NY Assembly Passes Bill to Decouple Assessments from Teacher Evaluations

Last week, I wrote that the New York Assembly introduced a bill that would decouple assessments from teacher evaluations. This week, they passed that bill 131 to 1.

WAMC reports:

Opposition to the former Common Core standards and the associated tests became a rare bipartisan issue at the Capitol. Assemblyman Steve Otis, a Democrat from Westchester, voted for the repeal.

“We heard from school superintendents, school board members, teachers, parents, the same message all united,” Otis said. “They didn’t think the state tests were helping them teach kids.”

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, a Republican from Long Island, says the change would restore local control to school districts.

It now heads to the Senate where there is momentum to pass this bill.

In the Senate, Senator Jim Tedisco, a former teacher, is sponsoring a similar measure in the state Senate. Tedisco, a Republican from Schenectady, says the list of supporters has grown to 38 senators, but there is still some opposition to putting the bill on the floor for a vote.

“We’re going to work hard to, no pun intended, educate my colleagues on the importance of not using a standardized test as the Holy Grail for evaluating kids,” Tedisco said. “Or by extension evaluating teachers.”

I wrote last week:

Common Core is still present in New York State regardless of the recent revisions of their state standards. In 2016, The New York State Education Department adjusted their statewide assessment to encourage “opt-ins” as the state has seen the most student opt-outs of any in the nation and that did not change in 2016 as some deemed the 3rd-grade assessment to be age-inappropriate.

This bill will, at the very least, ensure teachers that they won’t have to teach to the test in order to help their standing with evaluations. Also, it is true that some students just don’t test well. That does not mean they are not learning. I also hope that it will reduce potential pressure parents may receive from their local school districts if they decide to opt their student out.

My thoughts toward this bill haven’t changed. This is a good development, but we’ll have to wait and see how much impact it will make in the classroom. If lawmakers think this will curb parental efforts to opt-out of assessments they will probably be disappointed.

As I also said last week, the New York Legislature needs to pass a bill affirming assessment opt-out.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy: Time to Get Rid of PARCC

Governor-Elect Phil Murphy (D-NJ) announced Dr. Lamont Repollet’s appointment as New Jersey’s new Commissioner of Education

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who was sworn in today, announced last week as Governor-Elect that it is time for the Garden State to get rid of PARCC as their state-wide assessment.  Philadelphia public radio station WHYY reports:

At an elementary school in Asbury Park where he announced that Asbury Park School District Superintendent Lamont Repollet will lead the state education department, Murphy said it’s time to scrap those tests.

“We are asking Dr. Repollet to end the failed experiment that has been PARCC testing and create new, more effective and less class time-intrusive means for measuring student assessment,” Murphy said.

Murphy said shorter tests should be developed with teacher input.

He doesn’t have a firm timeline NJ.com reports:

“The answer to the logistics of how it’s done, honestly, I don’t know,” the Democrat said after an unrelated event in Ewing the day before he’s set to be sworn in. “So bear with me on that. But soon.”

He added.

“The notion of assessing kids to make sure we understand how they’re doing, I’m all in for that,” Murphy said Monday. “But these big, white-knuckle, once-a-year, with lots of weeks getting folks tuned up to take a particular test I’m not a fan of. Never have been.”

He noted not only that he has four children but that one of his sisters is a retired teacher from Boston who is against the tests.

“We’re into shorter feedback loops,” Murphy said. “You take the test on Monday and you find out how you did on Friday or the next Monday or something like that.”

“I think educators should be first and foremost at the table to figure out what the actual best model is,” he added.

PARCC’s membership has dwindled to Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico. When New Jersey officially leaves only six five states and the District of Columbia will remain in a consortium that once boasted 25 states and DC.

(Update: I was reminded that Colorado left PARCC. They do still purchase some PARCC test items. Louisiana also does a PARCC hybrid. Massachusettes also offers a hybrid assessment. So that really just leaves three states and D.C who use it exclusively.)

Fewer Than 60 Percent of New Jersey Students Are “Proficient”

New Jersey released their PARCC test scores last week, and while they could point to some gains overall, there isn’t anything to be excited over.

John Mooney with NJSpotlight.com reports:

For the administration, it was largely good news, as officials highlighted the statewide gains in the third year of the testing that has roiled the state. An additional 88,000 were meeting the proficiency scores in language arts, and another 70,000 in math.

…. But the gaps remained deep and wide, and even improvements needed to put into context.

