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The purpose of District Deeds Sunday Reads this week is to expose a hugely successful institutional “lie by omission” from the top of the California Education “leadership” structure (California Board of Education) down to the dysfunctional San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) and through incomplete reporting by both the local and national media regarding Smarter Balanced (SBAC) standardized test scores.

We intentionally delayed creating a District Deeds news flash this past Tuesday exposing this reporting flaw to give the local media an opportunity to self correct.  The featured article from EdSource by reporter John Fensterwald was originally published on September 10, 2021…over a year ago so local and national press had ample opportunity to factor the information provided into their recent reporting.

NONE of them did so.

We have featured the complete EdSource article today in Sunday Reads with our synopsis and analysis.  We strongly urge our readers to click on the title and other links (in red) to read the full article for themselves


California Will Give a Short Version of its Standardized Math and English Tests Next Spring

Smarter Balanced will be cut by 1 to 2 hours with no impact on accuracy of scores, state says.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2021

By JOHN FENSTERWALD

The “Smarter Balanced” standardized tests in math and English language arts that California students will take in the spring to measure their academic progress will have fewer questions and take less time than the pre-Covid versions. But the test results to parents won’t provide as much information as in the past.

On Thursday, the State Board of Education approved the shorter test that the California Department of Education recommended. The shorter version will give districts more flexibility in scheduling the tests, free up time for more instruction and reduce the potential for internet glitches with fully online test, the department argued in making its case.

It’s actually identical to the short version that the board approved for spring of 2021, when most districts were still in distance learning.

At that time, given the option of administering Smarter Balanced or their own local assessment, many, if not most, chose a test other than Smarter Balanced last spring. It’s hard to know, however, because the state didn’t require that districts report their choices or the scores.

But the Smarter Balanced tests will be mandatory in spring 2022. The department says the short version of the combined math and English language arts tests will take 4 1/2 hours for grades 3 to 5, 90 minutes less than before; 4 hours, 45 minutes for grades 6 to 8, 75 minutes shorter; and 5 ½ hours for 11th grade, 2 hours shorter.

Performance tasks — the longer problem-solving and research exercises on the test — will remain intact, while the multiple-choice questions will be cut in half.

Scores will be just as accurate, since the proportion of questions will be equally reduced in all areas of the tests, said Mao Vang, director of the department’s Assessment Development and Administration Division. And parents will receive their students’ scores along with their ranking — whether the scores were far below standard, below standard, at standard or above.

What parents won’t get is their child’s scores on components of the test: reading, writing, listening, and research and inquiry for English language arts; and concepts/procedures, problem solving, communicating reasoning and data analysis for math — at least next year.

This lack of detail is why a number of civil rights and groups advocating for low-income students opposed the short form.

“Losing key summative data makes it more difficult to gauge performance on key standards, and more difficult to tackle equity of opportunity and identify achievement gaps” across ethnic and racial groups, testified Lexi Lopez, communications manager for the advocacy group EdVoice. “During these times, schools should be providing parents with more information about student performance — not less.”

The Local Control Funding Formula Equity Coalition, representing a dozen statewide organizations, argued that a shorter test could actually result in more total testing time, because districts “may end up backfilling” information not provided by Smarter Balanced by administering additional local assessments.

But districts should be using more “interim” tests and short or “formative” assessments throughout the year that “allow educators to drill down and see how students are doing within particular content and topic areas,” said board President Linda Darling-Hammond. That’s what the state should be encouraging, said Darling-Hammond, an emeritus professor in education at Stanford University.

Seven of the 12 states that use the Smarter Balanced tests used the shorter form last year, and many will probably do so again this year, said Tony Alpert, the executive director of Smarter Balanced. The department staff didn’t say whether they’d recommend continuing with the short form in future years, although they indicated that might be the case. But they said that use of the short form in the spring would not interfere with plans by 2024 to add a growth model as a way to measure student test scores. A growth model is a technically complex but useful method that all but a few states use to measure the progress over time of individual students’ test scores. The state board adopted it in May, five years after the idea was first raised.

