Kindergarteners Required to Test Twice a Year as Seattle “Rises” to Data Driven Education,

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Seattle’s short-lived victory over standardized testing has come to a screeching halt. In March 2013, as a result of a very impressive boycott of the districts MAP test by both students and teachers alike, Superintendent of Seattle Schools, Jose’ Banda … Continue reading

The Smarter Balanced (SBAC) Practice Test Just Launched 3/29/13; Parents try it free!!

It is time everybody! The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has launched their smarter Balanced (SBAC) Practice Test!! Originally scheduled to launch Wednesday, May 29, 2013, it is already up and ready for anyone to try out.

Why am I so excited? Simple, this test is open to everyone with internet access to try out and parents are encouraged to play with it. With all of the build up by Common Core supporters claiming the effectiveness of the new “rigorous,” confusing, deeper thinking group work that encourages consensus, I personally cannot wait to see this test with my own eyes! Even though this is not the final, official test, it will be good to see how it functions and see the overall style and structure of the test, from questions and problems asked to the methods of answering required. I know that the official SBAC Test in the 2014/15 school year may change a lot from this practice test, if it even still exists by then, but I want to see it and give my feedback along the way.

In case you are wondering what the SBAC test is, it is the new Common Core aligned state standardized test that will replace all participating states current testing in the 2014-15 school year. I don’t know about other states, but in Washington State parents have not been allowed to preview the current state standardized test, the MSP. Kids and teachers alike are instructed and, in many cases sign an agreement not to discuss the MSP or it’s content with other people, including parents. With that as the precedent I was surprised to find out that the Practice Test is open to everyone and does not require registration or a secret code to access it.

How to access the SBAC Practice Test:

1. You cannot access the Practice Test from Internet Explorer, you must use either Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Apple Safari.

2. Once you have one of these browsers open then go to this address http://sbac.portal.airast.org/Practice_Test/default.html

3. Click on Student Interface Practice Test

4. Click Sign In. This should log you in as a guest user

5. Select a grade and enjoy the test

Taken from the SBAC website directly (2), here is some information about the Practice Test:

Disclaimer:

The Practice Tests provide a preview of the Smarter Balanced assessments, but they do not encompass the full range of content that students will encounter on the spring 2014 Field Test or on the operational assessments, and should not be used to guide instructional decisions. In addition, students and teachers will not receive reports or scores from the Practice Tests. Although the operational assessment system will be computer adaptive, the Practice Tests follow a fixed-form model.

The practice test will provide:

  • administrators and parents access to items planned and designed for the new assessment;

  • students access to the tests over the summer, with the Practice Test being accessible right up to rollout of the operational assessment;

  • a full array of item types including performance tasks;

  • versions supporting several accommodations:

    • Text-to-speech

    • Item-level pop-up Spanish glossaries for construct irrelevant terms (Math tests only)

    • Braille

    • American Sign Language (ASL) NOTE – Accommodated forms will be released in phases across the listed grade/content combinations:

      • Phase 1 – May 29: Accommodations available in grades 3, 7, 11 for Math and in grades 4, 7, and 11 for ELA; no ASL support for any grades

      • Phase 2 – {TBD, based on vendor production capacity}: Accommodations in all grades for both content areas; no ASL support for any grades

      • Phase 3 – {TBD, based on vendor production capacity}: ASL accommodation in all grades and content areas

In short, the SBAC Practice Test is up and running and will be available from now until Spring 2014. Only accommodations listed above are available for now, but Smarter Balanced will continue to work on the Practice Test adding some new features in the Fall. The Practice Test is not the full official version, it will not be adaptive, nor graded, no registration is required, and it is free for anyone to try out! Go, try it, and give your feedback to everyone, SBAC, your local school districts and Department of Education, and your State Representatives!!

Remember the best way to STOP Common Core is to spread the word and sign the petition. In Washington State go here: https://stopcommoncorewa.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/petition-to-stop-common-core-in-wa-state/

Links:

(1) http://www.smarterbalanced.org/pilot-test/

Senator Maria Cantwell’s response to email about Common Core stating “Separate standards for ELL and students with disabilities”

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A fellow group member in the fight to Stop Common Core State Standards in WA contacted Senator Maria Cantwell via email and received quite an interesting response. Here it is: Dear Mr. _, Thank you for contacting me regarding the … Continue reading

What Information Will be Collected on Your Child and You?

