California plans to roll out computerized testing in 2015. Image from Flickr

Students would take online Common Core field tests, rather than traditional standardized tests, under a bill before the governor. Image from Flickr

The federal Department of Education specified for the first time Tuesday what states would have to do to receive a waiver from giving state standardized tests next spring in the one-year transition to implementing the Common Core standards.

Within hours, California’s two top education leaders acknowledged in a news release what observers had been saying: There’s no way the state will get such an exemption under the terms of a bill now awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature.

“We recognize that legislation awaiting action by the governor would not meet the requirements outlined in today’s guidance. Nevertheless, we continue to believe Assembly Bill 484 represents the right choice for California’s schools,” said State Board of Education President Michael Kirst and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a joint statement. But they also downplayed the potential conflict and indicated they’d do damage control to minimize unspecified penalties the state may face for failing to follow testing requirements under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

“While this may put California technically and temporarily out of compliance with federal testing mandates, we’re confident that we can work with our colleagues in Washington to effectively manage this transition,” they said.

In order to encourage teachers to turn full attention to learning the new Common Core standards this year, the state is proposing under AB 484, which Torlakson authored, not to give the California Standards Tests in English language arts and math in the spring of 2014 to grades 3 to 8 and grade 11. Instead, it would offer every student in those grades a field or practice test in the Common Core in either subject. Schools and parents wouldn’t get results back, because a field test is intended to screen and evaluate questions and procedures, not produce reliable scores for students and schools.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had indicated that Washington would permit some field testing in the new Common Core standards and would grant a waiver so that students wouldn’t have to take both the Common Core field test and state tests in the same subjects.

But, as a three-page letter from Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah Delisle makes clear, the government wasn’t anticipating granting a waiver to every student in every school. And those students who took the field test in math or English language arts would still have to take the existing state test, for accountability purposes, in the other subject.

AB 484 would put the state in the position of funding only one of the field test subjects per student and not offering a state test in the other subject.

The bill would create two other complications for a waiver:

  • The field tests would be administered on a computer. Those districts without the capacity to handle them would give no test next spring. State officials argue that giving no test is better than giving an old test under state standards the state is abandoning. And Deb Sigman, deputy state superintendent of public instruction, said Tuesday that she hasn’t conceded that some districts would not be able to give the field test by computer in the 12-week span allowed. The state doesn’t have the information yet for that determination, she said.
  • Federal law requires annually measuring the progress of English learners and of low-achieving schools receiving federal School Improvement Grants. Sigman said that the state may propose measurements other than standardized tests for English learners and School Improvement Grant schools next year.

State officials plan to submit a waiver request this fall, however doubtful it now appears it will be granted. Duncan has threatened to withhold some federal funding from California, although he said this week it would be “a last resort.”

John Fensterwald covers state education policy. Contact him and sign up for his tweets @jfenster.

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  1. CarolineSF 3 years ago3 years ago

    A few posts up, someone referred to students’ cheating on the new tests. If the tests have no stakes for students, as with the current CSTs*, students have no motivation to cheat and are much more likely to goof around and blow off the tests.

    *except in rare, outlier situations

    Replies

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      That was probably me. All I am saying is that an internet-connected computer is a handy thing to have when someone asks you a question. While perhaps no one will bother to do serious hacking to cheat on a low stakes exam, I'm sure that Mr. Duncan et al will not be happy if no effort was made to prevent kids from IM'ing answers or googling for reference material. On the other hand, maybe they'll just … Read More

      That was probably me. All I am saying is that an internet-connected computer is a handy thing to have when someone asks you a question. While perhaps no one will bother to do serious hacking to cheat on a low stakes exam, I’m sure that Mr. Duncan et al will not be happy if no effort was made to prevent kids from IM’ing answers or googling for reference material.

      On the other hand, maybe they’ll just blaze through it and then spend the rest of the test time playing minecraft in another window. 🙂

      • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

        EL: Yeah, I agree trying to control adolescent access to social media and internet-connected devices during test administration is a little like trying to control adolescent hormones (grin), but designers of computerized testing software are doing their best to avoid allowing access that would compromise the integrity of the resulting test scores. It’s a challenge for new fangled computerized testing . . . .

      • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

        To be honest, if we are testing the how more than the what, having the kids have access to information should not be a problem. In fact, doing research requires access to some kind of external data. Understanding how to get it and how to use and interpret it is arguably what we should care about. That said, I am really curious about these comments indicating we will be testing the how vs the what. Is … Read More

        To be honest, if we are testing the how more than the what, having the kids have access to information should not be a problem. In fact, doing research requires access to some kind of external data. Understanding how to get it and how to use and interpret it is arguably what we should care about.

        That said, I am really curious about these comments indicating we will be testing the how vs the what. Is there research out there to show how that can be achieved? (The examples used thus far dish seem sufficient as an explanation).

  2. Al 3 years ago3 years ago

    How are other states handling testing and moving to common core?

    Replies

    • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

      AI: There is a real mix of readiness across states in terms of readiness to initiate statewide computerized assessments for the common core. States that received Race to Top grants in 2010 had implementation of common core instruction on the front burner beginning 2010 and fed money to fuel that movement. Some states have had computerized statewide testing for 10 or more years, and have already spilled lots of blood for being on the … Read More

      AI: There is a real mix of readiness across states in terms of readiness to initiate statewide computerized assessments for the common core. States that received Race to Top grants in 2010 had implementation of common core instruction on the front burner beginning 2010 and fed money to fuel that movement. Some states have had computerized statewide testing for 10 or more years, and have already spilled lots of blood for being on the bleeding edge of that initiative. California is not among either of those sets of states. We are just emerging from multiple years of extreme budget cuts to K-12 education and frankly most CA local districts have not had the resources to pay much attention to implementing common core instruction. Some high wealth districts are exceptions to that circumstance. Our statewide curriculum advisory commission, the Instructional Quality Commission now chaired by ex-SSPI Bill Honig, was not funded from 2009 until 2012 and began their work on statewide instructional supports (curriculum frameworks and adopted instructional materials or textbooks) for implementing the common core in May 2012; their statutory timeline for state board approval for math currilulum frameworks is Nov 2013 and for math instrucional materials is March 2014; their statutory timeline for E/LA curriculum frameworks is May 2014 and for E/LA instructional materials is Nov 2015 [per SB 201 now on Gov’s desk]. Local districts then need to adopt textbooks and conduct teacher training introducing the state’s curriculum frameworks and their adopted textbooks as part of the local implementation of common core instruction. On the technology front, CA is quite a bit behind (in my opinion) other states primarily due to the fiscal challenges of the past 5-6 years; unfortunately, we don’t have good data for local district technology readiness for new computerized statewide tests. As of this summer, local districts do have some funds to upgrade technology but it’s gonna take several years for districts to not only acquire sufficient hardware and bandwidth, but also to train teachers on using that technology and most importantly acclimate kids to the particulars of academic computing before our kids will be ready to take statewide standardized assessments and produce valid/reliable scores. Good testing policy needs to reflect these realities; good politics is the art of the possible. A rush to full operational implementation of sophisticated computer-adaptive tests by spring 2015, per AB 484, when the infrastructure to support those tests won’t be in place until likely 2018, just isn’t the right thing for California to do.

  3. KSC 3 years ago3 years ago

    It's pretty obvious from the comments above that most of the posters here are very knowledgeable. Please excuse a rookie question: Our teachers are beginning to use the Common Core standards now and will be fully using them in the Spring and onward. If the federal government insists that we (a) use the old STAR tests this Spring and (b) evaluate teachers by those results, won't we then be testing what kids know and not necessarily … Read More

    It’s pretty obvious from the comments above that most of the posters here are very knowledgeable. Please excuse a rookie question:

    Our teachers are beginning to use the Common Core standards now and will be fully using them in the Spring and onward. If the federal government insists that we (a) use the old STAR tests this Spring and (b) evaluate teachers by those results, won’t we then be testing what kids know and not necessarily what they are taught by their teachers? What then are the tests measuring and why is that data so important to the federal government?

