Shoreline Schools Smarter Balanced Assessment Results 2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

By Marianne Deal Stephens

During the September 28 School Board Meeting, Dr. Michael Power presented a summary of results from the Spring 2015 Smarter Balanced Assessments and other standardized tests. Here is who took which assessments:

Click to enlarge graphics.

Source: Shoreline Public Schools

Dr. Power explained that we are in a transitional period with different sets of assessment requirements for different grades in high school. Soon the Smarter Balanced Assessments in English Language Arts and in Math will be standard requirements for graduation, and at some point a science assessment linked to the Next Generation Science Standards will become standard. 

Source: Shoreline Public Schools

As he reintroduced the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), Dr. Power emphasized that previous assessments had no bridge between standards and years, and so educators could not track the growth of a particular group, and families could not track a student’s development from year to year. 

In the spring of 2015, test participation rates, particularly for 11th graders, were in the news. Statewide, the participation rate for the SBA was significantly lower at 11th grade than for the other grades. 
Source: Shoreline Public Schools

In the Shoreline School District, 11th grade rates were only slightly lower than the other grades, but still enough to affect overall results.
Source: Shoreline Public Schools

The SBA is more difficult than previous tests, but “not as much harder as we were afraid it was going to be” according to Dr. Power. Just as State score averages are significantly higher than the predicted scores (based on a 2014, multi-state pilot), so Shoreline results are “skewed to the high end” above state averages.
Source: Shoreline Public Schools Column numbers and explanations added.

In most years, the Shoreline School District sets target goals for assessments. Since the SBA is new, the District chose to have differentials, rather than raw score levels, as targets. If the District was 10% above State averages on a previous test, the District aimed to at least maintain that level of 10% above. A comparison of columns 4 and 5 above shows that the Shoreline School District is not only above state averages, but has significantly widened the spread in some grades. The differential in ELA ranges from 9-23%. 

Math SBA results are similar: 
Source: Shoreline Public Schools

On the Math SBA, Shoreline ranges from 11-25% above State averages. 

Background Note: Smarter Balanced Assessment scores fall into one of four achievement levels. According to the Smarter Balanced Consortium, these could be described as “novice, developing, proficient, advanced” (SBA Use of Scores and Achievement Levels). According to the rubric of achievement levels, a student at each level:
  • Level 1 has not met the achievement standard, and needs substantial improvement…
  • Level 2 has nearly met the achievement standard and may require further development… 
  • Level 3 has met the achievement standard and demonstrates progress toward mastery…
  • Level 4 has exceeded the achievement standard and demonstrates advanced progress… 
For more detail about content related to each achievement level, see:
Back to Dr. Power’s presentation: Though the Smarter Balanced Assessment will not be a graduation requirement for current seniors, it is slated to be a requirement starting with the Class of 2017, current juniors. Normally, the State would set a threshold score at the line between level 2 and level 3, since student scores in levels 1 and 2 are not quite at standard and student scores in levels 3 and 4 have already met standard. However, since the Smarter Balanced Assessments are new, and the Common Core Standards have not been in place during a majority of the years current high school students have been in the educational system, the State Board of Education set a score at approximately 2.6 in the levels, where “we will have the same percentage of kids qualifying for graduation”. 

Source: Shoreline Public Schools

This threshold or cut score may increase later as educators and students become more accustomed to the Common Core State Standards and familiarity with the new assessments increases. 

The Class of 2017 took the SBA English Language Arts test last spring as sophomores, and those meeting standard will not have to take the test again as juniors or seniors. 81% of Shoreline Public Schools students placed in levels 3 and 4. When the State-set threshold score is taken into account, 87% of the Class of 2017 who took the new SBA ELA met the requirement and will not have to test again. Students who did not meet the threshold score will have up to four chances to retake the assessment. 

Source: Shoreline Public Schools

Dr. Power finished the Smarter Balanced portion of his presentation with an explanation of how the scores can be used for college placement. The State has an agreement with 2- and 4-year public colleges in Washington in which students who score a 3 or 4 on SBAs will go directly into credit-bearing courses. Students who score at least a level 2 “can take a transition course (called Bridges) in 12th grade math and/ or English and get placed in college-level courses in 2-year colleges.” The District is already offering these classes. See Smarter Balanced Assessment Agreement and Smarter Balanced Agreement FAQ.


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