Tag Archives: EDmentum

Assessment Quest, Parts 1 and 2

Part One

We, anti CCSS Warriors know how crafty the CCSS Machine is in playing word games with us. So, consider the names used (or variations) of names used in some of the CCSS Machine products, legislation, assessments, and anything else connected to it. For example, the ESSA, Every Student Succeeds Act is named as it is to SUGGEST positive results. However, we Warriors know, the Law actually means “Every Student Confined”. There are plenty more examples out there, but I want to look at the assessments in particular. Why? Again, the names the CCSS Machine has given each, points to success, but leads to alignment of epic proportions!

In previous researched articles, I have revealed for you how SpringBoard (which offers another service called Learning Walks to partner with schools for CCSS/Competency Based Education alignment) Plan, Aspire, WorkKeys, MAP, Skills Navigator,ProMetric, Certica, and TestWhiz all sound like great and positive assessments for your students, but are really purposed tools to force an aligned, globally competent worker. I know there are others, but you get the idea.

Other assessments with not so positive sounding names (but with the same purposed agenda tool results) are Iowa Assessments, Standford 10 , ETS, ERB, SBAC, PARCC, SAT, ACT, CLEP, College Board, and ASVAB.

One with a former not so positive sounding assessment is the GED, it has been rewritten and renamed to HiSET (High School Equivalency Test). Pearson Publishing has copyrighted the GED and aligned it with CCSS. See:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/09/the-big-problems-with-pearsons-new-ged-high-school-equivalency-test/

More recently I exposed the partnership between Act, Inc. and Envision. Act., Inc. provides the assessments for workforce based education paths (also known as competency based education) and Envision collects the data for global purposes. Envision has been successful in this alignment, I believe, because they have named the program involved with one that suggests positive, but hides the agenda. In case you missed this article about assessments and global data mining:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/envisioning-you/

One State Goes on a Quest:

Recently, one of my dearest friends and among the most dedicated anti CCSS/Fed Ed Warriors I know, contacted me. Karen lives in TN. She asked me if I had ever researched the Questar assessment.  Karen has researched some about Questar on her own. She knows the assessment is tied to IMS Global.  What I have found is below and follows up what Karen found. Knowing the ‘quest’ in the title suggests something positive, I found quite the opposite.


Questar:

Website: http://www.questarai.com/

questaracct

According the ‘About Us’ page on the Questar website, the company is at least 40 years old. Their slogan, “Bridging the Gap” seems to fit right in with the CCSS Machine agenda. This assessment provider (K-12 grades) is based in MN.
Among the leaders of Questar, is the President and CEO, Jamie Post Candee. Candee got her start in banking before shifting to education related jobs. If you look at her biography, you see she was formerly employed by PLATO Learning. PLATO Learning also has a former name, EDmentum. Included in her bio is this quote, “Jamie is the driving force behind Questar’s commitment to creating meaningful assessments that give educators the insights they need to fully prepare students for college or career.”

platoedI previously wrote about Edmendtum and a host of other assessment aligners in 2015.
See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/ftf-ascending-and-aligning/

Edmentum is tied to Providence Equity Partners, LLC. Please, read the above archived article. It has many twists and turns (much like a journey’s trail) but you need to see just how multi-strung these private groups are when it comes to education!

Back to Questar’s Leaders, the Chief Assessments Advisor? The Former U.S. Dept. of Education’s Standards and Assessments Director, Dr. Timothy VanSickle. (*Interesting note: in 2011, he was named as a CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers) Partner.) Also a Chief Assessments Advisor for Questar is Dr. Katie McClarty. McClarty was previously employed by none other than Pearson Publishing! Here’s how, “Before joining Questar, Katie served as the director for the Center for College & Career Success in Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network. Her signature work for the Center included the co-creation of a holistic college-readiness index for middle school students and the co-design and facilitation of standard-setting meetings and research projects for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Prior to directing the Center, she was the chief research scientist for the state of Texas general education assessment programs.”

Other leaders tied to the CCSS Machine are present as well. CCSS Machine organizations represented include eInstruction, ConnectEdU, AIR, Inc. (AIR stands for American Institutes for Research and are tied to SBAC assessments.), Advanced Systems in Measurement and Evaluation (now Measured Progress) and Data Recognition Corporation (Jim McMann). McMann was responsible for several States assessment contracts when he was with Data Recognition Corp.

Board members for Questar also have plenty of ties to the CCSS Machine. One huge one is
New Market Ventures Group. New Market has a portfolio where other educational companies are included. Here is a screen shot:

newmarket
To see the entire list of portfolio companies, http://newmarketsvp.com/portfolio-companies/
You also may be interested in New Market Venture’s recent news release about Graduation Alliance and ACT, Inc. partnering together for new career readiness certificates. (Also assessment based) See:
http://newmarketsvp.com/2016/04/18/graduation-alliances-diploma-program-expands-to-include-career-readiness-certification-through-collaboration-with-act/

You can see all the Questar leaders and Board Members information: 
Board: http://www.questarai.com/about-us/board-of-directors/
Leaders: http://www.questarai.com/about-us/leadership/

To see Questar Large Scale Assessments (where they take in entire States, school districts, etc.), click on their “Large Scale Assessment” tab.
(*Note: in Large Scale Assessments, there are 5 Steps. Be sure to look at each one. Every symbol more information about it when you click the symbol. For example, I clicked on the light bulb in Stage 2 (Assessment Design) and found all kinds of information on psychometric assessment.)
To see Questar Literacy Assessment (for Students), then click on their “District Literacy” tab.(*Note: This assessment is backed by the CCSSO. Remember, CCSSO owns half the CCSS Copyrights.)
You will want to access the research behind all these assessments. Questar’s White Papers on Assessments (includes Next Generation Assessments). That is in the “White Papers” tab (second row of tabs in blue font).

