Tag Archives: Results

Has the NH Commissioner Been Lying to Parents?

Now that the abysmal Smarter Balanced scores have come out, the spinning has just begun.

The Common Core soldiers in the state are spinning these results to avoid some of the tough questions that come from this testing scheme.

In the past, New Hampshire under Commissioner Virginia Barry, students took the NECAP. Now they are taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Under the NECAP, New Hampshire students showed relatively high levels of proficiency in the core subjects. Those proficiency levels just DROPPED.

What does this mean for children who took the NECAP and those who recently took the SBA?
Does this mean, as one activist in New Hampshire recently said, the NH Department of Education has been lying to parents in the past?

While they SPIN these results, it’s important to note how none of these bureaucrats take responsibility for any of this.

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NASHUA Smarter Balanced Scores RELEASED: It’s Not Good?

The New Hampshire Dept. of Education directed Superintendents across New Hampshire to withhold the data on the preliminary proficiency scores from the Smarter Balanced (Common Core) Assessment.

Parents and school board members around the state began asking, who do the Superintendents work for? Commissioner Barry OR the local community that hires and fires them? Once again, we see the Commissioner directing our Superintendents as if they work for her. Commissioner Barry continues to pit NH Superintendents against the people who pay their salaries.

The Nashua School Board recently directed their Superintendent, Mark Conrad, to release the preliminary scores. As we predicted, the low scores are shocking.

We do want to remind everyone that these are PRELIMINARY SCORES and are subject to change, however these initial scores do not look good at all.

This might be a startling revelation for many people, but can you rely on these scores to determine if your child or school is not performing well?

We’ve posted information on how the Smarter Balanced Assessment is FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED. We’ve shared information from assessment experts who’ve reminded us that this assessment has NOT been independently validated. We know the Nashau teachers have informed the community that this assessment comes with serious problems.

So why does Governor Hassan, Commissioner Barry and the NH Department of Education, continue to force this upon our schools and students? When will they choose an achievement TEST that is validated and tests knowledge? Why do they continue to force our schools to use psychometric assessments that assess our child’s values, attitudes and beliefs?

The New Hampshire Department of Education operates with a standardized assessment that no one can rely upon for good data and yet this is the information that will be collected on your children and used against them and your teachers too. This was a SET UP FOR FAILURE for your children and teachers!

INCOMPETENT? That’s what we are beginning to believe.

BRAVO to the Nashua school board members who reminded everyone who employs the Superintendent in their school district. They were right to criticize the Commissioner for her continued over-reach of authority. (source: Nashua BoE Meeting 10/13/15 Minute 2:54:00 to 2:57:11)

SBAC prelim release to BOE Oct 2015

The NH Dept. of Ed, now running local schools: One parent’s frustration

We have many parents and teachers who contribute to our blog and we want to thank them for helping other people to understand the numerous problems surrounding Common Core.

Most of the time we refrain from sharing the identity of our contributors because teachers for instance, can face bullying from administrators if they speak publicly against this reform effort and expose what is going on in the classroom.

With permission to post……

Just when you thought things were bad enough, it gets worse. We have entered the Orwellian Era when school board members no longer use the plain and primary, or tertiary for that matter, definitions of words in an effort to make any word or phrase have the meaning they desire in place of the plain meaning and intention of the original author. Lest we be convinced, the original author of 2015 School Warrant Article 6 went on the written record time and again to state the intent and purpose of the article in question. Therefore the obfuscation by the school board members is intentional.

But wait, it gets worse. They told us that the Smarter Balance Assessment© (SBA) would provide us more timely results that teachers could access to customize student education plans. Well here it is late October and we are still waiting for the results! Then there is the actual scoring. The SBA is designed to allow comparison across schools, districts, and states as to the efficacy of their educational system. Almost like the SAT’s, GRE’s, etc. The striking difference is that different states have different ‘cut scores’. That is to say, different states have been given different thresholds as to what is acceptable and what needs improvement. That means that the state to state comparisons we were promised will not be possible. What is the criteria for setting the ‘cut scores’ you ask? That is a very good question. Let me know if you can get a straight answer, or any answer, to that question.

