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elamath

Hawaii (not shown) enters at 48% passing ELA and 41 passing Math.

Below is a chart put together using US Census Data.

Oregon  2% black.

Connecticut  11.5% black

Vermont  1.2% black

Delaware  22.2% black

Idaho  0.8% black

Washington 4.1% black

Missouri  11.8% black

Maine  1.4% black

West Virginia 3.6% black

California 6.5% black

Hmmmm. very interesting.  It appears that Delaware’s blacks are superior to 5 other state’s whites.  So don’t let them hit you with that achievement crap over your head….  In fact, Delaware’s score is pretty impressive. which means that the building blocks were in place long before we rushed into this test.

When Governor Markell vetoed HB 50, the said he could not support encouraging opt-out of the annual state assessment, which provides information for teachers and school leaders to determine areas in which students are excelling or need additional help.

The results are out, and so every parent desperately looks at the chart to see where students are excelling or in need or additional help.

Here is what they see.

They see their child’s literacy score and math score… It ranges between 2210-2724 for ELA; 2235 – 2748 for math.

They see what looks like a thermometer divided into 4 levels.  Across the middle of the graph is a dark line representing he cut score. which in English Language Arts is 2531 and in Math it hovers at 2552.

On the side are listed three headlines…

  • State Average 2523
  • School Average XXXX
  • District Average XXXX

and similar for Math……

  • State Average 2511
  • School average XXXX
  • District Average XXXX

They see a marker like the mercury in a thermometer rising to show their child’s score. They can compare their child to the state average, school average, and district average.

Beneath these graphics on the bottom half of both pages is a box which on ELA is broken down into 4 columns and on Math is broken down in three.

In both ELA and Math the top line reads.

How Did Your Student Do in the Different Areas of the Assessment?

The Columns in ELA are Reading, Speaking and Listening, Writing, Research/Inquiry.

The Columns in Math are Concepts and Procedures, Problem Solving: Modeling and Data Analysis, Communicating Reasoning. 

Then underneath in each column, are a triangle with an exclamation point inside, and the words… Below Standard For This Area..

Finally below that are the announcements…

In ELA,….. Student has difficulty (a)reading closely and analytically to comprehend a range of increasingly complex literary and informational texts); (b) employing effective speaking and listening skills for a range of purposes and audiences);(c) producing effective and well grounded writing for a range of purposes and audiences);(d) engaging in research and inquiry to investigate topics, and to analyze, integrate, and present information)…..

In Math….. Student has difficulty (a) explaining and applying mathematical concepts); (b) solving a range of complex well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem solving strategies);(c) clearly and precisely constructing viable arguments to support their own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others)

There is then a FAQ portion which goes like this for both ELA and Math….

The Smarter ELA/Literacy Assessment has four claims: Reading; Speaking and Listening: Writing; and Research/Inquiry.  Each claim is a summary statement about the knowledge and skills students are expected to demonstrate on the assessment related to a particular aspect of the Delaware Content Standards–Common Core Standards for the ELA/Literacy…

The math is identical except for this line which subs for the highlighted line above…

Three Claims:  Concept & Proceedures; Problem Solving; Modeling and Data Analyses; and Communicating Reasoning.

Mathematics…

 Then in bold, they  give you advice I’ve been saying  for years now….

====

Take the test.

Gain familiarly with the test software platform and sample test questions for grades 3-8 and 11 by taking a practice test.

http:www.smarterbalanced.org/practice-test

Followed by a paragraph that declares boldly:

Learn More.

On the back of the four page folder, in the top half, is a dark box with buff colored font.

Resources & Facts

Then in white colored font it asks:

Are my child’s scores good enough?

While it is the goal of the school to have your child achieve at the highest level possible at a minimum, children are expected to perform at the Meets Standard level in each subject at each grade level.

How are student prepared for online testing?

A practice test is available to families to try out the on-line testing system at http://de.protal.airast.org.  To use the practice test, you will need to install a free Mozilla Firefox browser on your home computer. The latest version of Adobe Flash must also be installed on the computer. A link to download the browser can be found on the website with the practice test.

What about families that do not have home computers?

Delaware State Parent Advisory Council respects the fact that in order for families to be able to provided optimum support to their children they will need a home-based computer and internet access.  The advisory council may be ablet o provide these valuable resources to low-income families. Please Contact the Delaware State Parent Advisory Council, P.O. Box 643 New Castle, DE 19720. (302) 722-7206.

How will Smarter assessments contribute to student success?

Administered online these new assessments provide an academic check-up0 adn are designed to give teachers and parents information to help students succeed:

  • Smarter assessments replaced existing tests in ELA/Literacy and Mathematics for grades 3-8 and high school.
  • Scores from the new assessments represent a baseline that provides more accurate information for teachers, students, and parents as they work to meet the demands of college and career.
  • Parents can use this information to better communicate with teachers and school administrators about their child’s success.

Finally one more buff bubble with this inside…

visit http://de.portal.airast.org/  for more information onf DE reports.

