It appears that most School Boards and School Board Members do what they are told and follow the shepherd. For some reason school board members seem to think that they can’t change anything. They can’t disagree with the State or Federal government. They can’t disagree with Common Core. They can’t take a stance against High Stakes Testing. They are told to allow boys who think they are girls to use the girls restroom or locker room showers (and visa versa). In short it appears that almost all school board members are good little sheep……until there was one who broke away from the flock……..a school board member from Ohio said enough is enough and spoke up…………………..
“It is important to consider that unless assessments are independently verified to adhere to basic standards of test development regarding validity, reliability, security, accessibility, and fairness in administration, resulting scores will be meaningless and should not be used to make claims about student learning, progress, aptitude, nor readiness for college or career (see Legal Implications of High Stakes Assessments: What States Should Know).” – Roxana Marachi, Ph.D
The state of Ohio issued the first batch of test scores from last year’s round of PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) exams on English and Math. Don’t believe them. These tests, and their replacement tests, have not been independently, scientifically validated for effectiveness in measuring student aptitude. These tests were created and foisted upon our children without determining the ability of the questions to actually measure something.
The equivalent here would be a pharmaceutical company issuing a pill without animal or human testing. What is the effect of the pill? The company will tell you, “It will cure all sorts of ills. Give it to your kids and you’ll see.” When the kids get sick from the pill and its side effects they change the brand name, but the product offered up is the same untested medicine.
Doctor Roxanna Marachi Associate Professor from the Connie L. Lurie College of Education at San José State University is an education and psychology researcher who raises these questions about the untested tests.
- “Q1: How is standardization to be assumed when students are taking tests on different technological tools with vastly varying screen interfaces? Depending on the technology used (desktops, laptops, Chromebooks, and/or Ipads), students would need different skills in typing, touch screen navigation, and familiarity with the tool.
- “Q2: How are standardization and fairness to be assumed when students are responding to different sets of questions based on how they answer (or guess) on the adaptive sections of the assessments?
- “Q3: How is fairness to be assumed when large proportions of students do not have access at home to the technology tools that they are being tested on in schools? Furthermore, how can fairness be assumed when some school districts do not have the same technology resources as others for test administration?
- “Q4: How/why would assessments that had already been flagged with so many serious design flaws and user interface problems continue to be administered to millions of children without changes and improvements to the interface?”
These are but a few of the issues presented by tests whose effectiveness has not been properly measured. Without these issues being addressed, your children are on the receiving end of snake oil.
Steven Rasmussen, a mathematics educator and co-founder of Key Curriculum Press, studied the mathematics tests of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. He published a paper this past March that is summarized as follows:
“This spring, tests developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will be administered to well over 10 million students in 17 states (including Ohio this coming spring) to determine their proficiency on the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). This analysis of mathematics test questions posted online by Smarter Balanced reveals that, question after question, the tests:
- Violate the standards they are supposed to assess
- Cannot be adequately answered by students with the technology they are required to use
- Use confusing and hard-to-use interfaces
- Are to be graded in such a way that incorrect answers are identified as correct and correct answers as incorrect.
“No tests that are so flawed should be given to anyone. Certainly, with stakes so high for students and their teachers, these Smarter Balanced tests should not be administered. The boycotts of these tests by parents and some school districts are justified. Responsible government bodies should withdraw the tests from use before they do damage.” Read the full report…
The side effects of these tests are important to look at as well. Here is a short list of side effects that have been experienced so far. Some of these side effects are also the result of using these invalidated assessments to rate the teacher, the principal, the school, and the school district.
- To accommodate testing and test preparation, recess, art, music, physical education and subjects with great value to educating the whole person are being set aside.
- Curriculum must be geared to a test, not to the educational needs of a student. For instance, a child weak in vocabulary may be ignored in favor of teaching the high ordered thinking skills needed for the test.
- Scores are randomly set higher and higher without causal validity creating unnecessary pressures on teachers and schools.
- Teachers are leaving the profession while potential teachers are not signing up for those pressures. This is causing serious teacher shortages, especially in impoverished schools where teachers are being evaluated as ineffective because their students don’t do well on a test.
- The education gap between rich and poor is growing as is the racial segregation of schools.
- Whole communities are destroyed as their schools are rated poorly on unvalidated tests reducing the value of their property and causing flight to other areas where more affluent schools can be accessed. This is despite the truth that some of our best teachers are in difficult schools with a dedication to help the poor.
- Even good teachers finally give up and move to more affluent schools where they are paid better and the tests don’t cause them to be rated as ineffective.
- Teachers’ relationships with students are negatively impacted by the teacher’s need to get the student to pass a test.
- Hundreds of millions of dollars are taken from the classroom and redirected to testing companies for a product that is wholly unreliable.
The tests dictated by the Every Student Succeeds Act have no validity and are doing harm to our kids. Don’t take this snake oil and don’t believe the claims of the Ohio Department of Education. Without validity, the scores can’t be believed, the teacher’s effectiveness can’t be proven, the principal’s value can’t be determined, the school’s success can’t be shown, and school district report card grades can’t be taken seriously. These tests should be dumped and the money spent on them returned to the classroom.
- A. J. Wagner, Ohio School Board Member Here’s a link to his Facebook Page: A.J Wagner Facebook Page