Garfield High delays state-mandated assessment test as junior class opts out

A state-mandated assessment test is causing an uproar at Garfield High School and across the state as students and teachers say data shows most students are expected to fail.

Members of Garfield’s Associated Student Body gathered at the Seattle NAACP office on Tuesday to announce their opposition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test. The groups said in a statement that half of the school’s junior class has already opted out.

Data from initial SBAC testing indicate that only 30 to 35 percent of students are expected to pass. This is setting up 70 percent of our students for failure and will lead to increased student anxiety and a decrease in student morale.

Testing was originally scheduled to begin Monday, but school officials delayed the start date in the wake of so many opt outs. Testing at Garfield is scheduled to resume after this week’s spring break, according to a spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools.

SBAC was implemented this year to replace two other state mandated assessments used to track academic performance. Scores determine where students fall in the Common Core State Standards and which schools are meeting guidelines set in the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Seattle Public School officials say the new computer-based, interactive test is more precise and personalized than the old bubble exams. However, students and parents are Garfield say the test is eating up valuable class time and causing a scheduling nightmare for accessing computers.

In a statement, NAACP’s Rita Green said “students of color are disproportionately underfunded and will disproportionately be labeled failing by the new SBAC test.”

All Juniors and 3rd-8th graders in the state are required to take the test, though students can opt out with their parent’s permission. The test is not required for graduation.

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7 thoughts on “Garfield High delays state-mandated assessment test as junior class opts out

  1. We encourage everyone to become more familiar with the issues surrounding Common Core, Smarter Balanced Assessments and the role that high-stakes standardized testing is playing in education not just here in Seattle, but all across the nation. Parents need to wake up and advocate as they’ve never done for their kids–

    We have excellent articles, information about meetings all over the city, and will offer help if you have questions about testing and how it will impact your child, her/his teachers, and schools. Please visit our facebook page; get involved.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seattle-Opt-Out/430265387124998?ref=hl

    And remember to vote this fall when four school board seats are up for election: Marty McLaren needs to go! Sharon Peaslee could be done away with, too. Harium Martin-Morris and Sherry Carr should move along, as well… Let’s have more Directors like Sue Peters on the dais.

  2. Congratulations to the Garfield students for opting out of this needless test–they are working hard to prepare for regular classroom tests that their teachers prepare, some are taking AP exams and many are gearing up for SAT and ACT exams for college.

    For McGraw Hill to be raking in millions just to figure out ‘external validity’ for an exam that is built on ‘standards’ that were developed with NO PARENT INPUT and public discussion WHATSOEVER is a crime. Seattle students aren’t guinea pigs.

    OPT OUT!

  3. Just give them all A’s and the universities will weed out the poorly educated. Oh wait, they aren’t going to make it into university. Ah, now I see the problem.

  4. I am baffled by the anti-testing position.

    In response to this article:

    * If you think everyone is going to fail, let everyone in the state take the test. If everyone fails, people will realize it’s the test that’s the problem. If only people in your school fail…well then maybe your school deserves a little more focus.

    * What does it mean to say “students of color are disproportionately underfunded”? As far as I know, all Garfield students are funded the same, regardless of color. If it means that schools with mostly black students will do worse, well–I think finding that out is one of the points of this test!–to know where remedies need to be made!

    * How is the test going to lead to a “decrease in student morale”? Tip: Don’t tell the students what the cutoff score is or lead them to believe their scores reflect on them. I remember taking plenty of standardized tests as a kid and half the time I don’t think I ever even knew my scores.

    All I can figure is that teachers must be making the testing process so unpleasant they convince parents it’s a bad idea. If the tests are so bad, let them run their course, find out the weaknesses, and fix the tests. Also, there should be no need to waste time on “test prep” in class. Just take the tests and find out if what is being taught at the school matches what is being tested by the test. If not, figure out which needs to change. Teachers, you have successfully achieved outrage, so making positive changes rather than getting fired should be doable.

    BTW: How did they figure out that 30-35% of students would pass? I hope the “initial SBAC test” was not done at this school, because that would be crazy and would support those who believe too much time is wasted on testing. Do the test once!

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