SBAC Results – Telling us what we know about poverty, language barriers and unmet Special Education needs

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Academic experts have proven over and over again that the major factors influencing standardized test results are poverty, language barriers and unmet special education needs.

Wealthier students, students who are fluent in English and students who don’t need special education services do better.

For students who do need special education services, when schools properly fund those programs, students do better.

The Common Core SBAC test is not only designed to fail the majority of public school students, but is particularly discriminatory because the SBAC scam’s definition of “success” is even more directly connected to wealth, proficiency in the English language and the lack of any need for special education services.

The following chart makes the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory nature of the Common Core SBAC test extremely clear.  The chart rank orders the percent of students deemed “proficient” in MATH, by town, according to the 2015 Common Core.

Note that eighth graders who live in wealthier towns with few English Language Learners and the funds necessary to provide special education services score higher on the SBAC Math test, while students who come from communities in which there is significant poverty, large numbers of students who aren’t fluent in English and lack the money to provide sufficient special education services do poorly.

Connecticut’s didn’t need to spend $50 million dollars in scarce taxpayer funds and tens of millions more at the local level, over the past two years to identify the problem.

The problem is that poverty, language barriers and unmet special education services reduce academic performance.

Experts, teachers, school administrators and policymakers knew what the problem was decades ago before the Connecticut Mastery Tests were even begun and they have known it as the CMTs were given every year.

The Common Core SBAC testing is an extraordinary waste of time, money and effort.

More testing is not the answer.

The answer is for Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly to adopt a fair, equitable and Constitutional school funding formula that provides schools with the resources needed to ensure all of Connecticut’s children get the quality education they need and deserve!

Percent of 8th Graders deemed “proficient” by the SBAC test, by town:

School District Mathematics
Percent at Level 3 & 4:
 Meets or Exceeds the Achievement Level
Darien School District 83.4%
Westbrook School District 76.7%
Avon School District 76.6%
Farmington School District 74.3%
New Canaan School District 71.7%
Guilford School District 69.1%
Kent School District 69.0%
Regional School District 05 67.9%
Ridgefield School District 67.6%
Easton School District 66.4%
Mansfield School District 66.1%
Canton School District 65.9%
Preston School District 65.7%
Clinton School District 65.3%
Bozrah School District 65.0%
Westport School District 64.9%
Regional School District 07 64.7%
Tolland School District 64.7%
Salem School District 63.6%
Regional School District 10 63.4%
Simsbury School District 63.2%
Granby School District 62.3%
Pomfret School District 62.1%
Glastonbury School District 61.8%
East Granby School District 61.3%
Greenwich School District 61.2%
Redding School District 61.1%
Hartland School District 60.9%
Madison School District 60.5%
Salisbury School District 60.0%
Ellington School District 59.8%
Regional School District 08 59.7%
Weston School District 59.2%
Willington School District 58.7%
Ledyard School District 57.9%
Cheshire School District 57.5%
South Windsor School District 57.4%
Regional School District 15 57.1%
East Lyme School District 56.9%
Brookfield School District 56.0%
Newtown School District 55.8%
Wilton School District 55.4%
Fairfield School District 55.1%
Voluntown School District 52.6%
Portland School District 52.5%
New Fairfield School District 52.2%
Southington School District 52.2%
Colchester School District 52.0%
Old Saybrook School District 51.9%
Shelton School District 51.4%
Regional School District 18 50.4%
Rocky Hill School District 50.3%
West Hartford School District 49.3%
Monroe School District 49.0%
Litchfield School District 48.8%
Berlin School District 48.4%
Trumbull School District 48.3%
Stonington School District 48.2%
Regional School District 04 47.3%
East Haddam School District 47.3%
Canterbury School District 46.7%
Regional School District 17 46.6%
Seymour School District 46.3%
Suffield School District 45.4%
Columbia School District 45.3%
Regional School District 13 45.2%
Stafford School District 45.1%
Elm City College Preparatory Charter School 44.9%
Somers School District 44.3%
Coventry School District 43.4%
Thomaston School District 42.9%
Regional School District 12 42.9%
Amistad Academy Charter School 41.8%
Newington School District 41.5%
Bethel School District 41.4%
Bolton School District 41.4%
Odyssey Community Charter School 41.2%
North Haven School District 41.1%
Waterford School District 40.6%
North Canaan School District 40.5%
Bridgeport Achievement First Charter School 39.7%
Regional School District 14 39.6%
Oxford School District 38.8%
Integrated Day Charter School 38.7%
Milford School District 38.1%
Regional School District 16 37.9%
Groton School District 36.2%
Wolcott School District 35.4%
Montville School District 35.4%
Wethersfield School District 35.2%
Stamford School District 35.0%
Griswold School District 35.0%
Windsor Locks School District 34.9%
Wallingford School District 34.8%
East Hampton School District 34.4%
Bristol School District 33.9%
Watertown School District 32.4%
Woodstock School District 32.3%
Lebanon School District 32.2%
New Milford School District 31.4%
Branford School District 30.8%
Windsor School District 30.2%
Vernon School District 30.1%
Plymouth School District 29.7%
Cromwell School District 29.5%
Plainville School District 28.6%
Hamden School District 27.0%
East Windsor School District 25.7%
Ashford School District 25.5%
Park City Prep Charter School 25.3%
Middletown School District 25.0%
Norwalk School District 24.7%
Danbury School District 23.8%
Putnam School District 23.6%
Lisbon School District 22.9%
North Stonington School District 22.9%
Sprague School District 22.7%
Stratford School District 22.2%
Manchester School District 22.1%
West Haven School District 22.0%
The Gilbert School District 21.9%
Jumoke Academy Charter School 21.3%
Naugatuck School District 21.0%
Regional School District 06 20.4%
Torrington School District 20.1%
The Bridge Academy Charter School 19.1%
Norwich School District 18.1%
Thompson School District 17.6%
Derby School District 16.8%
Bloomfield School District 16.5%
East Haven School District 16.1%
Killingly School District 16.0%
Enfield School District 15.8%
North Branford School District 15.5%
Brooklyn School District 15.5%
New Haven School District 15.0%
New Beginnings Inc. Charter School 14.3%
Meriden School District 13.6%
Windham School District 13.3%
Highville Charter School 12.5%
Plainfield School District 12.3%
Ansonia School District 12.1%
Hartford School District 11.9%
New Britain School District 11.8%
East Hartford School District 10.4%
New London School District 8.3%
Bridgeport School District 8.3%
Regional School District 11 8.1%
Waterbury School District 7.3%
Achievement First Hartford Academy Inc. Charter School 6.9%

