Friday’s Education Corner, Could it be that DOE simply “made up” the cut scores for the Smarter Balanced Assessment?

I received the following email from an educator. I have to say, I have no idea who or how they came up with scores. This is the only thing I could find on the cut scores.
Thank you for opening the door for discussion on education concerns.  I would prefer to remain anonymous if you decide to discuss this particular information.  However, I do promise that what I’m telling you is true in every way and there are many other who can bear witness to what I am telling you.
At a recent faculty meeting, our staff was told (by a very high administrator in our district office) that the DOE has simply “made up” the cut scores for the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  He was appalled, our principal was appalled and the saddest part was, the teacher’s were not.  We are used to the DOE treating us as though we are unworthy, ne’r do wells. The educators at my table looked and one another and no one was surprised that the DOE would do such a thing.
So, when the DOE made the projection that proficiency would drop by 30+% last year, they were going to be correct and there was really no conjecture on their part.  They could set the cut scores anywhere they wanted.  Why would they want to do this?  This is the big question, isn’t it? 
This habit of holding the hoop we and our students must jump through higher and higher is seen as a ploy by the DOE to make teachers look bad.  Why would the DOE take an accountability system that simply checked for state standard proficiency, then in the year the accountability took hold, change the rules to now include a “student growth goal”?  For example, if a student scored a 4 on the fall DCAS, they now had to score a scale score growth goal.  No doubt that students should grow over the course of a school year, but no one could explain the growth margins or how they were determined.  I had 8-9 students who scored within 10 scale score points and therefore did not meet their growth goals; even though they showed growth of upwards of 75+ scale score points.  I was penalized for that.  I received a rating of “Needs Improvement”, even though in years passed when just looking for proficiency, I was always at 95 -100%.  It’s crazy! 
This year, during the who Parent Opt out debates, the DOE quickly backed down to the teachers and said, “Okay, okay we won’t hold you accountable this year.”  As teachers were on fire from what happened to them in the last rating with DCAS, that wasn’t enough.  So the state came back and said, “Okay, we won’t hold you accountable for two years.”  This is what kept teachers our of the opt out debate.  well, not me because I still had a bee in my bonnet over the last rating I received.
Just what exactly is the goal of the DOE?  To make Delaware public school teachers look bad? Why? Is it because teachers picketed leg hall when the Governor took office and cut our pay? Since then he added the percentage back, but cut our pay again by taking away our ability to earn extra based on the cluster work we’d done to improve our craft, so when that earned income expired, there was no way to earn it back.    

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