This collection has been gathered to raise awareness about concerns related to current high-stakes, standardized tests. It also serves as a research tool to organize online content. There is a grey funnel shaped icon at the top right corner of the screen where you can do keyword searches of content. Readers are encouraged to explore related links within each post for further information.
An In-Depth Critique by Steven Rasmussen, SR Education Associates, March 2015
"This spring, tests developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will be administered to well over 10 million students in 17 states to determine their proficiency on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). This analysis of mathematics test questions posted online by Smarter Balanced reveals that, question after question, the tests:
* Violate the standards they are supposed to assess; * Cannot be adequately answered by students with the technology they are required to use; * Use confusing and hard-to-use interfaces; or * Are to be graded in such a way that incorrect answers are identified as correct and correct answers as incorrect.
No tests that are so flawed should be given to anyone. Certainly, with stakes so high for students and their teachers, these Smarter Balanced tests should not be administered. The boycotts of these tests by parents and some school districts are justified. Responsible government bodies should withdraw the tests from use before they do damage."...
"As schools across the country go high-tech, incorporating data-driven educational apps and software into classrooms, fears about the privacy and security of students' personal information are on the rise.
These concerns may be putting the brakes on school district's efforts to personalize learning, but not in Miami-Dade County, Fla. The 345,000-student district is a pioneer in digital learning, and has given teachers and students access to a host of online apps and programs.
At iPrep Academy, students work almost entirely online. Computer programs collect tons of information about students' interests, preferences, even the names of their friends, to customize lessons. Although Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is confident that the safeguards in vendor contracts, along with his data-security team, are protecting digital data, the threats are real. Hackers try to infiltrate the district's system every day, and not too long ago a cafeteria worker with access to the database stole hundreds of students' names and social security numbers.
John Tulenko of Education Week visits iPrep Academy to see how teachers are using the technology to personalize classroom instruction and what the district is doing to protect student data.
This video segment appeared on PBS NewsHour on April 5, 2016."
"Many of you complained computer problems undermined the second year of the Georgia Milestones in your school systems, putting the scores in doubt for students coping with stalled tests and frozen screens.
(A refresher on testing lingo: It’s now End of Grade or EOG for the Milestones in elementary and middle, and End of Course or EOC for the Milestones in high school.)
As my AJC colleague Ty Tagami reported today out of the state board meeting:
There were some schools that had intermittent issues, said Melissa Fincher, director of testing for the Georgia Department of Education. Results were transmitted, but some kids may not have performed at their best because of the disruption, she said, so it wasn’t fair to them to use the scores.
She said 7 percent of test “sessions” had been affected as of Friday. Each student in grades three through eight has nine sessions. Close to half the nearly 1 million students in that age group took online exams this year, the largest in state history.
The school board voted to void the results for use in decisions about promoting students to the next grade.
Of course, few kids actually are retained in Georgia. (See the state policy on the appeals process.)
However, there seems to be stress around the question as I heard from a therapist who said, “I have been inundated with anxious young people and their parents about the Milestone’s effect this year on retention.”
At this point, the results of the End of Course tests in high school will still account for 20 percent of student grades as there have been fewer reports of glitches. (Fewer testers are going online at the same time with the high school tests.)
The state DOE is also asking to delay using Milestone scores to rate teachers, but that has to be approved by the multi-agency Educator Effectiveness Committee, an advisory group created to improve teacher quality.
In its statement DOE said:
During this year’s administration of the Georgia Milestones EOG tests, some local school districts reported technology-related interruptions of online testing. While some of these events were short-term and quickly resolved, with minimal impact on student experiences, others required more extensive technical support. The GaDOE believes that further analysis of the possible impacts of these interruptions is warranted prior to the release of student scores, given the stakes involved for students.
“I am committed to a responsible approach to accountability that ensures public trust in the process,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Given the technology issues experienced by some students during the online administration of the Georgia Milestones EOGs, we believe it is best to proceed with caution when it comes to basing promotion, placement and retention on the outcome of the tests. While many districts tested online without a major incident, in the interests of our students, we asked the State Board of Education for a waiver of the promotion, placement and retention portion of the rule.”