CT SBAC Results – It’s a Friday afternoon in August – Good time to release the results – Today at noon!

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Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration is finally ready to release the 2015 SBAC results!

Two months after parents in Washington State and Oregon were informed about how their state’s children did on the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core SBAC tests, Connecticut will finally get the news today about how our children “performed” on the absurd testing fiasco.

The first rule of modern government and politics is that when you don’t want people to know something, release the information on a Friday.  If possible, a Friday in August is best time to make something “public” if the goal is to make sure the public doesn’t actually hear about it.  The technique is an “art form” and strategy that the Malloy administration has used repeatedly over the past five years.

So now, after the spending more than $50 million dollars in state funds over the post two years on the new Common Core standardized testing scheme, and local school districts spending millions more, the Connecticut State Department will be revealing the test results this afternoon… A Friday afternoon in August.

In addition, apparently the wait for the CMT/CAPT Science test is finally over as well.  While the Common Core and Common Core testing scheme has obliterated the usefulness of the Math and English Language tests, the traditional testing process is still being used to measure whether students are learning the state’s science curriculum.

Unfortunately, the education reform industry’s definition for being “college and career” ready only applies to Math and English so other important subjects, like science, go unaddressed.  If policymakers were really concerned about the “whole child,” the science results would have been released long ago so that schools and parents could be focusing on the full array of subjects that allow student’s to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to live fulfilling lives.

Check back later for the numbers and the political spin from Governor Malloy’s administration and the Corporate Education Reform Industry.

Malloy – You can’t hide the sham 2015 SBAC results forever!

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The January 2, 2015 the Wait, What? headline read;

Governor Malloy – Our children are not stupid, but your system is!

The initial Wait, What? post of 2015 may very well be the most important of the year because it reiterates the disturbing truth about the Common Core, the Common Core testing scheme and what students, parents and teachers will be facing in the next few months.

The shocking truth is that Governor Dannel Malloy and his administration have agreed to a Common Core testing program that is designed to label the vast majority of our children as failures.

Here we are eight months later and tens of thousands of Connecticut children were given a Common Core test designed to label them as failures.

Two months after other SBAC states like Washington and Oregon have released their Common Core SBAC results, Governor Dannel Malloy and his administration continue to play games.

The Common Core Testing scheme is a scam that cost Connecticut taxpayers tens of millions of dollars… And yet the State Department of Education continues to rationalize the disastrous testing program.

