Another reason for parents to REFUSE the standardized assessments for their children.

I removed the name of the parent at her request.  

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Ann Marie Banfield <[email protected]>
Date: Sat, Apr 28, 2018 at 5:55 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: SBAC test question review
To:  “Edelblut, Louis (Frank)” <[email protected]>

Commissioner Edelblut, 

Please see the following e-mail that was sent by Heather Gage regarding ****’s request to see her son’s Smarter Balanced Assessment that he took in 2017. As you can see, she is being denied access to the test questions on the assessment her son took.  You will also see that under state law, she had the right to review the assessment questions.
 
I hope this is not going to be problem under the new AIR assessment.  
 
No one was aware there was an expiration date on when parents could access this important information.  How does this not violate current state law?  This gives the impression that there is something to hide.  Transparency must be a priority!  So many parents have lost confidence in these standardized assessments, and now a parent cannot access what was granted in state law. 
 
If there is any way for her to retrieve those questions, please advise.  The sample questions are not adequate.  
 
Prior to Common Core, Massachusetts released the MCAS questions publicly.  Parents didn’t have to make a formal request to see the test questions.  That kind of approach gives parents confidence in testing.  It allows those who are focused on academic excellence to review what is being tested.  If there are problems that need to be addressed, public viewing of test questions can help make the assessment even better. 
 
This testing scheme that parents have had to endure, continues to erode trust among New Hampshire parents.  This has been seen in the testimony supporting HB1744 this year.  HB1744 clarifies for parents that they can opt-out of the standardized assessment.  HB1744 passed the House and Senate, and is now on the way to Governor Sununu to hopefully sign into law. 
 
While I do understand that many of these decisions on testing happened prior to your appointment as Commissioner.  I hope that these examples show you how difficult it has been for parents to trust the results. 
 
Thank you for your prompt attention on this matter. 
 
Ann Marie Banfield 
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action 

From: Gage, Heather <[email protected]>
Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2018 4:44:40 PM
To:
Cc: Couch, Julie
Subject: RE: SBAC test question review

Hello *****,
Thank you so much for reaching out. I’m sorry it has taken so long for me to return a response. As we tried to gather the documents to meet your request, we realized that we have a conflict in our state laws. Or, maybe not conflict, but a concern with our timeframe for request like yours. Let me explain (apologies for the length):
·         You are requesting the assessment questions that your son took on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in 2017.
·         RSA 193-C:10 states “Accessibility of Assessment Materials. – After the assessment results are released by the department, a pupil’s parent or legal guardian shall have the right to inspect and review the pupil’s assessment, including the questions asked, the pupil’s answers, instructions or directions to the pupil, and other supplementary materials related or used to administer the pupil’s assessment. A parent or legal guardian shall direct a request for inspection or review to the pupil’s school, and the school shall comply with such request within 45 days of its receipt. …”
The results for accountability were released by the Department by in October, however, student reports were available for schools to send out to parents in late May early June.
·         RSA 189:67(II) states: “Limits on Disclosure of Information. –  A school or the department may disclose to a testing entity the student’s name or unique pupil identifier, but not both, and birth date for the sole purpose of identifying the test taker. Except when collected in conjunction with the SAT or ACT, when such tests are used for the purpose of the state assessment as defined in RSA 193-C:6, the data shall be destroyed by the testing entity as soon as the testing entity has completed the verification of test takers, shall not be disclosed by the testing entity to any other person, organization, entity or government or any component thereof, other than the district, school or school district, and shall not be used by the testing entity for any other purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to test-data analysis.”
Because of this law and the inclusion of adhering to state law in our contract with the testing entity, they purged (destroyed) all student data at the end of the verification of data process last October/November. After that occurs, the data or results (not testing questions) are kept at the DOE. Therefore, we would have no way to stitch back the exact, or any of the assessment questions your son took. This would only be possible right after the assessment results are released to the schools so they can send out student reports (basically through the summer), but before we release the accountability results in October/November timeframe.
I know this does not meet your need, and I am very sorry. Although this doesn’t help much, there are sample items (released items) on the Smarter Balanced website (http://sampleitems.smarterbalanced.org/).
Also, just for your information, we are no longer using the Smarter Balanced Assessment for our statewide assessment. Instead, we are implementing a NH assessment called the NH Statewide Assessment System (or NH SAS). We are currently in that assessment window. The information above is still true for this year, so if you would like to see your son’s assessment questions after the results are released this year, please make your same request to the school as soon as you receive the student report.
Again, I do apologize for the length of time it has taken to get you an answer, and for not being able to provide you with your request.
Take care,
Heather
Heather Gage, Division Director
Division of Learner Support
Department of Education
603.271.5992
(cell) 603.931.0380