Credit: Alison Yin for EdSource Today

As school districts wrap up administering new online assessments aligned with the Common Core, educators now face another challenge: how best to share with millions of parents how their children fared on the tests.

At stake is whether parents – and by extension students themselves – will be able to understand what the scores on the new tests mean. Without that understanding, test scores on the new online tests could raise anxieties among both parents and students, including whether students are being adequately prepared for the next grade, college and the workplace.

One special concern among educators is that they anticipate fewer students will meet standards compared to those who scored proficient on the California Standards Tests students took until the spring of 2013.

Scores on the new tests will be reported in four categories: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met and standard not met.

If large numbers of students score lower than “standard met” on the tests, known as the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, that could fuel opposition to the Common Core, which in California has so far been relatively muted compared to many other states.

The timing of the release of student scores is also important because a major selling point of the new Common Core assessments was that because they were taken online, they would be available more quickly to teachers, parents and students, and would help inform instruction in a way that the multiple-choice California Standards Tests did not.

But so far it seems that parents and students will get results about the same time as they did in previous years – in mid- to late summer – at a time when schools are not in session. Parents and students may not have an opportunity to discuss the results quickly with the child’s teacher.

In an attempt to address those concerns, school districts are discussing how to prepare to answer questions.

In the six districts and the charter school network that EdSource is tracking as they implement the Common Core, officials are holding sessions with principals to explain reports, planning to hold parent meetings when school resumes and putting together letters that will accompany the official state parent reports.

The California Department of Education recently finalized what its parent reports will include and look like for the Smarter Balanced assessments – tests based on the nationally developed Common Core State Standards taken by students for the first time this spring.

As of May 29, almost 3.2 million students had started the Smarter Balanced assessments, nearly all of them students in 3rd through 8th grades and 11th grade, who are supposed to take the tests statewide. California is one of 18 states giving the Smarter Balanced assessments.

Some districts, including the Fresno Unified School District, are adding their own parent letters and explanations, along with the state-designed parent reports.

Aspire Public Schools, which has 35 charter schools in California, plans to provide explanations in English and Spanish, as well as schedule Saturday sessions for parents to go over results.

The Visalia Unified School District already held a meeting with principals to go over the format of the scores so they can be ready for questions over the summer, said Phil Black, Visalia’s director of assessment. Most Visalia schools have some staff available over the summer.

“We’re anticipating that we’re going to get calls,” Black said. “If we’re better informed, we can better inform our parents.”

In the Santa Ana Unified School District, the elected governing board will review the reports after the district receives the full results, most likely in the summer. Also, schools are expected to hold meetings around the time classes return, said Michele Cunha, the district’s coordinator of student achievement.

Elsewhere, the San Mateo County Office of Education has been sharing information with its districts, including newsletters, sample articles and timelines, to explain what to expect from the Smarter Balanced tests and results.

While fewer students are expected to meet the standards on the new tests, state officials warn parents that Smarter Balanced scores are just one measurement of how well a student is doing.

“The parent should talk to the teacher and the school about how the student is performing,” said Julie White, communications director for the State Board of Education, in a webinar with reporters in May.

California State Parent Teacher Association members helped state officials prepare the report format so parents can understand it. PTA leaders are urging school chapters to discuss the Smarter Balanced results during back-to-school meetings.

“We all want parents to understand that this new system exists.… You can’t pull out last year’s letter and you can’t make a comparison,” said Patty Scripter, the California State PTA’s vice president for education. “This is the first step. And next year, you will be able to see how your child’s progress is going.”

State officials warn that individual results should only serve as a starting point to see how well students have mastered the new Common Core standards so far, as they can’t be compared with previous results on the California Standards Tests. Fewer students are expected to meet the standards on the new tests because they are based on the Common Core, which is still being rolled out in classes and is more demanding than the previous standards.

Individual student scores range from 2,000 to 3,000 and are categorized using the four achievement levels on the standards.

One big difference from the previous test is that, in addition to an overall score, parents will receive details about each student’s performance. For each subject, the report breaks out skills, such as “research/inquiry” for English language arts or “problem solving” for math, and states whether the student met the standard.

State officials have made a key change from a draft report approved in March by the State Board of Education: There will be no comparisons to the student’s scores on the field test he or she took in the spring of 2014. (A story about the parent report and state board discussion can be found here.)

Some educators and experts complained that a comparison would be unreliable because the field test was given to weed out questions and check how the test itself would work. In the end, state officials weighed whether the comparison was more helpful or confusing, opting to leave it off, Keric Ashley, deputy superintendent of the California Department of Education, said during the webinar briefing with reporters.

Instead, there will be no comparisons on the reports – only results for the student. Average scores for the state and for individual districts won’t be finalized and released until late summer or early fall.

Next year’s report will have a different format and is set to include comparisons to the previous year’s scores so parents can see whether their children’s performance is improving.

While most parents won’t get their children’s results until late summer, hundreds of districts have already started receiving early results for individual students.

But those results are meant only to be used at the district or school level. District officials are reluctant to do much with the results, such as revise their instruction methods, because the scores are trickling in slowly. Some district officials said they plan to wait until they have more or all of their scores before drawing any conclusions or making decisions.

Separate score reports designed for parents come later.

About eight weeks after an entire district completes testing, the state mails individual letters intended for each parent in the state to districts. Then, each district has 20 days to distribute the reports to parents.

The scores could have a direct impact on high school juniors. Under the Early Assessment Program, students can skip remedial courses at California State University, community colleges and other campuses if they score high enough on the Smarter Balanced assessments. If they score too low, 11th-graders are directed to use their senior year to enroll in classes or take other measures to prepare for college.

High school juniors had the option of checking a circle during the test if they wanted their scores to be considered for the Early Assessment Program.

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  1. Tcarstairs 9 months ago9 months ago

    How necessary is this test as a home schooled 4th grader? I don’t see the need for such a test at this early stage! Maybe Jr High, but too much testing can result in a negative impact for some kids.

  2. Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

    We got the explanation from our district today. The claim is that the CAASPP and STAR tests measure different things. There was a statement on CAASPP that it tests more on critical thinking and real-world skills than STAR. No details on what different or more mean. So a bunch of words to communicate to parents that our district doesn’t really want to engage with parents in-depth on what public education means for children.

    Replies

    • Sarah Tully 1 year ago1 year ago

      Hi Paul, What district is this? Have you seen the actual results yet? Are the parent letters going out? Send me an email: stully@edsource.com. Thank you! Read More

      Hi Paul, What district is this? Have you seen the actual results yet? Are the parent letters going out? Send me an email: stully@edsource.com. Thank you!

  3. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    Why is Ed Source failing to report the growing list of constitutional challenges to Common Core, PARCC and SBAC? Just last week North Dakota joined the ranks claiming that the consortia are a violation of the Compact Clause and that national standards and curriculum violate the 10th Amendment. This is becoming a major developing story along with its sister movement to opt-out of tests. The efforts to unseat CCSS is certainly newsworthy yet they … Read More

    Why is Ed Source failing to report the growing list of constitutional challenges to Common Core, PARCC and SBAC? Just last week North Dakota joined the ranks claiming that the consortia are a violation of the Compact Clause and that national standards and curriculum violate the 10th Amendment. This is becoming a major developing story along with its sister movement to opt-out of tests. The efforts to unseat CCSS is certainly newsworthy yet they remains unreported on this education news site. Is this an attempt by Ed Source, which is largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to keep this revolt contained or is it an oversight. With new suits increasing and Ed Source’s silence continuing, the answer would seem to be the former.

