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SBAC Results Are Worthless



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To the Editor:

It is a difficult time to make sense of what is happening in public education today.  Our political and educational leaders have adopted a “business-minded” strategy that does not ring true with parents and teachers and have promoted it by forcing its Common Core Standards and “test and punish” assessment protocol in all our public schools.

This past week, the results of the controversial and experimental SBAC tests were finally shared with the public after plenty of warnings to expect poor results.  Why? Because the SBAC test was designed to be “rigorous” and hence cut-scores were set at an unrealistically high level – not developmentally appropriate for students, not grade-level aligned to instructional content, not even college-and career-ready as claimed by the test-makers themselves.

Education Commissioner Wentzell reports that these SBAC results reflect a valid, reliable, and fair measure of student achievement, but she is only parroting the party line that she expects district superintendents to communicate to an increasingly skeptical public.

A recent report from the Coalition to Protect Our Public Schools wrote an insightful essay on how the SBAC Math Test fails to meet psychometric standards for validity, reliability, or fairness. It is, however, tempting to look and analyze the SBAC scores to compare one school to another, one district to a neighboring district.  But, it should not be forgotten that, after millions of dollars squandered on the administration of this test, the results of an invalid, unreliable, and unfair assessment cannot serve any worthwhile or useful purpose.

The controversial SBAC results which many chose to opt-out of taking are not worth the paper they are printed on.  If I had a child in school today, I would insist that my student's SBAC test results not be posted in his or her cumulative file or downloaded into any data system that the school is using.


Jack Bestor

24 Walnut Tree ill Road, Sandy Hook             September 2, 2015

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