Home > Uncategorized > The Rob Miller Rule?

The Rob Miller Rule?

December 8, 2014

In case you missed it, the Oklahoma State Department of Education has some proposed administrative rule changes posted to its website. Many of them are minor language changes, or instances of revision caused by legislation. One in particular caught my attention, however. Read it and see if you can guess why the proposed rule was written:

210:10-13-24. Oklahoma School Testing Program field test participation

At the direction of the State Department of Education, an Oklahoma public school district or charter school shall be required to participate in the field testing of assessments administered under the Oklahoma School Testing Program. No school district or charter school shall be exempt from the requirement to participate in field testing conducted under the authority of the State Board of Education for the purposes of developing or facilitating state assessments.

In 2013, if you’ll recall, a large contingency of parents in a school somewhere in the Tulsa area (I forget where) decided their students didn’t have to take field tests. Coincidentally, the testing company claimed it did not have enough usable data from the field test to give an operational 7th grade geography test the next year. More comedy ensued in 2013 when the SDE renamed the field tests item tryouts, which fooled no one. Then in 2014, the SDE exempted two entire districts (in the Tulsa area) from having to take field tests.

I love this. It’s like the SDE is saying, enough of the hijinks and shenanigans, Rob. Seriously, I expect every sentence of the proposed rule to end with a direct address. Below is my rewrite:

210:10-13-24. Oklahoma School Testing Program field test participation, Rob

At the direction of the State Department of Education, Rob, an Oklahoma public school district or charter school shall be required to participate in the field testing of assessments administered under the Oklahoma School Testing Program. No school district or charter school shall be exempt from the requirement to participate in field testing conducted under the authority of the State Board of Education for the purposes of developing or facilitating state assessments, Rob.

To be fair, the SDE has a non-Jenks Public Schools rationale for the new administrative rule. You can read their entire rule impact statement, but here are the first three points:

What is the purpose of the proposed rule?

The purpose of the proposed new rule at 210:10-13-24 is to articulate the statutory requirement, under 70 O.S. § 1210.505 et seq., for Oklahoma school districts to participate in field testing of assessments conducted under the Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTP). The rule codifies existing State Board of Education and State Department of Education policy, and ensures the validity and reliability of assessments through appropriate field testing.

What classes of persons will be affected by the proposed rule change and what classes of persons will bear the costs of the proposed rule change?

The proposed changes will affect public school students and teachers, public school districts and public schools, and charter schools. The agency does not anticipate any additional costs to result from the rule amendment.

What classes of persons will benefit from the proposed rule?

The proposed changes will benefit students and teachers as well as public school districts, public schools, and charter schools.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss the comedy of Janet Barresi and her legal staff when she’s gone. No amount of field testing will ensure the validity and reliability of our state tests. And no amount of testing – field or otherwise – will benefit public school students.

This rule, as often is the case, solves no problem. I don’t know of a school or district that refused to administer a test. Parents refused to have their students sit for tests, which is perfectly acceptable. We shouldn’t let those little details called facts get in the way though.

That’s our job.

The public comment period for the proposed administrative rule changes is open now and ends December 19. The full list of rule changes is available on the SDE website. Comments can be submitted by email.

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  1. December 9, 2014 at 4:47 am

    I was a little worried when I saw this title. LOL! I liked your rewrite of the statute!

    What the SDE fails to accept is that our school fully complied with the wording of this rule back in 2013. Again, the state is fully within their legal authority to hold schools and administrators accountable for compliance. On the other hand, they have ZERO authority over parents. If parents decide to opt their children out of field tests, there is not a damn thing the OSDE can do to force them. Nothing, Nada, Zip!

    For readers who have not seen this, the Oklahoma PTA also passed some new language this summer that specifically address testing and the use of field tests by the state. Among other things, the PTA resolves: (note the last two paragraphs)

    WHEREAS, ‘Field Tests’, which are given during or outside of the same testing window as all other required standardized tests, do not benefit the academic progress of Oklahoma public school students as the data from the test is not given to the student, teacher, parents, school or school district and,

    WHEREAS, Field Tests are used to develop further punitive high stakes exams that will be used to retain third grade children, keep eighth graders from obtaining future driving privileges, as well as withhold diplomas from high school seniors who have completed all other coursework required by the local school district, and

    WHEREAS, whether Field Tests will be used to determine the evaluation of teacher and school leader performance as well as school and district A-F grades remains unknown due to the lack of effective and open communication between the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the parents of Oklahoma, and

    WHEREAS, Field Tests will cause additional disruptions to computer based courses by requiring the exclusive use of the materials needed for learning, and

    WHEREAS, These tests are being given at our expense, with public, taxpayer dollars, so that a private corporation can turn around and sell their test product back to us at a profit, and

    WHEREAS, The Oklahoma State Department of Education has arbitrarily determined which districts will participate in the field tests, thereby skewing the results of overall testing outcomes and statistical validity by interfering in the random sampling.

    RESOLVED, that Oklahoma PTA objects to the mass administration of field tests.

    RESOLVED, that Oklahoma public school children should not be expected to conduct corporate research for CTB/McGraw Hill, Measured Progress, Pearson, or any other for profit testing company.

    I have heard rumors that the OSDE will be conducting a full field test for 8th grade writing at least. It will be interesting to see if parents follow through! All the rules in the world cannot stop if if they do.

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    • December 9, 2014 at 6:55 am

      I’m glad you liked it. I agree that remembering that JMS complied with all rules and regs (existing, proposed, and imagined) is the important part of the story. We wouldn’t be where we are today without parental involvement. The PTAs and PLACs of this state did as much, if not more, than we in the dreaded “education establishment” did.

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