  4. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    Paul, the Fordham report found 2 states, CA and Indiana along with DC to have superior ELA standards. CA's math standards were too close to call. There's no question that the math standards slow down the sequence about 2 years and leave students without necessary prerequisites. You could chalk that up to less breathe and more depth if you wish though that won't provide the necessary coursework for competitive college applications. I don't know … Read More

    Paul, the Fordham report found 2 states, CA and Indiana along with DC to have superior ELA standards. CA’s math standards were too close to call. There’s no question that the math standards slow down the sequence about 2 years and leave students without necessary prerequisites. You could chalk that up to less breathe and more depth if you wish though that won’t provide the necessary coursework for competitive college applications. I don’t know of any other formal studies, but my experience sifting through hundreds of articles on the subject leaves me with the impression that the vast majority of the pro-CCSS info is generated by media outlets and business groups that have paid large sums to advertise it. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation list Ed Source, Inc. as a recipient of a $768,070 grant in 2014 for the College Ready US Program. It is no surprise that the corporate interests that have pressed the Common Core into existence keep the search engine priorities moving in their favor. Conversely, with a little digging there is a clear preponderance of negative first-hand POVs expressed in articles and other commentary about CC from teachers and parents and these critiques cross the political spectrum.

    So, it is an odd spectacle to see so many liberal-minded Ed Source readers lining up to support the corporate agenda for America’s school children. You have to wonder when people like Gary Ravani is volunteering to fight in Bill Gates’ army.

    So I think the question is this: Why try to handicap the results of CCSS in an effort to increase public acceptance? You have expressed that we are too far down the road to turn back. You said, “It’s a bit late in the game to be telling parents that the CCSS are somehow inferior and leave open the possibility that they were a mistake.” It is clear you don’t believe we should change course even if the current course proves to be a mistake. I could apply the same thinking to myself, however, in that instance, while I have many doubts about the standards themselves which I have read through thoroughly, my main objection is the undemocratic and corrupt origins of national standards masquerading as putative “standard standard’ and perpetrated upon teachers and schoolchildren without any local input and for the purpose of creating vast new markets for the businesses that pressed them into existence.

  5. Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

    As far as really understanding what test scores mean I'd guess almost all parents will be no worse or better off than with STAR. The naming of the categories for STAR may have been more straight forward, but I know I had many questions of what those categories meant. So rightly the concern is with how to tell parents their children's results are worse than before. Well at least the name sounds … Read More

    As far as really understanding what test scores mean I’d guess almost all parents will be no worse or better off than with STAR. The naming of the categories for STAR may have been more straight forward, but I know I had many questions of what those categories meant. So rightly the concern is with how to tell parents their children’s results are worse than before. Well at least the name sounds worse and if one believes in the CCSS the only fair assessment is that the results are worse. So the challenge is to explain to parents why the results are worse. Actually that is not challenging if one is prepared to be honest. Not that I’m convinced that all of these are true, but at least from the perspective of the state I think one has to believe:

    1. The new standards are harder than the previous standards. Yes, that means the good results from before were less meaningful than the state previously represented.

    2. The new tests are harder to game partly because they are new and teachers don’t yet know how to teach to them. Maybe they never will if the tests are designed well. Since the tests are not fully under state control the state cannot guarantee the design of the test. Additionally the new tests are not all multiiple choice questions making answers harder to guess.

    3. It’s a lot harder to teach Common Core standards and teachers are years away from doing so proficiently and on a reliable basis.

    4. Your school likely does not have the textbooks/curricular material to teach Common Core effectively and once again it will be years until schools reach that goal.

    5. Due to the change in curricular sequence from the previous standards your child may lack the necessary prerequisites to learn at grade level. Teachers will have tried their best but since the new standards specifically avoided replication of standards time may not have been available. The pace of material was explicitly slowed to allow deeper learning, but teachers need to focus on depth and not sacrifice that time for breadth.

    Ther’s probabaly more, but that seems enough to get the point accross.

    Replies

    • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

      Nice list, Paul.

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      In this comment you are trying to persuade readers that the CDE should warn parents about bad test results. What about warning parents about the dismal rollout of the standards, instruction, materials, professional development and tests? I didn't follow the logic of your comment nor did I understand why you had trouble reading the STAR reports. They were crystal clear and they came with explanatory literature for those who didn't understand the simple terminology. If you … Read More

      In this comment you are trying to persuade readers that the CDE should warn parents about bad test results. What about warning parents about the dismal rollout of the standards, instruction, materials, professional development and tests?

      I didn’t follow the logic of your comment nor did I understand why you had trouble reading the STAR reports. They were crystal clear and they came with explanatory literature for those who didn’t understand the simple terminology. If you want to put a warning label on the results maybe it should say “Here are your child’s crappy results which are due to failed policies in Sacramento and DC.”

      You said, “Well at least the name sounds worse and if one believes in the CCSS the only fair assessment is that the results are worse.” What does that even mean? But it is true the believing in CCSS is a leap of faith given they were never field tested anywhere.

      Regarding the test results, much of the lower results are a function of the standards themselves and the implementation of them, not the students. In states were they’ve already been employed, underperforming students did far worse. It is impossible to deconstruct poor test results to know whether they are the result of poor standards or poor implementation, but in either case, whether or not they are accurate representations of academic content understanding, they are the result to the forces outside of the student. She has little to no control over what she learns if the information is poorly conceived or taught. So what value is the test?

      Paul, like you, I’m not convinced the points you listed are true either.

      1. There’s a general consensus that the former CA standards were more rigorous, not less.

      2. The fact that teachers don’t know how to teach the standards is not a logical rationale for being less able to game them. Obviously, if you don’t know the content gaming is more difficult. But all the results will be questionable without valid instruction in advance. So what’s your point about gaming?

      3. Who says Common Core is harder to teach? I’ve never heard this before. If Math is more grounded in real world utility, as CCSS proponent claim, it should be easier to teach.

      4. The materials are not many years away.

      5. Huh?

      • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

        Don, Let's focus on the first item first. The only organization I know of that did a comparison of CCSS with prior state standards is the Fordham Institute. The overall assessment was that the California standards were on par with CCSS. Although they gave a slight edge to CCSS, which could have been due to the fact that they have been consistent supporters of the CCSS. This is the point I'm not … Read More

        Don,

        Let’s focus on the first item first. The only organization I know of that did a comparison of CCSS with prior state standards is the Fordham Institute. The overall assessment was that the California standards were on par with CCSS. Although they gave a slight edge to CCSS, which could have been due to the fact that they have been consistent supporters of the CCSS. This is the point I’m not sure I believe, but everything I’ve read from state education officials has touted the CCSS as superior to the old standards. So I would think schools would have to stick by that explanation. It’s a bit late in the game to be telling parents that the CCSS are somehow inferior and leave open the possibility that they were a mistake.

        Do you know of other comparisons between CCSS and the prior California standards?

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Paul, I posted this comment above when I should have posted here as a reply to your comment: Paul, the Fordham report found 2 states, CA and Indiana along with DC to have superior ELA standards. CA’s math standards were too close to call. There’s no question that the math standards slow down the sequence about 2 years and leave students without necessary prerequisites. You could chalk that up to less breathe and more depth if … Read More

          Paul, I posted this comment above when I should have posted here as a reply to your comment:

          Paul, the Fordham report found 2 states, CA and Indiana along with DC to have superior ELA standards. CA’s math standards were too close to call. There’s no question that the math standards slow down the sequence about 2 years and leave students without necessary prerequisites. You could chalk that up to less breathe and more depth if you wish though that won’t provide the necessary coursework for competitive college applications. I don’t know of any other formal studies, but my experience sifting through hundreds of articles on the subject leaves me with the impression that the vast majority of the pro-CCSS info is generated by media outlets and business groups that have paid large sums to advertise it. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation list Ed Source, Inc. as a recipient of a $768,070 grant in 2014 for the College Ready US Program. It is no surprise that the corporate interests that have pressed the Common Core into existence keep the search engine priorities moving in their favor. Conversely, with a little digging there is a clear preponderance of negative first-hand POVs expressed in articles and other commentary about CC from teachers and parents and these critiques cross the political spectrum.

          So, it is an odd spectacle to see so many liberal-minded Ed Source readers lining up to support the corporate agenda for America’s school children. You have to wonder when people like Gary Ravani is volunteering to fight in Bill Gates’ army.