For instance, in no grade did proficiency levels statewide hit 60 percent in either math or language arts. They dropped as low as 28 percent in math in 8th grade statewide.

Some are blaming the test. Some are blaming the public education system. How about looking at the standards PARCC aligned its assessment with?

I wouldn’t be surprised to see New Jersey abandon the PARCC ship soon. They seem ripe for it, but until they dump Common Core assessment scores won’t improve. We’ve seen dismal scores from states with Common Core whether they use PARCC, Smarter Balanced, or some other aligned assessment.

More From The Mother-May-I File


Politico highlighted three states seeking a testing waiver from the U.S. Department of Education under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) yesterday in their Morning Education daily update.

Florida, Kentucky and New Jersey are all asking federal officials for flexibility when it comes to testing in their plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Florida and New Jersey both want more wiggle room for a provision of the law that allows eighth-grade students enrolled in advanced math to avoid “double testing,” letting them take an advanced math test for accountability and avoid taking their grade-level test. In a waiver request, New Jersey says it wants to extend that rule to lower middle school grades, not just eighth grade. “Since so many New Jersey middle school students have been successful in advanced-level mathematics coursework, it is in the best interest of students to administer end-of-course mathematics assessments that align with students’ coursework rather than the grade-level exam,” the state says in its request.

— Florida says in its waiver request that it wants to do the same, in addition to including science tests. The state is also asking for flexibility on how it tests English-language learners. POLITICO Florida reported early last month that the state wants an expansive waiver from federal requirements in order to preserve a school grading system developed under former Gov. Jeb Bush.

— Kentucky is seeking a waiver of an ESSA provision that caps at 1 percent the number of students with disabilities that states can test on alternate assessments.

I thought ESSA was supposed to do away with the need for waivers?

I guess not.

Oregon Drops Smarter Balanced for High School

The number of states using either Smarter Balanced or PARCC as state-wide assessments has dwindled from 45 to 20 states and the District of Columbia. That number doesn’t include states that are just using those assessments for younger grades. Take Oregon as an example, the Oregon Department of Education confirmed that they will no longer use Smarter Balanced for high school students, but will continue to use the assessment for 3rd – 8th-grade students.

The department in a released statement said the change “comes in response to feedback received from stakeholders around the state that the statewide high school assessment should provide a direct benefit to students beyond meeting graduation requirements.”

This change reflects a desire to cut back on assessment time. Also, more states are starting to use ACT and SAT as their statewide assessment for 11th graders. Using a college entrance exam provides more motivation for students to do well.

Education Week noted that Smarter Balanced, seeing this trend, wants to develop a college entrance exam.

Smarter Balanced issued a solicitation in February to see if it could partner with a big testing company—presumably ACT or the College Board—on an assessment that could essentially kill two birds with one stone: It could provide information states could use in accountability reports, and also serve as a college-admissions exam.

Oh goody.

Common Core Repeal Bill Introduced in Ohio House

State Representative Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) introduced HB 176, a bill that would repeal Common Core in Ohio, earlier this month. Download the text of the bill (as introduced) here. The bill currently has 26 co-sponsors in the Ohio House.

The bill analysis of HB 176 summarizes the legislation, as it relates to academic standards and assessments, this way:

Academic content standards and model curricula

  • Prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting, and the Department of Education from implementing, the Common Core State Standards, or any standards developed by any similar initiative process or program, as the state’s academic content standards for English language arts mathematics, science, or social studies and voids any prior actions taken to adopt or implement the Common Core State Standards
  • Requires the State Board, to replace the academic content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies with new standards that are consistent with the standards adopted by Massachusetts prior to that state’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards, so that Ohio’s standards are as identical as possible to those adopted by Massachusetts, except where an Ohio context requires otherwise.
  • States that a school district is not required to utilize all or any part of the academic content standards adopted by the State Board.
  • Prohibits the State Board from adopting or revising any academic content standards in English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies until the new or revised standards are approved by the appropriate subject area subcommittee created under the bill, and approved by the General Assembly by a concurrent resolution.
  • Creates the 13-member Academic Content Standards Steering Committee to do the following: (1) determine a chair and co-chair of the committee, (2) appoint four individuals to oversee the development of the standards documents, (3) contract, if necessary, with an individual who has a “national reputation” in the areas of academic content standards and assessments to facilitate the committee’s work, (4) establish a subcommittee each in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies to review and approve any new or revised standards, and (5) select, by majority vote of all members, a chair for each subcommittee.
  • Prohibits the State Board from adopting any model curricula.

