Friday, March 13, 2015

TESTING TUG O’ WAR: Here we have Smarter Balanced; There they have PARCC. They both sound like brands of the ‘low priced spread’ to me!


California on Wednesday essentially decided that the test scores won’t count. Connecticut, Wisconsin and Delaware are close behind. And Arne Duncan takes a wrong turn in in Chicago.

By Caitlin Emma With help from Allie Grasgreen in Politico Morning Ed |

3/13/15 10:00 AM EDT  ::  TESTING TUG OF WAR: The Connecticut Education Association is rallying support for a bill that would scrap Smarter Balanced exams and replace them with a “progress monitoring test” in the 2016-17 school year. The teachers union wants to create a better accountability system and reduce how much testing counts toward measuring school quality, while incorporating classroom assessments of “college- and career-ready skills” like critical thinking, collaboration and communication. The state legislature discusses the bill next week. “The more we talk about our proposal, the more we see people asking themselves, ‘Why not?’,” CEA President Sheila Cohen said. “Connecticut went down the wrong path with SBAC several years ago. Now that it’s clear that SBAC is the wrong path, legislators must correct course and move ahead with progress tests that provide more learning time, immediate adjustment of instructional strategies to help children and personal attention for our students.” Details:

A Wisconsin bill that would delay the use of student test scores in teacher evaluations this school year is quickly moving through the state legislature. The bill, which has broad support, would also ensure that school ratings don’t drop as a result of the test scores. State officials say that students and educators shouldn’t take a hit while the state experiences implementation issues with the new exams. An amended version of the bill has less bipartisan support. It would require the state education department to offer three alternative state tests schools could administer for accountability purposes. Republicans favor the flexibility, while public school leaders say it would be impossible to compare student test results across the board. More in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell on Thursday announced a review of testing statewide, in districts and in schools. The state plans to provide financial and technical support to districts get and help districts talk to parents about Smarter Balanced testing this spring. Markell also came out strongly against opting out of the exams. “Opting out would deny our schools a full picture of their students’ progress, and those who don’t take the tests would be denied the opportunity to receive additional support,” he said. “Students will fall through the cracks and be left behind.” Also Thursday, New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe appeared before his state's Senate education committee and urged parents and activists to not opt their students out of the PARCC tests:

D.C. schools meanwhile lauded the successful launch of PARCC testing Thursday, noting that thousands of students were able to take the tests with only minor technology or human error issues. DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson said the first two days of testing went as expected. “The transition to this new test, especially one of this scale, was a big lift but it was absolutely necessary for students and our educators,” she said. “It took months of preparation, training and support — and we said early on that ‘perfect’ on this first week would include some minor glitches that we were ready to handle and address.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s driver took a wrong turn during a Chicago visit Thursday and landed him in the middle of nearly four dozen people protesting PARCC testing, which the district has only reluctantly decided to administer widely. Chicago Sun-Times: Plus, PARCC testing in the state has launched with some pushback and confusion, the Chicago Tribune reports:

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