          So I think the question is this: Why try to handicap the results of CCSS in an effort to increase public acceptance? You have expressed that we are too far down the road to turn back. You said, “It’s a bit late in the game to be telling parents that the CCSS are somehow inferior and leave open the possibility that they were a mistake.” It is clear you don’t believe we should change course even if the current course proves to be a mistake. I could apply the same thinking to myself, however, in that instance, while I have many doubts about the standards themselves which I have read through thoroughly, my main objection is the undemocratic and corrupt origins of national standards masquerading as putative “standard standard’ and perpetrated upon teachers and schoolchildren without any local input and for the purpose of creating vast new markets for the businesses that pressed them into existence.

          • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

            -meant to say putative STATE standards

            I’ll also add that it isn’t clear that CCSS is harder as you say. It does appear that the tests are harder or have more stringent cut scores.

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Paul: You said: "As far as really understanding what test scores mean I’d guess almost all parents will be no worse or better off than with STAR." And: "The new standards are harder than the previous standards." As someone once said, if you get people to ask the wrong questions it doesn't really matter what answers they come up with. It is difficult to say at this point in time if SBAC will better understood by parents than STAR … Read More

      Paul:

      You said: “As far as really understanding what test scores mean I’d guess almost all parents will be no worse or better off than with STAR.”

      And: “The new standards are harder than the previous standards.”

      As someone once said, if you get people to ask the wrong questions it doesn’t really matter what answers they come up with.

      It is difficult to say at this point in time if SBAC will better understood by parents than STAR results. The problem is it doesn’t really matter if parents understood STAR as the results, it being a standard format multiple choice test, lacked any particular meaning worth knowing. They were, as was often stated if not paid attention to, just a “snap shot” in time of where kids were on a particular day or week. It had that much meaning and little more. There was a tremendous propaganda campaign put out by the self-styled reformers and the business community. who obsess on metrics, that tests and scores were the penultimate product of education. That was, in pedagogic terms, total baloney. Again as the NRC and many others state that system failed to move the needle in any important way in education. The there were the more nefarious motives, like Margaret Spellings quoted in Ed Week and before NCLB was actually implemented and before she became Sec of Ed, who said the purpose of the new test based system (required in all states of using differing standards and assessments) that the new system would show just how bad public school were driving demand for charters and vouchers. Later, in Ed Week, other W Administration admitted that was one of the “sub- motivations” for it all. Other self-styled reformers, it appears, were smelling their own fumes and believed all the test abuse would drive improvement. It did not.

      The teaching of CCSS will be an uphill climb because it demands that teachers return to more substantive teaching and using strategies like project based learning. All in all it is a major departure from the scripted curriculum, pacing guides, death-by-worksheet, and teaching to the test that has been in place for a decade and a half.

      I should say that the above in the “potential” of CCSS. That could happen of districts actually move on and implement it appropriately. Some districts, asking the state for “pacing guides” show management in a number of places seem stuck in the past. And then we have the resistance of the usual suspects who are always suspicious when it looks like the schools will teach kids to think. And then we have the hysterics who see CCSS as the indoctrination of kids in the “new-world-order.”

      You will hear claims that the previous CA standards were “A” rated. That was done by the right-wing Fordham Foundation whose analysis is about as good as you’ll get in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal That is to say, it’s all balderdash.

    • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

      I agree, good list. I would take these a bit further.. 1. I wouldn't classify them as 'harder' per se, rather different (at least as it pertains to why scores will be different). The specific content goals dont seem to be much vastly different, rather the more important difference appears to be the focus on tests trying to measure explanation and critical thinking. Part of that gap may be in student content knowledge, but much … Read More

      I agree, good list. I would take these a bit further..

      1. I wouldn’t classify them as ‘harder’ per se, rather different (at least as it pertains to why scores will be different). The specific content goals dont seem to be much vastly different, rather the more important difference appears to be the focus on tests trying to measure explanation and critical thinking. Part of that gap may be in student content knowledge, but much of it is likely to be instead in test design and maybe teaching methodology.

      2. I dont think the state can admit teachers teach to the tests, though clearly one reason tests have to be replaced periodically is teachers have ‘figured them out’. I also question how much ‘gaming’ really impacted results in the previous incarnation. I can expect it had some impact on lower scorers, but less to none on higher ones. I wonder if this factor is ever studied/estimated or included in the ets reports…

      3. I think the relevant change here for teachers is in methodology. So again, maybe its not so much harder, rather a process that is different than what they’ve used. Again, this may not apply to all teachers either.

      4. Yes. This point deserves extensive discussion. It is absurd that parents are expected to be ‘partners’ in their childs education but likely know zip to squat about what instructional resources are being used and instead have to try to glean it from homework.

      5. I think this is something that can be more specifically quantified, at least in how exactly it happens. Personally, I question how much impact this will have in this year’s results. And generally, I expect this to be outweighed by varying ability anyway. My impression is the difference is slight everywhere but maybe in middle school math. And even there I have heard competing concerns that might lead one to question whether it really exists. Regardless, this is another item that really should be laid out.

    • Paul Muench 1 year ago1 year ago

      Perhaps I was trying to do something too tricky. I wanted to put myself in schools shoes and try to guess what they would tell parents if they were just to be direct about the explanation. From all the DAC meetings I've attended I know this can be difficult, but I have seen it done for district test scores. And it was done without parents freaking out. I know I appreciated … Read More

      Perhaps I was trying to do something too tricky. I wanted to put myself in schools shoes and try to guess what they would tell parents if they were just to be direct about the explanation. From all the DAC meetings I’ve attended I know this can be difficult, but I have seen it done for district test scores. And it was done without parents freaking out. I know I appreciated the candor and I expect other parents did as well. My basic assumption is that most districts buy into the state direction when it comes to standard tests.

  6. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    Let's say, hypothetically, Ravani's lament of the rollout of the former CST were correct and we deny the 4 years between initial test administration and cut scores during which time the test items were adjusted towards continuous improvement. Is applying cut scores before administering a single bonafide field test his idea of an improvement - scores set almost arbitrarily with every expectation of widespread failure the result? The assessment portion should be built on … Read More

    Let’s say, hypothetically, Ravani’s lament of the rollout of the former CST were correct and we deny the 4 years between initial test administration and cut scores during which time the test items were adjusted towards continuous improvement. Is applying cut scores before administering a single bonafide field test his idea of an improvement – scores set almost arbitrarily with every expectation of widespread failure the result?

    The assessment portion should be built on the fly with standards frameworks adopted, norm-referenced field tests administered and then cut scores applied several years down the line giving time for implementation to take hold. That’s not the SBAC way.

    Also, California’s previous standards were malleable whereas CCSS is set in stone and there no mechanism for changing the copyrighted standards as test feedback informs them. They exist in a kind of exalted no man’s land beyond the reach of all. Opt out now!

  7. Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

    To those folks who lament the passing of the CSTs and concerns about "validity and reliability" of SBAC. I happened to be in a number of meetings with very highly paled individuals in the CDE assessment division who were overjoyed at the possibilities of new assessments because at either end of the performance scale, high or low scoring, the CSTs themselves were statistically highly unreliable and invalid. Just what the reliability and validity of SBAC will … Read More

    To those folks who lament the passing of the CSTs and concerns about “validity and reliability” of SBAC. I happened to be in a number of meetings with very highly paled individuals in the CDE assessment division who were overjoyed at the possibilities of new assessments because at either end of the performance scale, high or low scoring, the CSTs themselves were statistically highly unreliable and invalid.

    Just what the reliability and validity of SBAC will be is not clear at this time. Someone commented that the implementation of SBAC and CCSS was “building the airplane as it ruled down the runway.” It’s true. It was the same for the last set of standards and assessments also. It is not the recommended way to carry out the business of education, but because education is so driven by political interests more than pragmatic interests it is the way things are done. As others have noted the appropriate way to deal with the issues would be to insure a funding stream is there to support professional development, aligning curriculum, and then time to implement it all in real classrooms. That would be a three or four year process and then assessments would be given. However, politicians, pundits, and the usual assortment of school critics would get hysterical if there were a three or four year hiatus to allow schools to do it right.

