In 1993 the NH legislature adopted a Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program with the passage of Senate Bill 224. How does that initial program compare to what NH has in place today? How does this compare with House Education Committee Chairman Rick Ladd's Floor Amendment (0806h) to House Bill 323, which just passed the House on March 12th?
From the beginning the Statewide Education Improvement and Assessment Program required the Commissioner of Education to consult with parents in the development of this programs as "parents" are mentioned over and over again in state statute. Not only must the Commissioner develop and implement the program in consultation with parents but also "in conjunction with the state board of educaiton and the legislative oversight committee."
This would require some degree of transparency. However, transparency is the biggest problem at the moment. No longer is the Commissioner developing the program with parents and the legislative oversight committee, she's working behind closed doors with the US Department of Education through it's No Child Left Behind Flexibility Waiver grant application process. In fact, at the recent NH Board of Education meeting on March 4th, the agenda item to discuss the "Waiver" was pushed into Non-Public Session to maintain the shroud of secrecy around this very critical federal grant application which will bind New Hampshire public schools for four long years.
The deadline is March 25th for the submission of this NCLB or ESEA Flexibility Waiver, yet no one has been consulted in the process, neither parents nor the House Education Committee nor the Legislative Oversight Committee.
The first meeting to unveil the Commissioner's new Waiver will be on March 16th with the Legislative Oversight Committee; then on March 17th with the House Education Committee; and finally with the Board of Education on March 25th, which also coincides with the grant submission deadline!
The initial purpose of this program was to provide a "well-educated populace" which is "essential for the maintenance of democracy, the continued growth of our economy, and the encouragement of personal enrichment and development." This purpose of this program in recent years has devolved into very narrow-focused workforce training program.
The areas of assessment were originally focused on "knowledge and skills" not student dispositions, values, attitudes or beliefs which are now called "soft skills" and packaged under workforce skills.
The academic areas to be assessed originally included: "reading and language arts, mathematics and science, and history and georgraphy." Due to a behind the scenes maneuver during a Committee of Conference on SB 343 in 2014, a bill that the public was told would establish a commission to study Common Core Standards was surreptitiously changed to a vehicle to implant Competency Based Education into our statewide assessements without any public review or comment. Instead of focusing on individual academic subjects, the program would now focus multi-subject domains and the soft skills of the workforce training program:
"The statewide assessment program shall only measure student understanding of key content-specific concepts, skills, and knowledge applied within or across academic content domains."
The program requires that grade level assessments "shall be the same for every New Hampshire student." Yet suddently Smarter Balanced adaptive assessments were mandated by the Commissioner of Education. Under these adaptive assessments, there are now unique assessments for each New Hampshire student in violation of state law.
The law requires that teachers "shall be involved in designing and using the assessment system." This is no longer possible in the a top-down federally mandated Smarter Balanced assessment system, again in violation of state law.
In 2013 the Local Education Improvement and Assessment Plan of RSA 193-C:9 was repealed, leaving the summative statewide assessment, Smarter Balanced Assessments, as the only measurement tool.
However, the worst change to this law was just proposed yesterday, March 12th, 2015.
House Education Committee Chairman Rick Ladd just introduced a dangerous amendment to House Bill 323, which was precipitously passed by the House. There was no time for a careful review by House members, nor any opportunity for the public to comment on this proposal. It was a last minute floor amendment on a very busy sesssion day when everyone was already overloaded.
As written the amendment enables the federal government maintain its inappropriate control over New Hampshire's public schools. It also grants the NH Commissioner of Education a completely unprecedented amount of authority over our statewide assessments.
Under this proposal the Commissioner will develop a new statewide assessment program without oversight. The Commissioner may select the grades, which will be required to participate in her new assessment program. In fact, the Commissioner may selectively approve: which districts will be allowed to administer these new asessements in lieu of the very flawed Smarter Balanced assessments. Are you concerned yet?
