Testing Legislation should be based on 1202 recommendations, NOT final "consensus" report
Those who closely followed the HB14-1202 Standards and Assessments Task Force would tell you there was no consensus. Days before the final report was presented, there were several who outwardly expressed concern over the "drift" in the report. Is that a polite way of saying the report does not reflect the task force members' opinions or how they voted? Let's see. Be sure to listen to the audio of this last January 23 meeting.
Task force recommends only test once in high school
The task force majority voted against state mandated testing in grades 9, 11, 12. There was much discussion about accountability and growth data. Many members agreed that formative tests can be used. They agreed that there are multiple, faster, available ways to measure both growth and accountability. Members also said there is no need to test every student, every year; to think that student scores will be that different from 9th grade to 10th grade; "it's a fallacy" to think you need to test both grades. Many members wanted only one test in high school, Federal minimum of testing and a cap on testing time (3-6 hours) per year. LISTEN to December 15 task force meeting here.
The task force acknowledged that parents will continue to opt their children out of tests; the number of opt-outs will increase unless a balance is found. They also mention the need for schools to provide clear protocols on how to handle test opt-outs and several members mentioned concern over data privacy.
Teachers, parents, students do NOT value state mandated tests
The task force received over 800 letters from the public, overwhelmingly opposed to state testing, concerned about data privacy and data collected from online tests. There were also several surveys done. The task force paid $74,000 for the APA Assessment Study Report which found that teachers do not value state assessments and rate TCAP, CMAS (PARCC) as an overall 1.2 out of 5. ( *It is worth noting that the APA report task force failed to account for necessary school and district level expenses.) Over 700 parents responded to a survey presented by Denver Alliance for Public Education. 96% of parents responding would prefer NO or fewer state assessments. Additionally, the majority of parents reported not receiving feedback or often did not even see results of these tests. Many plan to have their children opt-out of state testing. The Colorado Education Association also presented a survey of 2,700 Colorado teachers across all grade levels. This survey also reveals that teachers do NOT value CMAS, TCAP or PARCC, as the results are not timely, the tests do not inform instruction. These teachers want accountability but they want meaningful tests, fewer state mandated tests.
In considering the 1202 report, it might be helpful to know the members of the task force and who they represent. The HB14-1202 Final Report presented on January 28, does not reflect the task force majority who wanted only one test in high school. Nor does it reflect the State Assessment flexibility Proposal which was presented on January 9, 2015 and supported by nearly half the task force members. In fact, the final 1202 report was edited and had "drifted" considerably. Several members voiced concern and unwillingness to sign the final 1202 "drifted" report, as you will hear mentioned multiple times during the first portion of this final public meeting January 23, 2015.
*Many questions surround the final report. Some would say that APA, the firm commissioned to do the survey and cost analysis, did not fulfill its contract. APA did not do a cost analysis at district level although it was in its contract to do so. (Schools had to purchase costly (unfunded) computers and infrastructure. This technology is required for the online tests and is reportedly 4 to 5 times more costly than state level costs for the test itself.) APA was sole bidder. APA also had two very different versions of a report on testing cost at state level (private numbers are very different than what was shown to the public.)
Dot voting during this 1202 meeting: Each member got a sheet of multi color dots. He/she put a dot on anything they agreed with, (colors are random /not indicative of preference), then total dots per vote were tallied.