    Replies

    • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

      KSC: Your question assumes that the standards that are measured by the STAR tests and the new common core standards reflect considerably different content. In fact, the content expected by the common core is quite similar and pretty much equal in rigor to the content that was expected for CA's 1997 standards. This was the view from the CA Standards Commission that reviewed the common core back in 2010, and it was confirmed by national … Read More

      KSC: Your question assumes that the standards that are measured by the STAR tests and the new common core standards reflect considerably different content. In fact, the content expected by the common core is quite similar and pretty much equal in rigor to the content that was expected for CA’s 1997 standards. This was the view from the CA Standards Commission that reviewed the common core back in 2010, and it was confirmed by national analysts who have looked at how the common core standards stack up against CA’s 1997 standards. What is new and very challenging for the common core is HOW the standards are to be taught, not the WHAT is to be learned. The old STAR tests were designed to measure achievement regardless of how that achievement was attained — that is, designed to measure the WHAT not the HOW. So, given this characteristic of the STAR tests, it follows that STAR tests will continue to provide decent measurement for the common core standards. Clearly, eventually we will want new tests designed specifically for the new common core standards, but while those new tests are being developed, which will be a multi-year process, use of the old STAR tests would provide a reasonable proxy. The public relations spin from the SSPI promoting AB 484 to justify eliminating the old STAR tests in 2014 does not recognize the underlying reality our old 1997 content standards and the content expected from the new common core content standards are not all that different.

      • David B. Cohen 3 years ago3 years ago

        Two quick responses/additions to Doug's comment: 1. Yes, there's similarity in the standards. But let's not lose sight of the fact that, at least on the ELA side of the issue, the existing tests are not only quite mediocre, but they also fail to cover a significant portion of the overall standards. So, while you may be right that another round of STAR/CST testing wouldn't be significantly different, the test is hardly worth the trouble in … Read More

        Two quick responses/additions to Doug’s comment:

        1. Yes, there’s similarity in the standards. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that, at least on the ELA side of the issue, the existing tests are not only quite mediocre, but they also fail to cover a significant portion of the overall standards. So, while you may be right that another round of STAR/CST testing wouldn’t be significantly different, the test is hardly worth the trouble in any case. Add to that the fact there would be more validity issues than usual, and I’d conclude AB484 is justified.

        2. If we test on the old standards, many (most?) teachers and schools will teach to those standards. You can’t attach high stakes to test and then expect people to stretch themselves and their students, to experiment, try new things, etc. So even if I agreed with you in the abstract sense (which, respectfully, I don’t), I would still suggest that AB484 makes sense by clarifying the situation in schools. You can’t ignore the people part, how this would actually play out in the workplace: the CCSS transition would be hampered by the added confusion and delayed transitional efforts this year.

        • Paul Muench 3 years ago3 years ago

          What high stakes are you thinking about?

        • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

          Well, reasonable people can differ on this one. For myself, the old STAR tests were not mediocre measurement of CA's 1997 content standards, rather they were highly rated among statewide tests in the early 00's. The issue for me is that CA won't be ready for new CC tests by 2015, not from an instructional perspective, not from a technology perspective, and likely not from a consortium test development perspective. We need at least a … Read More

          Well, reasonable people can differ on this one. For myself, the old STAR tests were not mediocre measurement of CA’s 1997 content standards, rather they were highly rated among statewide tests in the early 00’s. The issue for me is that CA won’t be ready for new CC tests by 2015, not from an instructional perspective, not from a technology perspective, and likely not from a consortium test development perspective. We need at least a 4-year transition plan to fully implement new SBAC tests. I’m not in favor of a 4-year moratorium on accountability data for our schools . . . . that’s caving in to the anti-testing, anti-accountability folks, and snubbing our nose at the public-at-large desire for tests that track achievement in our schools on an annual basis. So, the only way to continue tracking school and district and statewide academic achievement data is to continue to use the old STAR tests as necessary to maintain continuity of that measurement. Are the old STAR tests as good as has been promised for the new SBAC tests? No. But they are the only available proxy until we are ready for the new common core tests. So, my view is continue with a slimmed down set of the old STAR tests until the new ones are ready, not unlike what 484 does with science assessments (tho I’d choose a different STAR science test for grade 10) but just extending that logic to Math and E/LA tests [just the Algebra EOC test for HS math, just one E/LA test for HS, and then also use these EOC tests as early qualification for the CAHSEE graduation requirement to eliminate the need for 80 percent of CAHSEE test administrations). This is a far more reasonable transition plan than the “clean break” 4-year hiatus plan included in 484.

    • el 3 years ago3 years ago

      I think your questions are excellent and a lot of people would like to ask them of Arne Duncan. I think the legislature wonders the same things as you do and thus passed this bill to have kids pilot the new tests.

