If we must have a state assessment, I would support NWEA over Smarter Balanced. Both of my children have taken NWEA. NWEA provides teachers with immediate feedback on each student which is a valuable tool. Districts can use NWEA data to make instructional decisions. Parents receive information that they can understand and they receive their child’s scores during the school year; not after the school year is over. It is aligned with the standards. It is a growth model. NWEA is a non-profit organization. To learn more about NWEA, click here.
As a teacher with 15 years of experience in both regular and special education, as well as being a certified Reading Specialist, I can confidently answer this question with the following:
The Smarter Balanced Assessment scores WILL NOT help your child to improve over the next school year. What will help your child to improve? With an 11th grader, if the student is having trouble with a particular subject, I think that it is best if that student reaches out to the teacher for help first. Teachers love when the student is responsible for his/her learning and is autonomous in this endeavor. However, if that doesn’t work, then the parent would have to open up a line of communication.
If the student isn’t having any trouble, and the question is being asked about general improvement during the next school year, the ONE thing that will help a child with their progression is teacher-made assessment and feedback. Just like a doctor, the teacher is constantly giving check-ups in the classroom with quizzes and tests. Pay close attention to the grades and feedback that come back on those.
I received this question from a parent and I am not sure how to answer it. My husband and I opted out our son from the 11th grade Smarter Balanced test, I have not even seen what the Smarter Balanced scores look like that were sent home to the parents/guardians.
The parent asked, can anyone tell me how the Smarter Balanced scores will help my child improve over the next school year?
Exceptional Delaware published a post about Conrad Schools of Science choice application which requires Spring Standardized Test Scores which would be Smarter Balanced for all public school children in Delaware. You can read Exceptional Delaware’s post by clicking here.
I wanted to make sure students were not penalized because their parents opted them out of the state assessment. Red Clay’s Superintendent Dr. Daugherty has assured me that will not happen. Conrad Schools of Science staff is well aware of the concerns and the lack of a state assessment score will not hinder any student’s chances of getting into Conrad.
Thank you to Red Clay School District for respecting a parent’s choice to opt out and not penalizing the child.
Delaware Online posted an article: Opt-out penalty for DE school considered. It is frustrating enough to know we are going to label our schools once again, but now we are going to penalize them as well. Schools and districts have no control over a parent who decides to opt their child out of the state assessment, so why should we hold a school or district accountable? The feds are requiring states to penalizing schools and districts for low participation rates and AFWG members were assigned to come up with the penalty; they selected the least destructive penalty. At this time, we are not sure if the Governor or the State Board will agree.
At the last AFWG meeting the members decided on the following:
DOE reported they must add a consequence for not meeting participation rate. The group decided on the following:
School must write a plan for how they will address low participation rates.
Cannot be a reward school if the participation rates is less than 95% using NEAP.
DOE did state the Governor recommended and would prefer the multiplier for schools that are below 95% only, as the consequence the participation rate, but members stated they did not agree with that choice.
The group decided on using a 0 to 500 point system.
As I said in an earlier post, I got the impression that the Governor wanted certain things to come out of this group and I got the same impression from the State Board representative.
I will say it again, why do you put these committees/groups in place and waste their valuable time away from their schools if we are not going to listen to them, they are the experts. I hope the Governor and the State Board will respect the opinion of the experts and keep the final recommendations from the Accountability Framework Working Group as is.
DESS Advisory Committee (stakeholder group) agreed with the AFWG recommendations, it will be interesting to see what happens next, will the recommendations stay the same?
The 11th grade state assessment may not be Smarter Balanced Assessment; it looks like the state may be going with the SAT reported at the Accountability Framework Working Group meeting on Monday. I thought our Delaware colleges agreed to using Smarter Balancedas a way to measure college readiness and would be accepting it in lieu of a separate placement test.
A Delaware teacher wrote to me. I asked for permission to share the email and the teacher agreed to me posting the email.
I write to you today because I am seeking your support for the students of xxxxx School District. I am a teacher at xxxxx. I have dedicated the last 18 years of my life to the students who go to xxxxx. I have relationships with generations of families, love teaching those “tough” kids and have great successes everyday in my classroom.
The testing cycles in xxxxx have begun and I feel that the administration has again let us down. There is so much testing on my calendar it will be extremely difficult to teach all the standards I am required to teach, let alone get kids who are behind, caught up. Something MUST be done to stop all of this insane testing!
Let me assure you that I am not a person who ducks assessment. I believe in knowing where students are so that I can design lessons and work with them in small groups to fill in gaps and push students to their greatest potential. This is about too many district or state mandated assessments that give me no information. They seem to serve the purpose of proving that xxxxx students will fail no matter what we do. Let me explain…
I have already given an oral reading assessment individually – Dibels Next (8-10 minutes per 30 kids = nearly 300 minutes of class time). I’ve given a “cold read” – a reading comprehension test and a math diagnostic and placement test. This week I will be finishing my first unit in math and giving the unit test. I’ve also done a spelling inventory to check for phonics skills and other informal writing samples. Week 2 is over and I know my students pretty well. I’m ready to teach and get kids where they need to go!
I am now told that I must give the Amplify reading and math pre and post test. I am supposed to schedule 2 days in the computer lab for each subject. I am also told that I must use this test as a measure for my component 5 rating. I’m not sure if you are familiar with Amplify. Its the same company that produces Smarter Balanced. Same kinds of questions, same ridiculous length, and complexity of directions. I am also told that they will be taking THREE interim assessments, for a total of FIVE times they will take this test, plus Smarter, plus all the other tests that actually help me guide instruction.
There are many layers to why this is wrong for students.
One, I need to be teaching for 4 days in September, not having students staring at a computer screen to take a test I know that they’ll bomb!
Two, giving this assessment FIVE times a year eats away at my precious teaching and learning time. Testing is not teaching!
Third, after 18 years I can look into the crystal ball and tell you how May is going to go. After students have taken 5-6 days of Smarter Balance testing, we will again set them in front of a computer screen and ask them to show us that they can take another hours long assessment of what they’ve learned this year. How do you think that will go? I KNOW how 8,9 and 10 year old people will react. They will not show what they know because they will be burned out and exhausted, leading to most xxxxx teachers not making their component 5 goals. More “unsatisfactory” teachers in xxxxx. That will hit the News Journal, and more students bleed out from our district.
I don’t want to walk down that path again and again. xxxxx kids and teachers work very hard and deserve better! I am embarrassed at the administration’s decisions for our students. Who else can and will speak out for children in xxxxx?