After I wrote about the State Board of Education meeting last night, I thought I would reach out to Penny Schwinn, who publicly stated there is talk about replacing the SAT with Smarter Balanced in 11th grade. I emailed her this morning, and I wasn’t really expecting a response, but I did make sure to include the Public Information Officer at the DOE, currently Tina Shockley (since Alison May is out on maternity leave). This is the exchange that happened:
Clarification on State Board of Education SBA Presentation Yesterday
- Today at 10:32 AM
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- CC: Tina Shockley
Good morning Mrs. Schwinn!
I attended the State Board of Education meeting yesterday in which you gave a presentation on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. At one point, you discussed the possibility of the Smarter Balanced Assessment replacing the SAT in 11th grade. I wanted to reach out to you to get some more information on this and what the motivation behind it might be. In my opinion, the SAT is a long-term, proven and effective measurement test, while the Smarter Balanced Assessment is new and unproven. This will be for an article on my blog, Exceptional Delaware, so any comments you make would be made public. Thank you very much,
I received the following response 24 minutes later! I bolded one part of her response for effect.
- Schwinn Penny
- Today at 10:56 AM
- To: Kevin Ohlandt
- CC: Shockley Tina
As part of the 5-year Assessment Plan, we are currently soliciting stakeholder feedback and welcome any and all comments. Specific to 11th grade testing, we discussed reducing the number of summative tests, which may include students not being required to take two summative assessments at the end of the year. At this point, the SAT is not a test we would consider cutting.
Please let me know if you have other questions.
Sent from my iPhone
Of course, this didn’t really answer my question, so I sent another email:
- Kevin Ohlandt
- Today at 1:27 PM
To: Schwinn Penny
Thank you for the quick response. I apologize, but I am still somewhat confused on this matter. As I recall, you talked about the Smarter Balanced Assessment versus the SAT in 11th grade, and it is something the DOE was considering. You stated “other states are doing this and we may move towards that.” I have to believe board member Pat Heffernan heard it the same way because his response was “there is value for SAT for kids who wouldn’t take it otherwise. It has value in and of itself.” I read your response and you wrote “At this point, the SAT is not a test we would consider cutting,” but is that a potential future consideration? Thank you once again,
Penny sent the following response 16 minutes later:
- Schwinn Penny
- Today at 1:43 PM
To: Kevin Ohlandt
Cutting the SAT is not something that is a future consideration. There has not been any discussion that we would ever move away from the SAT.
I hope that clarifies and thanks for following up!
Sent from my iPhone
I heard what she said, and board member Patrick Heffernan certainly heard what she said. The digital audio recording goes up Monday or Tuesday and I will certainly provide a link. This would be the second time this week, in my opinion, that someone from the DOE has gone back and changed the context of what was said. On Tuesday, the DOE email announcing the press conference about Smarter Balanced hinted at that being about acceptance credentials when it was about course placement.
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