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Seattle School District #1

Board Resolution to Request that the State Superintendent and


State Legislature Suspend Administration of Common Core
(Smarter Balanced) Testing and/or their use for accountability
measures in Seattle Public Schools
Resolution No. 2014/15-19
A RESOLUTION of the Board of Directors of Seattle School District No. 1, King County,
Seattle, Washington affirming the districts core belief that students come first, as established
in the districts Strategic Plan, which states: We believe it is essential to place the interests of
students above all others in every decision we make. / We believe that the core work of the
District is supporting student learning. / We believe it is our responsibility to do whatever it
takes to ensure that every child, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, language
proficiency, learning style, or disability, achieves to their highest level, and to therefore request
State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Legislature suspend of the administration
of the Smarter Balanced Common Core assessments, and/or their use for school, student and
teacher growth and accountability measures (including Adequate Yearly Progress and graduation
requirements) at this time.
WHEREAS, Seattle Public School's Strategic Plan also pledges a commitment to Educational
Excellence and Equity for Every Student; and
WHEREAS, it is therefore antithetical to the mission and duty of the Seattle Public School
Board and District to actively enable its students to fail; and
WHEREAS, in 2013 State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and the
Washington State Legislature supported and voted to implement the Common Core State
Standards with accompanying assessments to be created and commence in the spring of 2015;
and
WHEREAS, the Smarter Balanced Consortium (SBAC), creator of the Common Core tests, and
the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), acknowledge that the new
SBAC Common Core tests will result in unprecedented and significant decline in student scores
with 60-90 percent or more of students predicted to fail; and
WHEREAS, field test data of the Smarter Balanced tests indicate that 60-90 percent of students
will fail to meet proficiency (levels 3 and 4) (http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wpcontent/uploads/2014/12/Disaggregated-FieldTestDataFINAL.pdf), and will result in a
disproportionate amount of failing scores attributed to students of color, students with special
needs, English Language Learners, and economically disadvantaged students; and
WHEREAS, the Seattle School District is a richly diverse community of 145 nationalities and
128 languages/dialects, comprised of 12 percent English Language Learners, 38.5 percent

students of color, 14 percent students with special needs, and 39 percent of students who qualify
for free or reduced lunch; and
WHEREAS, administering the Smarter Balanced tests would may violates School Board Policy
No. 0030 which establishes that The Seattle School Board is committed to the success of every
student in each of our schools and to fostering a barrier-free environment in the name of
educational and racial equity; and
WHEREAS, in the name of rigor and high expectations, the tests are designed to be
unusually difficult and contain numerous barriers -- for example, some questions have multiple
correct answers that will result in zero credit if a student fails to select every correct answer; the
tests are estimated to require nearly 8 hours total to complete; they are entirely computerized and
online, unlike previous state standardized tests (MSP, WASL), and do not permit students to
write their responses with pencil and paper but require students as young as 3rd grade (8 years
old) to type their answers for both composition and mathematics, calling into question the
developmental appropriateness of the test; and
WHEREAS, students will be administered these computerized assessments on a range of
different devices (iPads, laptops, computers with full-size monitors), creating a non-uniform and
inequitable assessment experience; and
WHEREAS, the Smarter Balanced tests require a major investment in technology that the
Seattle School District does not possesses and cannot afford, while the State Legislature is being
held in contempt by the State Supreme Court for its continuing failure to fully fund K-12 public
education (McCleary, et al v. State of Washington, 2012); and
WHEREAS, such a high failure rate indicates that students are not yet prepared for the Common
Core Standards or that the tests are inherently flawed or misaligned to the curriculum and thus
neither a valid, reliable nor fair assessment of student abilities and knowledge, as required by the
Department of Education and federal law, specifically the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act (ESEA/NCLB); and
WHEREAS, evidence is lacking that the Smarter Balanced assessments have been certified and
can be proven to be valid and reliable, as mandated by federal law (Smarter Balanced Validity
Overview Memorandum); and
WHEREAS, Smarter Balanced test scores are currently slated be used to meet state and federal
school accountability requirements, yet will inequitably and falsely indicate unprecedented and
mass failure across all schools; and
WHEREAS, Washington State students are already among the most tested in the nation, and
Seattle School District students are already administered numerous state mandated and additional
assessments, including: MAP, HSPE, MSP, EOC, as well as AP, IB, SAT, ACT, and
Amplify/Beacon; and