Achievement assessments and diagnostic assessments

  • Eliminates the fourth-grade and sixth-grade social studies assessments and the fall administration of the third-grade English language arts assessment.
  • Specifies that the elementary-level assessments must be the assessments administered before 2010 in Iowa.
  • Specifies that the administration of the elementary-level assessments must occur at the discretion of each discretion or school.
  • Eliminates the retention provision for students who fail to attain a passing score on the third-grade English arts assessment.
  • Replaces the current seven high school end-of-course examinations in English language arts I, English language arts II, Science, Algebra I, geometry, American history, and American government with examinations in English language arts, mathematics, and science.
  • Specifies that the high school exams must be the assessments administered before 2010 in Iowa.
  • Eliminates an exemption under current law that allows students in public and chartered nonpublic high schools to forego taking a nationally standardized assessment that measures college and career readiness if that student has attained a “remediation-free” score on the assessment and has presented evidence of that fact to the student’s district or school.
  • Prohibits the State Board of Education from using the assessments developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the Smarter Balanced assessments, or any other assessment related to or based on the Common Core State Standards for use as state achievement assessments.
  • Eliminates the requirement to administer any diagnostic assessment to students in grades kindergarten through three, and instead authorizes districts and schools to administer such assessments.

(2nd Update) 2017 Legislation on Standards, Assessments, and Data Privacy

States with relevant legislation.

Updated on 2/21/17 – see Kentucky and West Virginia.

A couple years ago I published a list of active bills in various statehouses related to Common Core and its aligned assessments. Over the two years I just included a tag for a particular year’s bills so people could click on that to check on the bills that we had written on. Needless to say we didn’t keep up very well so I’m bringing this back.

This is a list that I will update of filed legislation in state houses across the United States dealing with academic standards, local control, assessments and data privacy. My intention is just to give a bill number, a link to the bill, and a brief description of the bill and the last action on the bill. Inclusion on this list does not mean we support the particular bill, but only that our readers in each state should be aware of it, read it, and decide whether they should support or oppose it.  I plan to keep this list as updated as possible. Individual write-ups on different bills can be found at “2017 Bills.” If I missed a bill just shoot me an email with the bill number at info@truthinamericaneducation.com.

Arizona

SB1314 – A bill that seeks to tighten student data privacy. Last action: Passed out of Senate Education Committee.

Connecticut

HB06839 – An Act Concerning A Review And Report On The Implementation Of The Student Data Privacy Act. Last action: Referred to the Joint Committee on Education.

HB06769 – To amend the student data privacy act of 2016. Last action: Referred to Joint Committee on Education.

There are several identical bills related to allowing a one year delay in the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act of 2016. Here is one example.

Florida

S 0584 – Authorizing certain students to be eligible for an alternative pathway to a standard high school diploma; requiring a school district to establish an Alternative Pathway to Graduation Review Committee for certain students; requiring each district school board to ensure certain instruction, to waive certain assessment results, and to administer a hard copy of the grade 10 ELA assessment or the statewide, standardized Algebra I EOC assessment for certain students, etc. Last action: Filed.

Indiana

SB 0536 – Replaces the ISTEP test program with an assessment program using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or the Iowa Tests of Educational Development, as appropriate for the grade level being tested. Repeals a statute establishing the ISTEP program citizens’ review committee. Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Repeals an expiration provision. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Assigned to Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.

HB1003 – Replaces the ISTEP test program after June 30, 2018, with a new statewide assessment program to be known as Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN). Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Referred to the House Committee on Education.

Illinois

HB0332 – Amends the School Code to add provisions concerning student data privacy. Amends the Illinois School Student Records Act. Makes changes to the definition provisions. Sets forth provisions allowing disclosure of student records to researchers at an accredited post-secondary educational institution or an organization conducting research if specified requirements are met. Amends the Children’s Privacy Protection and Parental Empowerment Act to change the definition of “child” to mean a person under the age of 18 (instead of 16). Last action: Referred to the House Judiciary-Civil Committee.