State law requires that students in grade three earn an At/Above Grade Level designation in reading to be promoted to fourth grade. In grades five and eight, state law requires that students earn an At/Above Grade Level designation in reading, as well as score in the Developing Learner achievement level or above in mathematics to be promoted to the next grade. These are the promotion, placement, and retention requirements being waived for the 2016 EOG administration. Some local school systems have additional promotion criteria, and this waiver will not preclude school districts from applying local policies and protocols for promotion and retention decisions for individual students.
Pending the approval of the Educator Effectiveness Committee, student growth will be held harmless for the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES)/Leader Keys Effectiveness System (LKES) this year, and will not count next year with the revised evaluation system. The Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards (TAPS) component of the TKES and the Leader Assessment on Performance Standards (LAPS) component of the LKES will continue to be the sole measure used to determine the performance rating of teachers of record and leaders reported by employing school systems and charter schools to the GaPSC for certification purposes."...
I received the following message from a reader this morning. With his permission, I am sharing it here, followed by my own thoughts:
I just applied to Downey Unified School District in Southern California and was referred to the Teachermatch website to take the “EPI” test to see if I was a good match. It was a bizarre, poorly-written test, that left me feeling angry that school districts are paying tens of thousands of dollars to this company for these bogus, meaningless assessments of candidates.
It was an hour-and-a-half with timed questions on logic, analogies, math, theory, hypothetical situations, etc. All multiple choice. Several questions about education philosophy did not have any choices that represented my philosophy–but I had to choose one to move on to the next question. There was a question about multiplying fractions — not a word problem, but literally 3/5 X 2/3—without the correct answer, but with fractions followed by abbreviations I have never seen before (ie “3/4 nf” and “1/2 bd”). I attended UC San Diego (consistently rated as one of top universities in the world) and have a Masters Degree. I had no idea what those abbreviations meant. But you have to choose an answer to continue to the next question. And you have to choose it within 90 seconds or you will be marked “in violation.”
My understanding is that Teacher Match is an LLC started by a former police officer in Chicago because he is “very concerned about unqualified teachers” in the schools. So he decided to gather a secret group of investors/finance industry executives together to develop this test (since those are the people most knowledgeable and most concerned about the crisis with incompetent teachers ruining our education system!). They charge tens of thousands to schools/districts to use their system that they claim is proven effective by data that they can’t share. And they are presenters at conferences that cater to investors looking at how to get into lucrative public education markets.
When the test was finished I was prompted to give them my personal information,, complete a profile and purchase a membership so that potential employers could view my profile (which I suppose would include the results of this test, which I could not see– I have no idea what score I got). I was not given a score, nor was there any explanation of how it would be scored.
Do you know anything about this? Does anyone have any thoughts?"...
"I worked the work of three people this week. I do not say this to be congratulated or slapped on the back. I have never been one of those people who brag about being tired because I do too much.
I say this because it is true.
This past week the students at my school were taking the PARCC exam. All of the special education teachers were pulled from servicing the children in my classroom in order to accommodate children who were testing.
I teach first grade in a neighborhood school for the Chicago Public Schools. The PARCC exam begins in the third grade, but even though my students did not take the test, their schedules and learning were still disrupted and negatively affected by the tests. There are 5 wonderful children in my classroom with Individual Education Plans (IEPs), and most of these plans are quite extensive (as they should be). Our room works in a co-teaching model where an education specialist, teaching assistant, and I work together to bring everyone’s Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to life. Our speech pathologist, occupational therapist, and social worker filter in and out of the room to serve the children per their IEPs.
It works perfectly until the supports are taken away, and last week facing this work alone with my teaching assistant I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me – and so did the children.
