Two years ago the Kansas Department of Education declared that we were out of the Smarter Balanced testing consortium and that our state assessments would be returned to the University of Kansas (CETE). For a brief moment, we were thrilled. That is until we dug just a little deeper to find out that CETE then farmed out that testing to none other than Smarter Balanced. So, it was really nothing but a poorly veiled smoke screen.
Fast forward to February 2016–present day. According to The Street and PR Newswire,
“Questar Assessment Inc. will administer the spring 2016 English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) summative assessments for grades K-12 for the State of Kansas.”
So, at first glance, this too seems like it might be a good thing. However, let me point out two damaging facts. 1. Questar is ALIGNED with Smarter Balanced. Here it is from the Questar website (and I will add the screen shot below as well):
“Our system features a bank of 26 technology-enhanced items types that include all recommended by the Smarter Balanced, PARCC and ELPA21 consortia, as well as a unique audio item type that allows students to respond with, and be scored on, recorded voice responses.”
Here is the website:
2. The Kansas Education Commissioner, Randy Watson, is telling Kansans that we do not have Common Core in Kansas. That is just not true. The Kansas College and Career Ready Standards ARE Common Core. The fact that this Questar test has connections with SBAC (Smarter Balanced) and PAARC, means that the tests ARE ALIGNED to the Common Core Standards, AKA Kansas College and Career Ready Standards. Abraham Lincoln said, “How many legs does a dog have if you count his tail as a leg? Four. You can call a tail a leg if you want to, but that doesn’t make it a leg,” so do not let this twisting of words fool you.
So….what to do??? OPT OUT! Opt out your kid(s) from state testing! It’s not too late! Here’s all you need to do:
1. Write a note to the principal saying that you want to opt your kid out of state testing–both formative (little tests that happen during the school year) and summative (the “big” tests in the spring). KEEP A COPY for yourself. Make sure that it’s dated and has your kid’s full name on it and your signature.
2. Know that your child cannot be punished for not taking the test.
3. Some parents pick up their kids during state testing times. Some parents help provide another activity for their kids. Some kids work on existing assignments (not additional assignments), some read for pleasure, some do an art project or practice their instrument, and some help a teacher. These are just some suggestions.
4. This isn’t about what’s “best for the school,” but rather “what’s best for your kid.” Always keep that in mind. YOU are your child’s first and best advocate.
Let us know if you have questions and thank you for all your support!