Iowa

HJR 3 – A constitutional amendment that proposes “to provide home rule powers and authority for school districts.” Last action: Introduced into the House Education Committee (My write-up)

HF 26 – The bill authorizes a school board to exercise any broad or implied power, not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, related to the operation, control, and supervision of the public schools located within its district boundaries. Last action: Assigned a subcommittee. (My write-up)

SF 30 – This bill eliminates references and requirements to the Iowa Common Core or core curriculum or core content standards in the Iowa Code, but continues to direct the state board of education to adopt high school graduation requirements and assessment standards. It also creates a new task force for the development of a new assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 139 – Requires any statewide assessment to be developed by the Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa. It would prohibit the use of Smarter Balanced or PARCC as a statewide, mandatory assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 140 – Makes the Common Core math and English language arts (ELA) standards that have been adopted into the Iowa Core voluntary for Iowa’s public and state accredited non-public schools. Repeals Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: introduced into the House Education Committee. (My write-up)

SSB 1001 – Repeals the requirement for the State Board of Education to adopt rules requiring a statewide assessment starting in July 1, 2017 that is aligned to the Iowa Common Core Standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

Kentucky

SB 1 – This bill would establish new learning standards and evaluation procedures for schools and teachers. Last action: Passed Kentucky Senate 35-0 (see write-up).

Maine

LD412 – An Act To Require the Completion of Courses of Study in Home Economics and Industrial Arts Education Prior to Graduation from High School. Last action: N/A

LD 322 – An Act To Reintroduce Civics to High School Graduation Requirements. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

LD49 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: Passed by the House, being considered by the Senate.

Maryland

HB 705 – Authorizing a parent or guardian of a child with a disability who is nonverbal to refuse to allow the child to participate in a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment or its equivalent in a public school; and requiring that the refusal be documented in the Individualized Education Program of the child. Last action: Assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 461 – Requiring the State Board of Education to adopt regulations limiting the amount of time in the aggregate that may be devoted to federal, State, and locally mandated assessments for each grade to 2% of the specified minimum required annual instructional hours; prohibiting time devoted to teacher-selected classroom quizzes and exams, portfolio reviews, or performance assessments from being counted toward the specified testing time limits; etc. Last action: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.

Michigan

HB 4192 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1 – 380.1852) by adding secs. 1278e & 1278f. Last action: Referred to the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee and will have a hearing on 2/15/17.

SB 0081 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends sec. 1278 of 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1278) & adds secs. 1278e, 1278f & 1278. Last action: Before Senate Government Operations Committee.

Mississippi 

HB502 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Making Application To The United States Department Of Education Seeking A Waiver Or Request For Funding That Would Require A Revision Of The State Subject Matter Curriculum Aligned With The K-12 Common Core State Standards Developed By The Common Core State Standards Initiative; To Authorize The Board To Request Authority From The United States Department Of Education To Revise Curriculum Requirements That Condition Receipt Of Funding Or Waivers Upon The Board’s Action To Revise The Curriculum To Align With The K-12 Common Core State Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee

SB2035 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2593 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB357 – An Act To Provide For The Repeal Of The Common Core State Standards Curriculum Adopted By The State Board Of Education And To Prohibit Any Further Implementation Or Use Of Such Standards; To Restrict The Use Of The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc), Or Any Other Assessment Related To Or Based On The Common Core State Standards, As The Required Assessment Required Under The Statewide Testing Program; To Require The State Superintendent Of Public Education And The State Board Of Education To Initiate Procedures To Withdraw From The Parcc Consortium; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum And Academic Content Standards; To Provide That No Curriculum Standards Developed Outside The State Of Mississippi May Be Adopted Or Implemented Without Public Hearings Held In Each Congressional District, A One-year Open Comment Period And Open Hearings Before A Joint Committee Composed Of The House And Senate Education Committees, Followed By An Act Of The Legislature; To Impose Restrictions Upon The State Department Of Education With Regards To The Expenditure Of Certain Funds And Disclosing Personally Identifiable Information Pertaining To Students And Teachers; To Amend Section 37-1-3, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity Thereto; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2581 – An Act To Authorize And Direct Public School Districts To Allow Parents And Legal Guardians Of Enrolled Students To Opt Out Of Common Core Aligned Curricula, Certain Student Data And The Release Of Information Concerning Their Children’s Personal Beliefs; To Prescribe A Form For The Student Privacy Protection Opt-out Request By The Parent Or Legal Guardian; To Direct The State Board Of Education To Issue Regulations Consistent With The Student Data Confidentiality Provisions Of This Act; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB279 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education And The State Department Of Education From Taking Any Further Action To Implement The Common Core And Mississippi College And Career Readiness Standards; To Require The State Board Of Education To Adhere To Pre-existing Procedures Under Its Apa To Review And Revise Our Curriculum Standards As Applicable Within Our Board Policies Beginning With Mathematics And English In 2017; To Prohibit The State Board And State Department Of Education From Expending Certain Federal Funds To Track Students Beyond Their K-12 Education And To Distribute Certain Student Identifiable Information; To Amend Section 37-17-6, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Delete References To Common Core And To Delete The Requirement That The State Department Of Education Form A Single Accountability System By Combining The State System With The Federal System; To Bring Forward Section 37-177-5, Mississippi Code Of 1972, For The Purpose Of Possible Amendments; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB601 – An Act To Create New Section 37-16-2, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Require The State Board Of Education To Contract With A Single Entity For The Development And Administration Of The Act Aspire Assessment Components As The Comprehensive Statewide Assessment Program For Public School Students In Grades 3-10 As Well As Algebra I And English Ii, Which Is Aligned To The Mississippi College And Career-ready Standards; To Require The State Department Of Education To Provide A Job Skills Assessment System That Allows Students To Earn A Nationally Recognized Career Readiness Certificate Credentialing Workplace Employability Skills; To Require The Act Aspire As The Statewide Assessment Program To Be Fully Implemented In All Public Schools In The 2017-2018 School Year; To Amend Sections 37-16-1, 37-16-3, 37-16-4, 37-16-5, 37-16-7, 37-16-9 And 37-16-17, Mississippi Code Of 1972, Which Relate To The Statewide Testing Program, And Sections 37-3-49, 37-15-38, 37-17-6, 37-18-1, 37-18-3, 37-20-5, 37-20-7 And 37-28-45, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity To The Preceding Provisions Of This Act; To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Contracting With Any Entity For The Development Of A Statewide Assessment Whose Alignment Of Curriculum And Testing Standards Are In Compliance With The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc) Without Express Legislative Authority; To Amend Section 37-16-11, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Provide For The Issuance Of A Standard Diploma To Certain Exceptional Children With Intellectual Impairments Who Have Ieps Upon Meeting The Educational Requirements Of Their Iep And Those Established By The State Board Of Education; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

There are additional bills, some are repetitive, they have all been killed in committee.

New Hampshire

SB 44 – Prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

HB 207 – Prohibiting the implementation of common core in public elementary and secondary schools. Last action: Hearing scheduled for 2/14/17.

New Jersey

A2650 – Requires high school students to be assessed using college placement cut scores to determine readiness for college-level course work, and Commissioner of Education to develop plan to improve college and career counseling for students. Last action: To Assembly Higher Education Committee.

A10121 – Requires school districts and charter schools to annually provide to parents or guardians of enrolled students information on certain tests to be administered during the school year. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

New Mexico

HB211 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last Action: Referred to House Education Committee.

New York

A03702/S03912 – Requires disclosure of testing items in Common Core tests given in New York (50% after the first year the test is given, full disclosure after the second year.) Last action: Assigned to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01098 – Establishes the common core state standards evaluation task force for the purpose of studying the implementation of the common core state standards; requires such task force report to the Governor and Legislature. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01719 – Relates to teacher evaluations and implementation of the common core learning standards. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

S02091 – Enacts the common core parental refusal act. Last action: Assigned to Senate Education Committee.

A03644 – Relates to creating the commission on exceptional standards for New York state. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

A03623 – Relates to the common core state standards initiative. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

S01942 – Allows parents, legal guardians or school districts to opt children with an individualized education program out of the “common core standards” and certain testing. Last action: Referred to Senate Education Committee.

A02312 – Relates to establishing the standardized testing transparency act; makes an appropriation therefor. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

North Dakota

HB 1432 – Repeals Common Core. Last action: Reported back, do not pass, placed on calendar (My write-up on the bill is here)

Oregon

HB2368 – Prohibits Department of Education from requiring school districts to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards and from penalizing school districts for failure to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards. Declares emergency, effective July 1, 2017. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB2587 – Modifies state educational goals to take into consideration students’ aspirations, to provide students with well-rounded education and to provide students with sufficient instructional time to meet students’ educational goals. Expands state’s mission of education beyond high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 2229 – Requires school districts to offer instruction in financial literacy. Directs school districts and public charter schools to offer sufficient instruction in financial literacy to ensure that every student who elects to receive instruction in financial literacy is able to receive instruction. Takes effect July 1, 2018. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

South Dakota

SB 126 – This bill requires the South Dakota Department of Education to use a competitive bidding process when acquiring academic assessments.