Now, it would be wrong of me to paint the picture of my classroom last week as chaos. That was not the case. I am very good at what I do. Yet the quality of my teaching was affected, as was the amount of energy I had for each child. To a casual observer it would seem that everything was going well. The part that needs to be explained is what was missing from our classroom this past week:
One child did not receive the occupational therapy he needs to help him with impulse control
Another child did not receive the speech services she needs to communicate well with others
One child who needs writing support did not have her work scribed for her
Four children did not have their reading lessons taught by a specialist for the entire week
Three children did not have their math lessons taught in a small group for the entire week
One of my students was so distressed by the break in her routine that she followed me around each day pulling on my sleeve every 10 minutes asking when her teacher was going to come. She then began scratching her arm until she broke the skin before I could notice.
There is no way anyone could say that these children received their Free and Appropriate Public Education this past week. And this was just one classroom in a system of more than 300,000 children.
And why did the Chicago Schools do this? Because the PARCC test is a state mandated test that supposedly aligns with the Common Core State Standards. It is a measurement instrument that by any standard of research would be considered worthless. The data is not received in a timely matter so that it is actionable, many passages of the tests are written above grade level so the test becomes a guessing game not a measure, and the test takes way too long to administer keeping children away from classroom learning.
So in other words, the learning lives of Chicago’s children were put on hold for no reason – and I would posit that harm was done.
I am writing this a week after the Chicago Teachers Union one day historic strike asking for fair funding and education justice – part of which is a reduction of standardized testing. In response to the strike both our governor and mayor stated that the Chicago teachers were interrupting the education of children, and that our actions were shameful.
Mayor Emanuel and Governor Rauner, you are the grand interrupters of our children’s education.
This is what I know for certain – my classroom last week would have brought every education reformer there is begging to their knees. There is no reason to put an entire school on hold just to serve their “measure to manage” agenda, and this needs to stop.
Michelle Strater Gunderson is a 29 year teaching veteran who teaches first grade in the Chicago Public Schools. She is a doctoral student at Loyola University in Curriculum and Instruction.
"Failed log-ins. Frozen screens. Server crashes. Service denials
Students, teachers and administrators recall all too well the woes that plagued Florida's most ambitious attempt at computerized testing last spring. As this year's testing season approaches, they're working to avoid a repeat.
"We'll have a first glimpse of whether or not the issues have been resolved" when Florida Standards Assessments in writing begin Feb. 29, said Gisela Feild, research and assessment director Miami-Dade schools. "We hope we won't see the same problems again."
The Florida Department of Education, its testing vendor American Institutes for Research, along with districts and schools, have taken several steps to prevent such troubles. Those include expanding bandwidth, upgrading defenses against outside attacks and improving testing software.
Even with such moves, though, the department warned that students still might encounter interruptions beyond their control. And that, said FairTest public education director Bob Schaeffer, could hurt some children.
Imagine the impact when the screen goes blank for a seventh-grader taking a civics test required to get out of middle school, Schaeffer said. "For an emotional adolescent to experience that, it's a scary situation."
Yet there's almost no way to guarantee trouble-free computerized testing on a stage as large as Florida's, experts said.
That's because the undertaking is "not just a test, but a massive technology project" that involves so many moving parts in a decentralized system, said Doug Levin, founder of EdTech Strategies, a consulting firm.
The tests originate at the vendor's servers, move over the Internet through district providers, and enter schools with varying levels of networks, hardware and infrastructure.
"Some of the devices are going to be quite old. Some of the school networks won't be as strong," said Levin, who helped develop the nation's first education technology plan in 1996. "Inherently, it is a somewhat challenging endeavor."
No test is foolproof, whether on computers or paper, noted Marianne Perie, director of the University of Kansas Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation.
"The same year that we were hit by a cyber attack, UPS also lost a batch of Scantron answer sheets off the back of their truck," Perie said. "They were returned to us torn, dirty, soaked in motor oil and covered in tire tracks. We had to throw several dozen out because they were unreadable, and had to rebubble hundreds of others to get them to go through the machine."