Here is another powerful commentary piece from fellow public education advocate and regular Wait, What? commentator Jack Bestor.

It appeared first in the CT Mirror: Whither the elusive Connecticut SBAC results?

Whither the elusive Connecticut SBAC results? (By Jack Bestor)

Those oh-so-elusive SBAC results: after millions of dollars squandered on broadband improvements, tedious test prep, and time diverted from actual learning, our students, parents, and teachers have been prevented from getting the test results because no one in educational leadership today has figured out how to “spin” the results without facing the consequences of this poorly designed, invalid, questionably-standardized assessment that was perpetrated on our public school students.

Despite the reluctance of school administrators to speak up and push back against this ludicrous accountability exercise that has been promoted by politicians and corporate education reformers who have many self-interested reasons for maintaining this misguided testing endeavor, it is well-known that the “standardized” testing mandate only serves to continue the false narrative of failing American public education in order to drive the profit-making agenda of those who seek to privatize education and undermine the public trust.

For an insightful look at the test industry, Todd Farley’s under-publicized 2009 chronicle, Making The Grades, recounting his many years working in the test industry would make anyone question why we place any stock whatsoever in our children’s “standardized” test results.  Any test that is designed to fail the majority of test takers has no purpose in the education of children.

Rhetorical flourishes citing “rigor” and “higher critical thinking” are nothing but empty words, as repeatedly the test questions have been criticized by both parents and educators and the test answers have been notoriously ambiguous and often wrong.  There is no amount of test industry algorithms that can justify this educational malpractice.

Since the parents of all students in public schools were discouraged from opting their children out of this state-mandated “standardized” test experiment, it should be gratifying to those who saw through the misinformation and controversy associated with the Common Core testing requirement and, with courage and conviction, refused to allow their children to take this unnecessary and unproven test.

When the results are finally reported to your child’s school, you can be thankful there will be no “sticky label” to apply on your child’s permanent record card and no single data-point to upload into your child’s computerized learning profile.  Furthermore, there will be no woefully inadequate measure of your child’s reading, writing, and math skills for teachers and school administrators to use in any future planning of your child’s school program.

Instead, you can rely on your child’s previous teacher — who for a full school year strove to understand and nurture your child’s individual learning needs — to share with receiving teachers what was found to work in developing each student’s academic skills, confidence, and interpersonal abilities.  You are to be congratulated for advocating for your child against the pressures to conform and I hope you will be able to trust that the teachers working with your child will care and protect him/her from any unfair practice derived from this unproven test experiment.

Although unable to come right out and say it for fear of retribution, most teachers do not believe in the top-down, dictatorial approach of the corporate education reform movement that has a stranglehold on American public education today and hope that it will implode of its own malfeasance.

Until then — as parents — you must continue to ask probing questions of district administrators who are mandated to adhere to the flawed educational policies developed by politicians, lobbyists, business leaders, and millionaire philanthropists who have strong opinions, but no actual experiential knowledge of how children learn.  It is only when school administrators, elected board of education members, and state legislators hear the anger and frustration of parents (and voters) that there can be meaningful pressure brought to bear on those who promote the continuation of these failed educational policies.

Jack Bestor of Sandy Hook is a recently retired school psychologist who, for 41 years, enjoyed working with students, parents, and his many colleagues.  He is a past recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CT Association of School Psychologists.

You can read the original piece at: http://ctviewpoints.org/2015/08/24/whither-the-elusive-connecticut-sbac-results/

Common Core tests succeeding in labeling children as failures

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“It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.”  – Franz Kafka, The Trail (1925)

Or are we the stupid ones for letting the “education reformers” get away with undermining our children, their teachers and our public schools?

While Connecticut parents and teachers continue to wait for the Malloy administration to release the results of the 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scheme, updates from other states around the nation are pouring in.

The message is clear and consistent…

The Common Core tests were designed to fail the vast majority of students and the vast majority of students are failing.

The corporate education reform industry and their lackeys are yelping with glee as they pontificate about how bad our schools, our teachers and our children are doing – but their claims are nothing short of a lie.

Perhaps they believe that parents don’t know the underlying truth about the Common Core testing scam, but the harsh reality is that when you test children on subjects that they have not learned, they don’t pass.

And not only are the Common Core tests unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory, but to make matters a thousand times worse, thanks to Dannel Malloy’s “reform” initiatives, Connecticut will be using the outrageous test results to not only label children as failures, but to punish public school teachers.

