Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Smart or Just Dumb?

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Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Smart or Just Dumb?  That’s the question we’ll try to address in this blog post.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) released scale scores for math and ELA (English Language Arts) aligned to the Common Core State Standards.

In their release to the public on November 17, Smarter Balance announced that:

Members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium have voted to approve initial achievement levels for the mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year.

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Clueless in Atlanta; Not So in Seattle

Maureen Downey is the education blogger at Get Schooled on the Atlanta Journal-Journal (AJC) website, and writes occasional education editorials for the newspaper. In her post today, she wonders why the teachers in Seattle are protesting by refusing to administer a test they are required to give three times per year to all students in their classes. She puts it this way:

What’s odd to me is the test Seattle teachers are choosing to protest, which is the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP).

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Anthony Cody: Designer of Value-Added Tests a Skeptic About Current Test Mania

Guest Post by Anthony Cody

Follow Anthony on Twitter at @AnthonyCody

Defenders of our current obsession over test scores claim that new, better tests will rescue us from the educational stagnation caused by a test prep curriculum. And one of those new types of tests is an adaptive test, which adjusts the difficulty of questions as students work, so that students are always challenged. This gives a better measure of student ability than a traditional test, and can be given in the fall and spring to measure student growth over the year.

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Science Scores on NAEP for 8th-Graders Not So Bad

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) published Science 2011, science results for grade 8.

A representative sample of 122,000 8th-graders were involved in the 2011 NAEP science assessment.  No student took the entire test.  Instead the 144 questions that made up the test were divided into nine 25-minute sessions of between 14 and 18 questions.  Each student responded to two sections. NAEP reported that no hands-on or computer tasks were administered.

The NAEP test assessed physical science (30%), life science (30%), and Earth and life science (40%).  … Read more

Anthony Cody Writes: At the Department of Education, Warm Snow Falls Up

Guest Post by Anthony Cody

As the Simpson family prepared to travel south of the equator to Brazil, Homer revealed some misconceptions. In opposite land, according to Bart’s father, “warm snow falls up.” Reading the latest press releases and speeches from the Department of Education, sometimes I feel as if this is where we have arrived.

For the past two years, the Department of Education policies have been roundly criticized by teachers. The latest response from Arne Duncan is a big public relations push bearing the title RESPECT — Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching.… Read more

A Perfect Storm Hits Public Schools

Steven Sellers Lapham and Jack Hassard

Public schools in America are under attack from many directions, and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) seems bent on delivering a lethal one-two-three punch. This decade will likely witness more neighborhood schools shutting down, crowded classrooms, excellent teachers fired, and children fobbed off to “online learning programs.” Let’s recall that Prince Edward County, Virginia closed its schools 1959-64, creating a “lost generation” of children who were hobbled, as adults, by years of missed education.… Read more

NCLB + RTTT = MOTS (More of the Same)

The equation above can also be expressed as follows:

The No Child Left Behind Act + the Race to the Top Fund = More of the Same

NCLB & Race to the Top

In an edweek.org newsletter there was a No Child Left Behind Alert that I found interesting, and provided the starting point for this post.  The forum discussion (a question is posed, and you can submit a response joining you to the discussion) for the day was:  What’s the most important thing President Obama could do improve standardized testing?  … Read more

High-Stakes Testing = Negative Effects on Student Achievement

In earlier posts, I have advocated banning high-stakes testing as a means of making significant decisions about student performance (achievement in a course, passing a course—end-of-year-tests, being promoted, and graduating from high school).  I suggested this because the research evidence does not support continuing the practice in American schools.

The research reported here sheds light on high-stakes testing, and shows why they should not be used to make decisions about students’ achievement, teachers’ performance, or to make sanctions or offer rewards to schools.… Read more

Standardized Testing: Modern Bloodletting?

This is a link to  Standardized Testing: Modern Bloodletting at the Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

If you have been reading about banning high-stakes testing, and my criticism of the Common Core State Standards, and more recently the Next Generation of Science Standards, then you will find Vicki Davis’ blog post very pertinent and important.  It is an important post in the conversation about high-stakes testing and the standards movement.

She finishes her blog article with this statement that I think embodies her thinking on testing and standards:

Perhaps I should go back and restate.

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New eBook on High-Stakes Testing

A new eBook will soon be published by The Art of Teaching Science Blog with the title: Why Should High-Stakes Testing be Banned?

Over the past three months, I have written about the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation of Science Standards, and the corporate take-over of public education.  Living in the Atlanta area, and having been a professor at Georgia State University (GSU) for many years, the Atlanta test cheating scandal hit very close to home.  … Read more