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Legislators Respond to Concerns About SBAC

State Senator Gayle Slossberg

State Senator and Education Committee Co-Chair Gayle Slossberg today announced legislation to eliminate SBAC for 11th graders and establish a task force to examine SBAC’s appropriateness for students in grades 3-8. From left are Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Senator Tim Larson, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Slossberg, Education Committee Co-Chair Rep. Andy Fleischmann, Senator Toni Boucher, Senator Cathy Osten, and Senator Steve Casano.

UPDATE: As of June 2, the House and Senate have both passed Substitute Senate Bill 1095. Read more here.

Legislators today demonstrated they are listening to the concerns of teachers, students, and parents by rolling out Substitute Senate Bill 1095 that eliminates the SBAC exam for 11th graders and establishes a task force to examine the impact of SBAC on students in grades 3-8. The new version of the bill was announced during a press conference at the State Capitol.

CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “We commend teachers for their diligence this year in chronicling the problems with SBAC, and sharing those experiences with their legislators. We applaud legislators, especially Senator Gayle Slossberg and her Education Committee co-chair, State Representative Andy Fleischmann, for listening and taking action by advancing this proposal that increases accountability and provides a strong commitment to Connecticut’s examination of the impact of SBAC, the statewide mastery examination, on student learning time.”

Slossberg said, “The group established by this legislation will look at a number of factors including the age appropriateness of the exam and how much time it is taking students and report back to the legislature.”

“We’re hearing that children are spending days and days with the SBAC exam,” said Fleischmann. “We have to find out if it’s a good exam in terms of its impact on students and teachers.”

Cohen said that CEA will be a well-informed and outspoken advocate on the new task force. “The charge of the task force provides ample opportunity to improve the state testing program to maximize learning time for students and teachers, while ensuring student progress is effectively monitored.”

The provision to eliminate SBAC in 11th grade comes after the state’s High School Assessment Working Group, of which CEA is a member, earlier this week voted to replace SBAC with a college readiness exam 11th graders are already taking.

Fleischmann said, “Hats off to the task force that just earlier this week acted to relieve the testing bottle neck for 11th graders.”

“This reduction in testing at the high school level makes us optimistic that further improvements to provide less testing and more learning in our public schools are in the future,” said Cohen. “We look forward to action by the full Senate and House on Sub. SB 1095.”

2 Comments
  1. SusyS #

    This is a start, but the focus on high school doesn’t fit the concerns. HS students and teachers are not drilling for SBAC because in some cases, students will have already fulfilled their math and LA requirements by junior year. On the other hand, younger students will lower maturity and endurance for long and tedious tests are the ones being drilled, and losing more learning time. Third-eighth should be the focus and concern for SBAC, not a single-year exam in high school, and I think there are lots of ways to address it, such as testing every other year for math and opposite years for LA, or just testing every other year, or testing 50% every year.

    May 28, 2015
    • The state legislature is constrained by federal law which requires ELA and math mastery testing in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school every year. The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act would need to be modified in order for Connecticut to be able to test students every other year or only test some students each year. However, the task force that would be created by this bill will look at SBAC’s impact on 3rd through 8th graders and could recommend an assessment that would take less time away from learning.

      May 29, 2015

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