OEA members are leading the way to put the focus back on learning instead of testing.
In early 2015, Oregon educators - in partnership with the OEIB and Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden - released a proposal to create a new path around student assessment to empower meaningful student learning.
Good tests should be used to guide instruction, helping teachers understand where students are excelling and where they need more work. But improving student learning and fairly assessing teacher quality should be based on a more broad and whole assessment.Standardized tests are only one piece of the assessment tools utilized in the classroom.Instead of spending millions of dollars on standardized tests, we should be investing in schools to give every child the opportunity to succeed. That means smaller class sizes and more funding for schools.
In a 2013 PDK/Gallup poll, 77 percent said increased testing has either hurt or made no difference in improving schools and in a 2014 PDK/Gallup poll, 68 percent of parents said standardized test aren’t helpful to teachers.
Teachers are spending too much time teaching to the test when they could be giving students more individual attention to help students think critically and solve problems.That's the kind of learning that will prepare them for college and career.
Oregon educators have a better way. In order to move Oregon toward the goal of a system of assessments that guides instruction and improves student learning, Oregon educators at the 2014 OEA Representative Assembly took a strong stand on behalf of students and against the overuse and abuse of new high-stakes, standardized tests.
Smarter Balanced Assessment Teacher Feedback Results
In the spring of 2015, the Oregon Education Association administered a Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) survey to Oregon teachers in order to collect feedback on the administration, resources, technology, and accessibility of the SBA. More than 1200 educators from across Oregon participated in the survey, sharing key findings about their experience, and their students’ experience, with the administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The OEA has published a report of these findings, Educator Feedback: First Year of Smarter Balanced Assessment.
OEA in its current partnership with the Chief Education Office (CEdO), the Governor’s Office, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE), and other education partners will use the results of this survey to evaluate the SBA in the context of the current use of assessments in Oregon schools. These results will inform the implementation of the recommendations in the 2015 proposal “A New Path for Oregon: System of Assessment to Empower Meaningful Student Learning.” Download the full SBA Survey Report to learn more about the feedback garnered from the 1,279 teachers who responded.
Meaningful Feedback and Engagement
Not only were educators involved in drafting common values, goals and a set of recommendation to transform Oregon’s assessment system, we also sought the input from a variety of stakeholders: policy makers, administrators, education leaders, community members and students. The result? Voices from the Field, a summary of educator and stakeholder feedback on our proposal: A new Path for Oregon: System of Assessment to Empower Meaningful Learning. Our hope is to include the voices of people who work closest to public education—this collaboration between the Oregon Education Association, the Oregon Education Investment Board (OEIB) and the Oregon Department of Education is unprecedented and will create huge, positive change for the students we all serve.
The OEA believes the priority actions summarized below will put Oregon education on the right track to support the success of each student.
• Support a moratorium on using new Common Core standardized tests until they have been properly piloted
• Support school districts in piloting educator-designed assessments to inform a more balanced system of assessments
• Support and empower educators and students in transitioning to the Common Core
• Provide for an educator-led review of the Common Core Standards over 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.
Full Text of the OEA Priorities found here.
Additionally, OEA members are also working with the Governor, Oregon’s Chief Education Officer and the Oregon Department of Education to develop a system of assessments that doesn’t force teachers to teach to the test and actually improves student learning.
Creating Systems of Assessment for Deeper Learning – By David T. Conley & Linda Darling-Hammond
Revolutionize Assessment: Empower Students, Inspire Learning. – By Dr. Rick Stiggins
Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right – Using It Well (2nd Edition).– By Jan Chappuis and Rick Stiggins