Tag Archives: SmarterBalanced

The FRAUDULENT Smarter Balanced Proficiency Scores?

http://eduresearcher.com/2015/09/08/openletter/

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.
Suggestions:
Iowa Basic Skills Test
Stanford Achievement Test
California Achievement Test
NON-COMMON CORE

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

NEWFOUND, NH VIOLATES Testing Protocol? Are Their Assessments Now Invalid?

A parent in Newfound NH who REFUSED the Smarter Balanced addressed her School Board regarding the following issues:
1) A new policy for the students who do NOT take the Smarter Balanced Assessment
2) the BREACH in SECURITY on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in her district because students who did not take the assessment were required to sit with the students who did take the assessment (that’s against Smarter Balanced Protocol)
3) Lack of Communication from her elected board members

Start at 1:43:00
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5TxKtX0rN4&feature=youtu.be&t=6163&hc_location=ufi

There is still time to REFUSE the Smarter Balanced Assessment!

We have been warning the alarm about the Smarter Balanced Assessment for a while now. We URGE parents to read the following letter that appeared in fosters.com recently.
There is still time to REFUSE this assessment if your children have not taken it yet!

School testing unethical, invalid
To the editor:

I am writing to commend Shawna and David Coppola of Madbury for their decision to opt their children out of the Smarter Balanced assessment at the Oyster River School District, and to invite other families to follow suit. It is my intention to do the same with my own children.

I am a PhD level educational researcher who studies learning. My opposition to Smarter Balanced is driven by two main reservations: (1) U.S. families have, since 2001, been unwitting participants in a educational research project at an unprecedented scale, with activist reformers and legislators pushing market-based reforms underwritten by a punitive system of testing. Smarter Balanced represents the latest wave of data collection in this widespread experiment. As a researcher, I am subject to Institutional Review Board scrutiny anytime I use psychometric assessments of learning, and 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, in which seeking consent is mandatory.

(2) Smarter Balanced is claimed to be a valid assessment of learning. This is false in one crucial respect: Standardized tests have been shown repeatedly to lack ecological validity. In educational research, validity refers to a test’s ability to measure what it claims to measure, and not something else. Above all else, standardized tests measure children’s ability to take standardized tests. There is little correspondence between this ability and the ability to proficiently learn and perform complex tasks in normal environments. I do not necessarily fault the designers of Smarter Balanced for this problem, as it is a common mistake in educational research due to inadequate training. Nonetheless, because Smarter Balanced – and all similar metrics – cannot approximate real-life situations in which people are called upon to learn, it lacks validity in precisely the domain it purports to measure.

I regard Smarter Balanced as part of a nationwide system of compulsory participation in unethically managed, invalid research. The Coppolas are wise to exercise their rights to opt out.

Jayson Seaman
Durham

http://www.fosters.com/article/20150407/NEWS/150409532

What to do when your school administrators mislead you

Many parents in New Hampshire and in other states are trying to opt their children out of the annual standardized assessments. In New Hampshire schools began testing students with the Smarter Balanced Assessment this month. Parents across the state have done their homework and many are now refusing to let their children take it.

Parents can visit a prior post that gives them information on why they should refuse the Smarter Balanced Assessment for their children.

It’s important to look at the flaws with this assessment and why others are recommending that children not take it.

We’d also recommend watching this video of Jane Robbins who explains the data collection that will take place when your children take the Smarter Balanced Assessment

Now that parents have the information they need to make the decision to refuse, it’s important to notify the school.

We recommend sending a notice to the school administrators in writing. You will also want to make sure that if your child does not participate, the school will not hold it against them.

The Technical Advisory issued by the NH Dept. of Ed found at our prior post clearly says there are no laws against a parent refusing to let their child take the standardized assessment.

If a school administrator tells you that you have no choice, then there may be a need to inform them of your rights to refuse.

Some parents have found that some of our school administrators are telling them they have no right to opt out. The proper term to use is “refusal”. It is true that there is a law that states the district has to administer the assessment to all students and that there are some exemptions. It’s important to realize that this law applies to the school and not to parents. This law is in place so school administrators do not arbitrarily exempt students from this assessment.