Previously the General Court retained control over this process through its Legislative Oversight Committee. Coincidentally, Chairman Ladd is also Chair of this Legislative Oversight Committee.
Why is Ladd proposing to relinquish control to the Commissioner? Certainly, not due to "good" behavior as the Commissioner has consistently been undermining transparency, issuing technical advisories which undermine parental rights to refuse these assessments and encouraging districts to bully and intimidate parents into compliance across the state.
This amendment to HB 323 also forces a progressive Competency Based Education program onto our schools, which most legislators do not even fully comprehend via the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) program.
Do legislators understand that -- while district may not be required to adopt Common Core with the passage of SB 101 or HB 276 -- Common Core aligned COMPETENCIES will still be mandated to the district?
How so? ED 306, Minimum Standards for Public School Approval requires "GRADUATION COMPETENCIES."
If a parents refuses to allow their child to take the Common Core aligned Smarter Balanced assessments, with the passage of HB 603, will the child be allowed to graduate? Or will the child be required to go to summer school?
Even the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) program is aligned to the Common Core and Competency-Based.
Below is a copy of the original 1993 "statewide educational improvement and assessment program" in blue text.
Amendments that were adopted by the legislature over the years are marked in red text with the year in which they were adopted included.
Chairman Ladd's floor amendment (0806h) to HB 323 is included. It's marked with red text with blue highlights.
[EDITORIAL COMMENTS] are also marked and included.
SENATE BILL - FINAL VERSION
1993 SESSION 1005B
SENATE BILL NO. 224-FN
INTRODUCED BY: Sen. Lovejoy of Dist 6; Sen. Roberge of Dist 9
REFERRED TO: Education
AN ACT relative to the statewide education improvement and assessment program.
This bill establishes the New Hampshire statewide education improvement and assessment program and sets forth criteria for the development and implementation of the program.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
EXPLANATION: Matter added appears in bold italics.
Matter removed appears in [brackets].
Matter which is repealed and reenacted or all new appears in regular type.
SENATE BILL - FINAL VERSION
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the year of Our Lord one thousand
nine hundred and ninety-three
relative to the statewide education improvement
and assessment program.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Represen-
tatives in General Court convened:
290:1 New Subparagraph; Rulemaking Authority. Amend RSA 21-N:9, II by inserting after subparagraph (v) the following new subparagraph:
(w) The exemption of certain students from participation in the statewide education assessment.
290:2 New Chapter; Education Improvement and Assessment Program. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 193-B the following new chapter:
STATEWIDE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
193-C:1 Statement of Purpose.
I. Improvement and accountability in education are of primary concern to all of the citizens of New Hampshire. A well-educated populace is essential for the maintenance of democracy, the continued growth of our economy, and the encouragement of personal enrichment and development. [EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS PROGRAM WAS NOT ESTABLISHED TO PROVIDE WORKFORCE TRAINING. 2013 SB 48]
II. A statewide education improvement and assessment program built upon the establishment of educational standards specifying what students should know and be able to do is an important element in educational improvement. Such a program also serves as an effective measure of accountability when the assessment exercises or tasks are valid and appropriate representations of the curriculum standards that students are expected to achieve.
III. Widespread participation in the establishment of a statewide education improvement and assessment program is essential. Consultation with educators at all levels, business people, government officials, community representatives, and parents must occur in the development of educational standards. In turn, widespread dissemination of those standards, once established, must occur. Teachers, administrators, and school board members must be fully apprised of these state-developed standards. They must, in turn, communicate these expectations to students and parents, and find and implement methods to enable students to acquire and apply the requisite knowledge and skills. [NOT DISPOSITIONS!]
IV. In addition, the assessment results must be reported to students, parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and to all other citizens of New Hampshire in order that informed decisions can be made concerning curriculum, in-service education, instructional improvement, teacher training, resource allocation, and staffing.