  4. Eric Premack 3 years ago3 years ago

    The micro-managing details outlined in the letter are absurd. I had to check my calendar to see if it was the first of April. The amount of flexibility is extremely limited--essentially only relieving students from double-testing if/when they take the full form of a field test and freezing accountability determinations based on old data. Schools/districts would be required to continue patently-stupid activities such as: -Report performance against annual objectives, even though both the objectives and … Read More

    The micro-managing details outlined in the letter are absurd. I had to check my calendar to see if it was the first of April.

    The amount of flexibility is extremely limited–essentially only relieving students from double-testing if/when they take the full form of a field test and freezing accountability determinations based on old data. Schools/districts would be required to continue patently-stupid activities such as:

    -Report performance against annual objectives, even though both the objectives and tests are changing–and even though many students presumably will be taking pilot tests that don’t count and the data is essentially meaningless

    -Roll-forward prior-year accountability determinations and continue the same interventions required in the prior year–again basing major decisions and forcing interventions based on old/stale data.

    Perhaps a federal government shutdown might be a good thing? Kudos to Governor Brown, et. al., for challenging Duncan.

  5. Richard Moore 3 years ago3 years ago

    The little education lemmings are lining up, but they are confused. Do they follow the people who say don't take the old test, but field test the other test? Do they follow the people who say don't field test the other test but take the old test? Do they turn towards Sacramento for the people to point? Do they turn toward DC for the people to point? Or do they look at the mess and say … Read More

    The little education lemmings are lining up, but they are confused. Do they follow the people who say don’t take the old test, but field test the other test? Do they follow the people who say don’t field test the other test but take the old test? Do they turn towards Sacramento for the people to point? Do they turn toward DC for the people to point?

    Or do they look at the mess and say the hell with this and evolve into sensate beings? Do they turn away from Sacramento and DC and begin to lead lives of meaning and fulfillment? Is it time to look around and say, “What a beautiful world, I wonder what it would be like to learn something today. What would I like to learn today? I think I will follow my desires instead of their paths and discover for myself what the world holds for me. I wonder if there is a teacher out there who would like to join me on my journey.”

    Get out those number two pencils. Jam them HARD into the heart of the iPad. Get up. Walk out the door. Live. Learn. Thrive.

    Replies

    • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

      Mr. Moore, that will be $600 that your parents will have to pay. Thank you. Seriously, I like your idea but without jabbing that poor machine. Will it happen? Well, can California afford to tell the feds to take their education money and...? Somebody once told me that while the feds contribute 10% to California's educational expenditures, the cost of complying with them is higher. If that is true, then our public servants in Sacramento should look into … Read More

      Mr. Moore, that will be $600 that your parents will have to pay. Thank you.

      Seriously, I like your idea but without jabbing that poor machine.

      Will it happen? Well, can California afford to tell the feds to take their education money and…?

      Somebody once told me that while the feds contribute 10% to California’s educational expenditures, the cost of complying with them is higher. If that is true, then our public servants in Sacramento should look into that and strongly consider getting off the Fed’s mammary gland. It’s not worth all the problems…

  6. john mockler 3 years ago3 years ago

    Really this is the plan? 12 week testing window? That is more than one third of a school year of instruction. How can the results be compared? The State Board President announced that there would be a comparison of paper and pencil test takers to computer test takers. No paper and pencil test takers no comparison. WOW so many contradictions to good testing policy.

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 3 years ago3 years ago

      You raise an important issue, John. There will be a 12-week window for the field test, but not necessarily for the official test in 2015. Each state will have the authority to choose a narrower window, according to Joe Willhoft, executive director of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. California is working on a plan to address this issue, Deputy State Superintendent Deb Sigman told me.

      • navigio 3 years ago3 years ago

        even the difference between the field test and eventual test seems problematic if the point of the field test is to create some kind of measure baseline.

    • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

      Yes, WOW, so many contradictions to good testing policy, too many to catalog via media sound bites. Contradiction to good fiscal policy also, to commit to a system not yet developed with inadequate long term cost estimates. Under AB 484, CA is not likely to have valid/reliable assessment data until 2018, and concurrently no credible API data until 2018. Not good for a program the public-at-large perceives to be data to track academic achievement progress … Read More

      Yes, WOW, so many contradictions to good testing policy, too many to catalog via media sound bites. Contradiction to good fiscal policy also, to commit to a system not yet developed with inadequate long term cost estimates. Under AB 484, CA is not likely to have valid/reliable assessment data until 2018, and concurrently no credible API data until 2018. Not good for a program the public-at-large perceives to be data to track academic achievement progress on a statewide as well as local district/school basis over time . . . .

