This question came up last year and it is happening again this year. Why do many Delaware charters get to begin Smarter Balanced testing anywhere from 3-7 weeks after traditional school districts take the assessment? That is a lot more instruction students are getting. That can make a large difference in the scores on SBAC. It can make some schools look better. Not that I think anything involving standardized test scores actually means anything, but our state and policy-makers do and they allow our DOE to judge schools based on the performance of these tests. As well, schools are now getting rewarded based on their test scores and receiving financial awards.
I challenge all school districts and charters, or the parents thereof, to let me know when kids started taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in your schools this year. When the scores come out, it will be very interesting to see if that additional month makes a difference. My feeling is that it probably does. As well, how do we really know, since the tests are already out there so much earlier, that some schools aren’t given a heads up on what to expect on the tests and design instruction based on that? I’m sure the DOE would respond “they can’t do that”. But we all know the DOE does many things “they can’t do” but they do it anyway.
If there is one consistent thing I’ve heard this year about opt out it is that some schools are still sending out the -yawn- Delaware DOE template letter they sent to schools and districts way back in December of 2014. The one with laws with … two times in the middle of the sentence. The one where it cherry-picks certain words in the law without giving the full context, weight, or even the meaning of the law. You know, the illegal letter. The one that is about enforceable as a Resolution in the Delaware General Assembly. I know the testing season is nearing the end for this year, but some schools haven’t begun testing yet, so it is important to continue to get the word out there for parents who don’t know this information. Of course, this wouldn’t even be necessary to point out if our General Assembly did the right thing with House Bill 50. But it appears that ship has sailed. Please share on your Facebook pages and social media.