If an administrator gives you misleading or false information on refusals, you may need to inform them on refusals.

1) Make sure you use the term “refusal” and do not ask for an “opt out”. Parents are not asking permission, they are directing the school that they are refusing.
2) Send the notification to the teacher, Principal, Superintendent and all of your local school board members.
3) Ask for a reply indicating they are in receipt of your refusal letter.
4) Ask the administrator what the plan is for the kids who will not be taking the assessment.

If the refusal is acknowledged and there is a satisfactory plan for your child then you have the information in writing that they are going to recognize and honor your directive.

If you are told that you have no right to opt-out, then you may need to take a different approach.

Are you willing to contact members of the media who would be willing to report on this denial?
Are you willing to contact an attorney in order to help you through this process? If so, these attorneys have been briefed on the current law and will help parents exercise their parental rights on refusals.

Most parents are finding that when they inform administrators on their parental rights, they are finally acknowledging that students do not have to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. A handful of parents have had to reach out for legal assistance but if that happens, the best thing to do is go directly to your local school board and local media and let them know that no parent should have to spend money on an attorney to exercise their parental rights.

NH DOE : STUNNING ADMISSION on the Smarter Balanced Assessment

NH DoE Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather states that “The state system is required by federal law [to administer Smarter Balanced Assessments] but [these assessments] may NOT help us improve teaching and learning.  (Excerpt from http://www.governor.nh.gov/media/news/2015/pr-2015-03-05-pace.htm)

The Deputy Commissioner just acknowledged that the statewide assessment “MAY NOT HELP  IMPROVE TEACHING AND LEARNING.”

So why waste the time on Smarter Balanced testing?

ANSWER: For the federal dollars!!!
Paul Leather

REFUSE the COMMON CORE TESTS

We posted a form you could download to use when informing the school you are REFUSING the Common Core Standardized tests.

We liked this one from a parent so much, we decided to POST it incase you’d like to use it too.
Teacher and Principal,

Please accept this letter as notice that we are refusing to have our CHILD, participate in any standardized testing that has been designed and constructed by anyone outside of the SCHOOL District, including the MAP tests, NAEP, NWEA, STAR and any additional similar or replacement tests such as SMARTER BALANCED. We are asking that you provide STUDENT with alternative, useful, and meaningful learning experiences during testing periods so that she may continue to learn and grow while other students are engaged in taking these exams. If you are unable to provide an alternate activity, we request that STUDENT be allowed to read silently during testing time or use the time to do schoolwork. We can also keep STUDENT home as an excused absence during testing that will take longer periods of time.

Our primary objection to these tests is their negative impact on children. Students are being used as fodder in a system that takes their time and talents, and risks their self-esteem in a misguided and inappropriate effort to evaluate teachers. It is our belief that these tests can provide no more accurate and meaningful data on teacher effectiveness than that which you, as their supervisor, could and should provide.

Also, we question the construction and usefulness of these tests. We are of the opinion that a good teacher can evaluate a child better and more accurately than a standardized test. We believe that it is unethical for both teachers and students that the tests are correlated to teacher evaluations.

Finally, but no less significant, we want to make clear that our decision to refuse testing for STUDENT is not a condemnation of teachers or an act of aggression against SCHOOL. We hope our efforts will be understood in the context in which they are intended: to support the quality of instruction promoted by the school, and to advocate for what is best for all children. We believe that you can provide students with an excellent education without the “help” of corporations that are more interested in money than in the well-being of our children. It is our belief that those corporations will only go away if they are starved of resources in the form of student data. Our hope is that our refusal to have STUDENT participate in the use of their products will help return public education to the trust of valued professionals. As we said to you on the phone and by email, we miss the days when teachers had more time for instruction instead of being forced to spend so much time administering and preparing for tests.
We appreciate your understanding of our position regarding STUDENT’s participation in these tests.
Sincerely,
PARENTS/Guardians