Nathan Hale High School in Seattle says “No!” to the Common Core Standards SBAC test

The Common Core Standards associated Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium exam, the SBAC, will be implemented in March in the Seattle school district but this afternoon the Nathan Hale High School Senate, which functions as the Building Leadership Team typically made up of teachers, parents, staff and students, voted nearly unanimously not to administer the SBAC tests to 11th graders this year.

The Senate also recently voted not to administer the PSAT test to 10th graders at all in the future.

The reasons for refusing the SBAC for 11th graders included:

1. The SBAC is not required for graduation

2. Colleges will not use the SBAC this year

3. Since NCLB requires all students to pass the tests by 2014, and since few if any schools will be able to do that, all schools will therefore be considered failing by that standard. There is thus no reason to participate in erroneous and misapplied self-labeling.

4. It is neither a valid nor reliable nor equitable assessment. We will use classroom based assessments to guide our next instructional steps.

5. Cut scores of the SBAC reflect poor assessment strategy and will produce invalid and unreliable outcomes.

6. Students made the point: “Why waste time taking a test that is meaningless and that most of us will fail?”

7. The SBAC will tie up computer lab time for weeks.

8. The SBAC will take up time students need to work on classroom curriculum.

As a representative of Nathan Hale stated:

This is an important step. Nathan Hale High School is asserting its commitment to valid, reliable, equitable assessment. This decision is the result of community and parent meetings, careful study of research literature, knowledge of our students’ needs, commitment to excellence in their education, and adherence to the values and ideas of best-practice instruction.

And what was that the Seattle Times just said about the Common Core Standards? Oh yeah, State not joining revolt against Common Core learning model. Well, we know who butters their bread.

Dora Taylor

Seattle, one step ahead of the corporate brokers.

Also recommended,

School Superintendents (and Principals), stop harassing parents for opting their children out of the Common Core SBAC Test

23 thoughts on “Nathan Hale High School in Seattle says “No!” to the Common Core Standards SBAC test

  1. (No more “Reply” options given above)
    Thanks for the link — worked this time. :) What I’m reading is that come 2019, all assessments will be SB. But what’s not reflected are the recent changes I’ve just been told about. SB tests taken by this year’s sophomores and juniors ARE required in order to graduate. Am I missing something in the context of this letter than states otherwise? I would LOVE to know how to make this go away before next month’s testing begins. Thanks again!

    1. Annie, there is someone I know who has a student in high school and is opting out her student out of SBAC and has become very knowledgeable on the subject. Email me at and I will put you in touch with her.

      In the meantime, I will also find out the information and publish it on this blog.

    2. Annie,

      From a test coordinator at one of our Seattle high schools:

      “It is my understanding that your child does not have to sit for an SBAC this year. You can and should refuse that exam on behalf of your child. Your child can refuse the exam on his own, too.

      Your sophomore will take what is called the ELA, which replaces the HSPE. Should he/she receive a ‘passing mark,’ she/he will have met the graduation requirement for ELA and would not have to take the SBAC in his 11th grade year.”

      I am sure there will be more questions like this so I will create a SBAC FAQ in the left margin of this page for future reference.

      With an anticipated failure rate of 60% on the SBAC, it would be more than unfair to determine a student’s future based on SBAC numbers.


      1. I think I’m missing something. The PDF shows that the Class of 2017 & 2018 will have the ELA SB test in their junior year, therefore, it IS required sooner than 2019. And, as I’ve mentioned before, apparently there is a new change requiring 10th grade students to take the 11th grade assessment this year for data collection and then again in their 11th grade year. Both are required for graduation.

        Does anyone have documentation either showing proof of what I was told OR proof in the other direction? I am so confused and frustrated. Thanks in advance!

      1. Wonderful! But could you tell me what the difference is between SBAC and Smarter Balanced? I think that’s where I’m getting stuck.

    3. OK. Clarification, the SBAC is NOT a graduation requirement for this year’s 11th graders (Class of 2016), but the ELA component IS required for this year’s 10th graders (class of 2017). But if they don’t pass this year, they can take it next year.

      Also, there are 2 cut scores for the high school SBAC, to allow more kids to meet graduation requirements but we don’t know what the cut scores are or what students will be able to be in the group allowed a cut score.

      This reflects to me again, that state legislators should have nothing to do with education policy because they pass state laws not understanding the ramifications.

      The law needs to be repealed.


  2. Those corporate brokers are also the people who bought gun control Initiative 594 (Six billionaires donating $8 Million including Bill Gates who is fully supportive of Common Core). Glad you all see the light on Common Core. Take a close look at I-594 as well. Tomorrow is a telling day in the Washington State House of Representatives. Gun control advocates will be denying consideration of an I-594 repeal and pushing to have a means by which to circumvent your Constitutional right to own and bear arms and defend yourself. It’s all important for you to be aware of the details of what your government is doing. This is not conspiracy theory/politics. It is happening, history is taking place right now. Glad you caught this one and are making a stand.

  3. I applaud this school and its community for standing up for students! but I do wonder how they are able to not take the SBAC and still graduate? are the requirements different for the Class of 2016? thanks in advance for any help.

    1. SBAC is NOT required for graduation this year, it will be next year. It is only required for students who did not pass the OTHER state mandated test (HSBE) last year. For most school this is only 10% of the Junior class.

      1. Bad link. :( However, if what you have is correct (and I have no reason to doubt it) then OSPI is not sharing the same info. Here’s a link to the “Toolkit” last updated in December. And, keep in mind, I was just told at an Open House this week that more testing requirements have been added to the Class of 2017 and beyond, such as 10th Graders will need to take the 11th Grade ELA SBAC this year and again next year. This year is just for data … since they don’t have any. (page 9 for 2017)

      2. Try this link again. If it doesn’t work, I’ll save the doc to another link. It’s important to read the context.

        The memo was written to Nyland from Tolley after School Board member Sue Peters requested information on how many hours would be taken for students to take the required standardized test.

        The title of the memo is:
        Date: October 9, 2014
        To: Larry Nyland, Superintendent
        From: Michael F. Tolley, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning

    2. If you are not able to follow the link, I will be glad to send you a pdf of the document. You can contact me at

      It’s important to read the statement in context.

      If there is a conflict in terms of information being provided by SPS, we need to request clarification from the superintendent.


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