V. A critical part of this program is the local education improvement and assessment plan. In order for an assessment program to give an accurate picture of student performance, it must include more than a one-time measure. Local school districts should devise and implement measures which focus on the continuing growth of individual students, and report the results to parents along with those obtained from the state-developed tool. [This section V. and RSA 193-C:9 - REPEALED IN 2013, ELIMINATING THE LOCAL EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT AND ASSESSMENT PLAN.]
VI. The purpose of the statewide education improvement and assessment program is not to establish a statewide curriculum. It is, rather, to establish what New Hampshire students should know and be able to do and to develop and implement effective methods for assessing that learning and its application so that local decisions about curriculum development and delivery can be made.
193-C:2 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of education.
II. "Committee" means the legislative oversight committee established to review the statewide education improvement and assessment program.
III. "Department" means the department of education.
IV. "Program" means the New Hampshire statewide education improvement and assessment program.
193-C:3 Program Established; Goals. There is established within the department of education a statewide education improvement and assessment program. The commissioner shall develop and implement this program in conjunction with the state board of education and the legislative oversight committee. In carrying out this program, the commissioner shall consult widely with educators at all levels, business people, government officials, community representatives, and parents.
I. The aims of this program shall be to:
(a) Define what students should know and be able to do.
(b) Develop and implement methods for assessing that learning and its application.
(c) Report assessment results to all citizens of New Hampshire.
(d) Help to provide accountability at all levels.
(e) Use the results, at both the state and local levels, to improve instruction and advance student learning.
II. Since the program is not a minimum competency testing program, assessment instruments should be designed to reflect the range of learning exhibited by students. The assessment portion of the program shall consist of a variety of assessment tasks which can be objectively scored. The assessment instruments shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Constructed response items which require students to produce answers to questions rather than to select from an array of possible answers.
(b) A writing sample.
(c) Other open-ended performance tasks.
III. The following criteria shall be used in the development of the program:
(a) Educational standards specifying what students should know and be able to do shall be clearly defined before assessment procedures and exercises are developed.
(b) The assessment exercises or tasks shall be valid and appropriate representations of the standards the students are expected to achieve.
(c) At each grade level assessed, the standards and expectations shall be the same for every New Hampshire student. [NOT AN ADAPTIVE ASSESSMENT WHICH IS NOT THE SAME FOR EVERY NH STUDENT AT EACH GRADE LEVEL ASSESSED.]
(d) Teachers shall be involved in designing and using the assessment system. [THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY LOCAL TEACHERS WERE NOT EVEN REMOTELY INVOLVED IN THE DESIGN PROCESS.]
(e) Assessment frameworks and reports shall be understandable and widely disseminated to parents, teachers, administrators, other school personnel, school board members, teacher preparation programs, business people, government officials, and community members.
(f) The assessment system shall be subject to continuous review and improvement.
IV. The assessment system shall generate data which may be used:
(a) At the student level, by students, parents, and teachers, to determine what the student knows and is able to do in relationship to the state-established standards.
(b) At the classroom and school building levels, to monitor student progress and to enhance learning.
(c) At the district level, to measure school and district-wide progress toward meeting goals and outcomes, to revise curriculum, to design in-service education programs, and to improve instruction.
(d) At the state level, to measure what students know and are able to do in relation to the attainment of goals and outcomes from the assessment frameworks, and to report the results to the citizens of New Hampshire.
(e) At the state level, to target services to schools, improve existing programs, develop new initiatives, and revise standards for school improvement, teacher certification, etc.
(f) At the college level, to integrate into teacher preparation programs instruction in state-established standards, techniques for enhancing student learning in these areas, and the use of assessment results to improve instruction.
(g) At all levels, to correlate, to the extent possible, with national goals and international standards.
(h) At all levels, to provide a basis for accountability.