According to published reports from Pennsylvania, that state’s Common Core testing scheme has translated into a nearly 80 percent drop in proficiency rates among some groups of students.

According to the Times-Tribune newspaper, in Old Forge, Pennsylvania;

“Only 13 percent of students in eighth grade scored at proficient or advanced levels in math, down from 79 percent in 2014”.

In nearby North Pocono,

“Math proficiency at the middle school went from 76 percent to 38 percent. At Valley View, eighth-grade math proficiency dropped from 74.4 percent to 18 percent.

The statewide numbers in Pennsylvania paint a grim picture;

Here are the state-wide results from the “math” portion of Pennsylvania’s Common Core test which is called the PSSA;

Grade: Math  Math  Difference:
2013-14: 2014-15:
3 75.1% 48.5% -26.6%
4 76.3% 44.5% -31.8%
5 77.2% 42.8% -34.4%
6 72.0% 39.8% -32.2%
7 76.7% 33.1% -43.6%
8 73.6% 29.9% -43.7%

Note that the absurd test has determined that 3 in 10 8th graders have “failed.”

Sooner or later, the Malloy administration will release Connecticut’s 2015 SBAC results and parents and teachers will see what tens of millions of dollars in wasted public funds has produced.

Wendy Lecker Notes – Want to know how a student is doing? Ask a teacher – Forget SBAC

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Fellow Connecticut public education advocate and columnist Wendy Lecker has yet another MUST READ piece in last weekend’s Stamford Advocate and the Hearst Media Group’s other Connecticut media outlets.

The Common Core SBAC testing fiasco is becoming a major issue (See NEWSFLASH: Washington State on 2015 SBAC results – “NEVER MIND” and  Shhhh… Don’t tell but Malloy administration will be releasing SBAC test results as early as next week.

Wendy Lecker digs deeper in a new piece entitled, Want to know how a student is doing? Ask a teacher.

A friend of mine had a priceless reaction to the specious claim by education reformers that our children need standardized tests so parents can know how they are doing in school. He laughed and said that in 20 years of parent conferences no teacher ever felt the need to pull out his children’s standardized tests to provide an accurate picture of how well they were learning.

Parents have relied on teachers’ assessments to gauge their children’s progress and most have pretty much ignored their children’s standardized test scores. For decades, this approach has served parents and students well. Recent research shows that non-standardized, human assessments of student learning are superior to standardized tests of all kinds.

I have written about the voluminous evidence showing that a high school GPA is the best predictor of college success, and that the SAT and ACT, by contrast, are poor predictors. (http://bit.ly/1K7CNzG)

Even standardized college placement tests, tests ostensibly designed to measure “college readiness,” fail miserably at that task — with real and damaging consequences for students.

College remediation is often used as a weapon by education reformers. Overstating college remediation rates was one of the tactics used by Arne Duncan to foment hysteria about the supposedly sorry state of America’s public schools and justify imposing the Common Core and its accompanying tests nationwide. As retired award-winning New York principal Carol Burris has written, while Duncan and his allies claimed that the college remediation rate is 40 percent, data from the National Center on Education Statistics show that the actual percentage is 20 percent.

Exaggeration is not the only problem with college remediation. Many of the students placed in remedial classes in college do not even belong there.

Judith Scott-Clayton of Columbia’s Teachers’ College and her colleagues examined tens of thousands of college entrants and found that one-quarter to one-third of those placed in remedial courses based on standardized placement tests were mis-assigned. These students wrongly placed in remedial classes could have passed a college- level course with a B or better. Moreover, when students are mis-assigned to remedial courses, the likelihood of them dropping out of college increases by eight percentage points. These high-stakes tests produce high-cost errors.

Scott-Clayton and her colleagues found that by incorporating high school grades into the college placement decisions, misplacements were corrected by up to a third, and there was a 10-percentage point increase in the likelihood that those students placed in a college-level course would complete that course with a grade of C or better.

Once again, non-standardized, human assessments of a student’s learning are more helpful than standardized tests.

Some institutions are getting that message. After California’s Long Beach City College began incorporating high school grades into placement decisions, the rate of students who placed into and passed college English quadrupled. The rate for math tripled. Just last month, George Washington University joined the long and growing list of colleges and universities that dropped the requirement for SAT or ACT scores.

These institutions of higher education understand that standardized tests are poor predictors “college readiness” and that high school grades are superior.

Yet too many policymakers cling to the failed strategy of using standardized tests to try to tell us what teachers are much better at telling us. Congress is set to reaffirm the requirement that states administer annual standardized tests, even though the data show that a child who passes one year is very likely to pass the next. Washington, West Virginia and California announced plans to use the not-yet validated and increasingly unpopular SBAC test in its college placement decisions.