    Replies

    • Ze'ev Wurman 1 year ago1 year ago

      It is true that CST was not very reliable at the either end of the performance spectrum -- it was not meant to be. These 1-2% at each end were not very important for the either the systemic accountability function or for individual students. Do you really need to know that one student in your fourth grade is at grade level of 5.6 rather than 6.1? But you are completely wrong saying that "it was … Read More

      It is true that CST was not very reliable at the either end of the performance spectrum — it was not meant to be. These 1-2% at each end were not very important for the either the systemic accountability function or for individual students. Do you really need to know that one student in your fourth grade is at grade level of 5.6 rather than 6.1?

      But you are completely wrong saying that “it was the same for the last set of standards.” You are rewriting history here.

      Initially (starting around 1999) we had both CST and NRT tests precisely because we did not want to have a new reference-less test that would allow CDE to claim anything it wanted. We wanted results anchored in reality, and the initial use of NRT in addition to CST provided that. Further, we’ve had CST run for 3-4 years before we set cut-scores and declared longitudinal proficiency levels. We did not want want to build an amateur show (“building the plane as it flies”, or as it rolls down the runway in your picturesque description.) Indeed, it is only amateurs and idiots who build the plane as it flies … and SBAC and PARCC.

      So getting excited … sorry, “overjoyed” … that we get a new car with sometime-working engine and non-working brakes but with a new flashy audio system … sorry, with the ability to be “more precise” with ceiling and floor effect, is precisely what I expect from people running our CDE. I have seen them at work for many years.

      And I obviously expect you to ask for more money. EdSource estimated Common Core costs at $1.6 billion in 2010. So far Brown already dumped $1.7 billion into Common Core in the last two years, and this year he topped it with another $3.5 billion. In other words, we are already 3X over the EdSource prediction … but you want more.

      I know, I know … It’s For The Kids. And we are supposed to be happy that a band of amateurs replaced the very nice sedan we’ve had with a Ford Pinto (with a very nice audio system!) for the tidy sum of $5.2 billions. Right.

      • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

        THE DANGERS OF BUILDING A PLANE IN THE AIR Wash Post Answer Sheet - Valerie Strauss Sept 30,2011 This (excerpt) was written by Carol Corbett Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State. Buckle your seat belts and hold on for your life. Teachers and principals, welcome to APPR Airlines flight 2011. Your journey on the ‘plane … Read More

        THE DANGERS OF BUILDING A PLANE IN THE AIR

        Wash Post Answer Sheet – Valerie Strauss Sept 30,2011

        This (excerpt) was written by Carol Corbett Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State.

        Buckle your seat belts and hold on for your life. Teachers and principals, welcome to APPR Airlines flight 2011. Your journey on the ‘plane to be built in the air’ just took off from New York’s Albany airport.

        This description of the New York teacher and principal evaluation system known as APPR is not my critique of an incomplete and untested evaluation system. Rather, it is the description provided by the state Education Department itself. Across New York State, all of the school and district leaders who evaluate teachers are being pulled out of their schools for mandated, taxpayer-funded training in this APPR teacher and principal evaluation system.

        The scripted curriculum given to local trainers by the Education Department begins with a bizarre video of smiling mechanics wearing unopened parachutes, building an unfinished plane in flight—all of which the trainers liken to APPR, which means Annual Professional Performance Review. As the narrator tells us, “Some people like to climb mountains. I like to build planes…in the air.” You can find the video here:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3hge6Bx-4w

        Zeev, you know that bridge you wanted to sell them? That’s the same bridge they sold us – the problematic $6 plus eastern span of the SF Bay Bridge that was also 3 times over cost at a minimum. All these issues have Common Core at the core. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel every few years rather than allowing the standards to evolve in a more organic fashion over time – a process that would be far less disruptive to public education? This was entirely by design, though that goes without saying. I’m no conspiracy theorist by nature, but it’s time to add CCSS to the annals of conspiracies. Guy Fawkes would be proud of David Coleman. He did manage to light the fuse. You said before that CCSS is dead in the water with ascension of the opt-out movement. I’m not so sure, but there’s still before time the whole thing blows. I’m working on an Opt-Out SF.

      • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

        Zeev: You know, what we have here is a failure to communicate. We just talk passed one another. Your perspective is that of the "bean-counter," generally remote from schools, kids, and learning. You appear to be ensconced in some exec suite somewhere in Silicon Valley, and formerly from the USDE under the W Administration. I suppose from your other perch, at Hoover, being a part of one of the black marks on the history of the US … Read More

        Zeev:

        You know, what we have here is a failure to communicate. We just talk passed one another.

        Your perspective is that of the “bean-counter,” generally remote from schools, kids, and learning. You appear to be ensconced in some exec suite somewhere in Silicon Valley, and formerly from the USDE under the W Administration. I suppose from your other perch, at Hoover, being a part of one of the black marks on the history of the US presidency is considered OK. Not that I would blame you personally for all that transpired there. But, aside from that cradle of civilization, the American Deep south, not many other places. Whatever.

        Your expressed attitude toward the educational bureaucracy in the state having been part of the same kind of bureaucracy at the federal level points to that (in)famous quote about a certain party: “Run on a platform that government doesn’t work and then get elected (or appointed) and prove that to be true.” Just sayin.’

        I’m not sure where you get the 1% to 2% figure. Assuming that is “accurate,” not my impression, what you say is all good except if you happen to be one of the 1% or 2% of students and there are huge efforts to use the tests for high stakes. And then, of course, there is the continuing pressure to use the scores for rewarding teachers who get the highest unreliable scores and fire the teachers who get the lowest unreliable scores. Maybe that makes sense at Hoover or in the rarified atmosphere of Silicon Valley, but on the mortal plane it stinks to high heaven.

        The current milieu for teachers created by certain pressure groups makes classroom teaching something like trying to play the violin at a very high level while simultaneously being mugged by thugs. And that’s not as much of a metaphor as it seems.

        Your rant about how much “sense” the roll-out of the last set of standards and assessments gets to my point about different perspectives and different worlds. You are talking about policy configuration from comfortable offices at think tanks and Washington offices.

        I am talking about how it rolled out in schools and classrooms. There was little difference in how the roll-out worked, or not, in schools and classrooms. There were no initial standards aligned texts or professional development. It was absolutely building the plane as it went down the runway. It took years. and, in the end, signified nothing.

        Since we are into metaphors, allow me to refer to the one about battle plans: They are all perfect right up until the first shot is fired. Then they are basically worthless.The difference in perspective on battle plans is based on whether you are in the defense industry, stationed at the Pentagon, or sitting in a bunker or foxhole. There is world of very real difference.

        And then we get to your comments about money and “It’s For the Kids.” Yep, Absolutely. It is “for the kids.” And it is about money. Again, as I said previously, those who obsess about the data, the graphs, and the spread sheets are either trying to obscure reality from other, or perhaps themselves. For those at Hoover, that’s some kind of obscuring.

        And the reality is CA will remain one of the lowest states for funding for education. It has about the highest poverty rates for children in the US. The US has one of the highest child poverty rates in the industrialized world.

        Now, those are issues that can only be resolved by increased funding and increased revenues. i understand that to express an understanding or even some sympathy for this black stain on the state and nation could lose a person their membership card to Hoover.

        Now, I could go on to explain just why it is a “black stain,” and why we need progressive policies implemented to remedy the shameful situation, but I know I would be trying to explain color to a blind man.

