IMPORTANT ALERT – Students, Parents, Teachers are being bullied about opting out of testing madness

Reports are coming in from around the state that under pressure from Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, some local school officials are, once again, engaged in underhanded efforts to mislead students and parents about their rights related to the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC and SAT testing schemes.

Last spring, some superintendents and principals went so far as to threaten children that they would not be promoted to the next grade or would not be able to graduate from high school if they did not take the Common Core SBAC test.

Such a statement is a lie!

Threatening students and parents is not only unprofessional, unethical and immoral, it is illegal.

Parents have the fundamental and unalienable right to opt their children out of the testing program and any attempt to take that right away is a civil rights violation under federal and state law.

Readers of Wait, What?

If you know of any situation in which state or local officials are engaged in efforts to bully, harass or mislead parents or students about their opt-out rights or are threatening teachers that they may not provide parents and students with accurate information about the Common Core testing, please get in contact immediately.

Information, including any related documentation, should be sent to [email protected]

The source of the information will be kept completely confidential.

(Please Note – School administrators and teachers wishing to report inappropriate efforts to prevent parents and students from opting out of the SBAC and SAT testing should use their personal email accounts and not their work email accounts.)

“My daughter will not be taking the “state mandated” NEW SAT on March 2nd 2016.”

In an effort to win market share, the College Board, along with the  standardized testing industry and the corporate education reform advocates are pushing states are mandate that high school juniors MUST take the SAT.  Connecticut, Colorado, Michigan and New Hampshire are among the states throwing their students under the bus.

In Connecticut, thanks to a new “state mandate,” approximately 40,000 Connecticut high school juniors will not be attending their classes on March, 2, 2016.  Instead they will be taking another “Common Core aligned” standardized test – this time the NEW SAT.

The attempt to force the state’s 11th graders to take the NEW SAT is not about helping students, improving graduating rates or expanding the number of people who go to college.

This new “mandate” is part of the broader corporate education reform agenda that is crippling public education in Connecticut and across the nation.

In this case, it is about trying to force children to take a test that will then be used to label those students and provide the state with faulty information to evaluate Connecticut’s teachers.

Parents should be aware of what is taking place and step up to ensure that our children are not being used as pawns in this massive testing farce.

Here is the background;

Thanks to a contract signed by Governor Dannel Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Dianna R. Wentzell and approved by Malloy’s political appointees on the State Board of Education, Connecticut taxpayers will be shelling out in excess of $4.3 million in scarce public funds, over the next three years, to the College Board, the company that owns the SAT.  In return, the College Board will allow students to take their NEW SAT — a test that has yet to be validated and has come under increasing criticism because, despite their claims, the SAT fails to adequately predict how students will do in college.

This latest debacle started last spring when, in the face of growing opposition to the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme, the Connecticut General Assembly and Governor Malloy decided to replace the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory 11th grade SBAC test with a new mandate that all high school juniors take what is likely to be an equally unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory NEW SAT.

However, neither Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education nor the legislators had ever seen the NEW SAT that they are now trying to force 11th grader to take.  They hadn’t seen it because the new version of the SAT isn’t even being released until March 2016.

As the College Board website proclaims, students across the United States can take the NEW SAT for the first time on March 5, 2016 which means that Connecticut’s 40,000 juniors are truly little more than an initial round of guinea pigs for a testing company whose revenue is already in excess of $841 million a year.

What is known about the NEW SAT is worrying many experts who are knowledgeable about the standardized testing system and the process that students must go through when applying to college.

Take note;

Last March, Business Insider’s headline read, America’s top SAT tutor explains why no one should take the SAT in 2016, with internationally renowned SAT tutor Anthony Greene writing;

“I’m recommending that none of my students take the first three rounds of the new SAT (March, May, and June of 2016)… “Why let students be guinea pigs for the College Board’s marketing machine?”

In an April 2015 article in Forbes Magazine, 3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Take the New SAT, Dan Edmonds, the Senior Director of Research and Development at Noodle.com wrote,

The simple fact is that there are numerous good reasons that students shouldn’t take the new SAT next spring — they should opt for the ACT instead. (The primary alternative college entrance example)

And this past fall, Adam Ingersoll of the Compass Group, another SAT tutoring company, warned students not to be guinea pigs for the College Board adding that the best option for most juniors will be the ACT.

There are many reasons to avoid the NEW SAT;

Reason #1 to opt-out of the March 2, 2016 “state mandated” SAT:

Now that the NEW SAT is supposedly aligned to the Common Core students will face many of the same problems that they faced with the Common Core SBAC test.  In particular is the reality that there will be a significant amount of content on the NEW SAT that most high school students have not even been taught.

This situation will be most evident when it comes to the math portion of the test.

The NEW SAT merges the reading and writing portion of the old SAT into one section meaning that the Math Section of the NEW SAT will make up a larger portion of a student’s overall score (Half instead of one-third.)

Of even greater concern, the NEW SAT intentionally punishes students who haven’t completed Algebra II and gone on to take some trigonometry, statistics and precalculus.

As fellow education advocate and commentator Wendy Lecker recently explained in The lies in the new SAT (by Wendy Lecker)

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.

Reason #2 to opt-out of the March 2, 2016 “state mandated” SAT:

Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education and state legislators said Connecticut’s new SAT testing program would ensure that all 11th graders had an entrance exam score to use when applying to college.  That is a bold-faced lie.

Again, as Wendy Lecker also explained:

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.

The truth is that there will be thousands of Connecticut public school students taking the NEW SAT who will discover that their test score CAN NOT be used with any college application and will only be used to “evaluate” them and their teachers. 

