Finally, the Spokesman Review prints a story about The SBA Test. It has already been established in my first two stories, story (one) and (two), how the venomous reptile has entered our schools. The harmful practices bleed into high schools. This article fully discloses the stupidity of the constant testing of our children and steers the reader to the invalidity of the reasons being given to…
Jill Barville, correspondent, wrote eloquently of her own reasons for opting her 11th grader out of The SBA. Her article appeared in the Spokesman Review on Friday, April 24, 2015.
In order to expose how this looks at the upper grades, I will highlight some of Jill’s statements capturing the essence of her article. If you are interested in the full article, click (here).
“Normally, I’m a compliant complainer. I’ll follow the rules, however asinine, while rolling my eyes and making sarcastic jokes in the back of the room.
This month is different. I’m joining some rebels with a cause. Sort of. I’m opting my 11th-grader out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test.
As a Running Start student at Eastern Washington University he’d miss four days of college classes in order to take a test that’s supposedly designed to “accurately measure student progress toward college and career readiness,” as stated in a letter from our school district.
We already know he’s ready for college-level work. He’s in college classes.
As an aside, I’d like to thank his teachers for preparing him so well, despite how many hours they had to skip teaching because they were stuck administering tests.
Our decision to opt out was a no-brainer. That’s the kind of decision that’s so obvious you could make it even if you’re a scarecrow without a brain.”
This is interesting when considering State Superintendent, Randy Dorn, just sent a blanket letter out to high school students and parents expressing how important these tests are and how much they are a predictor of college readiness.
Jill went on to write,
“We’d also opt him out if he were still taking high school classes, where instruction is canceled for four days for juniors taking the test. Haven’t they been tested enough?
I can hardly count the number of tests he’s taken over the years, like the reading proficiency tests in elementary school that made him think he was stupid when he just wasn’t developmentally ready to read. That took years to overcome. Then there was the controversial WASL, followed by the MSP, HSPE and end-of-year exams.
To top off all that testing, juniors with college aspirations are steeped in additional standardized tests thanks to the PSAT, SAT and ACT. He’s taken two out of three so far this year. So why do we need another new test in 11th grade?”
Ye$, Mr. $uperintendent Dorn, why do we need another new te$t? Could it be to fill the pocket$ of the te$ting companie$? Between the Robo-call made a few week$ ago, and now the blanket email from $uperintendent Dorn, I wonder what the next deceptive $trategy will be to encourage people to drink the cider-aid pre$$ed from the poisonous apples?
Jill did her digging. Like me, if anyone spends just an itsy bitsy amount of time, the absurdity surfaces.
This is what Jill’s quarrying found,
“I turned to smarterbalanced.org for answers. Maybe I was missing something. I hoped to find a compelling reason that this test is an effective use of educational time and money.
According to the site, the SBAC is designed to “gauge which students leave high school with the English and mathematics knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level, transferable, credit-bearing work.”
In short, are students ready to take college classes that count toward graduation?
This sounds a lot like the SAT and ACT, which the College Board website states, “are designed to measure students’ skills and help colleges evaluate how ready students are for college-level work.”
But don’t start celebrating, students. The SBAC isn’t replacing the SAT or ACT. You’ll still want to take those tests unless you know your university of choice isn’t one of the thousands that require one of them.
The SBAC marketing material concedes it won’t replace the SAT but asserts it’s different, that the SAT is for admissions and the SBAC isn’t. Huh.”
As an educator, I find her following statements the most endearing. She uncovers the cry of my heart, as I witness the sacrifice of time for authentic learning experiences being replaced with test prep and testing.
At Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, the computers are tied up for 64 days due to the testing. There are 180 days in a school year. One third, 33% of the year, this school’s schedule revolves around the constant testing.
“While I agree some periodic standardized testing is necessary and important, I’m concerned with how much time my children have spent in school taking tests when they could have been doing science experiments, reading literature, discussing politics, making music or art, and learning new math skills.
Testing is only one part of the picture.
Our public schools are staffed with educators who have demonstrated their qualifications and expertise through college degrees, teacher certification, and ongoing clock hours and education. Most of them have also earned highly qualified status. Their expert assessment of student achievement and progress should not be minimized.”
In my twenty-five years of being an educator, I have seen the continual erosion of how I am treated as a highly, qualified professional. More and more canned curricular materials are being force fed to teachers, espousing their silver bullets (which they never are), with strict guidelines to follow the lock step programs. The problem with this philosophy is we are teaching children, not robots. Innovative and creative teaching creates innovative and creative children.
I agree with Jill’s final thoughts,
“I’ve been a compliant complainer about testing for years. But the discussion this opened in our family makes me think I’ll soon be a full-fledged rebel, pushing back against excessive standardized testing because enough is enough.
My son said, “Mom, it’s not going to change until my generation has kids. We know what it’s like to take so many tests and we won’t want that for our kids.”
I don’t want it for mine, either.”
Jill Barville writes twice a month about families, life and everything else. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Correspondent with a conscience. (emphasis mine)
This certainly isn’t what I want for my young son.
There is way too much testing starting way too young. The over testing is stealing hours and days of instructional time. More testing is not the answer. Quality and actively engaged instruction is the key.
My son is only eight and we are facing this toxic testing craze. We can’t wait for the next generation to fix it. Parents and educators need to stand up for our children now!
This testing IS harmful to children. Period.
What message are we sending them?
- A test score is the end all be all?
- A test score at 8 years old shows whether a child is on track for college?
- A high score on a test means they have a bright future and a low score dooms them to failure?
It is time to starve this scaly beast and OPT OUT.
RAZ ON FIRE
1. If you are at all interested in following the money in this SBA slithering mess, you may find it interesting to look at how much money has flowed to Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and what interest Randy Dorn may have in saving face by allowing the poisonous snake into our state.
Dora Taylor (Seattle Education), exposes this in: