The Washington State Board of Education has set the minimum scores for graduation on several state assessments, including the state’s new Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBA).
The board was required by state Legislature to set a score on the new assessments as well as the transition Math End-of-Course and the WA-AIM tests before the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.
The minimum score for the English Language Arts and math SBAs has been set at Level 2.6, with Level 4 being the highest.
The State Board of Education met this week to determine the minimum score, in light of the fact that many 11th graders opted out of the SBA. Originally, the board was going to use 11th graders’ scores to determine the new standard. However, the board had to use a different methodology.
As reported earlier, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) stated in early July that only 47 percent of state 11th graders took the SBA. There were 27.4 percent confirmed parent refusals and 28 to 53 percent potential refusals in the 11th grade this spring.
OSPI is still confirming the numbers to see, for example, if a student simply did not show up on test day or was refusing the assessment.
The Renton School District had 256 confirmed parent refusals for the English Language Arts SBA and 217 for the math portion among students in the third through eighth grades and 11th grade. Those numbers account for 3.3 percent of the total of students who took the English Language Arts SBA and 2.8 percent of those that took the math assessment.
Choosing a different methodology, “The Board established a math minimum graduation score proportional to the ELA (English Language Arts) minimum graduation score – about 60 percent of the way between the Level 2 threshold and Level 3 threshold,” said Stephanie Randolph, communications manager for the State Board of Education. “The board also voted to review the math scores before the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year.”
Board Chair Isabel Muñoz-Colon had this to say about the new standards in a press release:
“We appreciate the input and feedback to the Board at meetings and community forums. It’s clear the 10th graders are taking the ELA assessment seriously – and they’re doing well,” she said. “Seventy-one percent of the 65,000 10th graders who took the ELA SBAC achieved a Level 3 or higher. 11th graders didn’t do as well. Of the 38,000 who took the assessment, only 51 percent scored career- and college-ready.”
Muñoz-Colon went on to say she didn’t know why the 11th graders’ results are so low, but that for 10th graders, Smarter Balanced English Language Arts results are one of several determining factors for high school graduation. Eleventh graders can use other test results to meet graduation requirements instead of the Smarter Balanced Scores.
In Renton, district officials are waiting for the assessment results to be released by the state to the public on Aug. 17.
“Scores are continuing to be reconciled by the state and we are analyzing the potential impact of the State Board’s decision,” said Randy Matheson, district spokesperson, on Thursday.