        • Ze'ev Wurman 1 year ago1 year ago

          Gary, As you tar me with every Republican evil you can think of, from "deep south" to W to Hoover Institution, I guess it will not help me to let you know that I am a registered Decline to State (smile). I could smear you in return with all the evil that teacher unions brought on school children, but I will refrain. But I feel I have to correct the "facts" as you recall them -- I … Read More

          Gary,

          As you tar me with every Republican evil you can think of, from “deep south” to W to Hoover Institution, I guess it will not help me to let you know that I am a registered Decline to State (smile). I could smear you in return with all the evil that teacher unions brought on school children, but I will refrain.

          But I feel I have to correct the “facts” as you recall them — I think I already mentioned that your recall seems not the best these days, whether for pathological or for political reasons.

          You say that “how [the standards] rolled out in schools and classrooms. There was little difference in how the roll-out worked, or not, in schools and classrooms. There were no initial standards aligned texts or professional development. It was absolutely building the plane as it went down the runway. It took years. and, in the end, signified nothing.”

          Allow me to remind you. The standards were adopted in December of 1997. A year later the STAR test started, initially ONLY with NRT that required no adjustment, and the CST items were shifted slowly over the following 3-4 years. Meanwhile the Schiff-Bustamante bill allocated an *extra* one billion for textbook adoption in 1999, and the AB2519 emergency textbook adoption occurred in 2001. The STAR cut scores were available since 2002 after 3-4 years of piloting.

          So, no. The 1999 standards were not rolled out while the airplane was flying. Nor were the textbooks, teacher training, or the assessment. As someone famously said, you are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts.

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            Zeev: Again we are describing different parts of the elephant. I am talking about how things rolled out in schools and classroom from the perspective of someone who was actually in the schools and classrooms. You are describing things form the perspective of someone who was somewhere else and it appears based on observations from the wrong end of the telescope. Was it your impression that once a funding bill for texts materializes in Sacramento that the … Read More

            Zeev:

            Again we are describing different parts of the elephant. I am talking about how things rolled out in schools and classroom from the perspective of someone who was actually in the schools and classrooms. You are describing things form the perspective of someone who was somewhere else and it appears based on observations from the wrong end of the telescope.

            Was it your impression that once a funding bill for texts materializes in Sacramento that the books arrive in classroom’s the next day, or month, or year? There are process that need to be followed. And, at most district levels, that includes the participation of classroom educators in the process (as this is a requirement of Ed Code), though some districts interpret that loosely. Then there is the time and availability of quality professional development that, for the most part, was not available. And all of this with CA’s enduring and systemic underfunding. It was no where near as smooth and well articulated as you suggest.

            For those who actually had to do it.

            Then, as a side note, the text “selections” provided by the state. Recall the “debates” over the execrable “Open Court” reading series as over very little time the concept of standards devolved into standardization.

            The timeline you describe seems very tidy to you. In schools and classrooms, with administrators getting hysterical over the faux “accountability,” things were not tidy, or logical, or timely, or headed towards sound child-centered pedagogy, at all.

            As I said the difference between sitting in a Pentagon Situation Room and sitting in a foxhole. Never the twain shall meet.

            • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

              Interesting discussion. For reference, according to CDE timelines: the SBE adopted common core in 2010. It apppears it took 2 years for the final versions to be available, and an additional year for math framework, 2 years for ela. The approved list of available instructional materials were provided at the beginning of 2014 for math and the end of 2015 for ela (though those seem only to be k-8?). Obviously, engageny has been available for … Read More

              Interesting discussion.
              For reference, according to CDE timelines:
              the SBE adopted common core in 2010.
              It apppears it took 2 years for the final versions to be available, and an additional year for math framework, 2 years for ela.
              The approved list of available instructional materials were provided at the beginning of 2014 for math and the end of 2015 for ela (though those seem only to be k-8?). Obviously, engageny has been available for a while, and districts seem to be using that.
              One negative to professional development in our district is that some of it is happening during school hours, whch means noticeable higher teacher absence rates. I guess that is the cheapest way to do it, though I expect that to be detrimental to learning.

            • Ze'ev Wurman 1 year ago1 year ago

              What you say, Navigio, is generally fine and I have little issue with that. Two points, though. 1. The original discussion started with SBAC being problematic, with Gary Ravani defending it as being built as it flies (or something to that effect). SBAC field test occurred in 2014, 4 years after CC adoption. SBAC real test, with unvalidated cut scores and other unvalidated parts of it was first administered this year, five(!) years after standards adoption. … Read More

              What you say, Navigio, is generally fine and I have little issue with that. Two points, though.

              1. The original discussion started with SBAC being problematic, with Gary Ravani defending it as being built as it flies (or something to that effect). SBAC field test occurred in 2014, 4 years after CC adoption. SBAC real test, with unvalidated cut scores and other unvalidated parts of it was first administered this year, five(!) years after standards adoption. Compare that to STAR that started within a year of the standards with norm-based testing to get the base line, and shifted the CST items over the next few years, so by 2002-3 — about the same time we are now from CC adoption — it already had a few years of real student data that allowed its application to EAP and provided strong validation to its longitudinal scaled-scores.

              2. Gary then switched the discussion to general standards roll-out, presumably to deflect the SBAC incompetence charges and muddle the water. That is what you generally responded to. But even here the big difference is that funding for the Dec. 1997 Standards started by 1998-99 (textbooks money, prof. development) and went on for 3-4 years before the test results were finally deemed reliable and applied to accountability, here the first chunk of funding for the standards roll-out (Brown’s $1.25B) occurred in 2013-14 school year, 3-4 after the standards were already adopted and just one year before SBAC first real administration.

  8. Nicole Williams 2 years ago2 years ago

    There will be the same results on the common core test for Afrikan American students as there were in the other state test. They will have the lowest scores and show the least achievement. The needs of Black students have never been met in any school district and it is time for some drastic changes.

  9. Roxana Marachi 2 years ago2 years ago

    The most honest communication schools could provide to parents and students would be that the scores they will be receiving are meaningless as SmarterBalanced has not conducted psychometric analyses required to establish validity/reliability of the assessments. Readers interested in the background/controversies surrounding the tests (including a 30+ page invalidation report of the SBAC math assessment) are encouraged to visit: http://bit.ly/testing_testing. Here are SBAC's projected failure rates for 11th graders: http://sco.lt/5SBAv3. And to view … Read More

    The most honest communication schools could provide to parents and students would be that the scores they will be receiving are meaningless as SmarterBalanced has not conducted psychometric analyses required to establish validity/reliability of the assessments. Readers interested in the background/controversies surrounding the tests (including a 30+ page invalidation report of the SBAC math assessment) are encouraged to visit: http://bit.ly/testing_testing. Here are SBAC’s projected failure rates for 11th graders: http://sco.lt/5SBAv3. And to view a video clip of the NAACP Press Conference in Seattle on SBAC testing, check out: https://edpuzzle.com/media/5553ae9ceb38f9e7657e9f00

    Replies

    • Roxana Marachi 2 years ago2 years ago

      This link includes a brief transcript of the Seattle video clip as well as a link to the full video: http://sco.lt/729uev

      • Roxana Marachi 2 years ago2 years ago

        It seems the main comment I had sent in yesterday either had some sort of posting error, is still awaiting moderation, or was determined to be blocked from view (however the clarifying link 'reply' did make it to the comment stream). Here is the full comment, this time revised with fewer links. The most honest communication schools could provide to parents and students would be that the scores they will be receiving are meaningless … Read More

        It seems the main comment I had sent in yesterday either had some sort of posting error, is still awaiting moderation, or was determined to be blocked from view (however the clarifying link ‘reply’ did make it to the comment stream). Here is the full comment, this time revised with fewer links.

        The most honest communication schools could provide to parents and students would be that the scores they will be receiving are meaningless as SmarterBalanced has not conducted psychometric analyses required to establish validity/reliability of the assessments. Readers interested in the background/controversies surrounding the tests (including a 30+ page invalidation report of the SBAC math assessment) are encouraged to visit: http://bit.ly/testing_testing. Scrolling through that link will also lead you to SBAC’s projected failure rates for 11th graders as well as a video clip and short transcript of the NAACP Press Conference in Seattle on SBAC testing (also included in the post above/below this comment).