California announced this move even as it is considering ceasing the use of SBACs to judge schools. Equally hypocritical, Washington State’s Board of Education just announced that it is lowering the SBAC high school passing score below the “college-ready” level arbitrarily adopted by the SBAC consortium last year.

Amid opt-outs and outrage at the SBACs, Connecticut passed a law replacing the un-validated 11th grade SBAC with the SAT as a required high school test; even though the SAT has been proven to have little predictive value for determining college success.

The key to ensuring and determining college readiness is clearly not high-stakes error-prone standardized tests. If politicians really want to understand how to prepare our children for college, maybe they should try a new — for them- approach and consult experts with a great track record of knowing what makes kids college-ready. Maybe they should ask some teachers.

You can read and comment on Wendy Lecker’s column at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Wendy-Lecker-Want-to-know-how-a-student-is-6431076.php

 

Better school libraries, not more Common Core testing, is a real Civil Rights issue

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The Corporate Education Reform Industry and its allies have been spending a lot of energy claiming that requiring more Common Core standardized testing is a “Civil Rights” issue because it serves as the mechanism to determine which public schools are failing.  How else, they assert, will we ever be able to determine where to invest public dollars in order to provide children of color with the support they need and deserve to become college and career ready?

Of course, the entire claim is nothing but a scam considering the fact that standardized test scores are driven by poverty, English language barriers and unmet special education needs, all of which are  factors that can be identified without turning classrooms into little more than standardized testing factories.

But truth has never been a concern to those who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting the notion that privatization, charter schools, the Common Core and the Common Core testing scheme are the solutions to reducing the nation’s achievement gap.

Calling for more testing, rather than recognizing the fundamental challenges associated with poverty and language barriers, has become the overarching strategy of the education reformers.

Their education philosophy is driven by the notion that when it comes to ensuring academic achievement, test prep and a curriculum focused on math and English language arts trumps a comprehensive school experience in which children are given the full range of courses, programs and services they need in order to learn and prosper.

In this era of scarce resources, the fact that more money is being spent on more testing, while important educational assets like school libraries are allowed to disintegrate, is a quintessential example of the stupidity surrounding the education reform agenda and a reflection of the real Civil Rights issues that are facing poorer school districts.

In Connecticut, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and his General Assembly recently adopted a budget that devotes more than $50 million over the next two years for the SBAC Common Core testing program, while doing nothing to address the very real Civil Rights violations associated with the fact that that tens of thousands of black and brown public school children don’t even have access to a quality school library.

Walk into any one of Farmington Connecticut’s elementary schools and you’ll find a vibrant school library with an average of 60 books per child and trained library professionals to help students learn how to fully utilize libraries and the portal to information and knowledge that library’s provide.

A visit to a Fairfield elementary school will reveal a center of learning with at least 50 library books per child and Greenwich is not far behind with 45 books per child.

By comparison, there are 17 elementary schools in Bridgeport with so-called “School libraries” that have less than 15 books per child, and a growing number of schools that have no school library at all. Library professionals are just as scarce.

And not surprisingly, considering the State of Connecticut’s historic underfunding of its public schools, Bridgeport is not alone.

While the State of Connecticut and its school districts can find the money for the technology required to institute the Common Core testing program, some can’t or refuse to come up with the funds necessary to provide students with a quality school library.

The following chart reveals just the tip of the iceberg;

School Districts with libraries that have less than 15 books per child # of Elementary Schools
Bridgeport 17
Hartford 9
New Haven 3
Meriden 3
West Haven 3

 

Other towns with elementary schools that have libraries with less than 15 books per child include Ansonia, East Hartford, Griswold, Naugatuck, New Britain, Rocky Hill and Shelton.

And although it is the 21st Century and Connecticut has the highest per capita income in the nation, there are elementary schools in Connecticut that don’t have any school libraries at all.  That list includes schools in East Hartford, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and elsewhere.

Oh, and what about those magical “charter schools” that the education reformers claim will “save” the poor and minority children?

According to the official school profile reports filed with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Achievement First Bridgeport Charter School, Achievement First Hartford Charter School, Achievement First Elm City Charter School and Side by Side Charter School in Norwalk have no school library at all.

Meanwhile, Highville Charter School (Hamden) has a library with only 12 books per child and the infamous Capital Prep (Hartford) has a library with 13 books per child, but as reported previously, students aren’t allowed to take books out of that library.