Reason #3 to opt-out of the March 2, 2016 “state mandated” SAT:

As high school juniors and their parents’ ramp up their college application activities, they should be aware that an SAT score is no longer needed when applying to many colleges and universities.   More and more institutions of higher education are moving away from using the SAT and standardized test scores to determine who to accept.

As FairTest, an organization that monitors to use and overuse of standardized testing has reported, more than 850 colleges and universities in the United State “DO NOT USE the SAT Scores for Admitting Substantial Numbers of Students.”

FairTest goes on to explain that schools are moving away from the use of standardized tests because academic studies have consistently shown that “Test Scores Do Not Equal Merit and are not appropriate or correct indicators of how students will actually do in college.

In my daughter’s case, of the dozen or so colleges that she is considering applying to, the majority DO NOT require an SAT test.

For those schools that do require a standardized test score, my daughter will be taking the old version of the SAT on February 20, 2015.  The last date for taking the old version of the SAT was supposed to be last week (January 23, 2016) but due to the snow storm on Saturday, the testing was postponed until the end of February.

My daughter will also be taking the ACT, a college examination exam that isn’t in the middle of a tumultuous and controversial restructuring.

While she won’t be participating in the SAT test being “mandated” by the state of Connecticut, on March 2, 2016, if we determine that she should take the NEW SAT, then there are plenty of options to take the test in the spring, summer and fall, after the initial problems with the NEW SAT have been identified and resolved.

What we won’t do is serve as pawns for the state of Connecticut’s attempt to collect standardized tests results so that they can unfairly evaluate teachers.  Governor Malloy’s “education reform initiative” requires local school district to base 22.5 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on the standardized test results of their students.

My daughter won’t be relegated to being  a test subject for the College Board’s attempt to reclaim market share.

Instead, we will do what is best for my daughter’s college aspirations – the state and its testing obsession be damned.

Reason #4 to opt-out of the March 2, 2016 “state mandated” SAT:

Another key issue for students and parents to understand is that for students whose college “wish list” includes schools that DO REQUIRE an SAT score, a significant number of schools require or recommend that students complete the “optional” essay that will now be part of the SAT going forward.

But students taking the “mandated” NEW SAT on March 2, 2016 will find that there is no “optional” essay to take.  The Malloy administration’s contract with the College Board does not even provide Connecticut students with the opportunity to take the “optional” essay – an “option” that is anything but optional at a number of schools that actually require students to submit standardized test results.

In an October 2015 published report of the colleges and universities that do require that standardized tests scores accompany applications, approximately 34 percent recommend or require that students take the essay portion of the tests.

Furthermore, the executive director of college admissions programs at Kaplan Test Prep suggested that,

“One thing to consider is that an optional but more challenging section provides an opportunity for students who are good writers and analysts to distinguish themselves. Schools appreciate applicants who challenge themselves, so earning a high score on an optional section can factor favorably on an application.”

Students who want or need to take the “optional essay” portion of the NEW SAT are simply out of luck when it comes to the state mandated March SAT.

By rushing to “mandate” that high school juniors take the NEW SAT, the state of Connecticut has created a situation in which thousands of students that require special education services or are not proficient in the English language will find out that their mandated NEW SAT score can’t even be used in a college application.

And, at the same time, many Connecticut high school juniors who do want to take the “optional” SAT essay will learn that they will have to take the SAT yet again, this time paying for both the cost of the NEW SAT and the cost of the “Optional” SAT essay.

As an FYI, the list of schools requiring the “optional” SAT essay includes:

Stanford University, University of California, California Institute of Technology, Howard University, University of South Florida, Emory University, Purdue University, Amherst College, Harvard College, Merrimack College, Nichols College,  Macalester College, Duke University, Dartmouth College, Rutgers University, Princeton University,  Iona College, SUNY University at Stony Brook, University of Cincinnati, Arcadia University, Vanderbilt University, Baylor University, Rice University, Texas A&M University, Saint Michael’s College (VT), University of Oregon, University of Washington and Yale University. 

Reason #5 to opt-out of the March 2, 2016 “state mandated” SAT:

Finally, as to the critically important issue of whether high school juniors MUST participate in the absurd March 2nd NEW SAT testing frenzy;

The Malloy administration continues to claim that students cannot be opted out of the NEW SAT testing program.  Some school administrators are going even further threatening students that they will not be able to graduate if they don’t take the NEW SAT on March 2, 2016

These threats are not only unethical and immoral but they are false.

First, as has been posted here at Wait, What? over and over again;

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 the chairman of the State Board of Education, a lawyer, has admitted that Connecticut parents have the fundamental and inalienable right to opt their children out of the state’s testing program.

If the Malloy administration believes it has the legal authority to override parental rights then they need to publish that claim so that parents can take legal action and obtain an injunction against Governor Malloy and his Department of Education.

Second, Connecticut state law specifically prohibits school districts from preventing students from graduating or being promoted to the next grade because the fail to take the state’s “Mastery Test.”

Connecticut State Statute Sec. 10-14n Connecticut State Statute reads:

As used in this section, “mastery examination” means an examination or examinations, approved by the State Board of Education, that measure essential and grade-appropriate skills in reading, writing, mathematics or science.

[…]

(e) No public school may require achievement of a satisfactory score on a mastery examination, or any subsequent retest on a component of such examination as the sole criterion of promotion or graduation.

While Malloy and his administration continue to mislead and lie to parents about the new Common Core testing programs, the NEW SAT is simply not a Mastery Test under the law.

No one has seen the NEW SAT but we can be sure it is not aligned to Connecticut’s curriculum and does not measure “essential and grade-appropriate skills.”