But wait, it gets worse. The results have been known for quite some time, yet the NH Department of Education refuses to release the scores. Further, the NH Department of Education has instructed Superintendents to tell school boards and citizens that the reason for the non-release is because they are still scoring the paper and pencil version of the test. The online version of the test is adaptive. That is to say if you answer correctly you move on to more difficult questions. If you answer in error then you continue to receive questions of a similar difficulty. This is not possible on a paper and pencil test. This means that the results of the online and paper and pencil versions should be neither combined nor compared. So why the delay? That is a very good question. Good luck getting an answer that is not evasive.

But wait, it gets worse. The administration, to include the DCS principle and SAU53 superintendent say that the school district will respect a parent’s right to refuse their children(s) participation in the SBA. One school board member is on record saying that parents do not have such a right. Likely there are other members of the board that agree with the aforementioned member but they are unwilling to comment publicly on any matter of importance for reasons known only to themselves. There is no clear policy on the matter and the board refuses to even discuss the matter despite repeated requests for clarification on this point. So the elected body that is responsible for setting policy refuses to perform their duties. This leaves parents in limbo and creates needless confusion. This situation could lead to needless, time consuming, and costly legal action against the district should the wrong tack be taken.

But wait, it gets worse. Imagine an elected body that refuses to perform is primary duties in earnest but will while away their time on perfunctory matters. At least we have very clear definition as to the priority user list for the school gymnasium and the fees for such use! Imagine an elected body that ignores the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box that they were elected to represent.

One has to wonder why we should trust our elected officials when they are so feckless and unresponsive.

Kevin Verville
Deerfield, NH

Goodbye “Local Control” of Education in New Hampshire

We continue to question the over-reach by the New Hampshire Dept. of Education as the Commissioner seems to believe the Superintendents work for her and not the local communities that pay their salaries.

The preliminary Smarter Balanced scores were recently released to all of the Superintendents throughout New Hampshire. However the Commissioner directed the Superintendents NOT to release this information to the local school boards or taxpayers. Once again, Commissioner Barry is treating our paid employee as if they work for her.

Some board members have reported asking their Superintendent for this information, only to be told NO, they would follow the guideline set forth by the Commissioner.

Sucking up to the Commissioner is not a bad idea because we know Dr. Livingston, Superintendent in Manchester, received a recommendation from Commissioner Barry when applying for her job. However it’s important that school boards remind their Superintendent that they still work for them.

Superintendents attend a “closed door” monthly meeting with the Commissioner where school board members have no access to public records.

We ask school board members again, who does your Superintendent work for?

We expect the Smarter Balanced scores to be released soon even though the DoE promised fast results. We’re not sure when “fast results” translated into, 6 months later.

Once the results of the Smarter Balanced scores are released, one would expect the leader of their school, the Superintendent, to offer their honest opinion on those results. In other words, what do they honestly think about the assessment? Are the scores, which are expected to be worse than the previous years under the NECAP, accurate? Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment fundamentally flawed as many have described? (See the examples below)

What we’ve uncovered is a list of “talking points” that were given to Superintendents by the NH DoE. Are our Superintendents so ill equipped that they cannot provide honest commentary on the results? Do they need the DoE to do their “thinking” for them?

Parents want honest answers for the poor scores that are about to be released. They want to know if they are accurate. They want to know if the assessment is flawed or if the school has indeed been failing our children.

We tend to believe the assessment itself is NOT a good indicator of how well your school is performing. We’ve looked at the critical views on this assessment and have NO confidence in the results. This is why we encourage parents to REFUSE this assessment for their children.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a data gatherer on your children. IT does not offer you information on whether your child is proficient in the core subjects. If you want that kind of information, have your child tested outside the school system using an achievement test.

Assessments are for assessing your child’s behavior, attitudes and values. An achievement TEST will measure their academic knowledge.

Ask home-schoolers what they use to test their children. Some reliable achievement tests include; The Iowa Basic Skills Test, Stanford Achievement Test, or the California Achievement Test. Look for the non-Common Core aligned achievement test.

Next ask your Superintendent for honest feedback on the Smarter Balanced Assessment and question why they would need the DoE to issue “talking points” on the results.

NH Talking Points (FINAL 8.31.15)

Why the Smarter Balanced Common Core Math Test Is Fatally Flawed

Doctor Gary Thompson (Licensed Child Psychologist) Smarter Balanced Assessment NOT Valid

NH Families for Education: Considerations for School Districts Before Administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment