UPDATED: Delaware Legislators Not Given Testing Schedule For Smarter Balanced Test!

Updated, 9/11/14, 2:06 pm: Based on recent information obtained by Kavips, and a commenter on this very article, the Fall Smarter Balanced Interim is optional and at the discretion of the school districts.  When I saw this information, I was actually looking at accommodations for students with disabilities.  The schedule I saw just happened to be on there.  I reached out to a few legislators on this, and none of them were aware of there even being a possibility of a Fall interim test, so obviously they weren’t given the schedule either.  The calendar can be found here: http://www.doe.k12.de.us/assessment/files/2014-2015_DeSSA-Calender.pdf

I apologize for any concern this may have created, but I would also let the DOE know that if they are going to put links up with this type of information, they need to be consistent across the board.  I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has seen this and had questions about it.  Based on this, I have changed the title to “Delaware Legislators Not Given Testing Schedule For Smarter Balanced Test” instead of “Breaking News: Delaware Legislators Lied To About Smarter Balanced Test”. 

I still think House Bill 334 should be repealed, simply on the basis that the Federal Government bought the tests from Pearson and the SBA Consortium, and then “gave” it to the states.   The US Government is not supposed to interfere with public education, and they have been doing that non-stop for a long time now.  I will never change my mind on that!


Delaware Legislators were not given the testing schedule when they voted on the bill, according to a few legislators, therefore they were not aware of a fall interim Smarter Balance test.  And if they didn’t know about it, they would not have known it was optional according to recently found schedules on the DOE website.  given false information about the Common Core dictated Smarter Balanced Assessment which affected their vote.  In a shocking look at the Accessibility Guidelines Inclusion document released by the Delaware Department of Education it clearly indicates there will be two testing windows for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, but the legislators were promised it was a once a year test.  Many legislators indicated they voted for it because parents were tired of tests given to students more than once during a school year.

In this link, http://de.portal.airast.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/DeSSA-Accessibility-Guidelines_Inclusion_5-14.pdf it shows there will be two SBA tests, an interim test in the fall, and the main one in the Spring.  Page 8 of the document, which shows when the tests will be administered, clearly shows a Fall interim test.

Table 1. Delaware’s System of Student Assessments in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies (2014-15 School year) Name of Assessment Content Area Time of Year Grade levels
Smarter Interim ELA-Reading Fall 3-8 & 11
ELA-Listening Fall 3-8 & 11
ELA-Writing Fall 3-8 & 11
Mathematics Fall 3-8 & 11
To Be Determined ELA Fall 9 & 10
To Be Determined Mathematics Fall 9 & 10
Smarter ELA-Reading Spring 3-8 & 11
ELA-Listening Spring 3-8 & 11
ELA-Writing Spring 3-8 & 11
Mathematics Spring 3-8 & 11

As recently as last week, one Delaware legislator, who wished to remain anonymous, said he voted for HB 334 because he thought the kids would only be tested once.  He said many other legislators listened to their constituents and voted for what they wanted.  House Bill 334 passed the DE House of Representatives fairly easily, but the Senate was another story.  The bill failed when it was first voted on, by a 9-12 vote.  But Governor Markell sent his team in and told the Senate it didn’t matter how they voted because the governor would use executive power to make sure the test was going to happen.  Four Republican Senators flip-flopped on their original vote, and Smarter Balanced officially replaced DCAS as the state standardized test.

If the legislators were given false information which swayed the vote, then the vote should be repealed.  While the 147th Assembly ended on July 1st, they can still meet in emergency session.  Even any reps who may have lost in yesterday’s primaries are still elected officials until January 2015.  Parents need to call their representatives and senators and demand House Bill 334 is repealed based on false information being given to them about their children’s testing schedules.  because the Smarter Balanced Assessment just plain sucks and a legislator couldn’t make heads or tails of it when he took it.

Teacher accountability and effectiveness is also being measured by the test, so that bill should also be as well, which was passed around the same time.

Updated with link to House Bill 334 and what was passed by both the Delaware House of Representatives and Senate: http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis147.nsf/vwLegislation/HB+334/$file/legis.html?open

The part of the bill which indicates the amount of testing tells the tale:

This bill provides for the transition of the statewide student assessment system, the Delaware Comprehensive Student Assessment (DCAS), to the Smarter Balanced Assessment System (Smarter). Specifically, the bill removes references to multiple assessments

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Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

8 thoughts on “UPDATED: Delaware Legislators Not Given Testing Schedule For Smarter Balanced Test!”

  1. correction… it was just one Republican, Judus Lavelle, and three democrats: McBride, McDowell, and Ennis…..

    There were heroes and 7 of the nine heroes were Republican….


  2. The schedule for the state Assessment is very clear. There are required assessments and then there are resources and optional assessments available to the LEA and school which are not required nor are they a part of the state accountability system. I hope that you go back to that legislator and let him or her know that they were not lied to as you have stated. It’s pretty clear from the schedule – not sure how it could be missed – the sheet is broken into two distinct categories…Perhaps before jumping to a conclusion and sounding the conspiracy alarm you could have actually read the information or crazy thought called DOE or your school to ask and confirm what you had heard? http://www.doe.k12.de.us/assessment/files/2014-2015_DeSSA-Calender.pdf


    1. MHS, thanks for your comment. 1) If the schedule for the state assessment was so clear, why would I find a link on the DOE website that wasn’t so clear with the wording on it. At no point did it say optional. 2) I never said this legislator said they were lied to. But that wasn’t the only legislator that told me they based their decision on HB 334 due to one test. The legislators I spoke to yesterday about this had no clue there even was an interim test, so obviously they weren’t given this schedule when they met about the bill. 3) Getting straight up information from the DOE can often be a crap shoot, plus the information was in black and white based on the link I looked at. Once again, nothing about optional in what I saw. I’m not an educator, or a legislator, so how would I know what the above link even is? DeSSA calendar? That abbreviation wouldn’t lead me to think that is an SBA calendar. I was actually looking for information on accommodations provided for special needs students when I ran across it. If you go to the link I put in the article, it clearly shows what I wrote.


  3. If you were looking at the accommodations documents that were recently published, you saw the acronym for the state assessment system, which is DeSSA. There is not an SBA acronym used in Delaware’s assessment system, not sure why you would have been looking for something with that acronym. The label is very clear on the calendar. The link actually says Delaware System of Student Assessments (DeSSA) calendar. There is quite a bit that can be confusing on the DOE website or hard to find, but this was quite clear. I’m not sure how much clearer the graphic needed to be on the left side of the page the graphic is labeled and separated into two labeled and distinct categories. This was passed out at the House and Senate joint education committee meeting in May- that was he first place I saw it, thus legislators had this graphic before voting on the bill as well.
    This was also provided at an assessment workshop that I attended towards the end of the school year, thus this has been available for several months.


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