difficult for other folks not subject to the AB 484 ban to do legitimate historical comparisons, to provide a clear path for CDE spin on results to avoid contending or more in-depth analyses. Another blunder by the SSPI and CDE, on top of the CAHSEE blunder this summer attempting to prematurely end the high school exit exam program before the legislature has a chance to evaluate continuation or expiration.

      • Jeff 9 months ago9 months ago

        If it's an “effort to make it difficult for other folks not subject to the AB 484 ban to do legitimate historical comparisons, to provide a clear path for CDE spin on results to avoid contending or more in-depth analyses,” then “blunder” is probably not the right descriptor. The same could be said of killing the CAHSEE. I'd just ask whether that data is properly public property or is owned by those at the CDE … Read More

        If it’s an “effort to make it difficult for other folks not subject to the AB 484 ban to do legitimate historical comparisons, to provide a clear path for CDE spin on results to avoid contending or more in-depth analyses,” then “blunder” is probably not the right descriptor. The same could be said of killing the CAHSEE. I’d just ask whether that data is properly public property or is owned by those at the CDE to use or conceal to further whatever agendas they have? Even if it was useful only for historical purposes, it should remain available.

        • Doug McRae 9 months ago9 months ago

          Jeff — The data are public property, paid for by taxpayers in California.

        • Jack 9 months ago9 months ago

          Jeff, the CDE has no proprietary right to the data. It is PUBLIC data and should be made available to the public through the same public portal it has always been made available. The SSPI’s behavior is destructive on so many levels.

          • Don 9 months ago9 months ago

            Jack, I don’t agree with this decision, however…. taking the data off the website and not making it available are not one and the same. Maybe you should file a public record request. If the State doesn’t honor it that’s illegal without a valid exemption.

  26. navigio 9 months ago9 months ago

    Boo!

    Just more proof that transparency is a lie.

    If the reasoning is the results are no longer valid, then I guess they’ll have to remove the sbac results right after they post them as well.

    Replies

    • FloydThursby1941 9 months ago9 months ago

      This is very scary and very Orwellian.

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