Paper tests also can be more susceptible to cheating, more expensive to administer and less nuanced in depth, said Greg Cizek, a testing expert at the University of North Carolina. Still, many Florida educators have called for a return to paper and No. 2 pencil as a less time-consuming and less glitch-ridden way to check student knowledge.
They have yet to see the value in moving to computers, which were sold as a way to make testing go more smoothly and deliver results more quickly. Neither has happened in Florida.
"At present, there is just no way to get around the problems, the way technology currently is and the way schools are equipped to handle technology," Cizek said.
Florida has experienced interruptions since it first introduced computerized testing to a handful of students retaking the FCAT a decade ago. Regardless of which vendor, test or system was used, the state has seen servers crash, providers implement unsupported changes, even construction crews accidentally cut cables to schools.
And Florida is not alone.
Earlier this month, Tennessee canceled its computerized testing after one day amid major testing platform outages across the state. It is now sending all schools paper tests instead, at its vendor's expense.
"Despite the many improvements to the system in recent months, we lost confidence in the system's ability to perform consistently," said Tennessee Department of Education spokeswoman Chandler Hopper.
Indiana, Minnesota, Virginia and Montana are among several states that had computer testing interruptions in the past year.
"The fact that this has happened so often in Florida and around the country should be a wake-up call to policymakers to go slow on computerized testing and have backups available," Schaeffer said. "Be prepared would be our warning."
The state and districts are trying to prepare.
Florida Department of Education spokeswoman Meghan Collins provided a list of actions the state has taken to prevent problems. It improved its testing servers to combat cyber attacks, developed a system to warn students before a large amount of text is deleted, and enabled students to restore past versions of their responses.
"This is not an exhaustive list of improvements," Collins said via email. "But we hope that it does serve as a reassurance that we take very seriously the concerns expressed last year."
The state's testing vendor, AIR, declined to comment."...
"Last spring, Julia Kim’s students with disabilities at Fairmount Elementary in San Francisco were ready to take a new standardized test. They were excited that it had been built especially for them.
In past years, students with visual perception disorders had test questions read out loud. This time, the students sat in front of their computers awaiting the new technology designed to help them complete the test on their own for the first time.
But as soon as the first question appeared, students complained that the print was too small.
The color contrast tool, which used a background to minimize visual distortions, had been developed for the Common Core test to make it easier for special education students to see. But in practice, the tool prevented the one student in Kim’s class who used it from reading questions and marking answers. “I can’t see it,” he told Kim. It was too dark to read.
The Common Core tests, which are based on learning goals adopted in 43 states and the District of Columbia, offer many state-of-the-art technological tools to level the playing field for special education students. But Kim’s students were not alone. School employees across California have reported glitches in the tests’ enhancements for students with disabilities.
A field test administered in 2014 was meant to iron out the kinks. As a result, a noise buffer and closed captioning were added, according to an email sent last April on behalf of Michelle Center, who is now the California Department of Education’s director of the Assessment Development & Administration Division.
Still, according to teachers and administrators, special education students across California spent days last spring toiling over computerized tests that their teachers say often made it more difficult, not easier, for them to access the material.
“The majority of my students weren’t able to process any of the tests,” Kim said.
In San Francisco, one school found that text-to-speech tools read passages too quickly for students to follow, so teachers had to jump in and read the text out loud — distracting other students. The California School for the Blind found that different accessibility tools, such as Braille, could not be used at the same time as text-to-speech. In the Santa Ana Unified School District, curriculum specialist Gabriela Aguirre said she was concerned that the text-to-speech voice was distracting to students because it sounded robotic.
Precisely how many problems occurred with the tools known as accommodations last spring is not known. The California Department of Education didn’t specifically track accessibility glitches, Pam Slater, who worked as a CDE spokesperson until last week, said in an interview this fall.
Kim administered the exams to 14 students with disabilities in third through fifth grades. She and other teachers said they had problems with the accommodations. Those glitches only worsened anxiety about a test they had already worried was going to be especially difficult because of the tougher new standards.
