I can tell you about Tennessee…
First to be involved in the testing process, one must sign many allegedly legal documents meant to forever silence them… I signed willingly knowing full well there is nothing anyone can do or will do if I tell all….
I saw things from the bottom looking up. So what you hear is direct… As for intent from those creating this program, that I was not privy too. But I feel evidence speaks louder than I.
Tennessee has a rule that a child’s score must be on their end-of-year report card. The state scores were delayed and on the second to the last day of the marking period, scores were released to teachers… The scores are a percent the child got right… If the child got 100%, he got all right… If he got 0 right, his score was bumped up to 50… 50 is the lowest score one can get.
The scores were very high… The average was 87%… There were many discrepancies. One student got a 95 raw score but on his year end exam by his teacher, got 45 when both tests were very similar. Whereas 70% was the original goal of no child left behind, no one knew what these high scores meant….
That is because they are graded on a curve… The state’s scores were so high, that the cut score is being set at 91… That means a child has to get the equivalent of an A- in order to pass his grade… Since the scores have to be reported, parents who see their child with a 90, and breathe a sigh of relief, are going to be fighting mad when they find out their child failed. Most likely the public backlash will probably doom Common Core for good in Tennessee …..
The test was set at levels two grades higher than what was commonly taught, the teachers responded to the challenges and the scores were what they were. High. But, since you can’t close public schools down if they are turning out all A- students…. in order to fulfill the political agenda behind the tests, they had no choice but to set failure rate at the A- level… What used to be a A-, is now a D…..
How can this be done? That is the devious side of these tests… No one ever knows how any child did… The student does not know… (he has a score) he cannot find which questions he got right or wrong… hence taking the test does no good for anyone. Likewise the teacher never knows. They have no access to the test to determine whether or not what they taught was helped or not… For example (in Tennessee this is possible) if the science question states whether the world was created in less than seven days and the student answered no, it could be marked wrong… and no one would ever know!
This means that anyone can simply erase numbers and make up new ones… In Delaware this means that all the schools around the Charter Complex in Rodney Square, can be shown erroneously to have done poorly… Likewise, all the charter Schools would be off the charts in excellence in every categories… Can we compare the tests? no. Can we see the tests? no. Can we see the data the tests gleamed? no… All we know is that tests were given; our kids and teachers tell us that. And that our scores were given… No correlation between scores and tests is available….
This means that whatever…. the Smarter Balanced test will tell us in August…. we can’t believe… Education is working great… Sorry, can’t believe it…. Education is dismal and we must go all-charter now…. Sorry, can’t believe it…
So the bottom line stands, if we cannot believe the test… what was the point of taking it? What was the point of all the expense? Why are we doing it again next year? IF the results are not believable? The only way they can be believable is if we have access to the tests and someone can audit them to see whether right answers were graded as right and wrong answers graded as wrong… Until that can happen, the Smarter Balanced Assessment is worthless.
And anyone with an access code, can change any number… Those of us with access codes ourselves all know that… And if there is no way to verify whether that number was real, then the test scores reported, are no better than fabrications.
If the same principle were applied to voting in elections. we would simply turn our news on, and see who was announced. There would be no way to count votes in each district, tabulate them, verify them with the reported totals.. So whoever those in charge wanted to win, would win… We would be Soviet Russia….
This is why the Smarter Balanced must be eliminated by this legislative session… Other states have done it. There is massive public (90% ) support for it. There may not be the votes, but the fight for them must take place… with the public watching and participating.
Simply having the legislature do away with this test for one year would free up so much money that most upcoming budget crises could be solved in-house, and better educational practices could sprout up overnight.
When you have a entire Democratic district vote 99% Republican you should probably first assume something is wrong… The same is true with the Smarter Balanced Assessment. For charter schools to look better when all other evidence show the opposite; for districts supportive of Markell to look better than those who fought against his take-over, should likewise give us a sign that someone is playing with the scores..
Even if they aren’t… when you can’t go back to each voting machine or each test and then compile the totals… it really doesn’t matter what the votes or scores are… In both cases we are wasting tons of money….
We need the Smarter Balanced Assessment annulment RUSHED through the House and Senate now….