Madison Superintendent provides Parents with the truth about the Common Core SBAC Test

As George Orwell wrote in his initially classified book of fiction,

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

To which it is well to remember the words of Winston Churchill who observed,

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.

If you had a child in the Madison, Connecticut public schools you’d have a superintendent, school administrators and Board of Education that was committed to telling the truth about the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Testing System and dedicated to putting children, parents, teachers and their public schools above the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s ongoing attempt to undermine public education in the United States.

If you had a children in the Madison, Connecticut public schools you would have received the following a letter from Superintendent Thomas Scarice and Assistant Superintendent Gail Dahling-Hench, a letter that honestly and truthfully explains why the Common Core SBAC test is not an appropriate tool or mechanism to judge our children, their teachers or our public schools.

The letter to Madison Parents states;

Individual Student Reports for the 2015 Smart Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) standardized test were mailed this week. This specific report format is provided to the district by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and is a product of the national Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, consisting of 18 states.

Tests are designed with a purpose. The SBAC test was designed to measure the college and career readiness level of students through their achievement on the Connecticut Core educational standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and 11. In addition, as in prior years, the science CMT/CAPT test was administered in Grades 5, 8, and 10.

One singular test provides an extraordinarily limited view of individual student performance. This particular test is based on an incomplete view of “college and career readiness”. In fact, this test endeavors to provide parents and educators with a predictive measure of an individual student’s college and career readiness by mere achievement of educational standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The reliability of these predictions is imprecise and suspect at best.

Resources provided by the CSDE clearly state that characterizing a student’s achievement solely in terms of falling in one of four categories (levels) is an oversimplification, and that the specific achievement levels should not be interpreted as infallible predictors of students’ futures.

Perhaps most concerning in the student reports is the definitive nature of the claims made about an individual student based on one test. This can be found in the language that declares whether or not your child has “met the achievement level” expected for a specific grade, and whether or not your child will need “substantial support to get back on track for success in the next grade”. These claims are particularly alarming given the inadequacies, imperfections, and lack of reliable evidence on one singular test to make such assertions. A balance of assessment tools at the school level provides a more complete picture of individual student performance, as well as timely and actionable data. We encourage parents to look at student performance over various measures when understanding the academic performance of their child.

You are also invited to review the March 2015 report commissioned by the SBAC entitled, Making Good Use of New Assessments. This report conveys numerous cautions about the use, and most importantly, the misuse of these scores.

When examining your student report, we ask that you refer to the online parent interpretive guide provided by the CSDE.

We hope you find this summary helpful when examining the enclosed results for your student. If you have questions about this report….

You can read the letter at:

When every superintendent, school administrator and Board of Education are willing to speak the truth about the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC testing scam we will have taken a gigantic step forward in our battle to put the world “public” back into our nation’s system of public education.

  • jhs

    Bet the Madison Superintendent will be getting a phone call from the Dept of Ed. The state can’t tell the truth.

    • Sleepless in Bridgeport

      Danny might call him too if only he could figure out why the dial on his telephone look like push buttons.

  • CTConservatives47

    When I lived in North Stonington, the school superintendent simply took the state Common Core Standards and passed them off as its own curriculum. There was no input from the public. I was the first person to ask to see the curriculum, which sent them all scrambling because it wasn’t even in the superintendent’s office, but in each individual school. It’s critical for parents to get involved in their child’s education and ask to see the Common Core Curriculum.

  • ReTired

    Yay! Madison superintendents never flinch when telling it like it is!

  • jack Bestor

    Thank you Tom Scarice for a thoughtful, critical analysis of the propaganda surrounding the release of the SBAC test scores. And, thanks to the Madison citizens and BOE who support its district educational leaders to evaluate controversial reform initiatives with rigor and trust their educational expertise to bring joy and creativity back to learning as well as teaching. It would be wonderful if other district school superintendents would also show courage and begin to regain the confidence of students, parents, and teachers in their communities.

  • riled

    One voice in a crowd with integrity on two fronts two fronts: actively dissenting that which belies his principles in a hostile political environment. He is transparent. We see him as not complicit with the forces destroying our public schools for profit. motive. Leaves all other administrations suspect. Which are silent from fear? Which are traitors? And, finally which have become true believers? I can understand fear, loathe traitors, but am truly frightened by the operators in good faith. They are neither cognizant of performing educational malpractice nor their service to a master they have yet to see manifest. I admire Tom Scarice. I am waiting for other superintendents of CT to emerge and garner admiration and stand in solidarity with the fine man of the most fortunate town of Madison.