      • el 3 years ago3 years ago

        Doug, would there be a problem for test integrity if the field test results were released in their entirety to teachers/schools? The data isn't reliable for public measures, but it would be of more benefit if teachers could see the exact questions, and the selected answers. It would also help them understand where students could go wrong. It seems like the perfect opportunity to do so and a way to have these pilot exams be … Read More

        Doug, would there be a problem for test integrity if the field test results were released in their entirety to teachers/schools? The data isn’t reliable for public measures, but it would be of more benefit if teachers could see the exact questions, and the selected answers. It would also help them understand where students could go wrong. It seems like the perfect opportunity to do so and a way to have these pilot exams be far more useful. Local people may also be able to spot problems with the new exams and how they are administered that would not be apparent when the data is pulled together in aggregate.

        • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

          EL: Yes, the problem is that if the test questions are released to teachers, then they won't be secure for subsequent use in the summative end-of-year testing part of SBAC's program, and generating a secure item bank for summative end-of-year testing is the purpose of the field test in the first place. This is where the primary purpose language for MAPP in AB 484, that is, "to model high quality instruction," conflicts with the test … Read More

          EL: Yes, the problem is that if the test questions are released to teachers, then they won’t be secure for subsequent use in the summative end-of-year testing part of SBAC’s program, and generating a secure item bank for summative end-of-year testing is the purpose of the field test in the first place. This is where the primary purpose language for MAPP in AB 484, that is, “to model high quality instruction,” conflicts with the test security requirements for a summative end-of-year “final exam” type test, and that is one of the contradictions in 484. We can either have good test policy for secure end-of-year summative tests, or we can use statewide assessments to model good high quality instruction, but we cannot meet both purposes with the same test. Mockler’s comment about the 12-week window reflects not only the comparison issue he mentions, but also a test security problem — when attractive memorable open-ended test questions and performance tasks are administered early in a long test administration window, inevitably they will lose a degree of test security, and that requires additional secure test questions to be administered later in a testing window. That costs $$ and requires time to develop a larger item bank. The standard practice for secure end-of-year summative testing is to test all kids in a given grade level in a given school within a one-week period, with make-ups during a second week. SBAC chose a 12-week window not for good test policy reasons, but rather due to shortages in technology hardware and bandwidth. So, this is another example of the contradictions in AB 484. Clearly, teachers would prefer tests that have non-secure items and wide test administration windows, but these characteristics conflict with the need to generate credible results designed to track student achievement (statewide, and by district and by school and by subgroup) over time via secure end-of-year summative tests.

          • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

            Doug, what about the "intermediate" assessments? Are they "secure?" Do they have any relation to the "summative?" Read More

            Doug, what about the “intermediate” assessments? Are they “secure?” Do they have any relation to the “summative?”

            • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

              Manuel: The SBAC "interim" assessments are designed to be administered periodically during a school year to assist instruction as it unfolds during the school year. Interim assessments are typically not secure, and SBAC has indicated that items in the interim assessment item bank will not be field tested, tho it is possible that some field tested items that are not empirically qualified for the summative item bank may be assigned to the interim … Read More

              Manuel: The SBAC “interim” assessments are designed to be administered periodically during a school year to assist instruction as it unfolds during the school year. Interim assessments are typically not secure, and SBAC has indicated that items in the interim assessment item bank will not be field tested, tho it is possible that some field tested items that are not empirically qualified for the summative item bank may be assigned to the interim item bank. SBAC has also indicated that some items in the interim item bank may be restricted so that they can be used for customized secure end-of-year summative tests for individual state purposes, with such tests then developed on each requesting state’s dime. The interim item bank should mirror the summative item bank. One of the problems with SBAC’s interim testing plans is that they plan to allow districts to generate interim tests that “mirror the length and scope of the summative assessments and yields a score on the same scale as the summative assessment that can be used as a growth or achievement metric.” That is in effect a “practice” test for SBAC summative tests, and use of pratice tests to teach to the summative test has been prohibited for years by CA statute and is also prohibited by AB 484 language. So, that is another of the contradictions in AB 484, one the one hand it mandates acquisition of SBAC interim tests at state expense for use by local districts, with a potential use that is prohibited by the same statute . . . .

