Pasco Mom Calls out Testing Madness at School Board Meeting

October 24, 2015

Wonderful mom, researcher, and activist Deb Herbage gave a great sppech cogently pointing out the problems with Florida's testing system and its lack of validity at the Pasco County School Board meeting on October 20th. It is reproduced here with permission.
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I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Browning for sending the letter to Governor Scott requesting an executive order to suspend the use of the 2014-2015 FSA data. While we appreciate your efforts and the efforts of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS) in speaking out against the flawed accountability system here in Florida, we, the parents, teachers, grandparents and students here in Pasco County and across the state of Florida are not asking for a "pause" with an ultimate reinstatement of the FSA. We are asking that you HALT the FSA. This test is no longer about our kids. This test is no longer about a fair and accurate measure of "accountability". We are not asking for a pause with the FSA because of technical glitches and the failed administration of the FSA last spring. We are asking for a halt because the test is not a valid measure of ANYTHING. We are asking for a halt of the FSA because AIR and the FL DOE have been unable to produce ANY validity documents. In the executed contract the FL DOE has with AIR contract # 14-652 that Commissioner Stewart signed - it specifically stated AIR "must provide empirical evidence of psychometric validity and reliability" AIR failed to do that and worse the FL DOE did NOT hold AIR to the terms of the EXECUTED contract.

A retired psychometrician in CA sent a letter to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), which is developed by AIR and part of the FSA platform, requesting the validity documents and he was told they don't have them. The Utah [district school board members] sent a letter to Senator Simmons ( Read more

Posted in Testing. Tagged as Alpine, Deb Herbage, Kurt Browning, Pasco County School Board, Utah, validity.

Startling Validity Failures from Florida's AIR FSA Contract

July 30, 2015

It is getting very hard to keep up with the American Institute for Research's educational malfeasance in the testing realm. Parent Advocate Deb Herbage and Dr. Karen Effrem of FSCCC have reviewed the 2245 page contract between AIR and the Florida Department of Education. Here are just a few of those revelations as Alpine spends another $600,000 of Florida taxpayer funds to do a validity study that should have already been done and that Commissioner Stewart promised was done. The public has been told this test is going to cost the public $220 million over six years. It is very important to verify what has been paid for has been done.

The following information was taken directly from the executed contract Contract #14-652 for the development of the state assessment (FSA) and Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry End of Course (EOC's) exams executed on 6/3/14. The contract was signed by Pam Stewart (FLDOE) and Vickie Brooks (AIR). [The full 2245 page contract is available at the Florida CFO website with all page numbers referencing this document].

1) Potentially Missing Linking, Validity and or Field Studies Have Florida Taxpayers Paid for Work Not Completed? The FLDOE required in its ITN (Invitation to Negotiate) that:
7.6.0. Scaling, Equating, Scoring and Special Psychometric Studies (Pg. 77)
Excerpt from the ITN" Other than the annual regular psychometric operations, such as sampling, test construction, and SES for the assessment system, the contractor will conduct a set of special psychometric studies for these assessments, described in Section 7.6.3.6. (Pg. 77)
The contractor must show evidence that the Department's preferences are psychometrically defensible and operationally feasible. The respondent may include in the reply a different proposal for scaling, equating, and scoring of these Read more

Posted in Testing. Tagged as AIR, Alpine, American Institutes for Research, Deb Herbage, Dr. Karen Effrem, FSA, Pam Stewart, testing, Utah, validity.

Report on the Hays Validity Amendment to SB 616

March 30, 2015

Thank you to so many people that came to Tallahassee to testify, and who called and emailed members of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them to pass Senator Alan Hays extremely important amendment to SB 616 requiring independent validity studies for the new Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) and technological load testing before making high stakes decisions.The amendment was withdrawn and replaced by another from Senator Simmons. The discussion of the reading amendment discussed in our last alert was ultimately postponed. Senator Hays is still reviewing options and will work with Senator Simmons who is significantly concerned with validity issues due to their legal consequences. The bill will go to the floor on Wednesday. New information will be out shortly.

For those that want more information and documentation, here is a detailed report to understand the context.

The video of the hearing is available HERE with discussion of the bill in general starting at about 4:39:00. The discussion of the Hays validity amendment starts at 4:58:55 and the discussion of Senator Simmons' validity amendment starts at 5:43:09.

Senator Hays offered that amendment due to grave concerns with lack of validity of the FSA based on the failure of Commissioner Pam Stewart to properly answer excellent questions from Senator David Simmons in hearings regarding the validity of the FSA. There is legal precedent showing that people may not have their lives changed with high stakes educational decisions like third grade retention or teacher evaluations based on an invalid test.

The language of the amendment that Senator Hays offered Read more

Posted in Testing. Tagged as Beth Overholt, Catherine Baer, Dr. Karen Effrem, Marie Clare Leman, Randy Osborne, SB 616, Senator Alan Hays, Senator Arthenia Joyner, Senator David Simmons, Senator David Simmons, SEnator Don Gaetz., Senator John Legg, validity.

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