We are hearing that there are some major problems with the way the SBAC and PARCC tests are going to be scored this year – specifically, that most of the language arts tests will be computer-scored, a process that experts consider unreliable. What’s worse, the test publishers have failed to deliver on promised results of computer scoring validity and reliability studies.
Here’s some background information on this issue.
PAA has endorsed the following letter drafted by PAA co-founder, Leonie Haimson, and Rachel Strickland, the leaders of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. You can also send this letter to your local state superintendents:
To the Education Commissioners in the PARCC and SBAC states:
As parents and advocates, we have many outstanding concerns about the administration and scoring of the PARCC and SBAC Common Core exams this spring. There are several unresolved questions the answers to which have not been publicly revealed. The original PARCC contract called for two thirds of the students to have their ELA exams, including written responses, entirely scored by computers this spring, with only 10 percent of them re-checked by humans.
Similarly, according to the SBAC contract, 100 percent of students’ written responses would be scored by computers, with only half re-checked by a human being.
This is despite the fact that many experts have cited the inability of computers to assess the creativity and critical thought that the Common Core standards were supposed to demand and these exams to assess, no less distinguish nonsense from coherent narrative and reasoning. In each case, however, states had the option of having the exams entirely hand-scored for an additional charge.
So we demand that you answer the following questions:
1- What percentage of the ELA exams in our state are being scored by machines this year, and how many of these exams will then be re- scored by a human being?
2- What happens if the machine score varies significantly from the score given by the human being?
3- Will parents have the opportunity to learn whether their children’s ELA exam was scored by a human being or a machine?
4- Will you provide the “proof of concept” or efficacy studies promised months ago by Pearson in the case of PARCC, and AIR in the case of SBAC, and cited in the contracts as attesting to the validity and reliability of the machine-scoring method being used?
5- Will you provide any independent research that provides evidence of the reliability of this method, and preferably studies published in peer-reviewed journals?
We look forward to your prompt reply,
Leonie Haimson and Rachael Stickland, Co-Chairs, Parent Coalition for Student Privacy