(August 14, 2001) -- The LB Unified School District will be the only school district in the state of California whose STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) system test results will not be publicly reported on the internet on August 15.
In what it says is an effort "to level the playing field for year-round school students," LBUSD staff is using a new state law (for which LBUSD sought passage) letting school districts wait until 85% of the school days in the school year have actually been taught before testing students. LBUSD is apparently the only one of California's 1,053 school districts to do this.
"The impact of later testing is later test results," an LBUSD press release says, adding it's part of an "effort to measure more fairly what students have been taught."
The tests contain a SAT-9 component and an English Language Arts test component. LBUSD has test results for its traditional (not year round) schools, but not district wide or summary data.
LBUSD Assistant Superintendent for Research, Ms. Lynn Winters told LBReport.com the district didn't want results released piecemeal on the internet, which might be perceived as treating year round school students as second class citizens.
Does the delay give LBUSD district officials an unfair advantage compared to other districts, giving LBUSD schools more teaching time before their students take the test?
Asst. Superintendent Winters explained the state tests contain both norm referenced and criterion referenced tests and compared the two types. Norm referenced tests (like the SAT-9) are designed to rank by percentile (a national reference) with a score compared to a national reference group. This could be equalized to account for differences in instructional time (students with 100 days of instruction could have one norm while students with 150 days would have another).
However, the state tests also contain a criterion referenced test -- the English Language Arts section -- which imposes an absolute standard of performance (i.e. a certain number right is passing or a certain grade) regardless of when students take the test. This can't be adjusted based on the number of days of instruction.
Thus, delaying the test (which delays reporting the scores for students on year round schools) reflects the principle that a comparable score should have a comparable amount of instruction, Asst. Superintendent Winters said.
Winters added that LBUSD, which has a year round school cycle that starts later than many other districts, pushed for passage in Sacramento of SB 245 which made the later testing possible. The bill applies to all districts, not just LB, although LBUSD is apparently the only district that used it this year.
LBUSD says the CA Dept. of Education will wait until all LBUSD test scores are received from the test publisher before posting results on the internet. This could take place in mid-September, although the actual date depends on test processing and state officials.
Hwever, when the results are made public, they should be for all LBUSD schools.