  10. Mike 2 years ago2 years ago

    I'm very glad to see someone writing about this subject. Understandably, districts' predominant focus has been getting kids successfully through the test. Indeed, for the most part test administration in California has gone smoothly. Now that we can turn our attention to results reporting, the prevailing sense seems to be, "Wait -- now we have something else to worry about?" The challenge here is that all the general messages in the world -- "This test … Read More

    I’m very glad to see someone writing about this subject.

    Understandably, districts’ predominant focus has been getting kids successfully through the test. Indeed, for the most part test administration in California has gone smoothly.

    Now that we can turn our attention to results reporting, the prevailing sense seems to be, “Wait — now we have something else to worry about?” The challenge here is that all the general messages in the world — “This test is different…” “Results will look different…” “Scores might be lower…” are just that: general. And parents care much more about their kids than about how kids in general perform on an assessment.

    Our company Spotlight has developed a means of delivering unique, personalized reports that deliver deeper levels of insight to parents and teachers. Check out https://vimeo.com/129130333.

    Oh — it bears mentioning that the reports teachers receive will leave a great deal to be desired as well.

  11. Harold Capenter 2 years ago2 years ago

    Man-o-man! When parents get a look at the scores, whew, it ain't going to be pretty. I pretty much expect, "pitch forks". Remember, the state doe is expecting 62-70% will out right fail the test. And, no amount of "explaining" is going to "fix" that...especially when parent learn the test to set to fail their kids with "cut scores" set relatively high. Answer one question: How did the CA State DOE "predict" … Read More

    Man-o-man! When parents get a look at the scores, whew, it ain’t going to be pretty. I pretty much expect, “pitch forks”. Remember, the state doe is expecting 62-70% will out right fail the test. And, no amount of “explaining” is going to “fix” that…especially when parent learn the test to set to fail their kids with “cut scores” set relatively high. Answer one question: How did the CA State DOE “predict” 62-70% will fail the test, in advance of the test? The best explanation…is from Carol Burris – Common Core: The Plane Being Built in the Air: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7GSWbWrnyc

  12. Zeev Wurman 2 years ago2 years ago

    Some factual corrections. It would help if the reporter did not blindly buy into what CDE is selling. 1. "One big difference from the previous test is that, in addition to an overall score, parents will receive details about each student’s performance. For each subject, the report breaks out skills, such as “research/inquiry” for English language arts or “problem solving” for math, and states whether the student met the standard." Big difference? Really? Perhaps a big deterioration. STAR … Read More

    Some factual corrections. It would help if the reporter did not blindly buy into what CDE is selling.

    1. “One big difference from the previous test is that, in addition to an overall score, parents will receive details about each student’s performance. For each subject, the report breaks out skills, such as “research/inquiry” for English language arts or “problem solving” for math, and states whether the student met the standard.”

    Big difference? Really? Perhaps a big deterioration.

    STAR offered much finer feedback in term of its reporting clusters (http://www.scoe.org/files/cst-clusters.pdf ). Would you rather get feedback on your 6th grader in terms of three Common Core generic and largely-meaningless axes “Problem Solving & Modeling/Data Analysis,” “Concepts & Procedures,” and “Communicating Reasoning” (whatever THAT may be), or would you rather see her results along the five specific STAR axes of “Ratios, Proportions, Percentages, Negative Fractions,” “Operations and Problem Solving with Fractions,” “Algebra and Functions,” “Measurement and Geometry,” “Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability”?

    2. “The scores could have a direct impact on high school juniors. Under the Early Assessment Program, students can skip remedial courses at California State University, community colleges and other campuses if they score high enough on the Smarter Balanced assessments. If they score too low, 11th-graders are directed to use their senior year to enroll in classes or take other measures to prepare for college.”

    EAP (Early Assessment Program) has been with us since about 2003. Before committing to non-remedial placement at the time, CSU could access a few years of STAR results to compare with its internal placement tests, and CSU asked — and received — test augmentation in particular areas of concern that it felt the generic 11th grade test was not emphasizing sufficiently.

    Contrast that with the new Common Core legal imposition on CSU (via our brilliant legislators) forcing it to accept students into non-remedial courses (a) without having any longitudinal data to compare with the SBAC results and draw an appropriate threshold, and (b) without the ability to modify the test’s focus to align with CSU needs.

    If that is an improvement, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      To that I would add the falsehood in the reporter's comment, "Fewer students are expected to meet the standards on the new tests because they are based on the Common Core, which is still being rolled out in classes and is more demanding than the previous standards." While CCSS is regarded as more demanding than the standards of at least 33 other states, it is widely acknowledged to be the case that California's previous standards in … Read More

      To that I would add the falsehood in the reporter’s comment, “Fewer students are expected to meet the standards on the new tests because they are based on the Common Core, which is still being rolled out in classes and is more demanding than the previous standards.”

      While CCSS is regarded as more demanding than the standards of at least 33 other states, it is widely acknowledged to be the case that California’s previous standards in both math and ELA were superior in rigor, breath and scope. Even the Fordham Institute acknowledged this as far back as 2010.

      Is the purpose of this article to assist the powers that be in damage control or to report the facts?

      • Zeev Wurman 2 years ago2 years ago

        Thanks for adding this comment. I am getting tired after five years of fighting this rubbish from people who never read a set of standard or can’t tell the difference between factoring and prime decomposition.

        • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

          Zeev: The main thing "decomposing" at the moment is the failed standards, testing, and accountability system put in place under the W Administration. How big a failure was it, you ask? Pretty darn big according to the National Research Council and results on the NAEP. Now I know the NRC is not, in your universe, as "fair and balanced" as Hoover or some other right-wing editorial font of "wisdom," but for those of us on this plane of … Read More

          Zeev:

          The main thing “decomposing” at the moment is the failed standards, testing, and accountability system put in place under the W Administration.

          How big a failure was it, you ask? Pretty darn big according to the National Research Council and results on the NAEP.

          Now I know the NRC is not, in your universe, as “fair and balanced” as Hoover or some other right-wing editorial font of “wisdom,” but for those of us on this plane of existence it is pretty solid evidence.

          CCSS and SBAC/CAASP are still works in progress, but at least we’ve gotten beyond relentlessly beating the dead horse of the last failed experiment.

          • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

            "...the failed standards, testing, and accountability system put in place under the W Administration." News flash! There were no academic standards in NCLSD. As far as testing and accountability, what's happening now can hardly be termed "decomposing". The Common Core train has greatly expanded the high stakes testing regimen you purport to hate and the accountability regimen foisted upon the states is acutely focused on holding teachers you claim to support responsible for student test … Read More

            “…the failed standards, testing, and accountability system put in place under the W Administration.”

            News flash! There were no academic standards in NCLSD. As far as testing and accountability, what’s happening now can hardly be termed “decomposing”. The Common Core train has greatly expanded the high stakes testing regimen you purport to hate and the accountability regimen foisted upon the states is acutely focused on holding teachers you claim to support responsible for student test scores. Gary, you are trailing far behind the teachers you represent.

          • Zeev Wurman 2 years ago2 years ago

            Gary, Calif. standards were put together during Clinton presidency and Pete Wilson governorship, much before W arrived on the scene. And the Democratic Gray Davis supported and enhanced them. I am unaware of any NRC work on the 1997 California standards. If you are, please enlighten us. Regarding the failed experiment, I provided data on its -- quite incredible, actually -- success, particularly for minorities. You never even attempted to rebut it, continuing instead to randomly spout three … Read More

            Gary,

            Calif. standards were put together during Clinton presidency and Pete Wilson governorship, much before W arrived on the scene. And the Democratic Gray Davis supported and enhanced them.

            I am unaware of any NRC work on the 1997 California standards. If you are, please enlighten us.

            Regarding the failed experiment, I provided data on its — quite incredible, actually — success, particularly for minorities. You never even attempted to rebut it, continuing instead to randomly spout three and four letter acronyms that I am not sure you even know what they mean.

