Opt Out FACT – SBAC test will be unfairly used in Connecticut’s teacher-evaluation process

As more and more parents understand, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Testing program unfairly discriminates against poor students, students who aren’t fluent in the English language and students who require special education services.  It serves no useful purpose in today’s classrooms and certainly should not be used as a “high-stakes” test and punish program.

To make matters worse, as part of Governor Dannel Malloy’s “education reform” initiative, the SBAC test will be used as part of Connecticut’s teacher evaluation system despite the fact that the test is developmentally inappropriate for many students and fails to adequately measure what is really being taught in Connecticut’s classrooms.

As Teacher Development Specialist, Kate Field, explained in a an April 2016 CT Mirror article,

Even the best standardized test is unable to measure the sizable domain of knowledge acquired over a year of study, and contains only a small sample of questions. Selection bias may unintentionally skew the sample of test items, which could result in some students scoring lower than others, not necessarily because they know less, but because they did not understand the way a question was worded.

Standardized tests also do a poor job of measuring important skills like creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Standardized tests tend, to varying degrees, to be culturally and linguistically biased against English language learners and students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Field added,

Using SBAC [to evaluate teachers] undermines the integrity of teacher evaluation, because the test was not designed to measure teacher effectiveness. In addition, once a test becomes high stakes, teachers and administrators may feel pressured to sacrifice valuable learning time to teach test-taking strategies, and narrow their instruction to focus on the small sample of questions likely to appear on the test.

The truth is that the SBAC is a colossal waste of time and scarce resources and it should be dropped as a vehicle to label and punish students, teachers and public schools.

While Connecticut’s policymakers should simply do away with this terrible testing scheme, the best way for parents to have an immediate impact is to refuse to allow their child to be part of this unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory testing system.

Opting one’s children out of the SBAC test not only protects those students from the negative aspects of the testing program but it sends a powerful message to the state’s elected and appointed officials that parents will not stand idly by as the SBAC testing scam is used to undermine public education in Connecticut.

For a more about opting out including a draft opt out letter go to: Parents – Just say NO to the 2017 SBAC Testing Scheme