Tag Archives: SBAC

More Psychological Profiling of NH Students Coming

Thanks to Education Liberty Watch for notifying us of another way the Feds are gathering psychological data on our children. Make sure you REFUSE the Smarter Balanced, SAT, PACE assessments and the NAEP.

Constitutional, Statutory, & Privacy Concerns with Assessing Mindsets in the NAEP
The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) is planning to assess non-academic social and emotional “mindsets” like “grit” as well as school climate in next year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Here is a summary of the many problems with this approach with details available at Mindsets in NAEP – final:

It is unconstitutional – There is NO constitutional, statutory or moral authority for the federal government to conduct psychological research on innocent American school children via what is supposed to be an academic test.

It violates federal statute prohibiting such activity in one or both of two ways.

It goes against several Supreme Court precedents affirming parent’s inherent rights to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

These types of questions are highly subjective as admitted by leading experts and organizations in the fields of education and mental health.

Because of the weak and gutted federal privacy law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), this very sensitive data can be shared with various agencies of the federal government and third parties and re-disclosed and used for “predictive tests,” which are notoriously subjective and incorrect.

This subjective, allegedly predictive data may then well be used to make life altering decisions for children affecting college entrance, employment, etc.

According to information uncovered at recent US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings, the state of data security at the US Department of Education is appallingly bad, so this sensitive data that the government should not have in the first place is not safe from hackers.

It seems that members of Congress and parents’ rights legal firms are starting to get interested in this situation. Please contact your US Senators and members of the US House of Representatives and ask them to oppose this illegal and unconstitutional plan via the power of the purse, especially if they are on the following committees:

US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

US House Education and Workforce Committee

US Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee

Thank you and stay tuned!

NH School Districts in Violation of State Law and Ethical Codes when Testing Students?

This letter was sent by the Londonderry Superintendent to parents recently. As we read through it we noticed a great deal of information that was left out. Why are Superintendents not fully informing parents in the district about the possible violation of state law and ethics codes? Parents are encouraged to contact their local attorneys if they believe their rights have been violated.
BELOW the letter from the Superintendent is a reply we would suggest sending to him or any other Superintendent that is failing to adequately inform parents on the state law, validity of the assessments and what ethical codes they are following:

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “LondonderrySchools@londonderry.org”
Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 2:56 PM
Subject: Smarter Balanced Testing

Below, please find a link to a letter introducing this year’s administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test, to the attention of parents and guardians of all students in Grades 3-8. Included with this letter, you will find a page of ‘Frequently Asked Questions” to clarify several misconceptions regarding this test. Scheduling details will be determined by each school, and further information will be forthcoming. Testing begins for Grades 3 & 4 on March 16, with the other grades to follow.


Scott A. Laliberte
Assistant Superintendent
Londonderry School District SAU #12
268C Mammoth Rd.
Londonderry, NH 03053

Phone: (603) 432-6920 ext. 1109
Fax: (603)425-1049


Dear Mr. Laliberte
Thank you for the information on the Smarter Balanced Assessment At this time I’m writing you to inform you that my child……..will not be taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

According to Every Student Succeeds Act
ESSA page 144-145
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—At the beginning of each school year, a local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall NOTIFY the parents of each student attending any school receiving funds under this part that the PARENTS MAY REQUEST, and the local educational agency will provide the parents on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding any State or local educational agency policy regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by section 1111(b)(2) and by the State or local educational agency, which shall include a policy, procedure, or PARENTAL RIGHT to OPT the child OUT of such assessment, where applicable.”

It appears the letter you sent is meeting this new requirement however within your letter you made the assertion that if the school district does not meet the 95% participation rate, “possible consequences could range from a negative designation on our report to the loss of federal funds for the District.” One of the possibilities could be that nothing happens however you didn’t mention that in your letter.

For instance, there were assumptions that schools who did not meet the 95% participation rate last year could face the loss of federal funding. There were schools in New Hampshire that did not meet the 95% participation rate yet I’m not aware of any state or school losing federal funds.

