“SBAC SCORES SHOULD NOT BE PUBLISHED IN THE UPCOMING SCHOOL REPORT CARDS. PUBLISHING THE SCHOOL’S SCORES IN THE REPORT CARDS WILL MAKE THE SCORES EVALUATIVE BY THE VERY NATURE OF DOING SO AND WILL MISINFORM PARENTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS.”
From the Associated Administrators of Los Angeles Weekly Update for the Week of September 14, 2015 | bit.ly/1UKiYUV
10 Sept 2015 :: The California Department of Education released the first year’s results of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests in English language arts/literacy and math on September 9, 2015. AALA understands that comparing SBAC scores to previous state assessments is like comparing the proverbial apples to oranges.
Moreover, it appears students did not fare well overall. This may be attributed to the newness of the test, the increased level of technology, the delayed arrival of the technology to many schools, the challenges of bandwidth infrastructure at many schools and because the professional development provided thus far lags behind the teaching and learning needed to parallel it with the California’s Common Core-aligned tests. Most importantly, the scores are baseline, not for stakes, nonevaluative and are meant to be used for the purpose of strengthening pedagogy.
To access the scores, please follow this link: CAASPP Results.
AALA is concerned that, in the public’s eye, the scores have quickly become evaluative for administrators and teachers. Teachers make a fair point when they tell principals that if the results are indeed intended to improve practice and alignment, why publish them? Therefore, context is of great importance in this matter to maintain a keen perspective and to provide administrators the appropriate, genuine and required levels of supports.
There has been a significant influx of new principals since the transition to and implementation of the Common Core State Standards began in earnest some three years ago. Since beginning their assignment, these principals have served TWO general superintendents, probably TWO local District Superintendents, TWO Deputy Superintendents of Instruction and more-than-likely, THREE Instructional Directors, THREE ELA and THREE math coordinators from the Educational Service Centers now known as Local Districts. In the process, freezes were imposed, and then lifted, no substitutes were allowed for professional development purposes on Mondays and Fridays, conference approvals required myriad approvals and scrutiny and the operational demands kept coming!
Thus, situational awareness, empathy and understanding are needed to ensure administrators are receiving the necessary supports to empower and facilitate the process of being the instructional leaders the District expects them to be. Herewith are some questions from AALA for the District’s Leadership:
● How is the District going to streamline the duties and responsibilities of administrators to optimize instructional leadership?
● How soon will District Leadership realize that additional assistant principals are a mandatory part of the equation to improve student achievement?
● How will the professional development provided by the District and the Local Districts be differentiated to meet the needs of English learners, standard English learners, students with disabilities, gifted and talented students?
● How is the District stabilizing leadership at every level of the organization to enhance a coherent, unified and articulated professional development plan?
● How are the District and the Local Districts differentiating professional development to meet the needs of the constituents served by the Local District?
● How is the District organizing for effort and allocating the required professional development funds to ensure Districtwide alignment with the California Common Core curriculum and the tests?
It is predictable that scores will rise as teachers and administrators become more familiar with the Common Core standards, and students become familiar with the more complex questions on the examinations. For example, in 2003, when the California Standards Tests were introduced, 30% of 3rd graders and 40% of 5th graders scored proficient and above in English/Language Arts. Ten years later, 45% percent of 3rd graders and 60% percent of 5th graders scored at a proficient level. Some of this improvement can be attributed to familiarity with testing structures and procedures.
It is AALA’s position that SBAC scores should NOT be published in the upcoming school report cards. Publishing the school’s scores in the report cards will make the scores evaluative by the very nature of doing so and will misinform parents and community members. There is no doubt transparency and accessibility to the public is important. Therefore, the school report card can link the public to the website repository with a CLEAR disclaimer that the scores are nonevaluative.