Sunday, March 13, 2016
I Am So Livid!
by Dawn Neely Randall, Ohio BAT and Member of the BAT Leadership Team
Yesterday, I used the word "livid" in a tweet to a legislator for the first time ever. I then talked to two administrators from two different districts; Patrick O'Donnell from the Plain Dealer; left voicemails for legislators; and talked to the Ohio Department of Education...twice...to confirm my findings.
Base knowledge: A district could choose paper or online testing.
Let me paint a picture in your head. Ten and eleven year olds. February through May, 2015. Computer Lab. High-pressure and high-stakes testing situation. English Language Arts. PARCC testing (developed by a British monopoly). Test content: Common Core.
Biggest problem: A time clock on the computer screen counting down the seconds and a slew of hoops of reading/writing passages for students to complete on the screen in front of them.
Besides the third of my fifth-graders whose parents opted them out (their activist spirit is about the only reason we don't have this same PARCC test any longer), my students sat in this tense testing situation suffering last year and I begged boards of education, legislators, and parents across the state to help.
In a longer amount of time than a woman could have conceived, grown, and birthed a new child, the PARCC phantom test scores FINALLY started emerging in piecemeal from the state.
ACROSS THE BOARD, it turns out that the ONLINE scores were lower than the paper tests, which has sent the Ohio education world into a tailspin since pulling off statewide online testing was nothing short of miraculous.
Next, the Ohio Report Cards came out slaughtering many hardworking, top performing, accomplishment-proving districts.
To the tune of "Old McDonald," let's sing what the Ohio Department of Education/State Legislature has said to many previously performing stellar districts based on bogus scores (tests never seen; graded tests never returned; scores finally received about a year later):
"....here an F, there an F, everywhere an F, F."
And via an onslaught of private conversations, this is what I found out which I am now shouting about to the world:
Students taking the ONLINE tests had company "field test items" added to them (yes, so students could become guinea pigs and practice test questions for the company to later sell) which means that, within their precious clock counting down, they had to give up time from questions that counted, to then work on questions that DIDN'T count (and they had no clue which were which).
The Paper tests? NOT AN EXTRA FIELD TEST QUESTION GIVEN.
AND GUESS WHAT? The Ohio Department of Education confirmed with me that they will do the EXACT same thing with the AIR tests this year.
Students doing online tests....take extra "company" field test item questions. Students doing paper/pencil tests...they leave them the heck alone.
But then, of course, they'll label the students. Compare them to death. And make districts that are jumping through the state's hoops look like they are the ones who are ducking performance.
Dear Legislature and Ohio Department of Education, get your freaking act together.
Here a quack, there a quack, everywhere a quack quack.
Steal my students time?! Stress little boys and girls out? Call them a failure after robbing them of time to perform?! Now you're messing with me.
I'll be AIRing my grievances far and wide.
In the heat of a new testing season (students will be testing for three weeks after spring break)....
Wouldn't you be livid, too?!
In state testing, does format earn an ‘F’?
Ohio stands by report card grades despite "huge disparity" in grades for paper tests vs. online