Darling-Hammond and other board members said that it’s possible that the pandemic may create challenges for months and that a shorter version would provide more flexibility to administer the test. Reflecting first-hand views of a teacher and a student, board members Haydee Rodriguez and Rana Banankhah also said to use the short form.

“I want to echo what’s already been said. I’ll just say that with my experience as a classroom teacher, I’m in support of this recommendation,” said Rodriguez, a bilingual and bicultural high school teacher at Central Union High School, near the Mexican border.

“I found that this shortened test was absolutely beneficial to my class, especially those connecting from home who had trouble with tech issues, which definitely slowed them down. And I was one of those students,” said Banankhah, a senior at Modesto High. “Students with internet issues are probably going to be disproportionally socioeconomically disadvantaged and rural students. This recommendation would definitely improve equity among students.”

Smarter Balanced scores next spring will be publicly reported and applied to the California School Dashboard in 2022 for the first time in three years. The rating system measures improvement or lack of progress in schools and districts using multiple indicators. However, the dashboard’s color rating system ratings won’t reappear until 2023.


DISTRICT DEEDS SYNOPSIS AND ANALYSIS:

The implications of this article by Mr. Fensterwald are huge and they virtually negate every single data comparison regarding SDUSD Student SBAC performance posted in both the SDUSD Propaganda Press Release and all the local news stories that regurgitated the lies to their unsuspecting readers and viewers.

Let’s get something straight right away.

SOMEONE in the SDUSD knew since September 9, 2021, OVER A YEAR AGO, that the 2022 SBAC test would be a “Short Version”.  The huge downsizing of the test is too significant to ignore:


But the Smarter Balanced tests will be mandatory in spring 2022. The department says the short version of the combined math and English language arts tests will take 4 1/2 hours for grades 3 to 5, 90 minutes less than before; 4 hours, 45 minutes for grades 6 to 8, 75 minutes shorter; and 5 ½ hours for 11th grade, 2 hours shorter.

Performance tasks — the longer problem-solving and research exercises on the test — will remain intact, while the multiple-choice questions will be cut in half.

Scores will be just as accurate, since the proportion of questions will be equally reduced in all areas of the tests, said Mao Vang, director of the department’s Assessment Development and Administration Division.


So the tests will be dramatically shortened but the “Scores will be just as accurate” according to the California Department of Education (CDE) “director of the department’s Assessment Development and Administration Division

It didn’t take long for a reader of this article to comment about this obvious lie by Mao Vang”:


The statement that “scores will be just as accurate,” attributed to Mao Vang, is not accurate. The accuracy of test results is commonly measured via what is labeled “reliability” by educational measurement experts, and formulas for reliability depend on the number of test questions included in the test. The Smarter Balanced shortened tests contain fewer test questions than the full form Smarter Balanced tests administered 2015 thru 2019. Thus, scores on shortened 2022 tests will not be as accurate as scores from previous years. The question is how much accuracy is compromised, as a tradeoff for benefits that come from reduced test administration time.”


We researched this comment and came up with the following to verify the veracity about “reliability” in the following passage on page 18 from “What Teachers Need to Know About Assessments” published by the National Education Association.:

To recap:

The first highlighted item from the NEA document required that the “SAME TEST” must be given to ensure reliability.  According to the featured article, the SDUSD 2022 SBAC was a shorter, DIFFERENT SBAC Test than 2018/2019 SBAC Test.

The second highlighted item refers to “k” which requires the “number of items” (i.e.: questions) that improve reliability.  In other words, the fewer the questions, the lower the reliability.  In the SDUSD 2022 SBAC, 50% FEWER multiple choice questions were included than 2018/2019 SBAC.

The “SBAC Short Version” test given by the SDUSD in Spring, 2022 FAILS on both reliability measures and any comparison with the last completed SBAC from the 2018/2019 school year are COMPLETELY invalid since a completely different test was given.