WHEREAS, the Smarter Balanced tests are not required for graduation for 11th graders this
year, yet will impact high school classes and schedules, when students must prepare for collegeoriented AP, IB, SAT and final exams; and
WHEREAS, the Smarter Balanced tests require a major investment in technology that the
Seattle School District does not possesses and cannot afford, while the State Legislature is being
held in contempt by the State Supreme Court for its continuing failure to fully fund K-12 public
education (McCleary, et al v. State of Washington, 2012).
WHEREAS, on March 31, 2015, in a letter to the Department of Education, the Office of the
Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) requested a waiver from using the new Smarter
Balanced assessments for federally mandated Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures in
Washington State public schools in 2014-15 (ADD LINK TO WA STATE REQUEST
LETTER), and the Seattle School Board supports this effort.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we maintain that the Smarter Balanced tests
constitute a mandate upon our school district which cannot be successfully implemented without
negatively impacting the academic and emotional health of our students, and forcing the School
District and Board to violate its own policies, Strategic Plan and paramount duties to promote the
success of all the students of the District; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Seattle School District cannot academically,
financially and in good conscience implement the new, unproven Smarter Balanced assessments
at this time, but could instead continue to administer the Measures of Student Progress (MSP)
and High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) or alternative assessments to meet state and federal
accountability measures; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Seattle School District requests the option to suspend
the testing component of Common Core at this time to allow our district to instead focus on
providing equitable, engaging and in-depth educational opportunities for all students, consistent
with the mission of the School Board and District and respectfully request that the State
Superintendent of Public Instruction also consider the suspension of the Smarter Balanced
assessments at this time, for the reasons stated above; and
BE IT RESOLVED that the Seattle School Board requests State Superintendent of Public
Instruction Randy Dorn and State Legislature suspend the use of the Smarter Balanced
assessment scores for any consequential judgment or purpose such as annual school evaluations
(AYP), graduation requirements, or measures of student abilities, for the 2014-15 school year,
and until such time that the assessments have been proven valid and reliable, for the reasons
stated above and in alignment with the direction of the states of California
(http://hosted2.ap.org/NHWLV/280158b974a7406dadf01c0811671fc2/Article_2015-03-11-US-School%20Board-Tests/id-924598bc20b041b4a6eaea3d54bf6ffe0), the Portland, OR, School
Board
(http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/07/portland_school_board_asks_sta.html)

and Vermont: Until students' education has been guided by the new standards and schools have
practiced administering and interpreting SBAC, the results will not support reliable and valid
inferences about student performance and should not be used as the basis for any consequential
purpose. Unless empirical studies confirm a sound relationship between performance on the
SBAC and critical and valued life outcomes ("college and career-ready"), test results should not
be used to make consequential judgments about schools and students. -- Vermont State Board of
Education. (http://www.vermont.gov/portal/government/article.php?news=5366).
ADOPTED this ______ day of __________, 2015
___________________________________
Sherry Carr, President

_________________________________
Sharon Peaslee, Vice-President

___________________________________
Stephan Blanford, Member

__________________________________
Harium Martin-Morris, Member

___________________________________
Martha McLaren, Member

__________________________________
Betty Patu, Member

___________________________________
Sue Peters, Member

ATTEST: __________________________
Dr. Larry Nyland, Superintendent
Secretary, Board of Directors
Seattle School District No. 1
King County, WA