Heads Up…And OPT OUT of State Testing

Fine Followers-

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.”

You can read the whole thing here: http://www.thestreet.com/story/13454317/1/questar-assessment-inc-to-administer-elpa21-k-12-summative-assessments-for-state-of-kansas-in-spring-2016.html

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:
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 10.35.42 AM

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!
KACC

Advertisements

Did it just sound good?

Maybe.

Did Kansas really get out of Smarter Balanced yesterday?

We did some looking into this question after we received an email with the following comment that was posted on the article from yesterday:

It takes quite a bit of prodding to get CETE to admit it, but in the past they contracted out the writing of test questions to a third party. From 2006 until last year the vast majority of test questions (all but pilot questions that did not count in the score) were written by a California based company called West Ed. CETE put the questions into computer form and ran the computer system, but did not create the test questions.

Here is what we found on the WestEd website:

 WestEd is honored to serve as the Project Management Partner for the multi-state Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) — the first collaboration of its kind building a common assessment system among a majority of states.

Read more here.

WestEd was the prime contractor developing all elementary, middle school, and high school assessment items for the state of Kansas assessment program.

Read more here.

Will KU CETE be partnering with WestEd for future Kansas assessments?

We will keep you updated as we learn more.

Other states have also “left” SBAC or PARCC, but still find themselves connected…

Utah Never Left the SBAC

Is Indiana’s withdrawal from PARCC for real or for show?

Kansas chooses KU CETE Assessments – withdraws from SBAC

Thank you_apple

In case you missed it…  THIS happened at the KS State Board of Education meeting yesterday in Topeka!

Kansas withdrew Tuesday from a federally funded, state-led initiative to develop tests aligned to the controversial Common Core mathematics and English standards, choosing instead to commission the tests from The University of Kansas.

After hours of in-depth discussion, the Kansas State Board of Education voted 8-2 to walk away from a years-long effort that Kansas played a lead role in — the Smarter Balanced state consortium that is developing Common Core tests with a federal Race to the Top Grant.

Please take a few minutes to send a THANK YOU to the KS State BOE members (emails below) who supported Kansas assessments through the KU CETE, and voted against SBAC at yesterday’s meeting.  We sincerely appreciate them taking the time to research this very important issue, and vote in favor of Kansas assessments from KU CETE.

Read more here: http://cjonline.com/news/2013-12-10/kansas-opts-create-its-own-common-core-tests

There were actually two votes yesterday.  Here are the results and the email addresses for the SBOE members.  Additional contact information can be found here: http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=54.

 1st Vote MOTION:  Mrs. Sally Cauble moves to accept SBAC for grades 3-8 and flexibility for high school level.

 No (to SBAC) – Mrs. Kathy Busch (kathy.busch@ymail.com), Mrs. Deena Horst (deena@worldlinc.net ), Mr. John Bacon (jwmsbacon@aol.com), Mr. Kenneth Willard (kwillard48@gmail.com) and Mr. Steve Roberts (mrxmath@gmail.com)

 Yes – Mrs. Janet Waugh (JWaugh1052@aol.com), Mrs. Jana Shaver (jshaver@cableone.net), Mr. Jim McNiece (nemprin@yahoo.com), Mrs. Sally Cauble (scauble@swko.net), Ms. Carolyn L. Wims-Campbell (campbell4kansasboe@verizon.net)

 2nd Vote MOTION:  Mr. Kenneth Willard moves that KS adopt tests designed by KU’s CETE for grades 3-8, with flexibility for high school.

 Yes (to KU CETE) – Mrs. Kathy Busch (kathy.busch@ymail.com), Mrs. Deena Horst (deena@worldlinc.net ), Mr. John Bacon (jwmsbacon@aol.com), Mr. Kenneth Willard (kwillard48@gmail.com), Mr. Steve Roberts (mrxmath@gmail.com), Mrs. Janet Waugh (JWaugh1052@aol.com), Mrs. Jana Shaver (jshaver@cableone.net), and Mr. Jim McNiece (nemprin@yahoo.com)

 No – Mrs. Sally Cauble (scauble@swko.net), Ms. Carolyn L. Wims-Campbell (campbell4kansasboe@verizon.net)

 *****************************************************************************************

And in case you missed it, this also happened at the meeting:

State board approves handwriting standards
Topeka — The Kansas State Board of Education voted unanimously today to approve new standards for handwriting, including a statement that the board “expects” schools to ensure that all students can write legibly in cursive and be able to read material written in cursive.

John Boesen, a handwriting analyst from Salina, told the state board today that learning to write helps develop cognitive and motor skills, and that it is still an important form of communication.

 “The pen is mightier than the keyboard,” Boesen said.

_________________________________________

And a big THANK YOU to every person who has taken time to research the facts, attend a State BOE meeting, speak at a State BOE meeting, contact the State BOE members,  and share the information with friends and family.

We can make a difference…. 3 minutes at a time!

 

 

Tomorrow: KS State BOE September Meeting

TOMORROW!
Tuesday, September 17 at 10am – KS State BOE Meeting

Please join us in Topeka for the KS State BOE meeting! View the September agenda.

If you would like speak in the open forum at 10:30am, please arrive before 10am to sign-up for 3 minutes. If you can’t make it in person, email your statement to kristin(at)kansansagainstcommoncore(dot)com by 5pm TODAY and it will be printed and presented at the meeting. You can also email your statement directly to the Kansas State BOE members.

