Wednesday, May 22, 2013

SBAC Pilot Test for Math

I had the privilege of piloting the SBAC Pilot Test for Math yesterday.  We have a new four-letter word that should be grouped with words we shouldn't say.  Since I had to help most students on almost every problem, I got an in-depth look at the SBAC testing.

So here's the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good...

The bad...Students treated it like most computer programs, they click and click and filled in answers quickly to move to the next question.  It was like watching them on the Khan Academy, but not getting feedback on whether they were right or wrong, and no gold stars.

The ugly...The first student revolt began 11 minutes and 45 seconds into the test when they couldn't figure out the line graphing tool.  The second revolution came when students had to use an awful equation editor to write a quadratic equation.  The third and final revolution came when we couldn't decide which correct answer to chose since there were two correct answers.  This was just a few example of the many "technology" issues.

The really ugly...The test itself was harder than any college entrance math exam or teacher certification test.  It was poorly written and focused on the same couple of things over and over and over again.  It was the high school test, yet there was no trigonometry, logarithmic functions, complex numbers, nor any of the Common Core "Algebra 2" questions.

Overall, it sucked.  My students hated it.  The look on their faces told me that we are in trouble once 50% of our evaluations depend on it.

More to come.


  1. Sounds "awesome". At times like these I hope we separate the Common Core -standards- from the Common Core -exams-. It's hard to separate them sometimes in rhetoric, but in this case it sounds as though this exam did not properly test the Common Core standards.

    I'd definitely be interested in more details on the nature of the tech issues or the nature of the topics that were repeatedly tested.

    1. But PIP, you test what you value. The standards are irrelevant. Only the tests matter. And I can take any set of standards - good, bad, or indifferent - and construct assessments to get a predetermined, desired result. Can't you?

      You may be starting to wake up to what's going on, or at least to the first truly meaningful phase of it. There's still time to resist, to fight back, to say, "No!"