We have been hearing from lots of people that one of the main concerns about Common Core is the intrusive data mining, and in particular, what information is being collected about your child. An unbelievable 533 pieces of data will be collected. In addition to the data we talked about previously, you can browse through the Common Education Data Standards – Domain Entity Schema.

If you don’t like what you see, you have a voice. Share what you learn with other parents, your schools, teachers, and co-workers. Read and sign our petition and let our state know what you think about CCSS.

In the Tacoma Area? Find out About CCSS!

Thanks to our friends at the Tacoma Narrows Tea Party for hosting a two part series on the “Impact / Effect of Common Core on the American Mind”.

Hear from the top education researchers in Washington State – CURE Washington and Research Mom (AKA Sharon Hanek). Bring your questions to the table for the open round table session at the end of each presentation.

The first meeting will be Tuesday, April 30th, 7pm at the Gig Harbor Library (4424 Point Fosdick Drive W., Gig Harbor, WA 98335).

I’ve had the pleasure of attending an event where Sharon Hanek was speaking, and it was eye opening. I encourage you to attend if you can.

In the meantime, remember to sign the petition to Stop Common Core in WA State.
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-common-core-in-washington-state1.html

Petition to Stop Common Core in WA State

Are you against the a common Core State Standards and want your voice heard? Please take a moment to read and sign the petition to stop Common Core in Washington State.

You can find the petition here.

The most important action that you can take at this moment is to SPREAD THE WORD. The Legislative session for 2013 is about to end and will not pick up again until January 2014. Between now and January, we need to make every person aware of CCSS and build strength in numbers. The more people that learn about CCSS and begin to take action and educate others, the better chance we have of making an impact with our state when it counts the most.

Reminder – Twitter Rally Tomorrow

Remember to “attend” the Twitter rally tomorrow hosted by Parent Led Reform. More information is included in their PLR #StopCommonCore Press Release and #StopCommonCore Twitter Rally Presser from Truth in American Education.

You will have an opportunity to ask questions via Twitter, so get ready!

Defeating Common Core – Video Stream

Join FreedomWorks on Wednesday, April 17th as the FreedomWorks on Tap panel covers Common Core. Common Core is one of the most pressing issues of 2013 as conservative activists are working to defeat Common Core from being implented in schools all across the country.

The panel will be discussing how you or your group can work to defeat Common Core and how FreedomWorks can assist you! This is going to be a great event and we want to hear how we can help YOU!

Join the discussion at live.freedomworks.org at 4 pm (PST)

RSVP Here for more information

#StopCommonCore Twitter Rally

#StopCommonCore Twitter Rally

Parent-Led Reform (@ParentLedReform) will host a Twitter Rally on April 16, 2013 which will start will go from 12:00p-2:00p (EST). We will discuss how the Common Core State Standards effect your family, community and schools? We invite you to participate.

There will be an expert panel and several organizations that will discuss#StopCommonCore. So far I know the panel will be;
Truth In American Education (@TruthinAmEd)
Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project
Joy Pullmann ( @JoyPullmann) an education research fellow at The Heartland Institute (@HeartlandInst) and editor of School Reform News (@SchoolReformNews)
James Shuls (@shulsie) an education policy analyst at the Show-Me Institute(@showme)
Ben DeGrow (@bendegrow) the Sr. Education Policy Analyst at the Education Policy Center of The Independence Institute (@i2idotorg).

You can follow the hashtag #StopCommonCore

Be sure to RSVP with the Facebook event invite on Parent Led Reform, this will help keep you up to date with pertinent info

Link

Why Weaken Privacy Laws?

We all cherish our privacy, but why would the Federal Government want to weaken our privacy laws?  Unbelievably, under Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the U.S. Department of Education is allowing access to our children’s personal information, even medical records, to outside entities.  

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (epic.org) has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education challenging the changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  See here for more information.

#Commoncore, #ccss, #stopcommoncore, #FERPA