As reported above, the NEW SAT includes content that is not even required under Connecticut’s graduation requirements.  (I.E. students do not need to take Algebra II, Trigonometry and precalculus in order to graduate from a Connecticut high school).

In addition, the Commissioner of Education has not set the “cut scores” that identify if a student has or has not achieve a proficient score.  The Commissioner has added that the “cut scores” will not be set until after the testing has been completed.

The state of Connecticut cannot claim that the NEW SAT is the state’s Mastery Test when the state can’t even identify what is or what is not “mastery.”

Also, school districts cannot require that a student take the NEW SAT in order to graduate.

Requiring that a student take the test to graduate or be promoted to the next grade makes taking the test a mandatory criteria, something state law forbids.

The statute reads;

“No public school may require…such examination as the sole criterion of promotion or graduation.”

By refusing to allow a student to graduate unless they take the NEW SAT makes taking the NEW SAT a “SOLE CRITERION” for graduation and is therefore illegal.

The “mandate” that high school juniors take the NEW SAT is not to benefit our students or our schools.  It is truly a part of the broader agenda that is undermining public education in Connecticut.

These initiatives actually hurt our students, parents, teachers and public schools.

The threats from Governor Malloy, his administration and local school districts have to stop.

Parents, not the Governor, not the Commissioner of Education and not local school officials have the sole authority and discretion to decide if a student is or is not going to take the NEW SAT.

In my case, my daughter WILL NOT be taking the NEW SAT on March 2, 2016 and I would recommend that other parents of high school juniors consider taking the same step.

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 (http://bit.ly/1Kv8TXk), 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: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-The-lies-in-the-new-SAT-6777613.php

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

PSAT score delay spells more bad news for Connecticut SAT mandate

Connecticut high school juniors and their parents – LOOK OUT!

The new Connecticut state mandate that all 11th graders take the new SAT this coming March is getting more absurd by the day.

Last spring, in the face of mounting opposition to the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test, Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly made decision to drop the Common Core SBAC test mandate for high school juniors (while keeping it in place for grades 3-8), and mandating, instead, that all 11th graders take the new Common Core SAT as part of their junior year requirements.

The decision to use the NEW Common Core SAT was extremely ill-conceived.

The Malloy administration then quickly signed a multi-million deal with the College Board to provide the new Common Core SAT to all high school juniors, promising that this requirement would open the doors for more students to go to college.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

The scam was a farce from the beginning.

The truth is that the NEW SAT is being rolled out for the first time this March.  No student, teacher or school administrator has ever seen the new version of the test and it certainly isn’t aligned to Connecticut’s 11th grade curriculum.

What little is known about the NEW SAT is that it will test and judge students on content that most of them have not had an opportunity to learn.  Furthermore, like the Common Core SBAC test, the NEW SAT test is designed to fail the majority of students.

In addition, while many universities and colleges are dropping the requirement that students take the SAT as part of their college application process, the actual version of the NEW SAT that the state of Connecticut has paid for and will give to 11th graders in less than 80 days DOES NOT include the “optional” essay section of the SAT … this despite the fact that many of the universities and colleges that still require students to submit an SAT score also require that those students take and submit a score for the essay section of that test.

For many Connecticut high school students, taking the NEW SAT is a complete waste of time and for a significant number of students who do want a valid SAT score, the CT State mandated version won’t suffice and they will need to take it again, at their own expense.

But wait, the situation just got worse.

In preparation for the NEW SAT, most Connecticut high school juniors took the new PSAT earlier this fall.

Some students took it so that they could apply early to their college of choice.

Most students were told to take it so that they could get a sense of what the NEW SAT would be like and, based on their results, they could focus their attention on improving in areas in which they scored poorly.

But it turns out the PSAT scores won’t even be provided to students, parents and schools as promised by the College Board.

As the Examiner newspaper wrote this week, PSAT scores delayed as College Board drops the ball—again

Fellow education advocate and blogger Mercedes Schneider highlighted the growing disaster with the PSAT and SAT testing scheme on her blog yesterday writing,

“Students who took the October 14, 2015, NEW PSAT and counted upon the College Board to deliver timely scores for early admissions. Their scores–which were supposed to be delivered using the College Board’s new score reporting system–were delayed for more than three weeks beyond the common November 1st deadline.”

Now, students who took the mid-October NEW PSAT – which includes most high school juniors in Connecticut – will NOT be getting their scores in a timely manner either.

The PSAT scores for students taking the “NEW PSAT” were due by December, but as Schneider explains;

“The College Board initially stated that scores from the mid-October 2015 PSAT would be available in December 2015. However, according to the College Board’s “updated score delivery schedule,” the College Board changed its story, without explanation. Now the scores are supposed to be available in January 2016.”

The Corporate Education Reform Industry is collecting massive amounts of public money by turning public schools into little more than testing factories.

Thanks to politicians like Governor Dannel Malloy, states are even mandating that scarce public funds be spent on standardized testing instead of other educational activities and that student time be spent on test prep and testing rather than instruction.

The debacle with the new mandate that Connecticut’s high school students must take the new SAT is a case study in what is wrong with public education in Connecticut and around the country.

Students, parents, teachers, school administrators and taxpayers need to tell elected officials that enough is enough.

The Connecticut mandate that students take the SAT should be immediately repealed and a moratorium on the inappropriate, unfair and discriminatory Common Core testing should be adopted.

“A Test Score is an approximation, not a precise measure” (George Washington University)

As the nation’s colleges and universities move away from relying on standardized tests scores to determine whether a student is capable and ready to attending college, public officials in Connecticut and across the country continue their mindless devotion to more standardized testing as the means of determining whether our children our “college and career read.”

