DE DOE Apocalypse: Smarter Balanced Field Test Scores or How To Spin Failure @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat @DelawareBats #netde #eduDE #edchat

And there came a pale rider, and his name was Smarter Balanced. Next month, or maybe never (my fondest hope), the DOE will release the Smarter Balanced Assessment field test scores. Three million students in 22 states took the test last Spring. The purpose of these field tests was to see how the test actually went. If I had to guess, since it’s taken five months to determine the scores, there was a lot of tweaking with the test.

Last month, I submitted a Freedom Of Information request for the unreleased scores. I received a response from Alison May, the public information officer for the Delaware Department of Education, that the month of October would be used to determine achievement levels. In early November, each state will vote on the chosen achievement levels. I’m guessing this voting group will be members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. According to May, the Delaware DOE does not know the release date of the actual field test scores since they haven’t been determined yet. But she did assure me they will be released publicly. ‘

One tidbit I did notice in May’s email was she didn’t respond to the test as the Smarter Balanced Assessment. She called it Smarter. I don’t care either way what it’s called, cause either way it’s just Dumber.

This is my theory: the students did really bad. Say there’s a 100 questions. Secretary of Education Mark Murphy has already said he expects 70% of students in Delaware to fail the test next Spring. What are you basing that belief on Mr. Murphy? I’m sure you’ve seen some of the results already. So I’m guessing the average score was 30 out of 100. How in the world do you make benchmarks out of a test most students failed?

Governor Markell, this is the jewel on top of your common core crown. This is your big achievement? A failing test? When all of this goes south, and it will, who will be the fall guy? Murphy? The DOE? The schools? The teachers? Or maybe it should be you. You were the one who praised common core like it was the second coming. Even President Obama is saying enough with all the testing. Let’s face it, you passed your peak as Governor of Delaware a while ago. Now everyone is just counting the days until someone new comes in. It’s called a lame-duck for a reason Governor Markell. I’m not sure what your next step is after you leave office, but please do not go to DC hoping to be the next Secretary of Education. The proof of your tenure here can be seen everywhere in the state, but most noticeably our schools.

No state legislature should ever be subjected to voting on a test that was already bought by the Governor and the DOE. And then when you vote on it in your Senate, stick to your original vote.

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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!

2 thoughts on “DE DOE Apocalypse: Smarter Balanced Field Test Scores or How To Spin Failure @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @dwablog @Apl_Jax @ecpaige @nannyfat @DelawareBats #netde #eduDE #edchat”

  1. “Anger, fear, aggression..the dark side they are.” “Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.”

    But if fear leads instead to acceptance of the reality at hand, and that acceptance leads to formulating a counter force, and that counter force leads to the demise of evil, then that original fear was not such a bad thing. It’s the channeling of it towards anger that causes problems. Not problems to ones enemy, but to oneself.

    Instead, focus on channeling that force towards achieving solid results…

    Ask. Where can we most effectively exert force at their weakest breaking point which then collapses their whole entire program? Most likely answer: the taking of the test; opt out; no one takes the test. There is nothing more they can do.


  2. Kevin,
    First of all, thank you for all you do in putting this blog together and the hours you must spend on information gathering. I look forward to seeing the raw scores — if they release them — because I anticipate that the averages will be in the 30-40 percent range. Then they will be normed. That’s what we used to call a curve back in the old days. They will look at what percentage of kids scored closest to the mean and they will declare that as “normal” for each grade level. So a kid who maybe only gets 30% of the questions correct will be considered on target for his or her grade level. But there are so many variables here. Did teachers or curriculum writers have a chance to see the test and align curriculum to it? Or was it written by an outside company that never set foot in a classroom and has no idea what was actually taught?
    For instance, if I am a science teacher and I just finished a unit on photosynthesis, I can write a test on photosynthesis based on what I taught. If the test and my lessons are aligned, then the average student should score about 70-80% on my test. Some will score higher and some lower. If everyone bombs the test, then perhaps I was not clear in my teaching or perhaps I wrote poor questions that did not help the students recall what I taught.
    But high-stakes tests are different. Because they are so far removed from the actual teaching in the classroom, the test writers have no idea what specific lessons have been taught. They take what an “average” student in each grade ought to know and compare students nationally. And while these tests have been around for decades, like the SAT, colleges are wise enough not to base admissions decisions on a score. They have the kids write an essay, do an interview, and submit transcripts.
    I was teaching in Maryland when the HSA had a cutoff score for graduation. It was later adjusted, but for two years if a student did not achieve a certain score, there would be no diploma. I can only hope that Delaware will walk away from the whole thing!


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