Texas

SB 605 – Allows public review and removal of Common Core-aligned curriculum. Last action: Filed.

HB 1069 – Relating to compliance with prohibitions regarding the use of common core state standards in public schools. Last action: Filed.

Washington

HB1012 – Eliminating the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 1046 – Eliminates requirement to pass state assessments to graduate. Allows multiple options. Last action: Referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1415 – To simplify existing state assessment requirements and administer the ACT test as the statewide high school assessment for reading or language arts, mathematics, and science; and (2) For the administration of the ACT test to be for federal accountability purposes and does not intend for the ACT test to be used in determining whether a student is eligible to graduate from high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB1793 – Increasing academic rigor and streamlining assessment requirements for high school students. (This bill entrenches Smarter Balanced in Washington.) Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

SB 5202/HB 1572 – Directs OSPI to seek approval of using SAT or ACT in place of the SBAC assessments. If approved by the feds, the ELA/Math and Science portions of the national tests can be used in place for graduation purposes. SBE sets the cutoff score for passing. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

SB5673/HB1886 – Moves the responsiblity for setting standards and assessments from the Washington State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

West Virginia

HB 2144 – A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-1A-1, §18-1A-2, §18-1A-3, §18-1A-4 and §18-1A-5, all relating to academic content standards in public schools; discontinuing and prohibiting the use of Common Core academic content standards; adopting alternative academic content standards; discontinuing the use of Common Core based assessments; establishing a committee and process for developing alternate statewide assessments of student progress; prohibiting the state board or any public school from sharing student data without parental consent; and prohibiting acceptance of federal funding if such funding is conditioned upon sharing student data without parental consent. Last action: Referred to the House of Delegate’s Education and Finance Committees.

SB 18 – This would change West Virginia’s assessment from Smarter Balanced to ACT (for 11th graders) and ACT Aspire (for 3rd-8th graders). Last action: Referred to the Senate Education and Finance committees.

HB 2443 – This bill repeals Common Core and replaces it with the 2001 Massachusetts ELA Standards and the 2005 California math standards. Last action: Referred to the House Education and Finance Committees

Wyoming

HB0008 – AN ACT relating to education; amending requirements of state data security plan to ensure privacy of student data collected; requiring policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data by school districts; accordingly requiring school districts to adopt and enforce policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data; and providing for an effective date. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Education Committee

The Problem with An Interstate Test Item Bank Cooperative

Nat Malkus at American Enterprise Institute floats the idea of moving away from common assessments, such as PARCC and Smarter Balanced, and instead move to states developing their own assessments using  test items from a shared interstate test item bank.

The concept of sharing test items from an interstate test item bank cooperative isn’t a bad one if states continue to be required to give and report on assessments as it would provide cost-effective flexibility.

As with anything, however, the devil is in the details.

He writes:

Despite these obstacles, the next administration could take a bold step that will return sovereignty over education—including standards—to states; recoup some of the withering federal investments in the consortia; create a sustainable, long-term basis for state accountability systems; and do all this without resorting to new federal mandates or additional burdens for states. Federal accountability requirements under ESSA will remain, and the administration has limited direct authority on Common Core, but changes to how assessments are constructed could pull the lynchpin from the policy knot in which many states still find themselves.

I propose an Interstate Test-Item Bank Cooperative (ITBC) as that way forward. An ITBC would give states sole authority over their assessments, while still providing the economies of scale and comparability of results that the consortia promised but did not deliver. It would provide the flexibility states currently lack to make marginal changes to their assessments, and by extension their state standards, allowing those that wish to leave the Common Core to do so without totally overhauling their standards or assessments. Structured properly, the ITBC could allow changes to assessments without disrupting states’ ability to measure performance over time. Better still, the ITBC could leverage existing state and federal resources, including the investments in the SBAC and PARCC consortia, without substantial new expenditures or federal pressures.

Read his full report here to see how this would work, but in a nutshell it largely depends on PARCC and Smarter Balanced test items. States can’t move away from Common Core by using Common Core-aligned test items. Also it would utilize common data which is something we need to get away with. It also keeps the federal government in the assessment mandating business which is unconstitutional.