In Connecticut this past spring, Governor Dannel Malloy and the General Assembly voted to mandate that every high school junior take the SAT.

The new law was part of Malloy’s larger “education reform” initiative that has been forcing Connecticut public school students and their teachers to devote more and more time preparing for and taking the “Common Core aligned” standardized tests.

Malloy and other proponents of the Common Core and Common Core testing scheme continue to claim that the excessive testing programs are needed in order to determine whether Connecticut students, schools and teachers are succeeding.

Under Malloy’s policy, not only will the state rate schools and students based on standardized test results, but Connecticut’s public school teachers will also be evaluated on how well their students do on these unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory tests.

However, while Malloy and the legislature were mandating that every 11th grader take the SAT, George Washington University in Washington, D.C. was announcing that students applying for their prestigious undergraduate program would no longer be required to even submit SAT or ACT scores with the college applications.

Michael Feuer is a Dean at George Washington University and the elected President of the National Academy of Education, an internationally recognized academic organization that, “works to advance high quality education research and its use in policy formation and practice.”

In a recent GW Magazine article, Dean Michael Feuer explained why George Washington was dropping the SAT requirement,

It is important to remember that a test score is an approximation, not a precise measure of ability or achievement. It provides a snapshot into the complexities of learning and cognition, but it’s a blurry on…The picture has potential value—but it’s not the real thing.”

The public education expert and education school dean added,

There is lots of evidence that students are spending considerable time planning for and preparing for the test at the expense of time they could be spending on real learning. This is one of the factors that led the University of California, for example, to change its testing admissions policy. It’s on the minds of many educators especially in an era of so much testing who want to shift attention back to teaching, learning and achievement…”

A special commission at George Washington University was tasked with the job of determining the value of standardized test scores when it came to “understanding how a student performs at GW.” Their reported concluded that,

“One can predict success at George Washington University based upon a student’s high school record, especially his or her high school GPA.

As a result, George Washington will no longer require an SAT score, relying instead on a policy in which,

High school coursework and grades will continue to be the most important factors in GW’s holistic review process, along with a student’s writing skills, recommendations, involvement in school and community, and personal qualities and character.”

George Washington University joins the long and growing list of major college and universities that are dropping the SAT requirement.  According to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), More than 800 four-year colleges and universities, including at least 195 Top Tier academic institutions, no longer require SAT or ACT scores from students applying for their undergraduate programs or have dramatically reduced the use of SAT scores when making admission decisions.

College and universities are making it incredibly clear.  Students need to spend more time learning and less time taking these unnecessary standardized tests.

And here in Connecticut, if the waste of learning time is a persuasive enough reason to reduce the amount of testing, with local public schools trying to cope with inadequate state funding, Governor Malloy’s state budgets devote at least $73 million to the Common Core and Common Core Testing program during fiscal years 2015-2017.

Less testing, more learning is what will provide Connecticut’s children with the knowledge and skills needed to be “college and career ready.” 

It is extremely disturbing that Connecticut officials continue to push schools, teachers, students and Connecticut taxpayers in exactly the wrong direction.

For more about the SAT debacle 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

Education Reform – Testing kids on content they’ve never learned

A primary goal of the Corporate Education Reform Industry is to privatize public education by persuading policymakers that the nation’s system of public education is failing.

A key strategy of choice for the so-called reformers and their political lackeys is to prove that students and teachers are failing by requiring massive amounts of standardized testing that measures students on concepts and content they haven’t learned.

Take for example, the NEW SAT, which Connecticut has now mandated for use in the 11th grade.

[Read Once again Connecticut elected officials are wrong to mandate the SAT for all 11th graders (Wait, What? 11-2-15) which includes education advocate Wendy Lecker’s recent commentary piece on the NEW SAT.]

A New York Times article last week entitled, Everything You Need to Know About the New SAT, laid out the facts about the NEW SAT including the news that,

“The addition of more-advanced math, such as trigonometry, means the test will cover materials from a greater number of courses.  That will make it more difficult for students to take the SAT early.  Some questions will require knowledge of statistics, a course relatively few students take in high school.”

Difficult for students to take the SAT early?

Thanks to Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and the Democrat and Republican members of the Connecticut General Assembly, a new state law adopted last spring mandates that high school students now take the SAT in their junior year.

The test results will be used to judge both students and teachers.

However as high schools students (and parents) know, most high school juniors are, at best, tackling Algebra in 11th grade and many are still working to master Geometry.

But that coursework won’t be enough for high school juniors to succeed on the NEW SAT.

Even in academically successful Connecticut, few students will have even taken the courses needed to master the SAT and the majority of juniors may not have been provided with the math content to even survive the NEW Common Core aligned SAT.

According to most recent data published by the United States Government’s National Center for Education Statistics, only 16% of high school graduates in the country had taken a calculus course, 11% a statistics course and only a third had even come in contact with pre-calculus concepts, all of which they will be expected to answer if they want to master the NEW SAT.

And that was graduating seniors, not juniors!

The Corporate Education Reform Industry’s discriminatory tactics come into immediate view when considering that students of color have even less access to the advanced courses that would allow them to do well on the NEW SAT.

The NCES reports that while 18 percent of white high school graduates had taken calculus, only 9 percent of Hispanic graduates and 6 percent of African-American graduates had even completed a calculus course.

The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme is designed to fail the vast majority of public school students and the NEW SAT is equally unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory.

Parents take note:

People who force children to take numerous standardized tests that are designed to ensure those students fail are engaging in practices that are nothing short of child abuse.

Constantly deeming children as failures is mental abuse and child abuse is a crime.

