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Teachers Union Asks Lawmakers To Study Impact of SBAC Test

by | May 20, 2015 12:52pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Education, Town News, Labor

Christine Stuart photo The first year of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium testing isn’t completed, but the state’s largest teachers union is asking state lawmakers to study its continued use as a statewide assessment.

Connecticut Education Association President Sheila Cohen pointed to an ongoing survey that found nine of 10 teachers said the SBAC preparation takes away significant time and resources from teaching and learning. The same survey found 86 percent said SBAC has a negative effect on the social and emotional well-being of children.

More than 1,140 teachers have responded to CEA’s survey since March 18. The data Cohen released Wednesday included responses through May 15.

She said the results of the survey —  which also found that 97 percent of teachers felt SBAC was not a useful indicator of school effectiveness and that 96 percent of teachers said SBAC was an obstacle for their students to overcome — should be a wake up call to legislators about the “relentless testing.”

The interim survey results CEA released Wednesday also showed students in lower performing, high poverty districts like Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, and New Haven were 154 percent more likely than students in wealthier, higher performing districts to click through test questions without reading them and 212 percent more likely not to have the computer skills necessary to take the test.

The survey also found 90.8 percent of participating teachers agree that “the time it took to complete the SBAC test caused student frustration and apathy.” This perspective was shared by 872 of the 1,144 classroom teachers surveyed.

“Lawmakers need to take action to restore precious teaching time and learning time for our students. Time is of the essence,” Cohen said.

CEA is asking lawmakers to amend S.B. 1095 to establish a state mastery examination committee and require that committee to examine and recommend statewide assessment options. The amendment that they want to see passed would require the committee to produce an interim report to the legislature by February 2016 and a final report on January 2017.

But time is running out in this legislative session to make that happen.

CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said they are aware that the clock is ticking and the union has been in contact with the Education Committee co-chairs on a regular basis.

“We are having very positive conversations with them about how we could create this task force and how we could move this idea forward,” Waxenberg said Wednesday. “Though no amendment has been filed as of yet, discussions are still ongoing, mindful of the deadline that’s approaching.”

Waxenberg said there’s no opposition from the co-chairs in “discussing the concept.”

It’s unclear whether there’s enough time to draft and adopt an amendment this year with so little time left in the legislative session.

Education Committee Co-Chair Rep. Andrew Fleischmann said Wednesday that he plans to offer an amendment to study the SBAC test. He said there are a lot of questions about the test that still need to be answered such as the duration of the test, its appropriateness for children of certain ages, and impact on instruction.

He said there’s enough time left to introduce the amendment.

CEA will spend $125,000 on a one-week television media buy to make sure lawmakers don’t forget about this issue before the session ends at midnight June 3.

But not everyone believes there is a problem with the SBAC test.

Jeffrey Villar, executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform, said that he can’t understand the concerns being leveled against the SBAC test.

“The SBAC takes students the same amount of time to complete as the CMT, but provides higher-quality data that is comparable across states,” Villar said.

He added that “The fight against SBAC is nothing more than a backlash against accountability. It’s a movement that seeks to maintain the status quo, rather than making informed decisions about what students actually need from their schools.”

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(9) Archived Comments

posted by: Bluecoat | May 20, 2015  2:41pm

There are a half-dozen or so bills that could help STOP SBAC in it’s tracks, if the Adults in the room would stop the unlawful exploitation of students and parents, by allowing the electronic assessment consortiums to access our kids personal and private information without parental knowledge and/or permission. The electronic Assessments like SBAC and PARCC, only exist to collect data, most of which is private info.
I repeat, there is no good reason for any adult to have access to personal and private information on our children, period. But our very smart Press here in CT, let the Dept. of ED get away with not even talking about it…..
SHUT DOWN the creepy P-20 Council Today!

posted by: Bluecoat | May 20, 2015  2:56pm

Does Cohen and the rest of the CEA Support House Bill #7017 - An Act Concerning Student Data Privacy?????

See a Cheshire Mom’s Post form March 17th:

posted by: Bluecoat | May 20, 2015  2:58pm


That title 10 of the general statutes be amended to require that all identifying information is removed from student data collected by the P20 WIN Council and to clarify what information is permitted to be collected from a student’s
educational records.

I doubt that this will see the light of day.
No adults up in Hartford or the CEA to tackle this one.

posted by: Bluecoat | May 20, 2015  3:54pm

How much money have the 169 Cities and Towns of CT spent on conforming to the SBAC debackle? And how much more do we have to spend?
How much money was donated to various political campaigns, from the Testing Companies, or any other Data Collection Entity?

posted by: ocoandasoc | May 20, 2015  4:46pm

Despite the fact that 32 other states are using the SBAC testing successfully, the CT legislature will almost certainly follow the orders of its CEA benefactors. God forbid we should be able to compare the effectiveness of public education in CT with that of other states. Better to just take the teachers unions word that everything is okay… except of course that we need to hire more teachers and pay them better.

posted by: Dean2030 | May 20, 2015  5:55pm

Its business.  There’s a lot of money to be made from data mining our students and their interests.  Also, it will be easier to drive out smaller educational resource companies, because two companies will control the SBAC and the PARCC and have a clear advantage in producing and selling resources to schools.  They may even buy their own schools with the push for vouchers and have a clear funnel of public money.  I wish people would stop complaining…all of this is good for us.  Corporate consolidation of the banking, tech, communication, retail, insurance, medical, media, and energy sectors has done nothing but created good paying jobs that will start to trickle down on all of us.  Education is one of the few sectors left that has not been brought under control of our political and business leaders and their infinite wisdom.

posted by: justsayin | May 21, 2015  5:25am

Teacher you can give me an A, we don’t need to grade the test. This is what the teachers are asking us to do.

posted by: cullen | May 21, 2015  9:49am

This testing stuff is taking away large amounts of time from the curriculum. Testing is simply about selling tests & making money for test-making companies. While indeed evaluation is needed, the question is to what extent must our society emphasize all these tests-SBAC, AP, SAT. This is what they do in Japan-they overtest.

posted by: dano860 | May 21, 2015  1:33pm

Oh heck, let’s just have another study. Then we study the study and be tested on it to see if we studied well enough.
Ct.s real dang good a creating studies if nothing else!
That’s all that teachers are doing lately. Teaching to the test is the norm these days.
Also if we continue to believe the CEA we will never figure out why Charter or Magnet Schools do so well. If they really do?

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