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It has been confirmed that 100% of the 11th grade students at Nathan Hale High School opted out of the SBAC test this week.

Here is the history in a nutshell. There were informational meetings about the Common Core Standards and the SBAC early in the school year and Wayne Au, PhD was invited to speak on high stakes testing.

There was much discussion and then a resolution was passed by the teachers at Nathan Hale High School:

As I wrote in a previous post:

Nathan Hale High School in Seattle says “No!” to the Common Core Standards SBAC test

The Common Core Standards associated Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exam, the SBAC, will be implemented in March in the Seattle school district but this afternoon the Nathan Hale High School Senate, which functions as the Building Leadership Team typically made up of teachers, parents, staff and students, voted nearly unanimously not to administer the SBAC tests to 11th graders this year.

The Senate also recently voted not to administer the PSAT test to 10th graders at all in the future.

The reasons for refusing the SBAC for 11th graders included:

1. The SBAC is not required for graduation

2. Colleges will not use the SBAC this year

3. Since NCLB requires all students to pass the tests by 2014, and since few if any schools will be able to do that, all schools will therefore be considered failing by that standard. There is thus no reason to participate in erroneous and misapplied self-labeling.

4. It is neither a valid nor reliable nor equitable assessment. We will use classroom based assessments to guide our next instructional steps.

5. Cut scores of the SBAC reflect poor assessment strategy and will produce invalid and unreliable outcomes.

6. Students made the point: “Why waste time taking a test that is meaningless and that most of us will fail?”

7. The SBAC will tie up computer lab time for weeks.

8. The SBAC will take up time students need to work on classroom curriculum.

As a representative of Nathan Hale stated:

This is an important step. Nathan Hale High School is asserting its commitment to valid, reliable, equitable assessment. This decision is the result of community and parent meetings, careful study of research literature, knowledge of our students’ needs, commitment to excellence in their education, and adherence to the values and ideas of best-practice instruction.

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Then a nastygram was sent out by Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Nyland threatening teachers with a loss of their teaching licenses if they refused to give the test. See Superintendent Nyland, threatening teachers isn’t a growth mindset.

Well, that backfired. The students and parents then decided to opt out of the SBAC completely.

Kudos to the Nathan Hale community.

Submitted by Dora Taylor

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