The corporate elite and politicians pushing the outrageous testing scam should be held accountable for their abusive tactics.

More on the NEW SAT can be found via the following Wait, What? posts;

WARNING – Parents of High School Students – Especially Juniors – Beware! (10/1/15)

More on the Big Changes with the SAT and why juniors should take the old SAT at least once before March 2016 (10/2/15)

More on CT’s disastrous move to force all high school juniors to take the “NEW” SAT (10/18/15)

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

As the 2015 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly came careening to a close last spring, legislators overwhelmingly approved a bill that replaced the mandate that 11th graders take the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Test (SBAC) with a new requirement that all high school juniors take the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory College Board SAT test.

Without remotely understanding the ramifications of their action, legislators and Governor Dannel Malloy congratulated themselves for a job well done.

The Connecticut Education Association heaped praise on the very elected officials who had undermined public education in Connecticut, taking credit for the move to the SAT and complementing elected officials for a move that was as wrong as adopting the Common Core SBAC testing scheme in the first place.

But once again, politics being politics, the narrow world view held by those on the inside drove the policy making process at the expense of Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and public schools.

The extremely serious problems with requiring that all 11th graders take the SAT test is becoming increasingly apparent.

In her latest column in the Stamford Advocate, fellow education advocate Wendy Lecker takes on the ignorant claims of those who support using the SAT as a definitive measure of educational success.

The problem is that Connecticut’s policymakers seem completely unwilling or unable to listen to the facts and do the right thing when it comes to the absurd standardized testing craze.

Parents and students beware…

Why use the SAT? by Wendy Lecker 

A new large-scale, longitudinal study should make Connecticut policy makers think twice before continuing with their ill-advised policy imposing the SAT as the new “mastery test” for 11th graders.

Last spring, after opt-outs and outcry from parents and students, Connecticut lawmakers decided to quickly abandon the unvalidated SBAC test — but only for 11thgraders. In its place they decided to adopt the newly redesigned SAT.

Jettisoning the SBAC was a step in the right direction, but adopting the SAT presents a host of new problems.

First, the SAT is supposedly a test to predict college “aptitude,” not to assess what Connecticut high school students have learned.

Yet Connecticut plans to use the SAT to judge and rank schools and, of course, sanction them when they perform poorly. The State Department of Education confirmed that after it receives the 2016 results, cut scores will be set to determine “mastery.”

I asked SDE who will set the cut scores and how they can possibly have proof that these scores are valid representations of “mastery” when the test is new, as they will only have one year of results and it isn’t designed to test mastery. SDE refused to answer.

And even though the College Board itself opposes the use of the SAT for teacher evaluations because there is not enough evidence of its validity or reliability for this use, Hartford public schools is already planning to use the SAT in teacher evaluations this year. The district intends to compare spring 2016 SAT scores against students’ fall 2015 PSAT scores.

Second, while the SAT provides accommodations for certain students with disabilities, it does not provide any for English Language Learners (ELL). SDE plans to simply use the accommodations previously used for the CMT and CAPT for the new SAT.

However, experts in this field confirmed to me that one cannot simply transfer accommodations from one test to another. When I asked SDE for any proof of the validity and reliability of using CMT/CAPT ELL accommodations for the SAT, again, they refused to answer.

Proof that there are significant problems using the SAT for accountability purposes in Connecticut comes from a study just published by the University of California.

The study examined 1.1 million students from 1994-2011. It found that one-third of the variance of SAT scores could be explained by parental education, socio-economic status or status as a member of an underrepresented minority. By contrast, socio-economic factors accounted for only 7 percent of the variance in high school GPAs.

Even more stunning is that while in 1994, parental education was the strongest predictor of SAT scores, in the last four years of the study, status as a member of an underrepresented minority overtook both parental education and socio-economic status as the strongest predictor of SAT scores.

And while there is a racial gap in high school GPAs, that gap is not nearly as huge as the racial SAT gap. The study found, in ranking University of California applicants, Latinos and African-Americans comprised 60 percent of the lowest decile in SATs, but they comprised only 39 percent of the lowest decile in GPA. And while they comprised 12 percent of the top decile in GPA, they comprised only 5 percent of the top in SAT. Ranking by SAT score produces more severe racial/ethnic stratification than GPA.

The study also confirmed what three other large scale studies found: that the SAT is a poor predictor of college success. The evidence showed that high school GPA is an accurate predictor of college completion, while the SAT is very weak.

This finding was especially true for students of color. When controlling for parental education and socio-economic status, the predictive power of the GPA increased — while the SAT’s predictive power got even weaker.

The SAT cannot determine whether a student is ready for college success. The SAT never professed to determine whether someone is “career-ready,” whatever that means.

But, as the study shows, the SAT has an adverse effect on racial minorities.

So, while the SAT may be able to identify the demographic makeup of a school — and there are easier and cheaper ways to find that out — it cannot tell us a thing about the quality of the education that school provides.

If all the SAT will do is rank schools by race, why is Connecticut using it?

Connecticut’s students deserve far better and we should demand that Connecticut’s “leaders” abandon their blind, failed adherence to standardized testing.

Wendy Lecker is a columnist for the Hearst Connecticut Media Group and is senior attorney at the Education Law Center.

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

http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Why-use-the-SAT-6601625.php

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

Public education advocate and fellow education columnist Maria Naughton has another important article out about the NEW SATS and the decision by Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly to force all 11th graders to take the “Common Core” aligned test.  The article first appeared in the New Canaan Advertiser

Education Matters: Problems with state’s change to student testing

New Canaan parents were recently informed that the SAT will replace the SBAC as the mandatory high school assessment for Juniors. This notice, from Governor Malloy and the State Department of Education, was in response to last year’s Smarter Balanced Assessment and the increasing standardized testing taking place in school. That testing led to an uproar around the state, prompting many families to opt-out.

