Tuesday, March 10, 2015 is opening day of assessment season in Washington State. The season schedule is available on OSPI’s State Testing webpage.
In some other parts of the country assessment season started earlier. In other states students have walked out of the assessments, parents are opting their kids out the assessments, and school officials have bullied parents telling them the law requires every student to take the test.
In Washington State there has been a growing movement of parents opting their kids out of the assessment. We have heard reports of school officials bullying parents who are opting out. Nathan Hale High School Senate in Seattle has said no to administering the SBAC in the 11th grade. Teachers at Schmitz Park Elementary School join with Nathan Hale in their concerns about the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC). Both schools raise concerns over the validity and reliability of the assessment.
In November 2014, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium had a press release titled Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations. These are the achievement levels for this assessment season. It indicates that around 60% of our students will fail if we consider failing to mean not proficient (see the graphs below). A score of level 1 or 2 is considered not proficient. To be considered proficient requires a score of level 3 or 4.
Is a 60% failure rate acceptable? Is it acceptable to have students across the state subjected to an assessment for which there is no legitimate evidence or proof of validity and reliability? Is it acceptable that decisions about students and schools will be made based on the results of an assessment that is not valid and reliable? Is it acceptable that the state is administering an assessment that is not in compliance with NCLB which requires states to administer valid and reliable assessments? Is it acceptable to have school officials bully parents over an assessment that is not valid and reliable?