About two weeks ago, the state’s largest teacher’s union, Connecticut Education Association (CEA), held a press conference announcing their proposal to eliminate the Smarter-Balance Assessment (SBAC), the Common Core-aligned test that schools began administering statewide for the first time last year.
During the conference one reporter asked a very important question that we should all keep in mind as the CEA ramps up efforts to get rid of the new test: “what exactly is wrong with SBAC compared to whatever replacement assessment you would come up with?”
Tellingly, the only thing that CEA’s new Director of Policy, Research and Reform former State Senate President Donald Williams could muster was something along the lines of the “SBAC is too lengthy” – quite an interesting response if you consider the new state assessment is no longer than previous exams.
Though the SBAC is not timed, according to the State Department of Education website, on average the test takes between seven and eight hours to administer depending on grade level; or about the same amount of time as the CMT and CAPT. In fact, because the SBAC is computer adaptive, there are often less questions than on older tests.
Their other claims are just as dubious.
They say there is “indisputable evidence” that SBAC is “invalid.” By “indisputable” they actually mean antidotal stories provided by their own membership – not that this is shocking, coming from the same organization that claimed the test was invalid even before the results were released.
CEA’s hysterics over SBAC would be easier to believe if their aim wasn’t so transparent.
Last February, the union successfully lobbied the governor to delay counting test scores towards teacher evaluation until the 2016-2017 school year, meaning time is almost up.
Couple the convenient timing of these recent revelations with the fact that the CEA spent nearly half a million dollars on anti-SBAC TV ads last year, and it’s clear this isn’t about what’s “harmful” to children, it’s about adults not wanting to be held accountable.
Connecticut should see this test through. How can we make a valid judgment on the efficacy on a test that we only have data on for one year? In these economic times, where schools across the state are being inequitably funded, in a state that’s suffering under a crippling deficit – how will spending millions on introducing a new test help students?
The answer is it won’t.
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