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