Here is a great example of questions for the State BOE members:
New Hampshire State Rep Interrogates NH State School Board with These Questions

Over the last several months, citizens have addressed concerns about data collection, student privacy, and student/teacher evaluations related to the SBAC Assessments .  We plan to continue voicing these concerns, and request that Kansas pull out of SBAC and Common Core.    See you tomorrow!

120 SE 10th Ave., Topeka, KS
event details on facebook

July – State BOE meeting

We had another good turnout at the State BOE meeting yesterday. We asked that they stay with Kansas University’s Center for Education Testing and Evaluation (CETE) to develop and administer year-end reading and math tests.

We had 5 people speak for 3 minutes and we had 8 written testimonies to present. As a result, the Board had a lot of questions of KSDE staff during the Assessments agenda item at 2:30 this afternoon. They asked about costs, technology upgrades, bandwidth, security of student-level data, when the CETE tests will be revised and how much time the SmarterBalanced tests will take. The multiple problems with SBAC and PARCC pilot tests in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Indiana, New York and Minnesota were brought up. Even the fact that the SBAC website does not open to the sample questions was raised.

As you know—teachers teach what is tested. Therefore, stopping the national tests will help reduce the costs, improve the curriculum and secure the privacy of student, parent and teacher individual data.

Thank you all for the great support!

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/07/09/4337561/kansas-foes-of-school-common-core.html

Reminder: State BOE Meeting Tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 9th – Kansas State BOE meeting at 10am
Board Room of the Education Building, 120 SE 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS
Citizen Open Forum starts at 10:30am – arrive before 10am to sign up to speak for 3 minutes.
For more information visit http://www.ksde.org/Default.aspx?tabid=61 and view the July meeting agenda here.

Event information on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/320622641404697/

We want to have another great turnout this month, and hope you will join us!
Tomorrow we will ask the State BOE members to
PLEASE VOTE TO KEEP KANSAS UNIVERSITY’S READING & MATH ASSESSMENTS
and to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) and ACT Aspire testing for Common Core reading and math.
 
There are concerns among Kansas superintendents and local school boards:
–  The cost of implementing these national assessments is 2 to 5 times more than the cost for Kansas University to administer the English and Math assessments.
–  Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessments are also estimated to take up to 8 hours to complete.
–  There have been serious computer failures and issues with these pilot tests this past Spring.

At the June meeting, after the public comments were completed, the State Board heard a presentation on Smarter Balanced (SBAC) and ACT Common Core tests.  At least four of the 10 State Board members voiced concerns about the costs of both national tests, and the loss of student, parent and teacher privacy if these tests are given to Kansas students. 

There are efforts being made in other states to do the same.  In fact, Oklahoma just announced it would be leaving PARCC on Monday.  Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Pennsylvania and now Oklahoma have decided not to force their students to take either the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) or PARCC national tests.  They are joined by Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska and Minnesota.  There are similar efforts to stop this waste of time and taxpayer money in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky.

If the Board will vote this month to stay with the Kansas University assessments of English and Math:
– It will save millions of dollars which local school boards can keep in Kansas classrooms rather than purchase expensive technology.
–  The risk of sending “student-level data” and “individual” data on every Kansas principal and teacher to the Federal government is far too great for the State Board to force our schools to give these tests.

 

Event information on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/events/320622641404697/

Reminder: State BOE Meeting on Tuesday, July 9th

PLEASE attend the State BOE Meeting on Tuesday, July 9th at 10am –
120 SE 10th Ave, Topeka, KS
 
View the July agenda here.
View the June meeting here.

The meeting begins at 10am, but you will need to arrive early if you want to sign-up to speak for 3 minutes in the Citizen Open Forum. The Citizen Open Forum begins at 10:30am.
***If you will not be able to attend in person, but would like to submit a written statement to the BOE to read and have put in the meeting file, please message us and we can have you email it to us to print and present. Last month we had 10 written statements to present the BOE.***

We encourage you to attend, and request that Kansas be removed from the
Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) or the ACT Assessments.

There are concerns among Kansas superintendents and local school boards:
– The cost of implementing these national assessments is 2 to 5 times more than the cost for Kansas University to administer the English and Math assessments.
– Smarter Balanced (SBAC) assessments are also estimated to take up to 8 hours to complete.
– There have been serious computer failures and issues with these pilot tests this past Spring.

At the June meeting, after the public comments were completed, the State Board heard a presentation on Smarter Balanced (SBAC) and ACT Common Core tests. At least four of the 10 State Board members voiced concerns about the costs of both national tests, and the loss of student, parent and teacher privacy if these tests are given to Kansas students.

There are efforts being made in other states to do the same. In fact, Oklahoma just announced it would be leaving PARCC on Monday. Alabama, Georgia, Utah, Pennsylvania and now Oklahoma have decided not to force their students to take either the Smarter Balanced (SBAC) or PARCC national tests. They are joined by Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Nebraska and Minnesota. There are similar efforts to stop this waste of time and taxpayer money in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky.

If the Board will vote this month to stay with the Kansas University assessments of English and Math:
– It will save millions of dollars which local school boards can keep in Kansas classrooms rather than purchase expensive technology.
– The risk of sending “student-level data” and “individual” data on every Kansas principal and teacher to the Federal government is far too great for the State Board to force our schools to give these tests.