Test scores for students in general, including those with disabilities, were low, as the state announced this fall. While there is no way to know what effect the lackluster accommodations might have had on the results, it’s clear that tools meant to help students with disabilities take tests as effectively as their peers need a lot of improvement.
Of the more than 300,000 students with disabilities who took the tests in California, 88% did not meet achievement targets in English language arts and 91% did not meet targets in math, according to data on the state’s testing website. Among California’s general education students, 52% failed to meet achievement targets on the exam in English language arts and 63% failed in math. Students with disabilities across the country similarly had lower scores than their peers on the new tests."...
"As most states have moved to new standardized tests based on the Common Core during the past two years, many also have switched from administering those tests the old-fashioned way — with paper and No. 2 pencils — to delivering them online using computers, laptops and tablets.
The transition aims to harness the power of technology to move beyond simplistic multiple-choice questions, using interactive questions and adaptive techniques to measure students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
But the shift to computer-based testing has been riddled with technical glitches that have spanned many testing companies and states, including those that have adopted Common Core and those using other new academic standards.
Stressed-out students have found they sometimes can’t log on to their exams or are left to panic when their answers suddenly disappear. Frustrated teachers have had to come up with last-minute lesson plans when testing fails. Some school systems — and even entire states — have had to abandon testing altogether because of Internet hiccups thousands of miles away."....
"The California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education recently released a research brief documenting concerns and recommendations related to the Common Core State Standards Assessments in California (also referred to as the CAASPP, California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress or “SBAC” which refers to the “Smarter Balanced” Assessment Consortium). A two-page synopsis as well as the full CARE-ED research brief may be downloaded from the main http://care-ed.org website. The following is an introduction:
“Here in California, public schools are gearing up for another round of heavy testing this spring, including another round of Common Core State Standards assessments. In this research brief, the California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education (CARE-ED), a statewide collaborative of university-based education researchers, analyzes the research basis for the assessments tied to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that have come to California. We provide historical background on the CCSS and the assessments that have accompanied them, as well as evidence of the negative impacts of high-stakes testing. We focus on the current implementation of CCSS assessments in California, and present several concerns. Finally, we offer several research-based recommendations for moving towards meaningful assessment in California’s public schools.
Highlights of the research brief are available for download here. The complete research brief on CCSS Assessments is available for download here.”
Background from the 2 page overview includes the following summary of concerns:
“The assessments have been carefully examined by independent examiners of the test content who concluded that they lack validity, reliability, and fairness, and should not be administered, much less be considered a basis for high-stakes decision making.
Nonetheless, CA has moved forward in full force. In spring 2015, 3.2 million students in California (grades 3-8 and 11) took the new, computerized Math and English Language Arts/Literacy CAASPP tests (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress). Scores were released to the public in September 2015, and as many predicted, a majority of students failed.
Although proponents argue that the CCSS promotes critical thinking skills and student-centered learning (instead of rote learning), research demonstrates that imposed standards, when linked with high-stakes testing, not only de-professionalizes teaching and narrows the curriculum, but in so doing, also reduces the quality of education and student learning, engagement, and success.
The implementation of the CCSS assessments raises at least four additional concerns of equity and access. First, the cost of implementing the CCSS assessments is high and unwarranted, diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from other areas of need. Second, the technology and materials needed for CCSS assessments require high and unwarranted costs, and California is not well-equipped to implement the tests. Third, the technology requirements raise concerns not only about cost, but also about access. Fourth, the CCSS assessments have not provided for adequate accommodations for students with disabilities and English Language learners, or for adequate communication about such accommodations to teachers.”…
And the following quote captures a culminating statement:
“…We support the public call for a moratorium on high-stakes testing broadly, and in particular, on the use of scientifically discredited assessment instruments (like the current SBAC, PARCC, and Pearson instruments) and on faulty methods of analysis (like value-added modeling of test scores for high-stakes decision making).”…
For the full research brief, including guiding questions and recommendations, please see: http://www.care-ed.org
As of February 2, 2016, the following university-based researchers in California have endorsed the statement. University affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.