Does it have to be that way? No, but it would require a commitment from multiple sources to start from scratch and develop test items that are not aligned to Common Core. Secondly, the U.S. Department of Education can’t have any involvement with it – funding or otherwise. Without this it would just allow states flexibility to develop their own Common Core-aligned assessments.

I’m not going to hold my breath on that.

Collaborative for Student Success Needs to Close Its Own Honesty Gap

Photo credit: Marcin Wichary

According to the Collaborative for Student Success website, NAEP – not state assessments – is the better gauge of student performance. They call the difference between the two test results the “honesty gap.”

Parents deserve the truth. Historically, states have exaggerated the percent of students who are proficient – as demonstrated by the huge gaps that have existed between state NAEP scores and what states report as their proficiency rate. (see Honesty Gap explained here)

I couldn’t agree more. Yet, this argument is currently being used (along with other misleading data) to sway states into keeping Common Core, or “higher” standards, after implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. This is funny seeing how scores declined on NAEP since Common Core implementation and the state assessments are so screwed up one can barely decipher what they mean. Nonetheless, the pre-ESSA implementation spin by Common Core supporters is that states would be going “backwards” if they switch from CC, and this is the spin we must combat:

We can’t go backwards. Opponents of Common Core and high quality tests want to take states and the country backward. Yet they offer no alternative plan to ensuring that parents have the right information and that we are graduating kids that are prepared for success in life. Standards and assessments may not be popular terms – but opponents owe parents a plan for ensuring student success without them.

Yet, they step on their own “honesty gap” argument in a dishonest attempt to claim that Common Core has improved math proficiency rates for third graders available on their website. They use the 2015 state assessments as the gauge while ignoring the 2015 NAEP scores.

Six years after the majority of states adopted higher K-12 academic standards, new data suggest proficiency among students is improving. Among the more than 40 states that have adopted and maintained high standards, the vast majority have seen proficiency rates improve. Among third grade students – students whose entire academic careers have been guided by high standards– math scores increased by more than three percentage points. All but a handful of states saw improvements.

They use the 2015-2016 state assessments as their “proof.” Yet, students in 3rd grade that year started kindergarten in 2012, right? What about the students who started school six years ago when they claim most states adopted the standards? As we all know, kindergarten was the earliest grade to implement. In Indiana, by at least 2011, even the Catholic schools had already implemented Common Core in grades K-5.

The 2015 NAEP scores showed an overall decline in the percentage of 4th graders (under Common Core since at least 1st grade depending on implementation year) scoring proficient in math. Only the District of Columbia, Mississippi, and the DoDEA showed a gain. 16 states had declines and 33 had no change. see results here.

The dishonesty and spin is so obvious. If we start hearing the same “keep high standards” don’t “go backwards” spin from incoming Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, it will be very telling. We need the argument to be made that the Common Core is academically inferior to prior standards and state should seize the opportunity with ESSA and the new administration to repeal and replace Common Core with better standards.

Maryland Schools Bomb PARCC

 

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The Baltimore Sun reported over the weekend that students, schools and parents in Baltimore and throughout the state of Maryland found little to celebrate when PARCC scores were released.

Overall the pass rates are still low on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, a test that has been given for the past two years to third- through eighth-graders in reading and math. High school students have to take the 10th-grade English and Algebra I test to graduate.

The Baltimore Sun recently averaged the math and reading test scores to produce a single passing percentage for each elementary, middle and high school in the region. In Baltimore City, half the elementary schools had 6 percent or fewer students passing.

City schools CEO Sonja Santelises has acknowledged setbacks in trying to improve academics. But she has said that she believes the city’s children have suffered because low expectations have been set for them, and that she plans to hold them to higher standards.

It is not just city school students who scored poorly. Of the 232 high schools in the state, only 51 had more than half their students passing the Algebra I and English tests.

At 360 of more than 400 middle schools in the state, fewer than 20 percent of the students earned a 4 or 5, which is considered passing. In Baltimore County, 12 of 27 middle schools have a pass rate of less than 20 percent. The county’s top-scoring school was Hereford Middle School, which had an overall pass rate of 57 percent.

Of course this is typically dismissed by Common Core advocates pointing to the supposed “rigor” of the Common Core. It will never occur to these believers that the reason the students are doing poorly is because their reforms don’t work, PARCC is a lousy test, and Common Core is subpar.

What this should demonstrate is that the standards and testing education reform is not the silver bullet answer some where looking for.