=======

That is what is says. here are some issues.  There is nothing that tells parents or teachers what their child is missing.

Student has difficulty explaining and applying mathematical concepts…  So is he bad in division? And is it just long division? Or is it addition, subtraction, multiplying, division, averaging, exponents, formulas, algebraic thinking, pre calculus, geometry, etc…  Where is the specific information we are suppose to get out of this $119 million dollar paln? The DCAS gave us much more detailed information.  This test’s results compared to those of previous tests is a flat out joke.

Student has difficulty reading closely and analytically to comprehend a ranges of increasingly complex literary and informational needs…

“This child’s in third grade”… i just want to know if she can read.  She reads fine in car as we drive by readable signs.  So what part of reading is she not getting?  On this the Smarter Report card is silent….”

We now know why there is a direct correlation between test scores and family income.  My goodness, can you image taking this exam without prior access to computers except when they come in on their first day and take this test.  This is where this test is more discriminatory than any previous.  This slants the higher scores to the wealthy because only they have access to computers at home,. and leaves the poor choking on dust. You must have a computer to do well on this test; versus you only need a pencil to do well on the last test with which we replaced with the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Thanks to Kevin for putting up the link… 

Let us look at what it says.

First it attempts to divert you from the topic… “Don’t Shoot The Messenger” which is a feeble attempt to extend Mark Murphy’s life here in Delaware.  Obviously Petrilli doesn’t want someone shooting our Chief of Change…. which since Petrilli would probably be next in line, is probably a wise course for him to promote.

If this is a diversion, what then is the real issue it it trying to mask?  As every parent gets their score in the mail, and looks over it, and sees how stupid their child allegedly “really is”, the real issue is obvious!!!  It is whether or not this is how we want our education run…….

Is it running the way you feel it should go?  For starters, this is what education should be:

The above is the generalization of  proper goals showing us where we need to move Delaware’s education.  If you haven’t seen the above classic example, (one readily recognized by every parent who views it), you should.  It exposes that every child has a genius bottled up… The goal of education is to sample all of them them to a variety of options so whatever that genius is, can be cultured, nurtured, and allowed to bloom….

The other side, the corporate side, wants people to act like machines.. Strip out their humanness, wear them out with rigor, take away their spontaneity, curiosity, uniqueness and personalities,  Their opinion is that if a child can’t sit still long enough to focus thoroughly on extremely boring strenuous tedious stuff, they need to be medicated until they do so…  After all, corporate America  only needs its working adults to sit in cubicles, wait for an automatic dialer, instantly pick up a phone, and be able to read a script word for word… They don’t need musicians. They don’t need playrights. They don’t need painters. They don’t need rappers…

Which in truth don’t really belong in Corporate America… But what this corporate-developed Common Core does, is force this corporatization upon ALL students.  ALL students now have to be judged by this one standard which is what Corporate America today thinks is necessary to rank its future workers.  For them, ALL students must meet this model and if they don’t,… they are considered failing…   Mozart would do poorly on this test… yet his brilliance has only been matched by a handful of men… Einstein would do horrible on this test… yet he set the definition for intelligence …And every adult who has taken this test, complains bitterly about its terribleness for its questions make no sense; and could have easily been rephrased much simpler….

if you’ve ever heard Mark Murphy talk in public and wonder what on earth he’s saying… (word salad), these tests are written exactly in that very line of same diction…

Unclear. full of jargon. Lots of words but little meaning…. yet they sound nice when put in long strings and since you the listener don’t understand what is being said, (to you it sounds like gibberish) you just nod your head in compliance because you have no idea of where to start the interruption to ask a question….

Well, these tests are just like that…….

Which is why all parents are against them…

Have you ever asked a child a question you know they do no know?  “Hey young lady, the largest city in Siberia is …….what? Quick now! “  It’s a waste of time… They try to give you some answers hoping like a one arm bandit taking our tokens, to magically spew the perfect combination.  The only way anyone can learn from such a question is to look up the answer afterwards.  In other words, get feedback so once you see the correct answer, you’ll know for the next time you get asked about Siberia’s largest city, what it is so you can then respond…

With the Smarter Balanced Assessments we can’t even do that… They ask questions so unclear and contorted,  that even most professional adults get them wrong while insisting they are answering them correctly and insinuating the answer key had the wrong answers marked correct..  The ELA is so subjective!… One reads their passage and is asked, which of the following synopsis best describes the passage… All are correct, but which one..”best” describes the passage? And even teaching experts go back and forth over which of the choices is best.  Many vehemently insist the correct test answer key is wrong…

For this test was not made by teachers. It was made by business people. and quite frankly, business people are not the sharpest tools in the shed.  When they masquerade as teachers, they do get answers wrong; but since they themselves think they are right, whatever they think the answer is…. becomes the right answer…

So this test instead of being a test of ability, becomes a guessing game for its test takers…. “What will Mr. Businessperson think the best answer will be?”  “Ok I’ll choose that one.”

