The lies in the new SAT (by Wendy Lecker)

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and his State Department of Education are engaged in an unethical effort to spin their new “mandate” that every Connecticut High School Junior (11th grader) MUST take the NEW SAT test on March 2, 2016.

Driven by their support for the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme and their desire to use the test scores to rate students and evaluate teachers, the state is on a mission.

However, parents, students, teachers and the public should be aware that their effort is a disgrace and that their lies will not go unchallenged.

To repeat a common refrain here at Wait, What? – There is no federal or state law, regulation or legal policy that prohibits parents from opting their children out of the unfair, discriminatory and inappropriate Common Core testing program – and that includes the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests for grades 3-8 and the new SAT for grade 11.

Even Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman has admitted to parents that they have the right to opt their children out of the test, although she remains silent in public about this fundamental issue.

Local school superintendents and school administrators also know the truth.  If they are telling students and parents that children must take the SBAC or SAT in order to graduate or move on to the next grade they are lying!

The SBAC test is designed to fail students, in part because it includes content that the majority of students have not be taught.  Proponents of the NEW SAT claim that it too is aligned to the Common Core, but it isn’t even being released until March 2016 so those Connecticut students who do take it on March 2, 2016 are nothing short of guinea pigs for the corporate testing industry.

It is parents – not the state – that have the inalienable right to decide whether their child should take a test that is designed to label tens of thousands of students as failures when they are not failing by any honest definition of that word.

My next Wait, What? column here will be entitled;

 “Why my daughter will not be taking the NEW SAT on March 2nd 2016.”

As a prerequisite to that piece and to better understand the under-handed action that is being taken by the Malloy administration, please take the time to read fellow education advocate Wendy Lecker’s expose entitled, The lies in the new SAT.

This article was first published in this past weekend’s Stamford Advocate.

Wendy Lecker writes;

Connecticut’s political and educational leaders have sold us a bill of goods with the new SAT. Last spring the legislature and the State Board of Education hastily decided to replace the 11th-grade SBAC with the newly designed SAT. The move was in response to outcry about the invalidity of the SBAC and about the addition of another standardized test for juniors.

As I wrote previously (, our leaders did not wait for the SAT to be validated, nor did they validate any accommodations that English Language Learners (ELL) or students with disabilities would need.

Instead, they misrepresented the facts to parents and students.

In December, the State Department of Education (SDE) sent districts a sample letter intended for parents. In it, SDE claimed that “(b) y adopting the SAT, we are eliminating duplicate testing.”

That assertion is false for many Connecticut students and SDE knew that when it wrote this letter. In a separate document sent at the same time but addressed to district leaders, not parents, SDE acknowledged that the vast majority of ELL students taking the SAT with accommodations will be unable to report their scores to colleges, because the College Board does not accept ELL accommodations. Similarly, many students with disabilities using accommodations will not be able to report scores either, as the College Board has more stringent criteria for disability accommodations. For those students, the SAT will only count for state accountability purposes.

In other words, for thousands of students, the state-mandated SAT will not count for college applications and they will have to take another test — either the SAT or ACT without accommodations.

Our state leaders also misled us by claiming that the new SAT is appropriate as an accountability exam aligned with Connecticut graduation requirements. Connecticut law requires that, for the current graduating class until the class of 2020, students must complete three credits of mathematics. Algebra II is not required nor is trigonometry or precalculus. Beginning with the class of 2021, the law specifies that students must take Algebra I and geometry, and either Algebra II or probability and statistics. Algebra II is not a requirement and trigonometry and precalculus are not even mentioned.

Yet the new SAT has a significant amount of Algebra II, and has trigonometry and precalculus. Almost half the math SAT is composed of “advanced math” and “additional topics” both of which have these advanced subjects. By contrast, there is very little geometry.

The new SAT is not aligned with Connecticut graduation requirements. Moreover, choosing this test sets students who have not taken Algebra II before 11th grade up for failure, along with their districts.

The SAT is designed to be a test with winners and losers. It is a comparative, scaled test. As one top SAT tutor recently wrote to the Business Insider, “(i) f everyone got a 1,600, there would be no point to this test at all. This test is designed to show colleges who is better and who is worse — not who is good.” A test with this goal should not be used as an accountability test, which is supposed to confirm who has met state academic goals for high school — i.e. who is “good.”

The final lie our state leaders are selling is that the new SAT will tell us who is ready for college success. As I have written before, the evidence — something our leaders rarely examine — shows that the best predictor of college cumulative GPA and graduation, i.e. college success, is the high school GPA. This is true over time, across the entire nation, in all types of colleges and universities. By contrast neither the SAT nor the ACT is a good predictor of college success.

