More and more voices are joining the chorus calling for an end to invalid, high-stakes, standardized assessments. Researchers at prestigious California universities are speaking out and raising questions about the validity and fairness of SBAC similar to those voiced by Connecticut teachers.
The California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education, made up of 115 researchers at California universities including Stanford, UCLA, and UC Berkeley, raises serious concerns about SBAC and other similar assessments in a research brief.
Testing experts have raised significant concerns about all (SBAC, PARCC, Pearson) assessments, including the lack of basic principles of sound science, such as construct validity, research-based cut scores, computer adaptability, inter-rater reliability, and most basic of all, independent verification of validity. Here in California, the SBAC assessments have been carefully examined by independent examiners of the test content who concluded that they lack validity, reliability, and fairness, and should not be administered, much less be considered a basis for high-stakes decision making.
The researchers also write that SBAC and similar assessments bring up issues of equity and access. These include:
- a bias toward middle- and high-income students who are more likely to have access to technology both in and out of school, and
- a lack of adequate accommodations for students with disabilities and English language learners.
The brief concludes:
We support the public call for a moratorium on high-stakes testing broadly, and in particular, on the use of scientifically discredited assessment instruments (like the current SBAC, PARCC, and Pearson instruments) and on faulty methods of analysis (like value-added modeling of test scores for high-stakes decision making). Instead, our schools require more robust instruments and the use of assessments in ways that are formative and that aim for improvement of systems, not merely individuals.