Al Schademan, Associate Professor, California State University, Chico Alberto Ochoa, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University Allison Mattheis, Assistant Professor, California State University, Los Angeles Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, Professor, San Francisco State University Amy Millikan, Director of Clinical Education, San Francisco Teacher Residency Anaida Colon-Muniz, Associate Professor, Chapman University Ann Berlak, Retired lecturer, San Francisco State University Ann Schulte, Professor, California State University, Chico Annamarie Francois, Executive Director, University of California, Los Angeles Annie Adamian, Lecturer, California State University, Chico Anthony Villa, Researcher, Stanford University Antonia Darder, Leavey Endowed Chair, Loyola Marymount University Arnold Danzig, Professor, San José State University Arturo Cortez, Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco Barbara Henderson, Professor, San Francisco State University Betina Hsieh, Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach Brian Garcia-O’Leary, Teacher, California State University, San Bernardino Bryan K Hickman, Faculty, Salano Community College Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University, Monterey Bay Christine Yeh, Professor, University of San Francisco Christopher Sindt, Dean, Saint Mary’s College of California Cindy Cruz, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz Cinzia Forasiepi, Lecturer, Sonoma State University Cristian Aquino-Sterling, Assistant Professor, San Diego State University Danny C. Martinez, Assistant Professor, Universityof California, Davis Darby Price, Instructor, Peralta Community College District David Donahue, Professor, University of San Francisco David Low, Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno David Stronck, Professor Emeritus, California State University, East Bay Elena Flores, Associate Dean and Professor, University of San Francisco Elisa Salasin, Program Director, University of California, Berkeley Emma Fuentes, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Estela Zarate, Associate Professor, California State University, Fullerton Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco George Lipsitz, Professor University of California, Santa Barbara Gerri McNenny, Associate Professor, Chapman University Heidi Stevenson, Associate Professor, University of the Pacific Helen Maniates, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco Cynthia McDermott, Chair, Antioch University Jacquelyn V Reza, Adjunct Faculty, University of San Francisco Jason Wozniak, Lecturer, San José State University Jolynn Asato, Assistant Professor, San José State University Josephine Arce, Professor and Department Chair, San Francisco State University Judy Pace, Professor, University of San Francisco Julie Nicholson, Associate Professor of Practice, Mills College Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Professor, San Diego State University Karen Grady, Professor, Sonoma State University Kathryn Strom, Assistant Professor, California State University, East Bay Kathy Howard, Associate Professor, California State University, San Bernardino Kathy Schultz, Dean and Professor, Mills College Katya Aguilar, Associate Professor, San José State University Kevin Kumashiro, Dean and Professor, University of San Francisco Kevin Oh, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Kimberly Mayfield, Chair, Holy Names University Kitty Kelly Epstein, Doctoral Faculty, Fielding Graduate University Lance T. McCready, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Lettie Ramirez, Professor, California State University, East Bay Linda Bynoe, Professor Emerita, California State University, Monterey Bay Maren Aukerman, Assistant Professor, Stanford University Margaret Grogan, Dean and Professor, Chapman University Margaret Harris, Lecturer, California State University, East Bay Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University Maria Sudduth, Professor Emerita, California State University, Chico Marisol Ruiz, Assistant Professor, Humboldt State University Mark Scanlon-Greene, Mentoring Faculty, Fielding Graduate University Michael Flores, Professor, Cypress College Michael J. Dumas, Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley Miguel López, Associate Professor, California State University, Monterey Bay Miguel Zavala, Associate Professor, Chapman University Mónica G. García, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge Monisha Bajaj, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Nathan Alexander, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco Nick Henning, Associate Professor, California State University, Fullerton Nikola Hobbel, Professor, Humboldt State University Noah Asher Golden, Assistant Professor, Chapman University Noah Borrero, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Noni M. Reis, Professor, San José State University Patricia Busk, Professor, University of San Francisco Patricia D. Quijada, Associate Professor, University of California, Davis Patty Whang, Professor, California