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Superintendent Says SBAC Suffers from Credibility Crisis

“Sadly, too many teachers have been trapped in mindless data exercises that irresponsibly neglect the story behind the numbers, turning children into faceless numbers,” Madison Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Scarice writes in an opinion piece for CT Viewpoints today. Scarice says that it is the stories, the context behind moments that ultimately matter in a child’s life, not that which is easily quantifiable.

The SBAC test is the latest attempt in Connecticut to collect data to use in making far-reaching decisions about students, teachers, and schools, but Scarice says that SBAC is flawed and will never be able to give us the kind of information we really need to know.

What will the SBAC data mean?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing at all. Numbers in isolation, lacking story and context.

But, worse yet, numbers based on a specious assessment that will in time suffer and die from a credibility crisis.  Sadly, some communities will be asked to explain why this one indicator supersedes volumes of contextual data that form a completely different narrative and tell another story entirely.  How could it be that SAT and ACT scores, as well as college admissions rates and college success, do not align with the “college and career readiness” measure of the SBAC?

Read Scarice’s entire commentary here.

  1. Hip! Hip! Hurrah! It is about time that an administrator, particularly, a superintendent give voice to the absurdity of a reliance on testing and the resulting data collecting all designed to not only evaluate individual students, but teachers and schools as well. Teaching is so much more than a numbers (via testing) game. It is the total experience of an educator and their students and the life lesson that ensue from that relationship.

    August 6, 2015
  2. John Bestor #

    Thank you for posting Tom Scarice’s recent piece in the CT Mirror. He has been an out-spoken advocate at the administrative level where otherwise silence and compliance with ludicrous mandates have reigned. Over the summer, I read Todd Farley’s Making The Grades: My Misadventures in the Standardized Testing Industry which had been published several years ago to little acclaim, but – now that the misuse of standardized test scores is very real to all teachers – it is definitely worth reading in order to understand what really goes on behind closed doors of the standardized test corporations. As a recently retired school psychologist, it rang true to me and, if I had to face teacher evaluations over the next few years where student test results (whether I taught them or not) was part of my performance review, I would want evidence of just how arbitrary and unfair that review is in my defense.

    August 5, 2015

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