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School Board Briefing/Proposed Action Report

Informational (no action required by Board)


DATE:
FROM:
I.

Action Report (Board will be required to take action)

March 314 May 1, 2015


Directors Sue Peters and Betty Patu, School Board

TITLE

Resolution 2014/15-19: To request suspension of


administration use of Smarter Balanced tests and/or their
use
for accountability measures and support of OSPI waiver
request
II. WHY BOARD ACTION IS NECESSARY

For Introduction: March 4, April 22


May 6, 2015
For Action:
March 18May 6,20
2015

A School Board Resolution requires approval by the School Board before it can be signed and
submitted.
III. FISCAL IMPACT/REVENUE SOURCE
Fiscal impact to this action is unknown at this time.
Expenditure:

One-time

Annual

Other Source

IV. POLICY IMPLICATION


This action upholds the School Boards commitments to educational excellence and student
success, as delineated in the Strategic Plan, and its duty to ensure equitable education, as outlined
in Board Policy 0030, Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity.
V.

RECOMMENDED MOTION

I move that the School Board approve Resolution 2014/15-19, as attached to the Board Action
Report.
VI. BOARD COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION
This item will be was discussed at the April 6, 2015, Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee
meeting. and __________________________.
VII. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In 2013, State Superintendent Randy Dorn and the Washington State Legislature moved to
approve the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and accompanying tests that had yet
to be created. The testing contract was awarded to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
(SBAC) for $175 million by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and will be
administered for the first time in spring 2015.

The new tests pose a number of new challenges and obstacles to students, including: the test will
be administered entirely online and require typing skills for students as young as 3rd grade; the
tests will have multiple correct answers, all of which need to be selected by students or they will
receive no credit for their answer; the tests will require a total of 8 hours to complete.
According to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium field test data, 60-90 percent or more
students are predicted to score below proficiency i.e. fail -- on the tests, and this failure rate
will disproportionately be ascribed to students of color, English Language Learners, students
with special needs and those living in poverty.
On March 31, 2015, in a letter to the Department of Education, the Office of the Superintendent
of Public Instruction (OSPI) requested a waiver from using the new Smarter Balanced
assessments for federally mandated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures in Washington
State public schools in 2014-15 (See Attachment P, below).
VIII. STATEMENT OF ISSUE
By its own admission, the The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and
Smarter Balanced Consortium, proponents and vendors of the SBAC tests, have stated that the
new Smarter Balanced assessments associated with the new Common Core State Standards will
result in a significant and unprecedented increase in failure rate of students state-wide, with the
most significant drop in scores for students of color, English Language Learners, students with
special needs, and those living in poverty.
It is incompatible with the School Boards stated duties to the students of Seattles Public
Schools to enable failure and inequity.
The Seattle School Districts Strategic Plan establishes its core values, including: We believe it
is our responsibility to do whatever it takes to ensure that every child, regardless of race, gender,
socioeconomic status, language proficiency, learning style, or disability, achieves to their
highest level. Therefore, it is antithetical to the mission and duty of the Seattle Public School
Board and District to actively enable its students to fail.
Also, administering the Smarter Balanced tests would may also violate School Board Policy No.
0030, which establishes that The Seattle School Board is committed to the success of every
student in each of our schools and to fostering a barrier-free environment in the name of
educational and racial equity.
Also, the validity and reliability of the new Smarter Balanced tests are in question. The Smarter
Balanced Consortium has stated that the validity of the new assessment is not known at this time,
and will not be determined and reported until the first operational administration in spring
2015.(See attachment I, below: Smarter Balanced Validity Overview Memorandum
https://www.sde.idaho.gov/site/commonAssessment/docs/Memo_Validity_Overview_2014-0911.pdf) There is little to no evidence that the new assessments have met federally mandated
requirements of validity and reliability and have been certified by the state.
The Seattle School Board and District and greater community need to have an authentic and indepth conversation about the value, origins, and implications of Common Core State Standards
and the Smarter Balanced tests. This conversation has been happening nationwide, but there has

been little discussion in Seattle, and yet the implications of these new tests, which will deem 60
percent or more of our students as failing, will be potentially enormous.
At this time, the district could instead continue to administer the MSP and HSPE tests to meet
federal and state accountability measures. Failing that option, The Board requests that the State
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, suspend the administration and use of the new
Smarter Balanced assessments, and/or for accountability measures for the 2014-15 school year
and until such time that the assessments are proven to be valid, reliable and fair, as required by
federal law (See attachement H, below).
IX. ALTERNATIVES
Do not adopt the resolution. This is not recommended because the prediction by the Office of the
Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium
(SBAC) that an unprecedented number of Seattle Public Schools students district-wide will fail
the new Smarter Balanced tests indicates that the tests are invalid and inequitable, and therefore
should not be used for school, student and teacher growth and accountability measures (including
Adequate Yearly Progress and graduation requirements).
Smarter Balanced test scores will be are currently slated to be used to meet federal school
accountability requirements yet will inequitably and falsely indicate unprecedented and mass
failure across all schools.
X.

RESEARCH AND DATA SOURCES / BENCHMARKS

(See attachments, below)


XI. ATTACHMENTS
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.
J.
K.
L.
M.
N.
O.
P.

Resolution 2014/15-19 (for approval) <= PLEASE ADD LINK


Seattle Public Schools Strategic Plan 2013-18
Board Policy 0030 Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity
Seattle Public Schools Fast Facts
DISAGGREGATED FIELD TEST DATA BY DEMOGRAPHIC GROUP: Disaggregated
Data from the Smarter Balanced Field Test Dec. 2014
Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations
Laws & Guidance, Elementary & Secondary Education - ESEA Flexibility (Dept. of Ed)
Elementary and Secondary Education Act / No Child Left Behind
Smarter Balanced Validity Overview Memorandum
Op-Ed State Board of Education Suspends Use of SBAC scores
Vermont Board of Education Suspends SBAC testing
State Board suspends school accountability on Common Core
Portland School Board Asks state to delay using Common-Core aligned testing for ratings
Lets Give Students and Teachers Time (Letter from Vicki Phillips, the Gates
Foundation, June 2014)
School Leadership Groups Urge Adequate Time to Implement Common Core
Standards
Washington State Request to Waive Accountability (OSPI letter March 31, 2015)