Click here for video recording of Subcommittee Work Session on 2/18/2014 at 9:00 AM in the Legislative Office Building, room 207.
Members of the Subcommittee: Chair Barbara Shaw (d), Rep. James Grenier (r), Rep. Mary Gorman (d), Rep. Patrick BIck (r) and Rep. Beth Arsenault (d)(absent).
Existing state law on Statewide Assessments:
RSA 193-C:3 II. "The assessment portion of the program shall consist of a variety of assessment tasks which can be objectively scored."
RSA 193-C:3 III (b) "The assessment exercises or tasks shall be valid and appropriate representations of the standards the students are expected to achieve."
Text of the bills under consideration in the work session:
HB 1496 (sponsor Rep. JR Hoell) AN ACT relative to the objectivity and validity of student assessment materials.
HB 1262 (sponsor Rep. JR Hoell) AN ACT relative to student assessment data privacy.
Listen to the video. While privacy is important to both Rep. Shaw and Rep. Grenier, within the first two minutes of the work session they've already decided to send this bill, HB 1496, to Interim Study. The reason given is that other bills are coming up, such as Rep. Neal Kurk's bill on privacy, HB 1587.
Please note that the public hearing on HB 1587 was held during a blizzard and then rescheduled. However, the Chair of the House Education Committee, Rep. Mary Gile, claims that the sponsor was able to navigate the blizzard, so the rescheduled public hearing was not necessary. No public input on HB 1587 is necessary. By the way the sponsor submitted an amendment to his bill, which has not been made public. And he's working with the NH Department of Education to amend this first amendment, which also isn't available to the public. Yet, this bill is that Rep. Shaw wants to use to supplant all other privacy bills in this work session, despite the fact that she doesn't have a copy of the HB 1587, nor does she know exactly what's in the bill. She only knows that HB 1587 is on the fast track!
Shaw continues by pointing out that HB 1496 and HB 1262 are "repetitive" and that section I and II are "just not true." Actually, Section I is existing state law, so there should be no question about this Section at all, but Rep. Shaw apparently isn't familiar with state law:
RSA 193-C:6 Assessment Required.
I. Each year, a statewide assessment shall be administered in all school districts in the state in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school. All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state’s assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter. Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment. Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment.
Rep. Grenier then discusses "when Rep. Kurk's bill passes" could we not add some of these features from HB 1496 onto his bill, HB 1587? But Rep. Shaw isn't familiar with how Rep. Kurk's bill compares to these two bills, so they move on.
Next Rep. Shaw claims that for 20 years NECAPs have been graded "subjectively," which is contrary to state law which requires that all statewide assessments be "objectively scored." Rep. Shaw and Rep. Grenier do not understand existing law, nor this proposed bill. They continue to criticize the bill based upon their faulty understanding of the law and the legislation before them. Section II simply proposed that districts be allowed to comply with state law and not be forced to admininster assessments which do not comply with existing state law.
II. School districts shall not be required to administer any assessment which is not valid and appropriate, or which cannot be objectively scored.
Section III (a) gets Rep. Shaw's approval. She favors that section:
III. A school district may administer an assessment which is not valid and appropriate only after first:
(a) Informing parents that their child is being asked to participate voluntarily in research by taking an assessment that is not verified; and
Rep. Bick intervenes and tries to clarify that Section I is existing state law.
Rep. Shaw continues to oppose "objectively scored" assessments. She complains that the bill presents a very narrow, one-sided opinion.
Rep. Shaw continues that the sponsor believes that the Smarter Balanced assessments are still "research," but that's not true. She feels that the subcommittee will better off waiting to see that the legislature does with the other privacy bills, maybe we'll get a waiver from Smarter Balanced assessments. She'd rather wait until next year to deal with the issues in this bill. Put both bills in Interim Study and take out the questionable "objectivity" part out of the bill.
The Subcommittee needs more "input" on this bill which actually had a public hearing, while still deferring to HB 1587 which had no public hearing other than in the middle of a blizzard, when the public couldn't attend the hearing.
The Subcommittee continued to ramble on about the necessary subjective nature of assessments. The Subcommittee needs to read Rep. Kurk's bill, but these two bills need to go to study.
According to Rep. Shaw these two bills can't pass because they are "too limiting and biased" and need refinement by the Subcommittee, which clearly doesn't understand existing state law.
According to Rep. Shaw, Smarter Balanced assessment are not research, but valid. Assessments must be subjectively scored.
Motion to send to Interim Study: vote 4-0.
Rep. Shaw continued to say that the NECAP exams were "so unfair" because it was the same test for everyone, special needs and English language learners. "Kids learn differently, not the same way." So the uniform Common Core aligned assessments will be so much better?
(b) Obtaining written informed consent from parents that their child may take part in a pilot or field test.
IV. Any assessment which contains embedded questions for ongoing field testing shall meet the requirements of paragraph III.
V. School districts may adopt alternate assessments that are a valid, accurate, and objectively scored measure of student performance.
VI. A parent may refuse to allow his or her child to take an assessment if the parent determines that the assessment materials are objectionable as provided under RSA 186:11, IX-c or if student privacy will not be adequately protected. Such child shall be exempted.
VII. A school district shall not administer any survey or assessment where the privacy of student data cannot be guaranteed. A district may elect to grade and score any assessment or survey administered within the district, aggregate student performance data, and share only aggregated student data outside the district to protect student privacy.
RSA 193-C:10 Accessibility of Assessment Materials.
I. After the assessment results are released by the department, a pupil's parent or legal guardian shall have the right to inspect and review the pupil's assessment booklet, answer or response sheets, surveys, instructions or directions to the pupil, and any other supplemental materials utilized to administer the assessment. A parent or legal guardian shall direct a request for inspection or review to the pupil's school, and the school shall comply with such request within 45 days of its receipt. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, to implement procedures for the review and inspection of assessment materials. These rules shall provide parents and legal guardians with no fewer rights accorded to them under the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g.
II. No personally identifiable data on students and/or their families’ religion, political party affiliation, psychometric data, biometric information, juvenile delinquency records, criminal records, medical, psychological or dental information, birth dates, social security numbers, employment history, income level, and/or voting history shall be collected, tracked, housed, stored, reported or shared with the federal government, nor provided to for-profit corporations.
III. Students who are 18 years of age or older and parents of students under 18 years of age shall have the right to inspect and review their student's records and block the transfer or sharing of any or all data contained in such record, including student assessment results, other than for the transfer of such student to another school outside the district.
IV. Districts may elect to grade and score any assessment or survey administered within the district, aggregate student performance data, and share only aggregated student data outside the district to protect student privacy.
V. Districts shall not release any student data where the privacy of student data cannot be guaranteed.