(i) At the end of grade 3, to determine if pupils are reading at grade level on a standardized reading test to be developed by the department as part of a statewide assessment system. [ADDED IN 2003]
(j) At the school, district, and state levels, to provide performance reports on specific subgroups of pupils as required by federal law. [ADDED IN 2003. Federal law requires performance measurements on specific demographic subgroups, including major ethnic/racial groups, economically disadvantaged students, limited English proficient (LEP) students, and students with disabilitites.]
193-C:4 Rulemaking. The state board of education shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the exemption of certain students from participation in the program. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability of the state board of education to adopt rules pursuant to the authority granted by the general court.
193-C:5 Areas of Assessment. The academic areas to be assessed shall include, but not be limited to:
reading and language arts, mathematics and science, and history and geography. reading and language arts, mathematics, science, history, geography, civics, and economics. The statewide assessment program shall only measure student understanding of key content-specific concepts, skills, and knowledge applied within or across academic content domains.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: SUBJECTS AMENDED IN 2007; COMPETENCY BASED EDUCATION LANGUAGE ADDED IN 2014, USING SB 343 WHICH WAS INTRODUCED "TO ESTABLISH A COMMISSION TO STUDY COMMON CORE STANDARDS." THIS BILL WAS TRANSFORMED AT THE LAST MINUTE IN COMMITTEE OF CONFERENCE TO A FINAL VERSION WHICH ADDED COMPETENCY BASED EDUCATION TO STATE LAW WITHOUT A PUBLIC HEARING OR PROPER REVIEW OF THE BILL LANGUAGE.]
193-C:6 Assessment Required. Each year, a statewide assessment program designed to yield specific data to use in identifying and improving instruction and learning shall be administered in all school districts in the state
in 3 grades: an elementary grade, a middle or junior high grade, and a high school grade. in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school. If approved through a federal education waiver, the New Hampshire department of education shall further develop criteria for an application and approval process that will allow school districts to meet certain readiness criteria to participate in a local model of assessment and accountability. This process will allow approved districts to implement the statewide assessment only in selected grades as determined by the department and as identified in the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) pilot. 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. Nothing in this section shall preclude the use of a well established, curriculum-based college readiness examination of academic achievement, such as the College Board SAT as the high school assessment, where approved for federal accountability purposes.
[UPDATED IN 2007. CHAIRMAN RICK LADD'S FLOOR AMENDMENT (0806h) to HB 323. ]
193-C:7 Legislative Oversight Committee. An oversight committee shall be established consisting of:
I. The chairperson of the house education committee, or a designee.
II. The chairperson of the senate education committee, or a designee.
III. One member of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house.
IV. One member of the senate, appointed by the senate president.
V. One member of the house appropriations committee, appointed by the speaker of the house.
VI. One member of the senate finance executive committee, appointed by the senate president.
193-C:8 Duties of the Legislative Oversight Committee.
The oversight committee shall review the development and implementation of the program to ensure that they are in accordance with legislative policy. Implementation of the program shall be in conjunction with the committee's review.
The committee shall:
I. Review the development and implementation of the school performance and accountability program set forth in RSA 193-H to ensure compliance with state and federal law. Implementation of the program shall be in conjunction with the committee's review.
II. Review the provisions of RSA 193-H and submit a report of such review annually to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, the governor, and the chairpersons of the house and senate education committees.
III. Propose legislation that is needed as a result of the review of the progress and results of the policies implemented under this chapter and under RSA 193-H, including any changes necessitated by federal law.
IV. Confer with the commissioner and the state board of education to identify operational principles which should guide the work of the department of education in supporting improved school performance and accountability.
V. Analyze existing department of education programs and initiatives which support improved school performance and accountability.
VI. Receive reports from the commissioner regarding the status of public education in New Hampshire, updates on the improvement made by local school districts toward achieving satisfactory progress in statewide student performance under RSA 193-H:2 and status reports on the on-going issues and implications of school accountability at the state and federal level. Reports by the commissioner shall occur at least once annually or more frequently as needed, as determined by the committee and the commissioner.