The charter school and corporate education reform industry lobby groups have spent nearly $1.4 million so far this year promoting Governor Malloy’s education reform agenda.

Just imagine what they could be doing with those funds if they were actually serious about helping poor children succeed in school.

Fellow Education advocate and columnist Sarah Darer Littman has written extensively about the school library issue in Connecticut.  Start by reading her piece in CTNewsjunkie entitled, College, Career and Democracy ready? Not without a trained librarian

SBAC results from Washington State confirm test designed to fail vast majority of children

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The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has provided its member states with most of the results from the spring’s Common Core SBAC testing.

Unlike Connecticut, where the Malloy administration is apparently keeping the information secret as long as possible, the State of Washington has been updating the public about the results as they came in.  As of two weeks ago, Washington State had already received the results for more than 90% of its students.

The Common Core SBAC test results from Washington State confirm the worst fears that the Common Core SBAC test is designed to fail the vast majority of public schools students.

From the initial post of 2015, Wait, What? has been sounding the alarm about the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory nature of the SBAC testing scheme.

Early posts on the topic included;

Governor Malloy – Our children are not stupid, but your system is! (1/2/2015); Beware the Coming Common Core Testing Disaster (1/6/2015); ALERT! Parents – the Common Core SBAC Test really is designed to fail your children (2/6/2015)

The problem with the Common Core SBAC test is multifaceted, including the most recent revelations that Connecticut public school students are being provided with textbooks that aren’t even aligned to the Common Core and its associated testing program.

In addition, the cut-off scores used to determine whether a student achieves goal are intentionally designed to label as many as 7 in 10 children as failures.

As reported earlier, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, including Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, met in Olympia, Washington in November 2014 to set the “cut scores” in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA).

While Vermont and New Hampshire refused to endorse the scores, the Malloy administration’s representatives voted in favor of a system that – from the start – intended to define achievement in such a way as to ensure sure that the majority of students did not meet that goal.

And now the Washington State results are in and while children in the lower grades did better than initially projected, THE MAJORITY OF STUDENTS IN GRADES 5,6,7,8 AND 11 FAILED the Common Core SBAC test in math!

The most troubling news is the fact that high school juniors in Washington State, most of whom are focused on getting the courses and grades that will get them into college, were given a test that was designed to label them as failures … and the SBAC organization’s unfair and disastrous strategy has succeeded.

According to the SBAC entity’s own memo, the SBAC test was projected to label 67% of high school juniors as “failures” and in Washington State, 71% of high school juniors have “failed” the 2015 SBAC test in math.

2015 SBAC Results in Math SBAC Projection% FAILING Washington State Results% FAILING
   
   
Grade 11 (High School Juniors) 67% FAIL 71% FAIL

 

The State of Washington will be holding a press conference on August 18, 2015 at 10am to release the disaggregated district-level results for their state which will undoubtedly reveal that the SBAC test particularly discriminates against children from low-income homes, children who face English language barriers and children who need special education services.

Meanwhile, there is no word when the Connecticut State Department of Education will be releasing the results for Connecticut’s public school students.

 

On SBAC – Connecticut’s Best Places for parents and students – Stonington, Madison, Region #19, Danbury

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UPDATED AS DATA ARRIVES

Every year groups like Livability.com release lists of the best places to live in American.  The organization observes that, “Making a Best Places to Live list is part art and part science.”

This year, Connecticut’s public school parents learned the value of living in a school district where the local superintendent and other school administrators treat their public school students and parents with respect, dignity and maturity.

In far too many towns, local school officials, driven by the directives of Governor Malloy’s administration, misled, harassed and abused parents and students who wanted and deserved honest information about their fundamental rights as they related to the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core  Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC testing scheme.

While there were thankfully towns where local administrators did provide parents and students with the truth, far too many families were forced to confront the fact that their community’s school leaders refused to conduct themselves in an honest, ethical and moral fashion.

As a result, mapping where Connecticut parents and students are treated with respect has become particularly easy.

To identify the best communities for parents and students, one need only look at the percentage of high school students who opted out or refused to take the unfair Common Core SBAC test, a test designed to fail the vast majority of students, a test that was particularly dangerous and damaging for high school student who intend to go on to college.

The best places for parents and students to live is where school administrators recognize the importance of treating their community with the respect they deserve.

And based on that vitally important criteria, the communities and school districts that rise to the very top of the list are Stonington, Madison and Regional School District #19 (E.O. Smith High School which includes Mansfield, Ashford and Willington) and Danbury.

