SAGE Validity Part 2: Dr. Thompson Responds

After sharing what Alpine school district board member’s Brian Halladay and Wendy Hart wrote concerning the results of the validity test Florida performed on Utah’s SAGE test, Dave Thomas, a state school board member wrote several legislators a brief rebuttal. He stated:

I read the Independent Verification of the Psychometric Validity for the Florida Standards Assessment, Evaluation of FSA Final Report (Alpine Testing Solutions, August 2015) and came to an entirely opposite conclusion. The report expressly validated the SAGE test (see Conclusions 1,2,5, and 6).  The problems noted in the report (see Conclusions 4, 7, and pp. 77-103) were not the result of an invalid SAGE test, but rather these had to do with Florida’s administration of the test (technology problems, login issues, head phone issues, insufficient training of the proctors, and late delivery of materials) and the fact that SAGE is aligned to the Utah Core Standards and not to the Florida standards (pp. 47-48).  While the two sets of standards are similar, the Report notes that there are differences which make SAGE not fully aligned to the Florida standards.  For example, Florida uses Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, while Utah uses an integrated math model.  Such differences present problems for the long term use of the SAGE test in Florida.  Consequently, the Report rightly recommends that Florida get their own test.  This discussion about misalignment is the reason I have long discouraged reliance upon NAEP, which uses its own standards to compile its test; standards that are not aligned with Utah.

I would highly recommend reading the Conclusions to the Report (pp. 118-121)..   I would caution all policy makers to be careful about focusing on isolated comments in a 150+ page Report which may be taken out of context.

David L. Thomas

In response to Mr. Thomas’ statement, Dr. Gary Thompson wrote the following rebuttal.

Vice-Chair Thomas’s response…failed to answer many important issues vital to the economic, educational, financial, and moral health of our community.   His non-response was a attempt to get stakeholders in education to focus on irrelevant “trees” at the expense of the “forest” comprised of our children.    That is unacceptable to me as citizen, father, and local clinical community scientist.

This blog post is about the “forest”:

1.  What exactly IS validity?  (See below)

2.  Did the Utah SAGE test undergo a validity study? (No. See below) 

3.  How important are validity issues in educational testing to your children? (Extremely.  See below)

4.  Will the next 9 pages be the most important education information considered for parents of Utah and Florida’s “divergent learning” students?  (Probably.  See below)

To continue, reading Dr. Thompson’s expert analysis, please go directly to his article here:

The Test Validity Trojan Horse: Utah and Florida’s Dangerous Game of Education Poker With Our Public School Children


5 thoughts on “SAGE Validity Part 2: Dr. Thompson Responds”

  1. TN was also included in the lease deal between AIR and the state of Utah. So now we are faced with the same issues but of course TNDOE is deny deny deny. While the legislators and most of the public refuse to educate themselves and instead follow like sheep. The same course of action that got us in this mess.

  2. I try to absorb these posts and, although they are way ahead of me, are amazingly done, I find myself thinking back to what felt so uneasy and caused me to leave public education. No matter how carefully teachers did their research, it seems our district did “mock” listening sessions and then proceeded as planned with their agenda, giving very little (if any) attention to teacher concerns. I get this forelorned feeling that as parents speak, even in such documented and sincere concerns, we are still being passed over and ignored. If that is not communistic behavior on the part of our leaders, I don’t know what is. It isn’t a dictatorship, because we would not have the freedom of speech to post our thinking without immediate annihilation. Communism seeks to let you speak to incriminate you. Are we doing any good or batting our heads against the wall? The rat got in a long time ago and we were not on guard. I have not given up but occassionally suffer from total despair from voicing objections WHILE I was a teacher to find out that only made me unpopular in the meetings. I am glad to be out and not afraid to speak anymore. I live being a part of these parents who put together such diligent research, intelligent thinking, yet getting teachers to join our effort will be difficult. They aren’t really free anymore to express opinions. The attitude of principals is to comply or be written up. You have read about teachers who do not want to do Sage testing being fired. If the union had any backbone the teachers would be in an uproar. But as the rat got in by dictating to the states, our states, districts, and classrooms started feeling freedom fly out the window. All those scenarios of taking a child’ problem and writing a valid, workable lesson plan for it? Useless in today’s classroom. What teacher even writes a lesson plan anymore? They taught us to think like a teacher. The lesson plan is created step by step in your mind, so you can act immediately for the need of each student. Then there was the brilliant “solution set”. ..used when your principal calls an assembly and you have to shorten your lesson to be ready to send kids out to something else. Constant juggling to get critical, age appropriate goals worked into every grade every year. What I see now is short lessons all the time, so kids can get to a computer lab and away from the human teacher. Someone else is writing the plans, and the teacher is not allowed to see the test questions or even have any materials to teach kids what might be on them. In short, I don’t know much about all the jargon in this research and try to understand how we are going to fight these battles to get human interaction back. But I see inappropriate amounts of time and testing happening to the points the kids don’t care WHAT button they push to answer all these questions. They just push buttons to get done because they are dying to jump rope and play kickball. Most are not even reading the tests. I am a back row observer of this, day after day, in a computer lab at an elementary school. The scores are coming out horrible. Guess why? Because of Federal intervention, our schools have slipped into a category I call noneducational. I took my kids out 30 years ago because of wasted time. Do you think we can conquer this today? Will they listen to this at all? Do they care what we are doing? At this point, the only thing I think will work is a mass exodus from the system that leaves them without our children. My children are MINE, and nobody else’s. Likewise now, my GRANDCHILDREN. I hope I can help in some way in the years I have left. I hope this fabulous research is EFFECTIVE and being listened to. I pray for our schools, our nation, our leaders…to look at the children’s needs to grow smart happily, whole education with physical activity added, emotional needs considered. I hope my prayers are heard even if my voice is not. Thank you, Oak, for brilliant, documented research. Thank you Dr. THOMPSON for not giving up the fight. I am getting older day by day, but I am still standing in the boxing ring, battling for our children, which IS a battle for our country.

  3. I, too, left 17 years of teaching public education 2+ years ago, and saw the very same concerns this good teacher expressed. Teachers are losing the freedom to use their own knowledge, good judgement, experience and skills they’ve worked hard to develop to educate the minds of their students. Sadly, I can’t, in good conscience, recommend this field to others because of the CCore politics and federal control taking place.

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