Parents also learned the SAT will be given at no cost to students, and will be administered during the school day this coming spring. According to the state, barriers to accessing the SAT will be removed, thus expanding college opportunities for more students. While this is a laudable goal and may benefit many, mandating a college entrance exam is a mistake. This error is further compounded by the fact that, yet again, parents are being told by some school officials that students will not be able to opt-out, with some parents believing students will not graduate if they do. As we learned last year about the standardized testing, these are both untrue, and for many reasons, this move will surely be challenged.

Most obviously, making the SAT mandatory removes student choice. Of the two major college entrance tests from which most students pick, the ACT and SAT, the ACT is growing in popularity, as it is more reflective of the school experience. Students, including those in New Canaan, are well advised by parents, school counselors, and even private “college advisors.”  They are making personalized and informed decisions on the matter. Consequently, students deciding that the ACT would be a better fit will end up taking both high-stakes tests, wasting both time and money, and diluting both efforts. Taking away student choice on a topic of this importance when we expect students to be more self-directed does not make sense.

Moreover, many families and students are learning that the 2016 SAT is completely new, and essentially experimental. The College Board (under the direction of the Common Core creator, David Coleman) has revised this test to align with the Common Core standards. Ironically, the new version of the SAT will have many of the same shortcomings as the 11th Grade SBAC. It has limited reliability and validity, is based on controversial standards, and experts are predicting a drop in scores for at least a few test administrations. Having a student take it willingly and knowingly is one matter. But announcing that all students must sit during the school day for this two-hour assessment, replete with issues, which will impact their transcript, all while there is an alternative, is unfair.

Furthermore, many colleges are offering test flexibility when it comes to the college-entrance process and are looking for more holistic approaches to evaluating students. According to U.S. News and World Report, 195 of the 850 test-flexible universities are deemed top-tier schools.  Considering that high school grades and course choice are better indicators of college readiness than standardized tests, this flexibility makes sense. Clearly, the long-held belief that taking the SAT is the only gateway to obtaining a college education is no longer the reality.

Over-testing

This move will not even address the issue of over-testing. This year’s Junior class will endure an alphabet soup of testing in an effort to cover their bases. While some are taking AP tests, many will now take the PSAT to practice for the new SAT. They may also take the ACT, the old SAT, and the new SAT. At a time when parents are constantly reminded not to put too much pressure on our children when it comes to college preparations, maybe parents are not the problem. The state, and consequently the schools, have created a vortex of high pressure testing based on the rigorous “college and career standards,” starting right from Kindergarten. It would not be a stretch to think that students are experiencing stress and anxiety from sitting in the center of this educational maelstrom, despite the network of counselors, school psychologists and social workers ready to respond.

In all of this, there is one certainty. Mandating this test during the school day will expand the number of students taking the SAT. This is sorely needed by the College Board, whose market share has declined from 87% to 76%, while ACT’s has increased from 13% to 24%. This move would also enhance the College Board’s Student Search Service product, which allows licensees and research organizations to purchase student records up to five years after a student’s graduation, for as little as 40-cents per name. Acquiring the test “rights” in Connecticut would be a notch in their bottom-line belt, making one wonder if this move is more advantageous to students, or to the College Board.

Fortunately, and perhaps to no surprise, it was mentioned at last week’s New Canaan High School meeting that this policy is not solidified at the state level. Additionally, local BOE testing policies have not changed, meaning no single test score can ever be used as the “sole criterion of promotion or graduation.” Parents still have the right to refuse a test as they always have. That could change, as it has in other states, unless we advocate on behalf of our students. We need the BOE and the Administration to stand up to bad policies that divert local control and thwart parental decision-making.

Obviously, we all want what is best for our students.  By using critical thinking and advocating for what is right, we can ensure that happens.

To understand more about the two tests, you can find an online tool created by Dr. Gary Gruber, publisher of many SAT/ACTbooks:   http://www.drgarygruber.com/which-test-new-or-old-sat/

To learn more about the “test flexible” colleges and universities, visit www.fairtest.org.

Naughton is an educational consultant, former teacher and mother of four. She also serves on the Republican Town Committee, and is a Realtor with Barbara Cleary’s Realty Guild. Opinions expressed in this column solely reflect her views. You may email her [email protected]

You can read and post comments on the original piece at: http://ncadvertiser.com/58932/education-matters-problems-with-states-change-to-student-testing/#ixzz3ovlrEGvy

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

As reported in yesterday’s Wait, What? Post,

“Current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT.”  (Recommendation from the Guidance Department of E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, CT.)

Starting in March 2016 the College Board, which owns the lucrative PSAT and SAT testing systems, will be rolling out a NEW SAT which it claims is aligned to the “Common Core Standards”

The “primary author” of those Common Core Standards – a system that is causing so much controversy – took over as President of the College Board and immediately announced that he would do for the SAT what he did for the nation’s education standards.

And many of the same problems and issues that have arisen with the Common Core SBAC and Common Core PARCC tests are likely to appear with the new SAT.

Remember that the Common Core testing scheme was designed to fail the vast majority of public school students, and it did, because the tests included a significant amount of content that students had not learned prior to taking the tests.

In Connecticut, for example, the Common Core SBAC testing scam proclaimed that that only 30% of high school students were “proficient” in Math, while the Connecticut Mastery Test had been reporting that that 78% – 82% of all high students had been scoring at a proficient level in Math for decades.