            I worry about your memory … please do get a checkup. And if you feel you don’t need it, please attempt to double-check your messages for coherence.

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Zeev: You are correct, of course, the testing, standards, and "accountability" jihad on education had a head start in CA under the Republican Wilson and that was prior to NCLB under the Republican Bush. It's a point I have often made here myself. (Granted there were certain otherwise very sound minded democrats who were dupes in this process.) It also appears, if my memory is "failing," that your perceptions of the national mood have failed utterly. NCLB … Read More

              Zeev:

              You are correct, of course, the testing, standards, and “accountability” jihad on education had a head start in CA under the Republican Wilson and that was prior to NCLB under the Republican Bush. It’s a point I have often made here myself. (Granted there were certain otherwise very sound minded democrats who were dupes in this process.)

              It also appears, if my memory is “failing,” that your perceptions of the national mood have failed utterly. NCLB is reviled as one of the worst pieces of national legislation ever conceived. The only thing about it that has any redeeming qualities is that it was the triggering event that set off the national movement against testing abuse.

              Yea, you trotted out a bunch of stats about how many kids were taking higher math, but my rejoinder is that tens of thousand of mostly poor and minority students were denied a well balanced education including the arts, social studies, and even science because of the unhealthy fetish over ELA and math test scores.

              Now you can’t plot the qualities of “well rounded education” on a graph, nor can you display what’s important about that need on a spread sheet. Those obsessed with stats, numbers, graphs, and spread sheets may have difficulty wrapping their minds around that, but it’s there and it’s real.

              I recently read a book by a former division head at GM. He traced the decline in competitiveness of Detroit’s “big three” to the rise of the “bean counter” class in the auto maker’s decision making hierarchy. These people were making significant decisions about making cars based on the stats, numbers, graphs, and spread sheets. You need these people to efficiently run a business, but when they acquire too much power the essence of what makes people by cars is lost. And it was.

              And so it goes with education. It has awls been a running joke that the farther you get from the classroom the more importance your opinions about education become. And so we got techies and Silicon Valley executives, any number of economists, and politicians making crucial educational decisions. They acquired too much power and the essence of quality education was lost.

              And then there was the warning of John Kenneth Galbraith, who began encountering conservative economists he called the “statisticians,” who used the stats, numbers, graphs and spread sheets when making policy decisions about government programs. The slew of numbers was simply a smokescreen they used to hide the detrimental effects their policies would have on the poor and minorities. The US, the wealthiest nation on Earth, didn’t get the highest percentage of poor children in the industrialized world by accident.

              If you don’t find this “coherent,” I happen to be a reading specialist and can offer some hints to remedy your dilemma.

            • Ze'ev Wurman 1 year ago1 year ago

              Gary, Gary, Did you hear me espousing the greatness of NCLB here recently? Or ever? You must be confusing me with some other ghastly phantom lurking in your imagination. I have been a defender of the California Standards, not of NCLB. In fact, my current opinion of NCLB, and certainly of it's waivers, is probably harsher than even yours. But you never respond to facts or specific questions, preferring instead to range far and wide and the … Read More

              Gary, Gary,

              Did you hear me espousing the greatness of NCLB here recently? Or ever? You must be confusing me with some other ghastly phantom lurking in your imagination. I have been a defender of the California Standards, not of NCLB. In fact, my current opinion of NCLB, and certainly of it’s waivers, is probably harsher than even yours.

              But you never respond to facts or specific questions, preferring instead to range far and wide and the unfairness of the world, about people coming from outside education, about technocrats. And you claim to be a reading specialist. I cry for you, Argentina.

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Zeev:

              I’m not sure I understand how you dislike NCLB so much and yet simultaneously dislike waivers from NCLBs requirements. You certainly advocate for many of the test score based educational schemes that appear at the foundations of NCLB. That scheme that used “research based’ over 100 times in its text and yet was based on exactly: None.

    • John Fensterwald 2 years ago2 years ago

      Ze'ev: The chancellors of CSU and the community college system, the president of the University of California and the president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities wrote a joint letter in August 2014 supporting the Common Core standards. If the standards were foisted on them, you'd never know from the letter. Beverly Young, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs of CSU, sits on the executive committee of Smarter Balanced and has had … Read More

      Ze’ev: The chancellors of CSU and the community college system, the president of the University of California and the president of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities wrote a joint letter in August 2014 supporting the Common Core standards. If the standards were foisted on them, you’d never know from the letter. Beverly Young, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs of CSU, sits on the executive committee of Smarter Balanced and has had a hand shaping the 11th grade Smarter Balanced exam so that it can replace the old EAP exam that combined the 11th grade California Standards Test with 30 additional questions. Rates of California high school graduates taking remediation courses in community college and CSU couldn’t have been much higher for the past decade, when students were taught using the former California standards. The chancellors are hopeful, if not optimistic, remediation rates will decline in coming years. (I am not, however, willing to wager another case of wine that they will.)

      • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

        That remediation rates couldn’t have been any higher under the previous standards which were either the first or second most rigorous among all 50 states speaks to the fact that standards are not the problem, not that we need even higher standards or harder tests. That said, there are studies that indicate CCSS is not higher, but lower.

      • Zeev Wurman 2 years ago2 years ago

        Regarding the letter from the CCC/CSU/UC, it was a political gesture under pressure from Sacramento. The faculty at CSU/UC never saw or opined on it. Beverly Young saving the day? She may be a nice lady, but her degrees are in teacher education. Let's just politely say that she has about zero credibility when it comes to college academics. In 2003 EAP was evaluated by CSU *faculty* before it agreed to accept it, not by … Read More

        Regarding the letter from the CCC/CSU/UC, it was a political gesture under pressure from Sacramento. The faculty at CSU/UC never saw or opined on it. Beverly Young saving the day? She may be a nice lady, but her degrees are in teacher education. Let’s just politely say that she has about zero credibility when it comes to college academics. In 2003 EAP was evaluated by CSU *faculty* before it agreed to accept it, not by a bunch of weak administrators.

        Regarding remediation, CSU remediation in math dropped from over 50% in 1997 to less than 30% in 2013, while the enrollment more than doubled and the Lation share in enrollment skyrocketed from 25% to 43%. Not bad for supposedly “failed” standards. See this chart.

        • TheMorrigan 2 years ago2 years ago

          It is a mistake to make some claim about remediation rates and our previous standards and/or CCSS. The campuses that have lowered remediation rates since 2010 did so in a variety of ways: 1) Requiring Early Start Program (summer school starts before the fall and the fall is when they start the data collection for first time Freshman) 2) Increasing admission standards 3) Offering fewer remediation classes 4) Waiving remediation when students pass ERWC classes in 12th grade You … Read More

          It is a mistake to make some claim about remediation rates and our previous standards and/or CCSS.

          The campuses that have lowered remediation rates since 2010 did so in a variety of ways:
          1) Requiring Early Start Program (summer school starts before the fall and the fall is when they start the data collection for first time Freshman)
          2) Increasing admission standards
          3) Offering fewer remediation classes
          4) Waiving remediation when students pass ERWC classes in 12th grade

          You should note that remediation has only improved at some campuses. Others have remediation that is just as bad as it was in 1997: http://asd.calstate.edu/performance/proficiency.shtml

          None of those 4 have anything to do with the previous standards or the CCSS ones. Remediation at the CSUs has very little to do with K-12 standards in general.

          • Ze'ev Wurman 1 year ago1 year ago

            Permit me to disagree. "1) Requiring Early Start Program (summer school starts before the fall and the fall is when they start the data collection for first time Freshman)" Early Start Program *started* in summer of 2012 and was expected to have full implementation only last year (2014). The remediation rate dropped sharply in late 1990s and then again starting 2010. This can't be ESP effects. "2) Increasing admission standards" Perhaps, but then it would work precisely as designed: … Read More

            Permit me to disagree.

