Apparently the UC regents will be discussing the UC Feasibility Study Steering Committee’s suggestion to consider the Smarter Balanced test.
Wow. Thanks for sharing this! Didn’t a faculty advisory group recommend keeping standardized testing (before the Regents issued their directive about 2025)? Really interesting how they’re looking at this process. Glad both my kids will be done with their journey by then!
This whole process has been interesting.
If SB becomes a test used for UC college admissions, it will suffer from some of the same issues that ACT and SAT do, including that students from better performing school districts will do better on the test, and that relatively affluent students will be able to prep for the test by paying for private, or group, tutoring. UC schools would also have to adopt separate testing policies for CA private school students (who don’t take SB currently), as well as OOS and International students.
The fact that students will be only able to take the test once will heighten the pressure to do well on the test. It may even become like NY’s SHSAT, where kids study and prep for the test for 1+ years.
It’s fascinating that they consider “high stakes” testing to intrinsically “lead to negative equity and educationally distorting impacts.”
In other contexts that could be viewed as patronizing and even racist. Why must poor or URM students by definition perform worse on any kind of high stakes tests? Will the UCs no longer engage in sports since that recruitment relies on performance in “high stakes tests”? Isn’t life a series of such tests?
Totally agree with everything you said. I don’t think it fixes the core issues - and it could make teachers begin “teaching to the test.” At least they’re getting some learnings this year from being test-blind (even though my kid’s individual situation makes me personally opposed to test-blind this year), and probably understanding how to better calibrate their review processses without that additional data point. Of course, this year is even more unusual in that ECs, which could have been given more weight, went out the window due to COVID.
BTW I do think that it is better to use a test that is only taken once on a fixed schedule by everyone, like smarter balance or PSAT (though my recollection is that SB was trivially easy so it wasn’t helpful in differentiating at the top end).
A single sitting does mitigate some of the advantages of wealth that allow rich families to take the SAT/ACT as many times as they like until they get the desired result.
And as far as teaching to the test in class goes, that doesn’t happen for PSAT (which can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to NMFs) so it is unlikely to happen for SB. External prep may be a different matter, but it’s at least better than what we have now, where rich kids get multiple chances.
I disagree. Underperforming school districts may not teach to the PSAT because it is highly unlikely the students will become NMFs, perhaps a few might have a chance but not enough to change the curriculum. BUT if UC admissions are based in part on SB test scores, it’s possible that some, maybe many, school districts will feel pressure to teach to the test, to give the greatest number of students the best chance they can to be competitive applicants.
Most college bound high school students are nowhere close to NM qualifying, so the PSAT would not be much of a test target for a high school to teach to. However, it may be incidentally targeted by high schools teaching to the SAT. I remember in high school decades ago that English teachers would give out vocabulary words each week for students to be quizzed on later. Now I wonder whether that was SAT prep built into English class (most of which was about reading literature and analyzing it), since the SAT Verbal section of the time was mainly a vocabulary test (harder questions just used more obscure words; if you knew the words, the questions were easy).