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SBAC Test....what to do?

YadaYadaYada

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 2, 2016
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5,972
We have a son in third grade at a magnet school in CT. He is slated to take the SBAC this month, I did some research on this and decided to refuse the test. When I briefly discussed this with the dean of students she told me that we would need to sit down with the principal possibly on multiple occasions so that he could try to convince us to have our son tested. In CT there is no law that students can't opt out of the testing.

So far I haven't pursued this further however I'm really conflicted about what to do. The test from what I understand is not age appropriate, not graded by his teacher and no feedback or score is shared with the student. In addition I can't even ask his teacher because teachers who speak against the testing are at risk of losing their job. When I spoke to my son's teacher about it she just nodded and smiled.

I have never gone against the grain with a school before, I'm really just trying to do right by my son. Anyone with any experience or thoughts about this?
 

nala

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 23, 2011
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Hi. As a teacher, I've administered the sbac test to juniors in high school. The kids didn't struggle with it nor did they abhor it. They did eventually get their results the following year. These results were very valid. For example, the kids who scored advanced, also passed the AP eng lang test. You mentioned that he attends a magnet school. Some magnet schools do require testing participation as part of the students responsibilities. My daughter attends a pseudo magnet school and they do use their test scores to boost their schools ranking. In the past, it was a standardized test but last year they took the sbac. My daughter's school always ranks in the top 10 nationally and the results were the same with the sbac. As a parent, it's reassuring to know that she is learning and being prepared for college, so I look forward to national tests so that I can compare.
If you object for other reasons, and dont feel like dealing with the drama of meeting with administrators , your child can just click through the test and have fun with it. I have students who devoted a total of 15 min to the test BC they didn't care and I had students who took it seriously. As a teacher, I can not force my kids to take the test seriously. Hope this helps.
 

Maria D

Brilliant_Rock
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Jan 24, 2003
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I teach high school in Maine. Last year, our first year with Smarter Balanced (that's the SBAC you're referring to, no?), so many parents opted out of having their children tested that the state dropped the test! I'm not sure how it worked for 3rd grade, but at the high school level, the test took a ridiculous amount of time. The students had to be trained on how to use software to take the test, then had some kind of pre-test, then took the actual test. It wasn't so much the the test (for math) was age inappropriate, it just was plain inappropriate. Students from time immemorial have done math with paper and pencil. With SBAC they had to learn how to enter answers with a keyboard, including type-setting fractions, subscripts and superscripts. Just ridiculous. The amount of lost instructional time for all students was staggering. We weren't allowed to teach new material to the the opt-out kids because it wouldn't be fair to the opt-ins who had to miss class. There was absolutely no benefit to individual students taking the test. They did get feedback in the end, but it was meaningless as the test was so new it hadn't been normed. So the first batch of students were really just guinea pigs and in Maine we'll never have another batch.

I just read Nala's response while I was typing - I guess we have totally different viewpoints! Nala - I'm curious as to whether you teach math.

edited to add: OK, I just read more closely and see you're talking about the test for English.
 

YadaYadaYada

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 2, 2016
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Thank you both for your responses. I'm still unsure but my son will probably end up taking it because I'm afraid that even though there aren't supposed to be consequences, like anything else if you become "that" person inevitably there will be some sort of issue. I also have to consider that my younger son may end up going to the school as well in the future. So I'll tell my son to do his best like any other test and use his best guess for the ones he doesn't know.
 
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