Some of the other towns where school administrators deserve praise include Region #9, Westport, Watertown, Groton, New Fairfield, Windsor, Winchester (Gilbert School), Granby, Manchester, Ellington, Darien and New Milford.

When the test scores arrive this summer, more and more parents will learn that the SBAC test is literally designed to label the majority of children as failures.  Parents will wish they lived in a districts led by school administrators who understood their duty to their parents and students.

At the other end of the spectrum are many of Connecticut’s poorest communities and a set of other towns whose school administrators crumbled to the pressure from the Malloy administration.

For a stunning example of arrogance, one need only look to Fairfield, where the superintendent and assistant superintendent saw fit to mislead and lie to parents about their opt out rights and where students who were opted out were forced to sit and stay in the testing rooms despite the despite the fact that the SBAC test protocol required that students who were taking the test were not supposed to be present in the testing room.”

All school districts have been asked to report the number of students, by grade levels, that were opted out of the Common Core SBAC Testing.

The following chart represents the data school districts provided on the number of high school juniors who were opted out or refused to take the Common Core SBAC test.  If your town is not listed it is because they have not provided the requested information to date.  There are towns that achieved high opt out rates. One of West Hartford’s high schools reported  a 52% opt out rate, while the other high school in the town reported 8%

The chart will be updated and republished as more information is made available by the superintendents.

Parents who live in communities where school administrators chose to stand with their parents and students should be commended!

Those who live in communities where school administrators mistreated misled, abused, harassed and lied to parents and students should consider demanding that their local school boards take action to ensure that the district is led by administrators who are willing and able to do their jobs in an appropriate and ethical manner.

Perhaps most disturbing is that some administrators appeared to be pleased that they were able to force a 100% test participation rate, a sad testament to the state’s inappropriate demand that everyone take the poorly designed and unfair Common Core SBAC test… What a sad commentary!

TOWN % OPT OUT
Stonington 93%
Madison 86%
Region #19 EO Smith 85%
Danbury 80%
Bridgeport Magnets (Ferris Wheeler Magnet Programs 77%-35%) 77%
Region #9 (ELA Part 2 66% Math 60%, ELA 51%) 66%
Westport 60%
Watertown 58%
Groton 51%
Weston 41%
New Fairfield 39%
Windsor 39%
Winchester (Gilbert School) 38%
Wethersfield 31%
Granby 30%
Manchester 19%
Ellington 17%
Darien 15%
New Milford 12%
Newtown 9%
Coventry 8%
Region #5 Amity 7%
Region #12 6%
Glastonbury 3%
Simsbury 3%
Old Saybrook 3%
Griswold 2%
Milford 2%
Wilton 2%
Bethel 1%
Chesire 1%
Colchester 1%
Fairfield 1%
Greenwich 1%
Killingly 1%
Lebanon 1%
Monroe 1%
Montville 1%
Putnam 1%
Region #16 1%
Region #17 1%
Shelton 1%
Wolcott 1%
Bloomfield 0%
Bolton 0%
Bridgeport (High Schools) 0%
Cromwell 0%
Norwich 0%
Meriden 0%
Region #8 0%
Region #10 0%
Region #15 0%
Seymour 0%
Westbrook 0%

Note:  The 1% communities are those in which at least one student was opted out.

Opt-Out movement rolls across CT – with opt out rates in excess of 50% in a number of high schools

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Although most parents of public school students won’t appreciate the disastrous impact of the unfair and discriminatory Common Core SBAC test until the test results arrive at homes this summer, record numbers of parents have stepped up to opt their children out of the inappropriate SBAC testing scheme.

Firm opt out numbers are trickling in from around the state and the number of parents who have refused to have their children abused by the testing process is significant, especially among high school juniors who are particularly at risk of being negatively impacted by the test that is intentionally designed to fail the vast majority of Connecticut students.

Despite a concerted, unethical and immoral effort by Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration and some local school superintendents to mislead, harass and punish students in an effort to convince parents not to opt the child or children out of the Common Core SBAC test, thousands of parents and students have refused to be bullied and refused to take the disastrous test.

In towns where school superintendents handled their duties in a professional and appropriate fashion, the number of students opting out has reached massive proportions with some high schools reporting more than 80 percent of their high school juniors did not take the test.  A  number of high schools have seen opt out rates in excess of 50 percent.

Not surprisingly, where superintendents and school principals failed to fulfill their ethical responsibilities, choosing instead to bully and harass students by claiming that they could not graduate if they failed to take the Common Core SBAC test or telling parents that it was illegal to opt out of the SBAC test, the number of students refusing the test was significantly lower.