Which doesn’t teach our children anything substantive.  instead of knowing facts, this test is teaching them they have to instead be able to read minds correctly …  (Corporate minds aren’t even worth reading correctly)…

So here is how the corporatists respond in the News Journal piece….

“As late as 2013, Delaware was reporting that two-thirds of its eighth graders were “proficient” in math, whereas the federal government put the number at a third. That was an enormous “honesty gap.”

Which is true.  Delaware children were at roughly 60-70 percent proficient on the DCAS ….. which was actually a decent test… at least it had teacher input in its making. And now from the preliminaries of the Smarter Balanced Assessments, they are at 50% (instead of quoted 30% (meaning this op-ed was actually pre-written before the scores emerged)

Standards are fluid.  They move up and down a scale…  you can give all the top students of University of Delaware a test given at Harvard and they will fail..   But…. Does that mean they are not getting a great education here in Delaware?

But again you can slide the scale even further; you can take those same Harvard students and now give them an engineering  test from MIT… and those Harvard students will fail… Does that mean they didn’t get a great education at Harvard?

Therefore every parent needs to ask; you are just changing standards… tell me what my child is NOT learning, because I help him with his homework and to me he is learning fine.

So just because we changed the test, does that mean those Harvard students getting an inferior education at Harvard! It does if we accept their argument.. They failed the test… Harvard’s Education is no longer what it should be… simply because we arbitrarily decided that “it should be” about engineering on the level a 4th year MIT student would pass….

The levels of learning across the board are the same as they ever were… We just moved the curve of where we’d choose to separate those passing from failure;.. a very arbitrary decision; nothing more and nothing less.

Here’s the rub. Whereas before, Afro Americans could compete with whites to get into college and careers because their scores were much closer together, now, with their abysmal lower scores on these ridiculous tests, they no longer can.  “Ma’am based on the first and second grade reports for your child, your child won’t make it to college”…  “Why not? Both his mom and dad did!”  “He doesn’t meet the new minimum higher standards.”

The only reason we are racing down this path is because it is only corporate leaders who are setting the Legislature agenda. Those elected officials often in the majority, who support  We The People, have been knocked out from having any power to make changes… They kicked off a representatives whose prime aim is to protect and support We The People,, off the House Education Committee and put a corporate puppet in his place….

Which is why it comes to you…

We do know what works…

We do know that if we have an 11:1 student teacher ratio where every teacher is in charge of making sure each of her eleven students is actually learning, that this personal-bonding relationships goes a long way to make success actually happen.  In small groups most kids will not let their peers hate and get mad at them because they spoiled things for all.  They take education seriously and in small groups, there develops mutual respect which goes both ways. And if we align each group closely on their scores, they all learn at the same pace and level and there is little wasted effort or frustration.

This 11:1 student teacher ratio should be mandatory in all schools k-5 which have over 50% low income… After all, our stated goal is to close achievement gaps.  This can only happen if those on the bottom get intense involvement to compensate for all the lacked in their environment their early life years. This instructional level should also be used in 9th Grade in all 50% low income schools,  9th grade success  is the prime factor that causes students to continue to graduate, and not drop out.  If we did actually did this, we would accomplish something which actually improves the education level of “the most vulnerable.  The corporate idea that we just hand them harder tests to make them smarter, has no bearing in either sanity or reality…

Because It doesn’t work that way for adults… it doesn’t work that way for kids…

We also know that when we completely remove Charters from public education, all which drain public school funding by spreading it too thin like too little butter over a slice of bread, our entire educational system rebounds. Charters feed off the top students which is why some Charters are the top standardized test scorers in the state, and those public schools from which they skimmed, those nearest them, are near the bottom…  It doesn’t take geniuses to see why. Obviously if you originally have 30 people and the 10 smartest leave to go somewhere else, your remaining 20 will give you a lower average score.  When those 10 return back to public schools, the averages soar back. All those states ranked highly with the best educational systems, have very few charters.  Even when a charter is very good, it still hurts the 4 students staying behind for every 1 it advances… they lose money that should be spent on them by handing to charters, what should have been used to keep their schools maintained in fine shape.

So yes! We know what to do. We do know where to go. We do know how to fix this... But we have wrong-headed people deciding policy and we have to stop having someone from DC (Petrilli) try to tell you that harder standards will magically help your child who currently can’t even begin to meet the previous less ridiculous ones, simply because he’s stuck in a class with a 45:1 student-teacher ratio where all the money for extra teachers got skimmed off by charter schools!… Parents right now should be at their last straw…..

The opt out movement which is huge in most other states, is your ticket to get education back to where it needs to be… There are only 21 State Senators.  There are only 41 State Representatives.  There is one governor. There is one Secretary of Education.  There are over 130,000 parents who have children in Delaware’s schools. if our officials want us to follow the corporate way but you want to go the better route, like a mis-apportioned tug of war of 130,000 versus 64,…., We The People can pull them anywhere we want…

Opt Out is our rope.