While many states have embraced improvement in their statewide assessment programs and have rejected invalid tests, Connecticut remains stuck in a program that is harmful to teaching and discriminatory to students.
In spite of mounting concerns about the validity and fairness of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test—which is administered to students in grades 3-8—a divided state committee in charge of reviewing the test voted to retain SBAC and ignore concerns raised by teachers and administrators. Representatives of the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Connecticut submitted a Minority Report detailing the problems with SBAC. Read more
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg discussed the use of mastery exam scores in teacher evaluation with other members of the Performance Evaluation Advisory Council.
Connecticut’s Performance Evaluation Advisory Council (PEAC) today acted on teachers’ concerns regarding the use of mastery examination scores in their evaluations. PEAC unanimously agreed recommending to the State Board of Education to continue the practice of not requiring mastery exam scores in teachers’ evaluations for the next academic year.
PEAC plans to continue to work on determining the appropriate use of mastery test scores and examining the current “matrix” used to evaluate teachers.
Education Committee Co-Chairs Rep. Andrew Fleischmann and Senator Gayle Slossberg.
While the election of Donald Trump raises many questions about the future of public education, state Department of Education officials remained cautiously optimistic yesterday that the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) signed into law last year will allow Connecticut schools to move in a positive direction.
“This is truly a historic opportunity in public education,” Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell told members of the legislature’s Education Committee at an ESSA forum yesterday.
The State Department of Education (SDE) is in the process of getting input from a variety of stakeholders on how this largest of federal laws that governs public education will be implemented. The Education Committee is the latest group to offer its feedback. Read more
CEA Director of Policy & Research Donald Williams at today’s meeting of the state Mastery Examination Committee.
New research showing that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test disproportionately disadvantages students and teachers in high-poverty districts was distributed to members of the state Mastery Examination Committee today.
The study of 600 teachers, conducted by Abacus Associates for the Connecticut Education Association, underscores mounting concerns by legislators, educators, parents, and others about the test’s validity, fairness, and negative impact on students—particularly those in high-poverty districts and those with limited access to computers. Read more
West Hartford Education Association President Ted Goerner and CEA Director of Policy, Research, and Reform Donald Williams are CEA’s representatives on the state Mastery Examination Committee.
The SBAC test provides students with more accessibility tools than any state test previously used in Connecticut, but how well do these accommodations and supports work and how well do they serve students?
That’s the question raised by teachers at a state Mastery Examination Committee meeting today. The committee heard detailed presentations from state Department of Education (SDE) staff about the accommodations and supports offered by SBAC and other state tests, but the SDE lacks information documenting how well these tools really work in the field. Read more
West Hartford Education Association President Ted Goerner and CEA Policy Director Don Williams represent CEA on the Mastery Examination Task Force.
The state-level committee tasked with examining the impact and appropriateness of the SBAC exam has gained another teacher voice. West Hartford science teacher and local Association president Ted Goerner joined the Mastery Examination Task Force for the first time at its meeting today.
The task force agenda included a look at the usability, accessibility, and accommodations available to students taking the SBAC test.
Saying that he teaches the concepts of reliability and validity to his eighth graders, Goerner asked, “How can you control for all of the variables that exist when some students are taking the exam on Chromebooks while others have access to desktops with large screens and full keyboards?”
Dissatisfaction with standardized testing is growing in all quarters, and even The New York Times has now recognized that parents choosing to opt their children out of standardized tests come from a variety of backgrounds. An article in the Sunday Review highlights some of the concerns about standardized tests raised by minority parents, students, and educators.
All too often testing narrows the curriculum—particularly for students attending high-poverty, urban schools who are already likely to experience an opportunity gap compared with their wealthier peers. Read more
What’s the education policy that most damages the teaching profession? Sixty-nine percent of State Teachers of the Year and finalists for State Teacher of the Year say it’s the use of standardized student test scores in teacher evaluations.
The survey by the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) also found an overwhelming majority (81 percent) of respondents do not support teacher evaluation systems that rely significantly on the results of student standardized test scores. Read more
Many CEA members are featured in a new commercial about the problems with unreliable testing.
Teachers are turning up the volume on the problem of unreliable testing that has overtaken Connecticut public school classrooms.
“We are airing new TV and digital ads that raise awareness—from parents to policymakers—about the need to reduce testing and test prep and restore more time for learning in our classrooms to help every student achieve,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen.
“As Connecticut’s largest teacher organization, we have stepped up and spoken out consistently about the problems associated with the SBAC test. Now we are taking our efforts to a new level with our advertising campaign,” she said.
Connecticut teachers are relentless in their focus on student growth and achievement despite the state’s ill-advised and misguided support of the unfair, invalid, and unreliable SBAC test. Read more
Connecticut is one of only 14 states still using SBAC. A recent report on state testing by Education Week shows that 61% of public school students live in states that are NOT using the federally funded PARCC or SBAC tests.
Six years ago, 45 states had signed onto the federally sponsored tests, but in 2015-16, only 20 are staying with those tests.
And those numbers don’t demonstrate the full loss of confindence the tests have experienced. Of the 20 states using SBAC and PARCC, five are not using those tests to measure high school achievement.
Connecticut teachers have been sharing research that shows SBAC is unfair, unreliable, and invalid, and is not an accurate way to measure teacher performance.
Proposed legislation here in Connecticut (SB 380) would permanently decouple teacher evaluations and state mastery examination scores (SBAC). Unless legislators act, districts will be required to start using unreliable SBAC scores in teacher evaluations in the 2017-2018 school year.
Your legislators need to hear from you! Click here and tell your legislators why SBAC shouldn’t be part of your evaluation.