However, those schools administrators will discover that misleading and even lying to their schools’ parents will lead to major repercussions.

Check back here at Wait, What? and watch for media reports about the actual opt out numbers as school districts finalize and report on their Common Core testing activities

Also feel free to report any information you’ve heard in the comment section or send that information to [email protected]

Greater transparency needed around standardized testing in schools (By Maria Naughton)

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Maria Naughton is a fellow education advocate, as well as an educational consultant, former teacher and mother of four.  She also writes a column for the New Canaan Advertiser newspaper and is a regular quest columnist here at Wait, What?  Her latest piece can be found at: http://ncadvertiser.com/50468/column-greater-transparency-needed-around-standardized-testing-in-schools/

Greater transparency needed around standardized testing in schools by Maria Naughton

Following last year’s field test, high school juniors have started the new Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), which has replaced two sections of the former sophomore-year CAPT. Different than the CAPT, this new test aligns to the Common Core standards, which claim to raise the bar for students. Measuring fewer academic topics, the SBA was created to measure, “college and career readiness,” a term referring to the ability to skip remedial coursework in either a post-secondary institution or in a certificate program leading to a “career pathway,” like those in a technical school.

This eight-hour assessment, which ends June 12, is web-based, and adaptive to student ability. The Smarter Balanced Consortium, a multi-state public agency located at UCLA, created the test. Low scores are predicted, but New Canaan may do better than most following many years of preparation. Regardless, perhaps we need to think more deeply about this unproven test and its future impact.

These tests have been inserted into a critical year. As juniors, students are working hard to meet academic demands while making preparations for college. Many are taking AP courses, and studying for other high-stakes tests, such as the AP, SAT and ACT, which help students earn credits and increase their chances for college admissions. SBA testing during this year causes students to miss instructional time, putting both grades and AP credits at risk, and impacts efforts to do well on college entrance exams. Considering many students are already taking college-level coursework, the “college readiness” predictive value of the new test seems redundant. Additionally, in creating this test, the Consortium seems to ignore findings that high school grades are a bigger predictor of college success than any standardized tests.

Unlike class grades, these tests currently mean very little for juniors. Results won’t be available until after July, and won’t impact grades or course placement. A quick survey of nine Connecticut colleges and universities found that none are looking at these scores. To fulfill graduation requirements, just like in the past, these scores may be only one of many factors, according to state statute. The NCHS handbook lists these, and students can easily meet with their counselors to clarify.

Students and families may find the scoring parameters unsettling. Despite its lack of validity and untested predictive value, the Consortium has already determined that most students in Connecticut will fail the Spring 2015 test. According to them, 60-90% of test-takers won’t pass, with sub-groups doing the worst. A score of one through four will become part of a student’s academic record, yet the implications of scores are unclear. However, according to a draft Consortium Policy Framework, low scores may result in additional coursework and remediation in grade 12 to prove college-readiness.

And in what ostensibly seems to be a clinical trial, the Consortium, in partnership with UCLA, will analyze these results, to be used for research, development and future recommendations. Clearly, the Consortium wields much control over our local schools, yet we know little about them. This group, consisting of 17 states, is federally funded, and is supported by the Gates Foundation among others, but it isn’t clear to whom they are accountable. Their assessments, they claim, will ensure our children are, “productive, engaged and ethical citizens” but how that is accomplished is unclear. Their goal is to, “improve educational outcomes” for millions, yet their governance authority is not transparent to families and taxpayers, and the data sharing remains a mystery.

Many families who are aware of the testing/standards flaws, the scoring problems, and the questionable data practices are refusing the test. Following state guidance, local district administrators had been telling parents that opting-out was not possible, because 95% participation was needed to ensure federal funding. Administrators have since reversed that decision, but even if that were true, in communities like New Canaan, that amount is negligible. In truth, no district should be coerced into accepting this murky and experimental plan, certain to fail most children, at the risk of losing funding for their neediest students.

It’s time for all of us to take a serious look at the role of standardized testing in our schools, paying extra attention to this new assessment. Greater transparency is needed around all those involved, including the Consortium, to better understand the impact on our students, the ongoing quality of our schools and the allocation of future resources. State law requires districts to give annual assessments, but there is no law forcing a child to take them. Parents can, as in the past, refuse the test. Parents should refuse to accept the results if children have already been tested. This is the only means by which a parent will have a voice in this process. Let’s restore control of education to the towns, school districts, and to the families they serve.

 

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