According to fairtest.org , Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Deral Penalties to Your School, “FairTest is not aware of a single state, school or district anywhere in the U.S. that the federal government penalized for failing to test enough of its students.”

New Hampshire State Law: RSA 193-C, requires statewide assessments to be valid, appropriate and objectively scored. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XV/193-C/193-C-mrg.htm Can you provide “INDEPENDENT” validity studies on the Smarter Balanced Assessment that shows it is in compliance with state law?

According to this letter http://www.fosters.com/article/20150407/NEWS/150409532 from Jayson Seamon, Phd Education Researcher, the Smarter Balanced Assessment has not been validated. If this is true, wouldn’t administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment violate state law?

Mr. Seaman goes on to explain the ethical standards required when administering psychometric assessments, “it is required practice to secure consent from research participants and to let them opt out at any time with no penalty. Smarter Balanced is such an assessment and should be held to the same ethical standard as all research on human subjects.

It appears as if you are sending “notification” to parents but you are not asking for informed consent. What ethical practices are you following when you administer these assessments?

It appears as if the district is in violation of state law by administering an assessment that hasn’t been independently validated. It also appears as if the district is not following basic ethics rules that require consent from parents. Notification is not informed consent.

The American Psychological Associations, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/ requires licensed Psychologists:
9.02 Use of Assessments
(b) Psychologists use assessment instruments whose validity and reliability have been established for use with members of the population tested. When such validity or reliability has not been established, psychologists describe the strengths and limitations of test results and interpretation.

9.03 Informed Consent in Assessments
(a) Psychologists obtain informed consent for assessments, evaluations or diagnostic services, as described in Standard 3.10….

Will the district provide parents a description on the strengths and limitations of the test results and interpretation?
Why is the district not seeking informed consent from parents prior to administering these assessments?

I am copying the school board so they are informed and can act appropriately.

My request to the school board members is to first address the possible violation of state law and then the lack of ethical standards when administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Would administering this assessment put the district in a position where parents can sue the district for administering an assessment that violates state statute ? What are the ethical codes the district should be following when administering a psychometric assessment?

As a parent and taxpayer in Londonderry, we should be protecting the students by upholding the highest ethical standards when administering these types of assessments.

Finally, in this article that ran in the Washington Post, Gene V. Glass, a renowned statistician and researcher who has worked for decades in educational psychology and the social sciences explains why he is no longer comfortable in the field of educational measurement using psychometric assessments. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/08/20/renowned-researcher-why-i-am-no-longer-comfortable-in-the-field-of-educational-measurement/

The letter you sent to parents left important and critical details out. It seems to me that if the district is going to move ahead with administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment, or any other psychometric assessment that has not been independently validated, more information should be provided to parents so they can make informed decisions for their children. I ask the school board to review this information and look to developing policies that protect the interest of the students they are serving in the district.

HILLARY CLINTON admits NH Dept. of Ed is Breaking State Law?

HILLARY CLINTON admits NH Dept. of Ed is Breaking State Law?

We’ve been trying to warn everyone that the assessments used in our public schools are in violation of state statute. New Hampshire Families for Education has blown the whistle on this but it seems no one is listening.

According to their web site:
To top it all off, under state law, RSA 193-C, statewide assessments must be valid, appropriate and objectively scored. Smarter Balanced Assessments are not and can not meet these criteria, so they must be rejected

State statue says that assessments must be “valid” and yet the NH Dept. of Education has never made available independent validity studies.

Chapter 193-C:
Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 5.05.50 PM

The NH Dept. of Education is also involved in new PACE assessments that will replace the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Where are the independent validity studies?

Hillary Clinton while campaigning in New Hampshire a few weeks ago stopped to talk to a New Hampshire parent who brought this to her. Even Hillary Clinton admits the Common Core assessments are not valid assessments.

“I asked her if she was aware that the current [Common Core-aligned] tests are not even validated, and she replied, ‘yes,’” Lawless said.

This was confirmed in a letter to the editor: School testing unethical, invalid
“I regard Smarter Balanced as part of a nationwide system of compulsory participation in unethically managed, invalid research.”