          • el 3 years ago3 years ago

            The end goal is student learning and high quality instruction. Test security and credible results designed to track student achievement are not goals themselves. They are means to our first goals, only. These new exams are not just testing a new curriculum -- they're completely new question types that have not to my knowledge been used anywhere before. I encourage people to look at some of the sample exams, if they have not. And that's aside from … Read More

            The end goal is student learning and high quality instruction.

            Test security and credible results designed to track student achievement are not goals themselves. They are means to our first goals, only.

            These new exams are not just testing a new curriculum — they’re completely new question types that have not to my knowledge been used anywhere before. I encourage people to look at some of the sample exams, if they have not. And that’s aside from the issues of taking the exams on a computer.

            We are going to find – IMHO – substantial surprises in this process, in terms of dealing with tech, in terms of how students react, in terms of how students cheat, in terms of various logistics. I think you will also find that kids will miss questions because they’re not used to thinking about questions the way the new exams are written. Frankly, I think it would be wise and very appropriate to sacrifice test security and to spend more money on new and additional test items if that would allow teachers access to the questions and answers… even if it’s only a sample of the test items that student got. It is part of the learning and debugging process for one person to see the whole system end to end – someone who knows the student who can then see how that student reacts to test items. I can tell you that *I* wouldn’t deploy software in any organization without doing this. You have to make sure that when you know your inputs, that you get expected outputs.

            Alternatively, given Manuel’s comment, we could make every legislator one of those people. Have each of them spend 10 weeks in a classroom as an aide getting to know a group of students, and then have them look at the test items and results, so that they get direct feedback that can inform their votes in the next session. Win-win-win, eh? 🙂

            • el 3 years ago3 years ago

              (Please note: I think the new question types are cool and interesting and add rigor to the process. I like them! But people – including kids – have to be trained to do them, to be able to do well on them in an exam setting.)

            • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

              Hey, EL -- I like the new question types too. As a test maker, I've looked with envy at tests that include a lot of open ended and performance task type items. These types of tests clearly do a much better job of "modeling high quality instruction" than multiple-choice tests. Only two problems -- time and money. Tests with the new question types take a lot longer to adminster and thus take away … Read More

              Hey, EL — I like the new question types too. As a test maker, I’ve looked with envy at tests that include a lot of open ended and performance task type items. These types of tests clearly do a much better job of “modeling high quality instruction” than multiple-choice tests. Only two problems — time and money. Tests with the new question types take a lot longer to adminster and thus take away from instruction time. I estimate SBAC summative tests given their current blueprints will take 50 to 100 percent longer to administer than the STAR counterpart tests. And they cost a heckofalot more — when I look into the weeds of cost estimates, I find that SBAC summative tests are likely to triple the cost of STAR tests. If California as a whole wants to increase the time devoted to summative end-of-year statewide assessments “final exams”, and substantially increase their costs, then I say “Great, let’s do it!” I don’t think SBAC folks or CDE advocates for SBAC have been fully transparent with the legislature or the governor on this aspect of the AB 484 plan.

            • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

              Doug, are you suggesting that these tests be used to assign classroom marks? If so and instruction is driven by the responses in the intermediate assessments, what is the point of having a teacher? All they will be doing is following a script and don't even have to be trained in content since they can look it up real-time in Wikipedia! A trained monkey/janitor/TFAer/USMC drill instructor could "teach" in that environment. Is this what we will end … Read More

              Doug, are you suggesting that these tests be used to assign classroom marks?

              If so and instruction is driven by the responses in the intermediate assessments, what is the point of having a teacher? All they will be doing is following a script and don’t even have to be trained in content since they can look it up real-time in Wikipedia!

              A trained monkey/janitor/TFAer/USMC drill instructor could “teach” in that environment. Is this what we will end up with after the dust settles?

            • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

              el, can you start a state-wide proposition to do just that? I am sure it would pass by a landslide! 😉

            • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

              Manuel: Teacher tests have contributed to grades for eons, and interim tests will also likely contribute to teacher grades. But appropriately implemented interim tests shouldn't be the sole determiner of teacher grades, nor will good interim testing practices displace the role that good teachers play when delivering high quality instruction. Interim testing data should be just another tool in any teachers' toolkit. That being said, interim tests that mirror SBAC summative end-of-year tests, are dangerous … Read More

              Manuel: Teacher tests have contributed to grades for eons, and interim tests will also likely contribute to teacher grades. But appropriately implemented interim tests shouldn’t be the sole determiner of teacher grades, nor will good interim testing practices displace the role that good teachers play when delivering high quality instruction. Interim testing data should be just another tool in any teachers’ toolkit. That being said, interim tests that mirror SBAC summative end-of-year tests, are dangerous — that type of interim test provides easy access to prohibited “teaching to the test” practice that degrades both good instruction and good assessment.

        • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

          el, I was once told by a highly placed Assembly staffer that under current Ed Code no one can have access to the tests questions unless they are legislators or employees of the testing company. What you are proposing is therefore illegal. Which reminds me: same staffer informed me that current Ed Code governing the accountability process is the Public School Accountability Act and is supposed to sunset sometime in 2013. Shouldn't these sections be rewritten … Read More

          el, I was once told by a highly placed Assembly staffer that under current Ed Code no one can have access to the tests questions unless they are legislators or employees of the testing company. What you are proposing is therefore illegal.

          Which reminds me: same staffer informed me that current Ed Code governing the accountability process is the Public School Accountability Act and is supposed to sunset sometime in 2013. Shouldn’t these sections be rewritten to apply to Common Core and SBAC, which are not truly controlled by California as it was with the California Standards and CSTs?

          Or did the adoption of Common Core reauthorized the PSAA? I’d appreciate it if someone can refer me to appropriate documentation on this. Thanks!

          • Doug McRae 3 years ago3 years ago

            Manuel: I think it is state board adopted regulations that anyone granted access to secure test questions has to sign a non-disclosure form to prevent that individual from violating test security provisions. This regulation has been strictly enforced by CDE as well it should be, but legislators and other policymakers are certainly in the category of folks who have been granted access after signing non-disclosure forms. Re PSAA statute, my understanding is there is … Read More

            Manuel: I think it is state board adopted regulations that anyone granted access to secure test questions has to sign a non-disclosure form to prevent that individual from violating test security provisions. This regulation has been strictly enforced by CDE as well it should be, but legislators and other policymakers are certainly in the category of folks who have been granted access after signing non-disclosure forms. Re PSAA statute, my understanding is there is no sunset for that statute, but the statute can be modified or repealed by the legislature. AB 484 modifies it to allow the SSPI, with approval of the state board, not to produce API’s for the 2014 and 2015 cycles. While that section of 484 addresses APIs only for 2014 and 2015, another section of 484 allows the state board to delay full implementation of new tests for the common core not only for the planned 2015 implementation date but indefinitely. That loophole in 484 language could lead to delay in implementation of full SBAC tests for several years until CA has all the ingredients in place to allow CA students to produce valid/reliable scores on SBAC computer-adaptive tests. If we don’t have valid/reliable test scores, then we cannot produce API’s, a backdoor way of extending a “moratorium” on use of common core tests for accountability calculations for several years beyond 2015. It is this latter loophole that I was referencing when I called 484 “an anti-accountability Trojan horse in the never ending war on accountability for CA public schools” at the SBE meeting on Sept 4. It is also why I said above that CA is likely not to have APIs until 2018 under 484, since I’m already on record many times saying it will take until 2018 before CA has all the instruction and technology and SBAC tests in place to allow for generation of valid/reliable summative test scores. This is another of the test policy contradictions in 484 — a bill to authorize statewide tests to track achievement progress for CA schools, but allowing for an indefinite interruption in that tracking until CA is ready to fully implement the new tests.

            • Manuel 3 years ago3 years ago

              Thank you for the clarification. For what is worth, the staffer is/was extremely well-placed to know about the sunsetting. Perhaps he was referring to the sunsetting of the CSTs itself, not PSAA. On the other hand, a document I once obtained from the ACSA web site (I think) did state that PSAA was to sunset on 2013. I don't have it available but tonight I'll search for it and see if I can find it again. Frankly, … Read More

              Thank you for the clarification.

              For what is worth, the staffer is/was extremely well-placed to know about the sunsetting. Perhaps he was referring to the sunsetting of the CSTs itself, not PSAA.

              On the other hand, a document I once obtained from the ACSA web site (I think) did state that PSAA was to sunset on 2013. I don’t have it available but tonight I’ll search for it and see if I can find it again. Frankly, I would not expect the ACSA to be wrong on this, but you never know.

              Again, thanks.