The result is that we STILL do not know HOW MUCH WORSE the SDUSD actually did in failing to educate thousands of students from the “SBAC Short Version” test.

Here are the 4 usual suspects that caused this Student Perfromance reporting disaster:

#1 Suspect – SDUSD Board of Education

The SDUSD Board of Education has a funded information pipeline directly to their fellow Democrat cronies in Sacramento and had to be fully aware of the SBAC Short Version implementation.  Obviously the SDUSD Board of Education sanctioned the 2018/2019 vs. 2021/2022 comparison reporting fraud and OK’d an INTENTIONAL LIE BY OMISSION by the SDUSD that was widely regurgitated to the readers of all the local press outlets that printed the FRAUDULENT comparisons and propganda lies by Tricky Dick Barrera and his appointed SDUSD Senior Leadership “BROOD”.

First, from the San Diego Union Tribune, Trustee Tricky Dick Barrera:

San Diego school board Trustee Richard Barrera said it was “certainly not surprising” that there was a drop from pre-pandemic achievement, a trend that has already been made evident in research studies and test results across the country.

certainly not surprising“?!?

Tricky Dick FINALLY spoke a TRUTH!

It is “certainly not surprising:” that the SDUSD under the absolute power of Tricky Dick Barrera, has completely failed in educating Students before and during the pandemic in the following ways we have posted many times:

PLUS 3 other items:

  • Massive student absenteeism, lost instructional days, warehousing of multiple classes without appropriately credentialed instructors.
  • Teacher staffing problems
  • Sketchy, inequitable/inconsistent “distance learning”

It also should be “certainly not surprising” to any SDUSD Stakeholders, based on these shortfalls, that Barrera has been a complete liar and absolute failure as a SDUSD Board of Education Trustee before and throughout the Covid Pandemic..

#2 Suspect – SDUSD Senior Leadership

But what about Barrera’s “BROOD”?

From Voice of San Diego, Dr. Lovey Dovey Empty Suit Superintendent Lamont Jackson:


“These results allow us to further understand the strengths and needs of our students,” SDUSD Superintendent Dr. Lamont Jackson wrote in the press release.“We need to ask questions to better understand how we can support our students, and create learning conditions that are grounded in equity so all students can succeed.”


Is it possible that the current Dr. Empty Suit Jackson DOES NOT KNOW that an invalid comparison of two disparate tests DOES NOT do anything to “better understand” anything he hasn’t already learned in over a decade in the SDUSD?

Does he even know that a differerent SBAC test was used?

He is either too much of a BROOD offspring of Tricky Dick Barrera to honestly admit it or just too dumb to know the difference.  Reviewing his spotty record as an administrator, it is impossible to tell which conclusion is accurate.

Maybe BOTH are accurate…what a Doctor!!!

And now from a TBD BROOD Member quoted, Deputy Superintendent Fabiola Bagula from San Diego Channel 10:


“As a school community, we need to adopt a new mindset when we review the assessment results, which are a snapshot during unprecedented times,” said Deputy Superintendent Fabiola Bagula. “What is important is how we respond when we begin to discuss the results. This means not blaming our students, not blaming our teachers, not blaming ourselves”


We can give Ms. Bagula a slight pass on not understanding the depth of the lies and deception in the SDUSD…she was only recently appointed “Deputy Superintendent” back on April 12, 2022.   She was not involved in the deep corruption and dishonesty over the last few years by Tricky Dick Barrera and Dr. Empty Suit Superintendent Jackson.

The BIG questions are:

Did Ms. Bagula know about the total lack of reliability in comparing the 2018/2019 SBAC test with the 2021/2022 SBAC Test?

Did Ms. Bagula know about the reduced reliability of the 2021/2022 SBAC test due to the 50% reduction of multiple Choice questions?

Even if she did or didn’t know either item, her statement of  “how we respond” opens a few BIG questions back to her.