When will someone hold the New Hampshire Department of Education and schools across New Hampshire accountable for breaking state law and using unethical and invalid research?

PARENTS: It’s almost time for schools to start administering the standardized assessments. This is a good time to NOTIFY your local school if you want to REFUSE to let your children take these assessments.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 2.43.51 PM

VT Board of Ed Trashes Common Core Smarter Balanced Test

Has anyone heard a peep from the New Hampshire Board of Education on this?
Oh that’s right, the Smarter Balanced scores have been sent to the Superintendents with the direction NOT to share that information with school board members (the ones that hire and fire them) or the community until November 12th.
Only Nashua and Alton’s Superintendent released the preliminary scores.

As we are looking at scores plummet due to the flawed assessments that show our schools are failing, Vermont’s Board of Education took a step to notify parents on how bad the Smarter Balanced Assessment is.

According to the blog, “Wait What,” NEWS FLASH: Vermont State Board of Education Trashes Common Core SBAC Test.

Does anyone think the New Hampshire Board of Education will be equally honest with parents? Our advice: DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH!!!


TO: Parents and Guardians

FROM: VT State Board of Education

SUBJECT: Vermont Comprehensive Assessment Program

DATE: 11/4/15

You have received, or will receive in the near future, a report of your child’s standardized “Smarter Balanced” test results from the Vermont Comprehensive Assessment Program. This report is provided in the national assessment consortium’s format. We are working on a friendlier and more appropriate presentation for next year.

Tests are useful if used within the limits of their design, but they cannot provide you with a comprehensive picture by themselves. The State Board and Agency of Education support using a broad range of tools, measures and methods to help you and educators understand and improve your child’s learning.

We call your attention to the box labeled “scale score and overall performance.” These levels give too simplistic and too negative a message to students and parents. The tests are at a very high level. In fact, no nation has ever achieved at such a level. Do not let the results wrongly discourage your child from pursuing his or her talents, ambitions, hopes or dreams.

These tests are based on a narrow definition of “college and career ready.” In truth, there are many different careers and colleges, and there are just as many different definitions of essential skills. In fact, many (if not most) successful adults fail to score well on standardized tests. If your child’s scores show that they are not yet proficient, this does not mean that they are not doing well or will not do well in the future. (emphasis added by Wait, What?)

We also recommend that you not place a great deal of emphasis on the “claims” or sub-scores. There are just not enough test items to give you reliable information.

Essentially, these test scores best serve to show the progress that our schools are making, and to help teachers adapt their curriculum to fit the needs of their students.

As a parent, encourage your child to reach as high as he or she can. Let her or him know that they are worthy and capable. Keep track of how well your child is doing over time and use that information to help your child grow as a learner. Meet with your child’s teachers so that they understand your child and so you can work as a team.

We must give every student a thorough and comprehensive education, and provide the nurturing and support each child needs to grow into an effective, productive, and self-directed citizen. In turn, these young people must be the strong parents for the generations of Vermonters yet to come.

The FRAUDULENT Smarter Balanced Proficiency Scores?


The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the standardized assessment the New Hampshire Department of Ed chose to force upon the public and charter schools in New Hampshire.

The computer adaptive national SBAC test developed by AIR has zero validity and reliability data. Here are the comments of testing specialist Dr. Doug McCrae presented to the California State Board of Education on 9/3/15:

“My name is Doug McRae, a retired testing specialist from Monterey.

The big question for Smarter Balanced test results is not the delay in release of the scores, or the relationships to old STAR data on the CDE website, but rather the quality of the Smarter Balanced scores now being provided to local districts and schools. These scores should be valid reliable and fair, as required by California statute as well as professional standards for large scale K-12 assessments. When I made a Public Records Request to the CDE last winter for documentation of validity reliability and fairness information for Smarter Balanced tests, either in CDE files or obtainable from the Smarter Balanced consortium, the reply letter in January said CDE had no such information in their files. I provided a copy of this interchange to the State Board at your January meeting. There has been no documentation for the validity, reliability, or fairness for Smarter Balanced tests released by Smarter Balanced, UCLA, or CDE since January, as far as I know.

