SAT 9 Testing
* * *
(Online edition note: This document was produced by a San
Diego County high school student who distributed it in 2002. He was harshly
disciplined by his school officials, who later were forced to rescind the
1 If the school district forced you to take a time-consuming
multiple-choice test without your consent, a test that contains serious
flaws but is still used to determine your high school's "achievement" and
the "achievement" of individual students, would you:
E. Fight back.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE THE TEST!
WHETHER YOU WANT TO PROTEST THE LACK OF STUDENT INPUT
POLICY OR ARE JUST SICK OF TAKING MEANINGLESS TESTS,
ALL YOU NEED IS A
NOTE FROM YOUR PARENTS.
Interested in choosing not to take the SAT 9 est? Here's
what to do:
Show this pamphlet to your parents and discuss the issue
If your parents agree with your decision not 1 take the
test, obtain written permission from them.
~. See your counselor or the head counselor soon. Inform
them of your decision, and present them with the written permission from
your parents. According to the California Department of Education's Standards
and Assessment Division, this written permission exempts you from taking
$. You are then free to read, do homework, study for AP
tests, or just enjoy yourself during the four-hour Core testing periods!
For more information, visit:
California Department of Education
http://www. ode. ca.gov
National Council on Measurement in Education
The National Center For Fair & Open Testing
? San Diego City Schools
To teachers and administrators:
The purpose of this pamphlet is to inform students of
their right to choose not to comply with standardized testing, and to encourage
debate and discussion on the subject of high-stakes tests. If for some
reason you are afraid of constructive discourse and are inclined 10 prevent
the distribution of these pamphlets, please know that you have no Constitutional
right to do so unless you can specifically prove
that it is causing a "substantial and material disruption"
of school activity.
(SDCS Admin. Procedure 6210)
? How do schools use standardized tests? Despite their
biases, inaccuracies, limited ability to measure achievement or ability,
and other flaws, schools use standardized tests to determine if children
are ready for school, track them into instructional groups; diagnose for
learning disability, retardation and other handicaps; and decide whether
to promote, retain in grade, or graduate many students. Schools also use
tests to guide and control curriculum content and teaching methods.
? If we don't use standardized tests, how will we know
how students and programs are doing? Better methods of evaluating student
needs and progress already exist. Good observational checklists used by
trained teachers are more helpful than any screening test. Assessment based
on student performance on real learning tasks is more useful and accurate
for measuring achievement - and provides more information than multiple-choice
achievement tests. Testing can be useful for obtaining rough estimates
- but it should not be an all-important basis for making high-stakes decisions.
? How do other nations evaluate their students?
The U.S. is the only economically advanced nation to
rely heavily on multiple-choice tests. Other nations use performance-based
assessment where students are evaluated on the basis of real work such
as essays, projects and activities. Ironically, because these nations do
not focus on teaching to multiple-choice tests, they even score higher
than U.S. students on those kinds of tests.
? Doesn't taking the test help our school? No. Taking
the SAT 9 test only reinforces the falsehood that standardized testing
is a meaningful measure of student achievement. It also supports the rampant
suffocation of creativity and standardization of thought already present
in our educational system.
? What do independent education experts think about the
SAT 9 test? James Popham, a professor at UCLA, and Bob Schaeffer, public
education director of Fairtest (an independent organization that monitors
standardized testing), recently reviewed copies of the SAT 9 test that
were leaked to the Los Angeles Times. Their responses, as reported in the
Times, were as follows:
-"The truth is it's a fundamentally flawed testing system,"
said Popham. "Students' scores are almost certain to be meaningfully contaminated
by factors that have little to do with the effectiveness of a teaching
staffs instructional efforts."
-"If the public could look at the content of these exams,
people would be appalled at what's being used to measure educational quality,"
? Is it true that last year's tests results for our school
did not count?
Yes. Due to "testing irregularities", the SAT 9 scores
for Scripps Ranch were declared invalid. This year the results will not
"count" either - they will be used to recalibrate the score levels for
our school. This means that you wasted two weeks taking the test last year
- and if a single teacher errs in proctoring the test again this year,
you will have wasted your time once more.
? Why does the school district want us to do so well
on the tests?
High test scores allow Superintendent Alan Bersin to
"prove" the accomplishments of his "Blueprint for Success", a program that
no students or teachers in our district asked for. Based on this rather
dubious evidence, Bersin can and will use test "success" to justify anything.
? What happens if I don't take the test? Although records
are kept of student scores, refusing to take the SAT 9 test will not damage
your chances for college admission. The SAT I & II or ACT tests (although
not entirely accurate themselves) are the only standardized tests required
or used by colleges in the admissions processes.
? What's the big deal? Why not just put up with the SAT
The time spent testing might be used for actual learning,
and the money wasted could be put to better use improving school infrastructure
and resources - or perhaps more importantly rewarding our shamefully underpaid
teachers. Already, the school district is beginning to implement a High
School Exit Exam, even more extensive than the SAT 9. The further standardization
of our education must be stopped now! As students, we have absolutely no
control over the programs and policies that affect us every day. High educational
achievement can be achieved in other ways than wasteful and inaccurate
testing, and unfortunately the only effective way to voice our dissent
is through active disobedience. If we want an educational system that we
can be proud of; one that gives every type of student the chance to develop
his or her latent abilities, we hive no choice but to resist a system that
seek~only conformity, not greatness, from us.