Mom Takes SBAC Practice Test
A Missouri Mom writes:
If you have not taken a look at what and how the SBAC tests, or Next Generation Assessments as Missouri is now calling them, are please go to www.smarterbalanced.org and take one of the sample tests your child will be piloting this spring 2014. I took tests in math and ELA. You can choose the grade level. I chose 6th grade because that’s child’s grade level. Mind you, this will all be on computer. Also, imagine young children doing all this on computer or even special needs kids. After seven, yes seven, information and instruction pages on how to do the test, I was able to start testing. I quit the math test within ten minutes. It was difficult to navigate and frustrating. I don’t have much to say about the math.
I do have a lot to say about the ELA tests. Again, you go through about seven pages of instruction to get to the test. You read a short informational text a few paragraphs long. The first question you have to type in is your answer describing the subject’s personality. How can a computer program grade a child’s personalized answer that he types in himself? The description of the subject’s personality is subjective in nature based on the child’s own perception of the few paragraphs he has to glean what information he can and make and inference. How can a computer determine a correct answer? What if words are misspelled or sentence structure is not correct? Will this make the entire answer wrong even though the thought was expressed correctly? The other ELA test is the Performance Task. This is even worse than the one before. In the assignment I got, again all on computer, the child is to write a science fiction story. This story will be graded using about ten different questions to gauge if the story has met the criteria of what the program is asking. The child must plan, write, revise, and edit a multi-paragraph story.
Now, according to this week’s article from our district’s Asst Superintendent, pilot math tests for SBAC, oh I mean NGA, will be taken in the spring for 6th and 11th grades. I guess we’re just not going to worry about the other grades and also not worry about ELA to see if these tests are going to function? No matter, parents! Your child does not have to take these end of year tests. There is no law or statute requiring your child to take them. Your child is not graded on this test and not taking it will not affect them going into the next grade. When do you usually receive the test scores? That’s right, when your child has already started the next school year! If your child scores below average on the MAP tests does the school make them go back to the previous grade? No! What will be happening in 2014-15 are the teacher evaluations that will be tied to these tests. It’s all in the SBAC agreement with the US Dept. of Ed. Teacher evaluations will be based on standardized test scores. Do not let schools bully you into thinking your child has to take this test. Do not let schools bully your teachers by scaring them with evaluations based on test scores. Opt out of year end tests!
In two separate House Interim Committee hearings, DESE attorney Mark Allan VanZandt and Commissioner Nicastro both said students could not opt out of the assessments. This was after both Mr. VanZandt and the Commissioner stated that parents were primarily responsible for their children’s education. We are still waiting to see the law or statute compelling students to make themselves present for these tests.
You can find opt out forms here. You can access more documents from the recent Missouri Conferences on Common Core (Take Back Our Schools) when you sign up as a member of Missouri Coalition Against Common Core. Just click on the “conferences” tab. You are free to adopt, adapt and use any of the forms we have listed:
- Hatch Amendment letter to give your principal/superintendent
- Opt out form and instructions
- School Board scripts
- How to write an editorial
Take the SBAC practice test and maybe you might want to opt your child out of the assessment like this Missouri mom plans to do.