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stotsky civil disobedience tweet

When you read Education Week’s article on tracking Common Core assessment results, keep Stotsky’s questions in the back of your mind.  Check out your state results in Common Core’s Big Test: Tracking 2014-15 Results:


common core tracking map
screen shot of map


Please use caution when interpreting these results.

First, state-to-state comparisons can only be made among states that use the same test. In 2014-15, for instance, 18 states used Smarter Balanced and 11, plus the District of Columbia, used Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. (PARCC and Smarter Balanced are two federally funded testing consortia that developed exams aligned to the common core.)

Second, when a state gives the same test year to year, those results can show growth or declines in achievement. But when a state switches to a new test, first-year results can’t be used to compare achievement to that of previous years.

Comparing the results of old and new assessments can show other things, however. A drop in proficiency rates on the new tests could mean that students are still getting used to the new test format, or that schools are still adjusting to teaching new material, or it could mean that states set higher cut points on the new tests than on their old ones.

We offer these results because of the high-profile warnings that proficiency rates would drop on the new tests. What that means in each state that experienced a drop is a story unique to that state.  (MEW Bolded)

These scores mean little if your state did indeed set higher cut points on the new tests than on their old ones.  Do you know how your state scored the tests?  Will your state agency share that information with taxpayers?  Stotsky raises a question than is difficult for state educational agencies to answer for some reason.  From Stop Common Core NC:

This would have been a great question for the NC Academic Standards Review Commission to ask Dr. Howard at their meeting last Friday.  Howard confirmed that NC’s end of grade and end of course tests were Common Core aligned, so who wrote them? Who vetted them? And say, how about those cut scores?

From Richard Girard in New Hampshire, a radio host and newly elected school board member:

Because we are releasing this information as soon as possible given the very short window the Manchester School District has provided for the public to review the Smarter Balanced Assessment results prior to tonight’s special meeting of the Board of School Committee, we have not conducted a thorough review.  We can however say the city’s scores are below dismal and very well might account for why the district did nothing to provide them in advance of the state’s release date and is only divulging them now, on extremely short notice to the public.

For the record, it took three requests to obtain this information, which sources say was released to the school board yesterday morning, despite our being told it wouldn’t be released until this morning because it was “still being worked on” when we requested it Tuesday (the second request) and that the holiday would prevent it’s release until today.

Clearly, the district either doesn’t get or doesn’t want to get transparency and disclosure.  ~Publis

Why would you subject students to a test in which you cannot find out basic information such as who wrote them, who vetted them and how they were scored?  Stotksy in her 140 character tweet didn’t have the space to include that the tests aren’t even verified.  Do these tests determine what your student knows or are the scores adjusted for specific reasons?  Why should teachers’ evaluations be based on such tests?

All of the parties involved in aiding and abetting the Common Core assessments on a private, local, state and national level must answer these questions.  The time has come (and is way past due) to demand researched data and answers on the specifics of assessment results instead of propaganda and talking points.  Stotsky calls it #CivilDisobedience.  Isn’t it troubling that taxpayers should have to be seen as disobedient to demand answers from elected officials and bureaucrats?

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