As we approach D Day here are some following truths to keep in mind as the spin doctors on both sides chew the cherries that they pick and start spitting seeds at you…
A) The Smarter Balanced is a corporate made-up test which had no educational experts involved in its development. Those handpicked token experts who were invited to attend its inception, were rudely pushed aside, treated derogatorily, and have all written disclaimers saying this test is the most ridiculous thing ever invented. It has no basis for testing your child.
B) The test has no accountability.. Your child can get a 0 by a mistake made in scoring and there is no way you can ask for his test to see why his score is inexplainably low. No accountability opens the door for misdeeds. This test has no way to determine if the reader missed a line and graded all subsequent line wrong accordingly.. One can never find out.
C) This test is an applicability test. Basically it goes like this. Remember those word problems in your schooling years that always gave you headaches? What were they talking about? Sure, you could do division, multiplication, proofs, and read sines, cosines and tangents, and you could figure areas and volumes of geometric objects… but those word problems just made no sense.… Well the Smarter Balanced is all word problems like that… Those pushing this test think that is good. Those who actually have children, think that is bad. So when they say this test and curriculum teaches children to think, this is what they are telling you… They think it is a good idea if your child is exposed to these word problems and can learn the language of these problems and how to weed out what is and is not important. The problem from that is that if these problems are too difficult, and not fun, then children will give up on learning in school entirely. Most of learning is peripheral.. We are exposed to much and our brain records it and stores it if it thinks its important… The damage of the Smarter Balanced Assessment is that it weeds out all but the best students and gives the failures no will to continue, being the scapegoat of a really bad test of a really bad curriculum.
D) This test starts in 3rd Grade. College level skills of 20 years ago, are now being forced on 3rd Grade. I was just learning how to add two digit numbers when I would have had to take my first Smarter Balanced Assessment. I would never have had success if I’d been in this program, and I doubt, any of Delaware’s children will either… Again, there is no supporter of this test who has children who will be tested.. Most are in their 20’s still boozing and beaching every weekend. They have no idea. Those who do have children, who are concerned about education, say forcing children into narrow chutes of learning is damaging to their overall development.
E) If you haven’t you can take the tests yourselves… You can experience the frustration of not knowing what the fvck a question is asking. You can experience choosing the obvious correct answer and having it be marked wrong. You can see how tired you get after the first question… And that is the third grade test… If you want a migraine take the junior high ones… Anyone who takes this test is against it. You simply cannot go through one test and say it is good for children…
F) When you get the test scores, remember THEY COME FROM THE TESTING COMPANY…. They will try to sell you on that testing company... No company will say the reason your scores are low is because we tried out a new concept which was as appealing as both New Coke and the Edsel combined… We really fvcked up and that is why your child’s scores are so low… But that is close to the truth… You will KNOW it if and when you take their tests…
G) When you get your test scores you need to know your child is not at fault… Your teacher is not at fault… Your school, district, and bus drivers and cafeteria volunteers are not at fault. the test is at fault. The test is graded on a curve. That means it changes every year… 2500 may be proficient this year. 2500 may be failure next year, 2500 may be exceptional the following year… That is how grading on a curve works.. Even if all children got between 91% and 100% of the answers correctly, the bottom 25% would be below standards. the lower middle 25% would be close to standards, the third 25% would be proficient, and the top 25% would be exceptional… In the real world, all of them would get A’s… some with a minus, some with a plus, and some with just A….. That is a huge fallacy… Nothing is measured except in relationship with other students… A parent is deeper in the dark about their school with this test than they were before. it is a black hole from which no real data or information ever escapes.
H) We don’t need this crap… Although learning the concepts behind world problems before entering college or career is fine, (I think we began in 11th grade to master that concept and look, our generation can now run the world.). making that one single thing the do-or-die of all education is rather pointless. Most of us do not use our Physics or Chemistry skills today. They are nice to have but unless we went onward, they did little good. What we did learn, is what made us what we are. Therefore allowing only this one math concept to be taught closes the door on many others.. and rewards those whose brains are genetically wired this way, while punishing those whose talents lie elsewhere. And with English, focusing only on the text without looking at any underlying factors, was an idea that was intellectually popular among critics in the 1950’s. We have since moved on, except now this is all we are testing all our children on. A taste of it might be good but the huge problem with these tests, is that is the single one thing that is being deemed important… It’s not, really.
I) They will try to placate you to accept these scores. They need to. They cannot afford you to get angry and demand we go back to the old test, which better tested children across a wide range of capabilities and showed great results across the board… Simply put. They are a corporation.. They are like makers of toothpaste… You don’t have to accept their brand, you can switch to something else… and that is what the opt-out movement is all about… Getting rid of this one product being forced on our children with no evidence, no research, no trial, which causes so much harm for so little good….