The same top SAT tutor notes that the College Board’s claim that the new SAT will accurately reflect the demands of the American high school curriculum has a major flaw, namely “this is exactly what they said about the last version that they launched”— the one the College Board has now abandoned. He declared that anyone who takes the new SAT is merely “a guinea pig for the College Board’s marketing machine.” He recommends that none of his students take the new SAT until other guinea pigs prove its validity.

Those other guinea pigs? Connecticut’s students, thanks to our political leaders, who served them up merely to satisfy College Board’s data needs. It is time that parents demand that leaders make education policy that is in the best interests of students, not testing companies.  

You can read and comment on Wendy Lecker’s piece at:

Wendy Lecker is absolutely right!

 Parents and students;

 Do not be bullied by the Malloy administration or your local school administrators.

 If our other elected officials, state legislators and board of education members, were really committed to the well-being of the parents, students, teachers and residents of their communities they would be taking action – now – to stop this abuse of power.

For more about the NEW SAT read;

Once again Connecticut elected officials are wrong to mandate the SAT for all 11th graders

More on CT’s disastrous move to force all high school juniors to take the “NEW” SAT

Big Changes with the SAT and why juniors should take the old SAT at least once before March 2016

PSAT score delay spells more bad news for Connecticut SAT mandate

  • Guest

    More and more private colleges will abandon SAT for admittance standards. It’s been their plan all along.

    • jonpelto

      Absolutely right 800 public and private colleges and universities have already dropped the SAT requirement. A number of those that do require the “optional” SAT Essay which that state is not providing on march 2, 2016 so that even if a student takes the test they will be limited to where they can apply and will need to take it again. The whole mandate is a farce.

  • jhs

    The lies coming out by Malloy and his crew are tolerated by the voters. Do the voters really care about education the only way to prosperity? Or are the voters just following the party line? The only way it appears the Democrats will learn is if they are punished at the polls.However, we need to be careful who is elected, not just the complete opposite of the current amin as we are seeing in the Presidential campaigns.
    If we don’t fix this, our education system will not improve.

    • Guest

      This is being shoved down our throats by both parties and at a national level. Both parties are the problem, not just one. At the national level one only has to look towards Congress and our Senate and Supreme Court. Both parties embrace the charter school. Both parties embrace Common Core. Jeb Bush and Hillary love Common Core. This is a push to privatize public education from preschool to post baccalaureate. Why? Big, big, $$$$!

      Our problems are created by 4 things, Democrats, Republicans, Big Business, and ourselves.

      • jhs

        very true. They all support it. But in CT Malloy and company are pushing. THey are in charge, they have to go.

      • jhs

        and conservatives are much less enamored with Common Core. The big question that needs to be answered, is what can be done with inner city schools to make them better? The union, Democrat answer is to throw more money at the problem. That hasn’t worked. Common core isn’t the answer either. So what is.

  • sweetwater8

    So in terms of the essay , as per the SAT contract students may register for the essay for the in-school SAT, but that would mean knowing that they can. Are they being told about this? However, it has to be “approved” by SDE and the College Board is prohibited from contracting separately with any district to offer the essay. But know that you can. Also, the make up test is April 27, almost 2 months later. 2 months more of preparing and instruction. Most likely it will be a different test than March so that is a gamble too. As far alignment this document should better inform you what is on it and that not ALL students have taken Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry by Spring of 11th grade. So if not ALL students have taken those courses how can it be the state mastery exam? The result is that you are testing on content not learned yet and then assigning punishment ( school ratings, teacher effectiveness ratings, proficiency ratings) based on a test that tested what wasn’t learned yet. In more affluent districts more students will have taken these courses or have received outside instruction. So what does the predictable results perpetuate? Any decent private school has told their students to NOT take this test in 2016. They might have an idea of how to get kids into college or post-secondary school. The testing games has both systemic and individual consequences. There is no winning the game. There is no profit in success. Cut scores are set on purpose so the wealthy, primarily white families will not get pissed off and revolt. receive zip code, school code, and race as student data. They also ask kids personal questions ( which every kid should be told to opt out of if they are taking it) about parent income, religion, etc. It is the rest who are left to suffer the damages the “failing” grades cause them to endure, ie loss of their elected BOE, closure of their schools to hand over to the privatizers, firing of their educators to replace with TFA labor they can pay less, etc. etc. Why would anyone be complicit in the testing games from either side? Proficiency scores are not known going in. The state
    will set preliminary scores but will not decide on actual cut scores for proficiency levels until the tests come back. Why might that be?

  • Pingback: The Lies in the New SAT (by Wendy Lecker) // Wa...()