  • How should “we respond” when the cold hard truth is that both Barrera and Jackson and former Superintendent Cindy Marten created the “Coronavirus Education Mirage” thereby lying to all parents and other Stakeholders for the last 2 years and partially destroying the future of thousands of children?
  • Should the parents, whose kids graduated for the last two cohorts with a deficient education and were given a diploma anyway, just let bygones be bygones?
  • Should the parents with low incomes, with special education kids  and/or with students of color just “not blame” corrupt Tricky Dick and his BROOD hiding the truth and instead cashing in on all the extra Covid relief money by doling out raises and construction contract benefits to cronies for political/organizational support?

#3 Suspect – The Local San Diego Press Corps

All three of the quotes and other material above from Barrera and the BROOD are identical to the SDUSD Propaganda Press Release.  We know it is the job of the press to communicate this information to the public.

But did the local press, with graphics comparing data from two completely different tests, know that the comparison was completely invalid?

In the SDUT the author made a point about not comparing the 2021/2022 results with the SDUSD informal test:

What the author neglected to realize is that 2021/2022 was ALSO the first year San Diego Unified administered those tests district wide since the test was SBAC Short Version.

Our analysis and todays featured article actually shows “there was no previous-year data with which to compare the results” since we have proven that the tests from 2018/2019 and 2021/2022 were COMPLETELY different based on the reduction of questions.

Was the local press lied to by the SDUSD and NOT told the tests were different?

Did the local press know the difference and just decided to print the comparisons anyway?

Did the local press ask the SDUSD for the results of the informal 2020/2021 SBAC test results that may have best mirrored the SBAC Short Version test according to the featured article?

If they knew about the different Short Version tests, they were complicit with the SDUSD guilt.  If they didn’t know about the different tests, they didn’t do their research on one of the most critical measurements of Student performacne in the last 40 years.

#4 Suspect – The CDE/California Board oif Education

And last, but not least, are the questions to be asked of the CDE and Board of Education President Trustee Linda Darling-Hammond whose credibility was destroyed by District Deeds Whistleblower “Inside Unified” in Whistleblower “Inside Unified” 3 Part Series – Part 3: The REAL San Diego Unified School District Performance Summary“.

Here is her quote:


But districts should be using more “interim” tests and short or “formative” assessments throughout the year that “allow educators to drill down and see how students are doing within particular content and topic areas,” said board President Linda Darling-Hammond. That’s what the state should be encouraging, said Darling-Hammond, an emeritus professor in education at Stanford University.


“districts should be using”…not MUST?

“the state should be encouraging”…not SHALL?

Classic “Marten Crony” Hammond language that means virtually nothing.

Is THAT the doubletalk that got her to “emeritus” level at Stanford?

Is THAT what is considered “leadership” in the CDE?

If so, no wonder college enrollment in California, just like the SDUSD, is dropping like a rock.

Out of all this doubletalk, meaningless statements and lies “by omission” from the top of the California Education “leadership” structure (California Board of Education President) down to the dysfunctional San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) Senior Leadership BROOD  and through incomplete research and reporting by the local media regarding SDUSD Smarter Balanced (SBAC) standardized test scores we come up with one conclusion regarding the launch by the CDE of the SBAC Short Version in 2021/2022:

The creation and implementation of the SBAC Short Version immediately following a 2 year public school eductional disaster and then propped up by a compliant local press corps through false data comparisons and conclusions has virtually eliminated any chance of actually measuring the learing loss for a generation of k-12 Students and Families.

And there is STILL one more question to be asked.

With the lies by omission by appointed and elected California government/education officials along with the total lack of investigative journalism, who will champion the recovery of the multi-cohort educational abuse of SDUSD k-12 Students scarred by the Covid Pandemic?

Answer:  TBD since obviously none of the above suspects can be counted on to do so.

District Deeds response: “certainly not surprising


Now for our “quote of the week” dedicated to the Students who continue to suffer because of the incompetence, corruption and laziness of the adults in Education and Media that are supposed to protect them from educational neglect and teach them the tools to be happy healthy and fully educated adults

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Bob Marley


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