State University, Monterey Bay Paula Selvester, Professor, California State University, Chico Pedro Nava, Assistant Professor, Mills College Pedro Noguera, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles Penny S. Bryan, Professor, Chapman University Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor, Chapman University Rebeca Burciaga, Assistant Professor, San José State University Rebecca Justeson, Associate Professor, California State University, Chico Rick Ayers, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco Rita Kohli, Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside Roberta Ahlquist, Professor, San José State University Rosemary Henze, Professor, San José State University Roxana Marachi, Associate Professor, San José State University Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath, Adjunct Professor, San Francisco State University Scot Danforth, Professor, Chapman University Sera Hernandez, Assistant Professor, San Diego State University Shabnam Koirala-Azad, Associate Dean and Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Sharon Chun Wetterau, Asst Field Director & Lecturer, CSU Dominguez Hills Sumer Seiki, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco Suresh Appavoo, Associate Professor, Dominican University of California Susan Roberta Katz, Professor, University of San Francisco Susan Warren, Director and Professor, Azusa Pacific University Suzanne SooHoo, Professor, Chapman University Teresa McCarty, GF Kneller Chair, University of California, Los Angeles Terry Lenihan, Associate Professor and Director, Loyola Marymount University Theresa Montano, Professor, California State University, Northridge Thomas Nelson, Doctoral Program Coordinator, University of the Pacific Tomás Galguera, Professor, Mills College Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen, Adjunct Faculty, University of San Diego Uma Jayakumar, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Ursula Aldana, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco Valerie Ooka Pang, Professor, San Diego State University Walter J. Ullrich, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Fresno Zeus Leonardo, Professor, University of California, Berkeley
California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education. (2016). Common Core State Standards Assessments in California: Concerns and Recommendations. Retrieved from http://www.care-ed.org.
CARE-ED, the California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education, is a statewide collaborative of university-based education researchers that aims to speak as educational researchers, collectively and publicly, and in solidarity with organizations and communities,to reframe the debate on education. ___________________________________
"We are opting our daughter out of this year’s high-stakes, mandatory, standardized tests — the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests administered each year in third through eighth grades and in 11th grade. Last year, the Legislature passed a law that gives parents an unrestricted right to opt their children out of state mandated tests. That right never expires"...
"Did you wake up feeling relieved this morning? Your child’s data will be in the trusted hands of Microsoft and Dell and others in the edtech world, and you should trust them with it, because they said so. They built a website, they paid for participating school districts to fly out and create a logo and trusty seal of approval that is supposed to make you feel better about them collecting, leveraging, and sharing your child’s data. Meet TLE, soon to be plastered on schools everywhere (once districts prove themselves and pay the required fee "....
"A disruption to Internet access at the site of a Kansas-based assessment provider delayed testing of students across the country and caused Alaska to cancel state assessments altogether this school year.
A backhoe used in construction work at the University of Kansas on the afternoon of March 29 accidentally cut a fiber optic cable providing the campus digital connection. Servers at the university's Center for Educational Testing & Evaluation, which provides state assessments for students in Kansas and Alaska, went down.
The stoppage meant students in those states taking CETE tests could not finish or begin testing. And students in 15 other states, in addition to Kansas and Alaska, which use the CETE's Dynamic Learning Maps to assess students with significant cognitive disabilities, also were also unable to access the tests.
"The testing platform ... went down," said Marianne Perie, the director of CETE, who said the signal was severed at the main trunk line bringing Internet to the campus. "It was about the worst place you could cut a line."
Students who were testing at the time in Kansas, where the assessment window had recently opened, received popup messages saying their machines was no longer connected to the Internet.
The system automatically saves all test answers students have provided, except for the question a student is working on when the outage takes place, Perie said.