How did the education reform’s testing industry engineer a system in which Connecticut’s high school students suddenly got stupid, dropping from 80% proficient to 30% proficient?

The answer lies in the fact that students were tested on Math content they had not been given the opportunity to learn… a sure why of “proving” that students were “failing.”

And now the NEW SAT is going to do the same thing.

Based on the recent Common Core SBAC test results, Students facing challenges will likely be hit the hardest by the shift to the NEW SAT

In Connecticut, the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory SBAC test determined that only 16.4 percent of poor children where “proficient” in Math, only 8.2 percent of students with special education needs scored at the “proficient” level and only 7 percent of English Language Leaners (those not fluent in the English Language) scored at a “proficient” level.

And now those students will be required to take the NEW SAT.

But the unfair assault on Connecticut’s public school students should come as no surprise considering the NEW SAT is just another piece of the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s agenda to undermine public education.

While this year’s high school juniors can take the old SAT and submit it with their college applications, as long as they take it before March, the State of Connecticut is one of the state’s that have signed a deal with the College Board to “require” that every high school junior take the NEW SAT next spring.  The requirement was passed by the Connecticut General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Malloy earlier this year.

As for the elements of the NEW SAT, the College Board is reporting that the NEW PSAT, a standardized test that many high school juniors are taking this fall, is similar in scope to the NEW SAT that will be forthcoming.  However, since the NEW SAT has not be used or validated, students will flying blind when taking the NEW SAT starting in March.

According to the propaganda coming from the College Board, the NEW SAT will be made up of 4 parts; Math, Reading, Writing/Language Arts and a new optional SAT Essay that is taking the place of the required essay that has been the cornerstone of the old SAT testing system.

Apparently some of the biggest differences with the NEW SAT will show up in the Math section which will focus, as they put it, on the following:

However the NEW SAT Math test will also contain what the College Board is calling “Additional Topics in Math,” which will include “trigonometry.”

The inclusion of “advanced” and “additional” topics in math will mean that the NEW SAT will include content that most high school juniors will not have been taught.

While some students who are particularly proficient in math may actually do better with the NEW SAT system, the vast majority of students will probably face greater problems as a result of the “enhancement” to the SAT.

AS for the “optional SAT essay,” the College Board reports that the essays will be scored “using a carefully designed process” in which, “Two different people will read and score your essay, Each scorer awards 1–4 points for each dimension: reading, analysis, and writing, The two scores for each dimension are added” and “You’ll receive three scores for the SAT Essay — one for each dimension — ranging from 2–8 points.”

The magical scoring rubric can be found via the following link: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/essay

In summary two key points rise to the surface.

First, “current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.”  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT.”

Second, why Governor Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly would mandate that all Connecticut 11th graders take the NEW SAT is a sad commentary on their on-going failure to stand up for Connecticut’s students and parents.  The NEW SAT, like the Common Core SBAC test is designed to fail students, especially students who are already face challenges when it comes to getting into college.

WARNING – Parents of High School Students – Especially Juniors – Beware!

Starting in March 2016, students taking the SAT College Admission Exam will be given the NEW Common Core aligned SAT test rather than the version that students have been taking over the years.

David Coleman, who was the primary “author” of the Common Core, is now the President of the College Board, the organization that develops and overseas the SAT.  Last Spring, Coleman announced that a new SAT would be introduced in 2016.  According to Coleman and the College Board,

“The SAT and SAT Subject Tests are designed to assess your academic readiness for college. These exams provide a path to opportunities, financial support, and scholarships, in a way that’s fair to all students. The SAT and SAT Subject Tests keep pace with what colleges are looking for today, measuring the skills required for success in the 21st century.”

In other words, according to this gigantic standardized testing company that collects hundreds of millions of dollars a year from students, parents, schools, school districts and state and local governments, getting a high score on the SAT is the key to getting into and paying for college.

What Coleman and the Education Reform Industry is not telling parents is that the NEW Common Core aligned SAT, like the Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium SBAC test and other Common Core Testing schemes will include content that most students have not been taught.

The truth is that many students who take the NEW SAT may be stunned when they receive SAT scores that are far lower than they would have otherwise expected.

The impact could be will be especially significant and unfair for this year’s high school juniors who are taking the SAT’s this spring as part of their college application process.

BUT THERE IS SOMETHING THAT PARENTS CAN AND SHOULD DO;

Hopefully parents of this year’s high school juniors have already heard the news from their high school’s guidance department, but according to the guidance counselors at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, Connecticut;

“Current 11th graders are strongly encouraged to take the CURRENT SAT before the NEW SAT comes out in March.  Colleges will continue to accept SAT scores earned prior to the NEW SAT rollout.  In this way, students may also take the NEW SAT and compare scores, submitting the set of scores that is more favorable.  This option (using the current SAT scores) will not be available to younger students.  In other words, students in the Class of 2017 will be the last to have the option of using scores earned on the current SAT.”

While the existing SAT has more than its share of problems, experts are reporting that by aligning the NEW SAT to the so-called Common Core standards, students will need to have successfully completed Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, as well as Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry or Probability and Statistics in order to get a co-called “college ready” score on the math portion of the new SAT standardized test.

However, as noted, many, if not most, high school juniors will not have taken the “advanced courses” that are needed in order to get a higher school on the NEW SAT.

While some high students are provided the opportunity to take advanced math course, the State of Connecticut requirement that students even have four years of math doesn’t take effect until the graduating class of 2018, ensuring that many students who graduate in 2016 and 2017 don’t have the necessary background to “succeed” on the NEW SAT and those graduating in 2018 and beyond may have four years of math, but may not have been taught the concepts needed to successfully take the NEW SAT.

