Tag Archives: SBAC

Levi Cavener Featured on Podcast Hosted by The Great Education Struggle

wpid-img_41539946199072.jpegThis Saturday the host of The Great Education Struggle blog and podcast , Isaac Moffet, was gracious enough to open up his studio for an interview on how Common Core is impacting special education students.

It was a pleasure to take part in describing the impacts I see of Common Core and related policy in my own classroom.

Also of note, Travis Manning, a candidate for District 10A in Idaho’s legislature and Director for the Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho, was kind enough to join us to share impacts he sees of Common Core in the general education classroom, particularly for special education students who have been mainstreamed into his environment.

The interview covered lots of juicy topics including common core, the SBAC, tiered certification, and the influence of politics in Idaho’s educational system.

Please check it out!

Idaho Teachers: Take Your Bribe and Settle Down

ui_sealThe Board of Education recently sent out an open letter to Idaho’s educators regarding the new Tiered Teacher Certification proposal.

The letter flatly admits that Idaho’s teachers aren’t compensated anywhere near where they should be (true), but then argues that the only way Idaho legislators would find a raise to be palatable is to move to a tiered teacher certification system (false).

A few things to point out here: a tiered certification system is a completely separate topic than teacher compensation. The attempt to conflate the two different items as being one and the same is deceptive, at worst, and misleading, at best.

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Idaho Dept. of Ed: We know the SBAC might not be valid, but insist that it is tied to certification and compensation anyways

SDE logoRecently, I inquired to ISDE’s Director of Assessment and Accountability about Idaho’s recent decision to give the SBAC to sophomores this year instead of juniors; I thought this decision was problematic due to the fact that the SBAC includes questions from 11th grade Common Core Standards in both English Language Arts and Mathematics.

However, I was shocked during this exchange when the Director told me that the decision was due to the fact the state was worried students wouldn’t take the test seriously, and they didn’t want their data set tainted…because, you know, then the results wouldn’t be valid.

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Idea: Let’s Test Sophomores on Junior Content! That Makes Sense.

I know it’s been a busy week for most of the state’s teachers.  Like me, you likely were caught up to speed on the changes that will be implemented in the school due to passage of laws in last year’s legislative session.

However, my ears certainly pricked up when an administrator announced to our staff that, unlike last year, all sophomores will be given the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) this year instead of the Juniors.
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Value Added Model (VAM) and Proposed Tiered Licensure: Are SpEd Students and Their Teachers Valued?

“For movement to a Professional Certificate and
maintenance of a Professional Certificate: At least three
assessments must be used in demonstration of a
teacher’s student achievement. Of those three, the Idaho
Reading Indicator [IRI] and the Statewide standards
achievement test must be included as applicable. Student
Learning Objectives, including pre and post assessment
for student learning must be included for non-tested (SBA
IRI) subjects. Other measures shall be chosen at the
district level, selected from the attached list. The majority
of student achievement evaluation shall be based on
student growth” (58).

That’s what the proposed rule change requires for an educator to move from a residency certificate to a professional certificate, or for an educator to maintain a professional certificate and not be stripped of that certification and be placed on a quasi-probationary contingent certificate.

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My Letter to the State Board Regarding Certification Rule Change.

Below is the letter I sent to the Board regarding TIERED LICENSURE PROPOSAL FOR STATE RULES.

According to the new rules, an administrator’s evaluation has the potential to impact your teaching certification.  This is particularly true for new teachers.

Remember, we only have 20 days remaining to contact the board and let them know what you think!

Please cc me on any emails you send to the board regarding this policy change. I would like to publish fellow educator’s viewpoints.

The Board’s email is board@osbe.idaho.gov

My email to cc is levibcavener@gmail.com.

My letter,  in full, is below.

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You’re Fired! By the Way, I Took Your Certification too!

ui_seal

EDIT 8/16: The IEA was kind enough to forward some information via email that was unavailible online at the time of the original post, and I’ve updated the links below.

The IEA provided me with a nicely succinct document that does a good job summarizing what the board was voting on titled TIERED LICENSURE PROPOSAL FOR STATE RULES.

However, for those that want to read the gigantic official state file, it is available here.  Be forewarned: you’re going to need some quality reading time.

This information changes a few minor things, but I remain steadfast to the original post that this rule has the potential to strip certification.

For example, an initial residency certificate, if not renewed due to inability to meet new evaluation requirements, will effectively de facto strip that teacher of certification and force them to take at least 1 year off to work on “deficiencies.”

This contrasts to today’s procedure where a teacher’s employment might be terminated, but certainly not their certification.

In addition, a teacher on a professional certificate that is unable to meet renewal due to the new evaluation requirements will be stripped of their professional certificate and placed on a contingent certificate. Although this will allow the individual to continue teaching, it strips them of the professional certification and any leadership pay they may have had.

Again, this is much different than today’s procedure where employment might end, but the certificate remains in the hands of the instructor.

In other words, this rule proposal still has the potential to strip certification from a teacher; albeit the certification stripped depends on the type of certificate the instructor held to begin with.

Confusing right?

Original 8/14 Post:

Despite consistent criticism by Idaho’s teachers, the State Board of Education voted tonight to tentatively proceed with a rule change that would allow a teacher’s certification to be revoked by an administrator.

That’s right: for the first time in Idaho’s history, it won’t be the Idaho Standards Commission who is in charge of revocation of Idaho’s teaching certificates; rather, an administrator’s evaluation will dictate not only continued employment, but the ability to teach via the non-renewal of a teacher’s certificate.

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ISDE Chief of Staff–Luci Willits–Response to Rebranding SBAC as “ISAT 2.0”

luci-willitsRecently Idaho State Department Chief of Staff, Luci Willits, announced in an interview with Idaho Ed News that the state is renaming the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s (SBAC’s) exam as “Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) 2.0”

I wrote Ms. Willits over this issue as I felt the name was inappropriate and misleading.  In my letter I evaluated why I feel the rebranding is a poor decision; namely that the new name conveys that the exam is assessing the old Idaho Content Standards, not the new Common Core Standards, and that the new name perhaps conveys that Idaho has left the Consortium, which isn’t true.

Ms. Willits was kind enough to provide a timely reply to my email today.  Her response, in full, is posted below.   Continue reading

ISDE: Why the Lost Love Over SBAC?

ISATRecently Idaho State Department of Education Chief of staff, Luci Willits, declared in an interview with Idaho Ed News that the state is rebranding the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) as the “ISAT 2.0.”

I have a problem with this name-change for a variety of reasons.  I sent a letter laying out my concern about the name change to Ms. Willits.  My letter, in full, is below. Continue reading

Frankenstein: Idaho’s $42 Million Inept Data Monster

640px-Frankenstein's_monster_(Boris_Karloff)Idaho could benefit from examining the successful models of several States and hiring a professional grant writer and some technical experts who could better inform the development of a better-conceived application to fund the work that the State so desperately needs.

Such was the scathing critique by the US Department of Education when it rejected Idaho’s $21 million dollar grant request to develop Idaho’s big data longitudinal data collection system (Idaho System of Educational Excellence, or ISEE and its companion Schoolnet). Continue reading