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.