The rush to a Test and Punish system of public education is putting today’s students at risk and policymakers in Connecticut and across the country are making things far worse, not better, as the Corporate Education Reform Industry laughs all the way to the bank.

In states like Florida and Texas, once proponents of the Common Core, governors and legislatures are actually moving in exactly the opposite direction by eliminating the requirement that students even have to take Algebra 2, let alone study more advanced math courses, in order meet graduate requirements.

While Connecticut is moving toward the requirement that students take four years of math, Governor Dannel Malloy’s uncompromising support for the Common Core and Common Core Testing scheme is actually undermining public schools students who are caught during the “transition” to the higher standards.

Just yesterday Governor Malloy, his Commissioner of Education and a handful of key legislators held a press conference at a West Hartford High School to congratulate themselves on promoting a testing system that will actually hurt many Connecticut students.

Governor Malloy’s press release read;

“Governor Dannel P. Malloy today joined State Department of Education (SDE) Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell, State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford), and State Representative Andy Fleischmann (D-West Hartford) at Conard High School in West Hartford, where they highlighted the state’s plan to replace the 11th Grade Smarter Balance Assessment – or SBAC exam – with the SAT later this school year.  This plan represents an important milestone in Governor Malloy’s commitment to reduce the amount of standardized testing for public high school students and ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in college and careers.”

The notion that Dannel Malloy, a champion of the Common Core and the Common Core testing scheme is committed to reducing the amount of standardized testing for public school students is utterly absurd.

But equally distressing is the fact Malloy and his State Department of Education, along with the help of the Connecticut General Assembly are seeking to force all Connecticut 11th graders to take the NEW, untested and unproven SAT that, like the SBAC Test, is designed to fail huge numbers of Connecticut students.

What isn’t clear is whether their headlong rush to mandate the use of the NEW SAT is due to their ignorance, their desire to divert scarce public funds to massive education testing and corporate education reform companies or their complete unwillingness to understand how to help, not hurt, Connecticut’s students and parents.

While the NEW SAT will make its appearance in all of Connecticut’s high schools in March, the truly unsettling reality is that the Connecticut General Assembly passed and Governor Malloy signed into law a requirement that every high school junior take the NEW SAT next spring and that those students be judged by a test that is being redesigned and aligned to the Common Core, that no one has seen and that will almost certainly test students on content that they haven’t even learned.

Furthermore, as result of Governor Malloy’s “education reform” initiative, high school teachers in Connecticut will then be “evaluated” on how well their students do on this NEW Common Core aligned SAT.

Early this year, the Atlantic Monthly Magazine highlighted some of the problems with the “NEW” SAT in an article entitled New SAT, New ProblemsThe piece focused on the fact that the “NEW” SAT’s math section would likely put many students at a significant disadvantage when it comes to getting into college.

Why?  Because, as the magazine reported, the NEW SAT will include a significant amount of content that many students have not learned.

As the Atlantic Monthly reported,

“[I]t’s the revision of the math section that could have particularly egregious consequences

The new SAT will focus on fewer types of math than the current version does, sacrificing breadth for depth and testing students on the material the College Board believes to be most essential to “college and career success.” That might sound like good idea. But with this change in focus comes a change in question style. And that’s problematic.

The new version includes fewer questions that deal simply with ‘figures and equations’ and far more with topics that many, even most, students have not been properly prepared for.”

But despite the very real and extremely serious issues with the NEW SAT, Governor Malloy and his allies celebrated Connecticut’s decision to mandate that every student take the NEW SAT and that students and teacher be judged by the results of that test.

Malloy press release yesterday added,

“All children deserve a chance to pursue their dreams, go to college, and compete for the best jobs in a global economy. We are no doubt raising a new bar – graduation rates are at record highs while we’re preparing children for the future like never before,” Governor Malloy said.  “But we also believe in testing smartly, and mitigating stress among students and parents. That’s why we’ve taken this step, and I would like to thank Senator Bye, Representative Fleischmann, and all those who worked in the House and Senate on this issue.

Beyond the benefits of reducing duplicative testing, the move has an added benefit of leveling the playing field by ensuring those who otherwise might not be able to afford the SAT – the costs for which typically run more than $50 – will not be precluded from taking the exam, which is often requisite for admission to higher education institutions.

“Our job is to make sure all of our students in Connecticut have access to a top-quality education that prepares them for success in college and career.  Tests are an important tool for gauging where we are as a state and where students need additional help to succeed,” Commissioner Wentzell said.

“Replacing the Smarter Balanced assessment with the SAT for 11th graders cuts down on the amount of time students spend taking exams and allows high schools to focus on delivering rigorous academic instruction and preparing young people for college.  We thank Governor Malloy, our legislators and educational partners for their leadership and support on this important issue.”

“I’ve heard complaints from many parents and students over the past few years about lost learning time and the impact of too much student testing, especially for 11th-graders, who have some of the heaviest testing burdens with the SBAC, SAT and Advanced Placement exams,” Senator Bye said.  “I believe the changes we have instituted will reduce student stress while still providing them with a proven and valuable college-preparation tool.”

“Federal requirements created a bottleneck of testing for high school juniors that we are now fixing,” State Representative Fleischmann, House co-chair of the Education Committee, said.  “By replacing the 11th Grade SBAC with the new SAT, we not only get rid of a test many students weren’t taking seriously – we also make a college entrance exam free for all families.  Students who might not have considered college before will start to do so – while their parents get a break on ever-rising test fees.”

As the saying goes, with “friends” like these, Connecticut’s public schools students, parents and teachers certainly don’t need enemies …. They already have them and they are running Connecticut’s State Government.