VII. Review and approve statewide performance targets required under RSA 193-H:2 developed by the department of education and recommended to the legislative oversight committee by the state board of education.
VIII. Receive reports from the state board of education including rules recommended by the department to be adopted by the state board of education under RSA 541-A relative to statewide performance targets required under RSA 193-H:2. The legislative oversight committee shall propose legislation to be submitted to establish such statewide performance targets in state statute during the legislative session following the approval of any recommendations which the state board of education is required to make.
IX. Review the unique pupil identification system established in RSA 193-E:5 and propose legislation needed as a result of the review.
X. Review the implementation and results of the program relative to accountability for the opportunity for an adequate education established in RSA 193-E, consult and receive reports on such program, evaluate and review existing and emergent performance-based measurement tools, and propose legislation for improvements to the accountability program, as necessary.
[UPDATED IN 2004, 2009]
193-C:9 Local Education Improvement and Assessment Plan.
I. Each school district in New Hampshire is encouraged to develop a local education improvement and assessment plan which builds upon and complements the goals established for the program, including:
(a) Local assessment measures which focus on individual student performance.
(b) Participation in the program.
(c) The use of local and statewide assessment results to improve instruction and enhance student learning.
(d) Methods for reporting the results of all assessment measures.
II. This plan may be submitted to the department of education for review. The department shall provide technical assistance at the request of the school districts in developing and implementing these assessment plans.
III. In addition, local school districts are encouraged to submit to the department of education information relating to:
(a) Methods of instruction which have proven to be effective in helping students reach the state-developed standards.
(b) Methods of assessment which have proven to be effective in assessing what students know and are able to do.
IV. In accordance with RSA 21-N:6, VII, the department shall develop a system whereby such information can be collected, compiled, and disseminated to local school districts.
[REPEALED IN 2013 -- WHO CARES ABOUT LOCAL ASSESSMENT PLANS?]
193-C:10 Accessibility of Assessment Materials. – 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, including the questions asked, the pupil's answers, instructions or directions to the pupil, and other supplementary materials related or used to administer the pupil's 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 department of education shall make available released assessment items on the department's website as soon as possible after the statewide assessment results are released. 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.
Source. 1998, 290:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 2014, 219:1, eff. Sept. 12, 2014.
193-C:11 Anonymity of Pupil Assessment Results; Parental Authorization Required. – Individual pupil names or codes contained in the statewide assessment results, scores, or other evaluative materials shall be deleted for the purposes of records maintenance and storage of such results or scores at the department of education, unless a parent or legal guardian provides written authorization otherwise, or as required under federal law. Individual pupil results shall be made available to a parent, a legal guardian, or the pupil's school in accordance with the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g.
Source. 1998, 290:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.
290:3 Repeal. 1992, 289:58, relative to the oversight committee, is repealed.
290:4 Effective Date. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
Approved: "Enacted in accordance with Article 44, Pt. II, of the N.H.
Constitution, without signature of Governor, June 22, 1993.
Effective: June 22, 1993
LSR 93-0952 *
FISCAL NOTE for an act relative to the statewide education improvement and assessment program and making an appropriation therefor.
This bill, as amended by the Senate, appropriates $120,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 1993; $225,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 1994; and $675,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1995 from the general fund to the Department of Education for the purpose of funding the education improvement and assessment program under RSA 193-C.
A list of bills which established or amended RSA 193-C:
1993 Senate Bill 224
2003 House Bill 139
2009 House Bill 2
2010 House Bill 1689
2014 Senate Bill 343
2013 Senate Bill 48
2015 House Bill 323 Amendment 0806h
Current Members of the Legislative Oversight Committee:
Karen Umberger (R) - House
|John Reagan (R) - Senate
|Rick Ladd (R) - House (Chair)
||Gerald Little (R) - Senate
|Susan Ford (D) - House
||Nancy Stiles (R) - Senate