            “1) Requiring Early Start Program (summer school starts before the fall and the fall is when they start the data collection for first time Freshman)”

            Early Start Program *started* in summer of 2012 and was expected to have full implementation only last year (2014). The remediation rate dropped sharply in late 1990s and then again starting 2010. This can’t be ESP effects.

            “2) Increasing admission standards”

            Perhaps, but then it would work precisely as designed: CSU could elevate its admission standards because finally there was sufficient pool of in-state qualified applicants. Until late 1990s only 8-9% of cohort qualified. By 2013 it was 12.8%

            “3) Offering fewer remediation classes”

            This seems to confuse cause and effect. ELM (Entry Level Math exam) cut scores for remediation placement have not changed over this period. But if there was a sharp drop in remediation needs, it’s only natural that the number of remediation classes dropped.

            “4) Waiving remediation when students pass ERWC classes in 12th grade”

            ERWC classes are for English. I presented CSU remediation results for mathematics.

            Bottom line — your arguments do not seem to hold water.

      • Doug McRae 2 years ago2 years ago

        John -- The political narrative for the CA 1997 standards changed drastically in Sept 2013 when AB 484 was going through the legislature, doing away with STAR to promote the new CAASPP. This political narrative eventually included downgrading the STAR-based EAP program [which was widely admired across the country as a leading higher/lower education coordination effort] and rather promoting a new Smarter Balanced EAP use. It's only reasonable to say the jury is still out … Read More

        John — The political narrative for the CA 1997 standards changed drastically in Sept 2013 when AB 484 was going through the legislature, doing away with STAR to promote the new CAASPP. This political narrative eventually included downgrading the STAR-based EAP program [which was widely admired across the country as a leading higher/lower education coordination effort] and rather promoting a new Smarter Balanced EAP use. It’s only reasonable to say the jury is still out on EAP use for Smarter Balanced scores, especially in the face of apparently very low 2015 Smarter Balanced grade 11 participation and test completion rates.

        • John Fensterwald 1 year ago1 year ago

          Doug: I am not sure what you mean by an the Legislature's effort to "downgrade" the STAR-based EAP, which sounds conspiratorial. The state was switching academic standards; naturally, one would expect the EAP test would change as well, to avoid having students take another test based on old standards with supplemental questions that CSU supplied. One could view it as a triumph of California's clout within Smarter Balanced that CSU is satisfied that doing … Read More

          Doug: I am not sure what you mean by an the Legislature’s effort to “downgrade” the STAR-based EAP, which sounds conspiratorial. The state was switching academic standards; naturally, one would expect the EAP test would change as well, to avoid having students take another test based on old standards with supplemental questions that CSU supplied. One could view it as a triumph of California’s clout within Smarter Balanced that CSU is satisfied that doing well on the 11th grade Smarter Balanced test would meet its standard of college readiness.This is not an act of faith; the intent all along was to create an 11th grade test to meet that purpose, which is why having Beverly Young on the executive board of Smarter Balanced is significant.

          I happen to share some of your skepticism about the process of setting the “cut score” that would establish the score at which CSU will consider students college-ready, without a need for remediation. So, yes, it’s too soon to draw conclusions about rates of college-readiness this year based on Smarter Balanced. But the EAP test is one of several ways that students can show they are college-ready, not the sole or definitive measure. And I agree that EAP is important: It sends a valuable signal to high school students about readiness for college work after high school and an implicit reminder that they should continue math in 12th grade; too many students don’t.

          • Doug McRae 1 year ago1 year ago

            John -- I don't think I said it was a direct legislative effort to downgrade the EAP -- rather, my statement was downgrading the STAR EAP was the eventual result of the political narrative to downgrade STAR itself. I'm not against eventual use of the Smarter Balanced grade 11 test for EAP purposes, nor against use for CAHSEE high school graduation purposes, provided it can be demonstrated either or both uses provide valid reliable fair … Read More

            John — I don’t think I said it was a direct legislative effort to downgrade the EAP — rather, my statement was downgrading the STAR EAP was the eventual result of the political narrative to downgrade STAR itself. I’m not against eventual use of the Smarter Balanced grade 11 test for EAP purposes, nor against use for CAHSEE high school graduation purposes, provided it can be demonstrated either or both uses provide valid reliable fair scores for credible use for these purposes. We ain’t there yet, and won’t be for several years (in my estimation). The focus of my comment was on the jury still being out, and that it is poor testing policy to promote or implement a particular use before the tests is documented as ready for that use.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              "...naturally, one would expect the EAP test would change as well". Of course, but the EAP fallout is just a symptom that derives from the primary driver, the Common Core, and the ill-advised and unprecedented rush to push it untested into every classroom in the nation. All the subsequent problems which are the topics of innumerable Ed Source articles result from this mistake. So, whether the EAP change was conspiratorial or not, I have … Read More

              “…naturally, one would expect the EAP test would change as well”.

              Of course, but the EAP fallout is just a symptom that derives from the primary driver, the Common Core, and the ill-advised and unprecedented rush to push it untested into every classroom in the nation. All the subsequent problems which are the topics of innumerable Ed Source articles result from this mistake. So, whether the EAP change was conspiratorial or not, I have no doubt it is the product of the Common Core which meets every definition of a conspiracy.

  13. navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

    two things: parents should take the practice tests with their children. then they will understand why results are lower. I am confused about the disconnect between the desire to have to warn parents about lower performance and district LCAPs that did not include an 'expected drop' in performance in setting proficiency expectations. Did any districts actually put a reduction in proficiency rates in their LCAP as a goal? And if not, why not, given the … Read More

    two things: parents should take the practice tests with their children. then they will understand why results are lower.

    I am confused about the disconnect between the desire to have to warn parents about lower performance and district LCAPs that did not include an ‘expected drop’ in performance in setting proficiency expectations. Did any districts actually put a reduction in proficiency rates in their LCAP as a goal? And if not, why not, given the concern about the results being a sensitive issue? (some districts simply made 14-15 results the new ‘starting point’).

    Replies

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Navigio: Good point! The common trajectory for newly introduced assessments is lower scores. Then, gradually and as occurred with the CSTs, teachers as well as students learn what the tests are all about and scores rise. Then they tend to plateau. At this point the tests are replaced, or cut scores are adjusted, or statistical "re-centering" is done (as occurred to the SAT some years ago). And the cycle continues. "Lower scores" could be anticipated. And since … Read More

      Navigio:

      Good point!

      The common trajectory for newly introduced assessments is lower scores. Then, gradually and as occurred with the CSTs, teachers as well as students learn what the tests are all about and scores rise. Then they tend to plateau. At this point the tests are replaced, or cut scores are adjusted, or statistical “re-centering” is done (as occurred to the SAT some years ago). And the cycle continues.

      “Lower scores” could be anticipated. And since we’ve just gotten by the “base year” for SBAC, the question arises: lower than what? And SBAC, by statute as I recall, is not to be compared to the CSTs: apples and aardvarks and all that. The topic of how to introduce the idea of low scores for the first couple of years was discussed at the SBE, but the ordinary press didn’t seem to pick up on it and parents, rather notoriously, don’t read school district memos that are sent home. All in all, somewhat lower scores is not half as sexy as “crisis in the schools!” The media would have been undercutting its own dramatic headlines by advertising logical interpretations of the scores.

      Kudos to Ed Source for handling the issue in a responsible manner.

      People could just look at a kid’s grades and ask the teacher how the kid is doing (which research suggests is at least as accurate as any of our best known tests), but that’s way to simple. The low score events give the usual suspects the opportunity to go after teachers and their unions, and a very profitable testing industry would collapse.

      Not too many years ago I saw an op/ed piece by someone at Heritage who claimed the US economic sky was about to fall because the average score on the SAT math section had dropped by 3 (three) points. That was out of 800 points. Economic Armageddon to be sure. So the tests are of use to some people, just not students, teachers, or even colleges as many are discarding the SAT and ACT. About time.