The university worked quickly to patch the cable and testing resumed, with limited capacity the following day, Perie said. On March 31, CETE told states they could return to normal testing, but the system was overloaded and went down again, staying down while officials worked on it through the weekend. This week testing resumed and was back to normal with 21,000 students testing simultaneously with no difficulties, she said.
McCauley said the unreliability of the system—being told it was back online only to have it crash again—and considerations unique to Alaska prompted her decision to discontinue testing for the year.
"The amount of chaos in Alaska schools last week cannot be overstated," she said in an interview this week, adding that teachers had to scramble to create lessons when they thought testing was to take place instead. "To ask teachers and students to 'try it again' with no guarantee that it was going to work was irresponsible."
"An administrative law judge said this week that New Jersey education officials may have broken the law in deciding to use PARCC as the new high school exit exam.
The lawsuit is ongoing and an official ruling hasn't been made in the case. The state Department of Education acknowledged what was discussed at the hearing but declined to comment on the lawsuit specifically.
The state Department of Education, meanwhile, beat back reports saying that as many as 10,000 people may not be able to graduate because of the PARCC requirement."
"Only 21 states still plan to use shared tests designed for the common core, a continued erosion of the unity that emerged six years ago, when 45 states embraced the standards and pledged to measure student learning with common assessments.
The high school testing landscape is even more fragmented, as states increasingly choose the SAT or ACT college-entrance exam instead of common-core tests.
An Education Week survey of states' testing plans in English/language arts and math—the two subjects covered by the common core—found that states have continued in 2015-16 to drift away from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and Smarter Balanced tests."...
"California education officials have made significant changes to the way hundreds of thousands of special education students take the state's standardized tests. But the modifications have some teachers and parents worried about whether they'll help students.
“We found some areas that we wanted to improve,” said Keric Ashley, Deputy Superintendent at the California Department of Education.
The changes have to do with the more than two dozen tools available to educators to help special education students take the test. These tools include reading questions aloud, giving frequent breaks, and changing the color of the computer screen to allow a student to see the questions easier.
This year the Smarter Balanced test will allow students to control the volume and pitch on the computer program that reads a question to a student and that reads glossary words related to questions on the test. The test will also now provide Spanish language glossaries to help students who have a disability and who are classified as English Learners.
“What we learned is that accommodations may work for a vast majority of special education students,” Ashley said. “But, like we heard with the text-to-speech changes that we made for some special education students, things didn’t quite work as well as we might have hoped that they would.”
Special education students who take the Smarter Balanced tests typically have disabilities such as autism and other impairments that don’t severely effect a student’s ability to learn. Students with more severe disabilities take other standardized tests instead. Parents have the choice to opt out of the test taking, while the school staff that draws up a student’s Individualized Education Plan can also choose to exempt a student from taking standardized tests."...
"A group of parents opposed to high-stakes testing in Florida schools say they are delivering red clown noses to state leaders today in Tallahassee. Their "smell the baloney" campaign aims to draw attention to what they call the state's flawed school accountability system.
"We want a fair and valid education accountability system that holds not only schools and teachers accountable, but policy makers, as well. We think our current system is accountabaloney and we are inviting policy makers to join us in our campaign to call out the baloney when you smell it," said Sue Woltanski, a Monroe County parent and co-founder of the education blog “Accountabaloney,” in a statement.
The parents think Florida unwisely uses standardized test scores to judge students, teachers and schools, resulting in "a significant narrowing of curriculum with some schools feeling little more than test preparation factories."
Of course, many state leaders feel strongly that Florida's test-based accountability system has led to better instruction and improved student performance since it was introduced more than a decade ago.
So they might not be persuaded by the "smell the baloney" kits, which were to include the small, red, foam noses and literature about the group's views on bills the Florida Legislature is considering.
The kits were to be delivered to all state lawmakers, Gov. Rick Scott, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and members of the Board of Education.
"The Accountabaloney movement is asking for a complete re-evaluation of the current education accountability system, which relies on standardized test scores, often with questionable validity," the group said."
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