Statewide test results should not be released in the absence of documented validity reliability and fairness of scores. Individual student reports should not be shared with parents or students before the technical quality of the scores is documented. But, the real longer lasting damage will be done if substandard information is placed in student cumulative academic records to follow students for their remaining years in school, to do damage for placement and instructional decisions and opportunities to learn, for years to come. To allow this to happen would be immoral, unethical, unprofessional, and to say the least, totally irresponsible. I would urge the State Board to take action today to prevent or (at the very least) to discourage local districts from placing 2015 Smarter Balanced scores in student permanent records until validity reliability and fairness characteristics are documented and made available to the public.”

It’s important to note that the tests developed by AIR include a focus on controversial social issues instead of academics.

We continue to support quality ACHIEVEMENT TESTS (versus assessments that focus on behaviors, attitudes, dispositions, etc.) If you want to know your child’s proficiency in the core academic subjects, have your children take an achievement test outside the school district.
Iowa Basic Skills Test
Stanford Achievement Test
California Achievement Test

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

REFUSE to COOPERATE: Where’s the Smarter Balanced Assessment Results?

We URGE you to refuse to cooperate in further testing days or testing time for SBAC tests UNTIL the SBAC sends back useful information to all parents, teachers and schools based on the 2015 assessment.

Then schools, teachers and parents will jointly decide if the information the SBAC sends back on individual students is pedagogically useful.

Bureaucrats at the NH Dept. of Ed said the results would be timely. The SBAC was needed so they could get the results back to schools quickly. They said the results would be released in July, then August and NOW NOVEMBER.

While schools continue more and more testing to prepare for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, this becomes and even bigger debacle by the day.

PARENTS in New Hampshire, REFUSING the Common Core Assessments UPDATE

We received a copy of this letter from a parent to her school administrators. She gave us permission to post this however we felt it was best to remove the names of the parents and their child.

The purpose of posting this is to give parents guidance on how to address the school administrators on Common Core assessment REFUSALS.

We thank parents for sharing this kind of information because it helps other parents in New Hampshire.


Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 10:43 AM
To: Lois Costa; Kathleen Murphy
Subject: Academic year 2015-16 *****

Dear Lois,
We are sending this email early on to be certain that SAU90 and we, ***’s parents, are all on the same page regarding all SBAC, Next Generation and any other Common Core Aligned Standardized Testing and/or non-academic questionnaires.

*** will not be participating in any of the standardized tests or questionnaires. Additionally, she will not be participating in any of the preparatory work which is designed to prepare students for the testing.

It is our expectation that she will continue to be educated and treated equally by all SAU 90 employees and its representatives. While other students are participating in prep or testing around CC Aligned tests, SAU90 or we, her parents, will provide level appropriate academic work for her. At no time should her educational time be sacrificed while other students are preparing for testing. It is also our expectation that she will never be singled out so as to be subjected to rude and hurtful comments by her peers (i.e., last year in the lunchroom).

We object to any and all non-academic questionnaires, unless we, as her parents, are given the opportunity to review them beforehand. Under no circumstance do we give permission for SAU90 or its representatives to administer non-academic, psychological, religious or sexual/transgender or bullying related questionnaires. Any and all non-academic content is to be reviewed by us before it is given to our daughter. *** is aware of our guidelines and she will politely and respectfully refuse to participate if she is put in the position, which she shouldn’t ever experience. We also expect to be given the opportunity to review the sexual education/puberty material a week in advance of it being presented.

Lastly, we understand that Google Chromebooks will be used in 5th grade for a number of subjects and or projects. Under no circumstance should ***’s fingerprints, iris scan or facial recognition be used as her login, nor should non-academic information be solicited by SAU90 or any of its or the State of NH DOE’s representatives.

We look forward to another wonderful academic and social year for ***. She loves Marston School and all of her teachers and friends. As ***’s parents, we are always available for open and honest communication regarding all aspects of our daughter’s experience at Marston School.

Thank you for your time and anticipated cooperation. We ask that this information be passed along to Mrs. Dowst, as we do not have her email address yet.


UPDATE: The parents received the following letter confirming their directives would be followed: