Today’s press release on the standardized Smarter Balanced testing results:
TIMBERLANE REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
TIMBERLANE SENDS HOME SMARTER BALANCED STUDENT REPORTS
Timberlane’s Director of Data, Assessment, and Accountability, Mrs. Christi Michaud, is pleased to announce the release of the (SBAC) Smarter Balanced statewide assessment student score reports. Preparations are underway to mail student reports home to parents by August 29, 2016. The Timberlane Regional School District is committed to preparing all students for success in college and career. The New Hampshire educational accountability systems and the new Smarter Balanced assessment help parents and teachers understand where students’ strengths lie and where they need additional support. Individual student reports show how a student is progressing in relation to the rigorous academic curriculum standards and how well a student is mastering the necessary skills to be successful in the next grade level. “In our effort to increase the rigor, accountability, evaluation and support to improve student achievement, educators in the TRSD have already begun using student results to inform instructional decisions for students this fall and to evaluate their own teaching practices,” says Mrs. Michaud. At this time, the Smarter Balanced data is preliminary and valid at the individual student level only. This data should not yet be used for district or school comparisons. The public release of aggregated results is anticipated this fall, 2016. Individual student results are NOT subject to change.
So here’s my question which you must be thinking yourself: if the individual results are available and are not subject to change, why have the results not been aggregated for district comparison?
Look what I found on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Portal on the NH Department of Education’s website under “Smarter Balanced Assessment Results and Parent Reports;”
Media Requests for Preliminary Data
The NH DOE understands that you may receive requests from the media regarding the preliminary results that you have received. It is important that we all help media partners understand the messaging around the results and the difference between preliminary and final results. The results for schools, districts and the state that can be accessed by school and district personnel only preliminary because the NH DOE cannot complete the business rules to finalize the data until we have received the End-of-Year enrollment data from the field (Oct 1). In addition, we are currently going through the verification process regarding approved exemptions, out of school placements with sending schools and providing each district and school team the ability to verify their students in the preliminary information. As with every other year, this process does take some time and it is critically important to accurate.
The NH Right to Know law requires the sharing of data shared with the media or members of the public unless exempted in NH RSA 91-A:5. The following governmental records are exempted from the provisions of this chapter: … IX. Preliminary drafts, notes, and memoranda and other documents not in their final form and not disclosed, circulated, or available to a quorum or a majority of the members of a public body. In accordance with NH RSA 91-A:5 the NH DOE would not expect any district to share the preliminary data.
By this the NH DOE means the SAUs are instructed not to share preliminary district-wide data with their school boards in order to prevent this information from being subject to the Right to Know law and thereby open to the media.
We’ll all just have to wait until year-end enrollment data is submitted on Oct. 1. This is odd because October 1 is when current year enrollment data is submitted to the state – not last year’s. Whenever the media and the school board must be denied information, even preliminary information, it rankles me.