Part Two:
So Where is IMS Global?

Warriors, so far we have plenty of evidence for CCSS Machine allegiance from Questar. We have seen how these people are coming from one part of the agenda to other part. But how does this tie to Questar? How does this tie back to the ESSA? Let’s find out.

IMS Global is a Consortium for Digital Learning. Here is a screen shot illustrating their reach in education. A small bit of their history, “In 1995, IMS came into existence as a project (the Instructional Management System project) within the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative of EDUCAUSE. In 1999 IMS Global spun out of EDUCAUSE to become an independent non-profit organization.” (*Note: the ‘IMS’ stands for ‘Instructional Management System’)

imsglobal

From the 2015 Annual Report, IMS Global gloated about its integral part in Race to the Top Assessments. That’s just in the USA.
Other similar assessments are in other countries. (Page 10).
Also from Page 10, this excerpt which ties Questar directly to IMS Global,
“To further accelerate progress of the IMS e-Assessment Initiative, IMS formed the Executive Board on Assessment (EBA) to help remove the barriers to broader adoption of QTI and APIP. The EBA serves as an extension of the IMS Board of Directors and is open to all IMS Contributing Members, but requires an executive pledge to provide the leadership and resources needed to lead the market in charting the next phase of QTI and APIP standards to build strong end-to-end interoperability and accelerate standards compliance. Charter members included ACT, CITO, College voor Toetsen en Examens, ETS, Florida Virtual School, Houston ISD, McGraw-Hill Education, Measured Progress, Minnesota Department of Education, National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC), NWEA, Open Assessment Technologies, Pacific Metrics, PARCC, Questar Assessment, Smarter Balanced, and WIDA.”

To access the IMS Global Annual Report (2015)https://www.imsglobal.org/sites/default/files/2015annualReport.pdf
(*Note: Page 13 names all the assessments involved in digital education, names all the people involved, and names the Executive Board responsible for the EBA.)

I was able to find a 2002 research paper from IMS Global on defining these on-line credentials for global competency our education reform in pushing so hard to convert to. Known as a ‘RDCEO’ (Reuseable Definition of Competency or Educational Objective), these objectives are usually open-ended, loosely defined so that anywhere across the globe they can be user-friendly. They can be used over and over again, anywhere, by anyone.
You, as a Warrior Against the Core, simply must read the rest of this paper!
Access it: https://www.imsglobal.org/competencies/rdceov1p0/imsrdceo_infov1p0.html

You will also need to access and read the IMS Global 2015 Learning Impact Report. It is also key in the War Against the Core! Get it: 
https://www.imsglobal.org/sites/default/files/2015LearningImpactReport.pdf

If you want to see IMS Global’s K-20 Digital Badge program, Getting Smart (very CCSS Machine Supportive, in my opinion) published this write up:
http://gettingsmart.com/2015/04/mozilla-ims-team-up-for-badging/
(*Note: helping fund this K-20 Badge project is the MacArthur Foundation, a well known CCSS Machine member.)
All the other funders, backers are named. But the biggest take away is that this CBE (competency based education) shift will promote IMS Global as one of the biggest leaders in it in the world!

We still don’t see how IMS Global ties to ESSA. Below is a screen shot. It is from our dear Warriors, the “What Is Common Core?” Blog. Here is the link to their entire article. Note the highlighted portion of the picture.
 https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/this-is-the-moment-congress-we-are-watching-you-vote-and-we-know-whats-in-this-bill/

whatims
Among IMS Global Members: Pearson Publishing, Questar, PARCC, the Gates Foundation, and many more.

Related: EdUCause is tied to the CCSS Machine and really loves higher education. Here is my article about them from early 2015:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/tech-thursday-educauses-higher-education-project/

Since IMS Global is helping set the bar for digital standards, I thought you might like to see how ESSA has provided for each State to be digitally made over. See:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/essa-and-digital-overload/

Closing:

Warriors, this is a tremendous journey, I know. Please break it down as you need to. There is much here. For my friend Karen, I hope it is enough to help TN. While it appears IMS Global is set to be among those mastering digital education, at least we know the members of not only the CCSS Machine, but now the IMS Global contain many of the same groups/people. That makes our job of knowing where to look that much easier!

 

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FTF: Ascending and Aligning

Warriors Against the Common Core State Standards Initiative: You’ve heard of all the on-line aligned courses and schools out there full of all the CCSS/CTE/CCR you can stand. Among them are Blackboard and Ascend Learning. You may know about Blackboard‘s alignment to the CCSS Machine and agenda, but do you know about Ascend’s? Did you know they are the ‘children’ of the Providence Equity Partners, LLC??

This group has over $40 billion in capital..That's quite a bit of money to use for educational undermining.
This group has over $40 billion in capital..That’s quite a bit of money to use for educational undermining.

The Parent Company:

From Providence Equity Partners, LLC‘s “About Us” webpage, this group is not just about education. In fact, education isn’t even their main business venture! Their goal for all the industries they are investing in is simply industry experts building companies that are not only exceptional, but endure as well. Here in lies the rub: business, as I’ve said before (and have many other Anti CCSS Warriors) has NO PLACE  in turning education into business!! As we’ve seen before, this type of interaction between education and business doesn’t run education  properly, IT RUINS IT! Especially when you factor in the CCSS (Common Core State Standards), the CTE (Career Tech Education), the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), the STEaM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts,and Math), and CCR (College and Career Readiness), or any other acronym the CCSS Machine throws is.
If you’d like to see for yourselves, the rest of the PEP (Providence Equity Partners, LLC) is ‘about’, see: http://www.provequity.com/about

As we’ve also seen from the corporations, businesses which think they belong in the classrooms across America (and the world), PEP is also practicing good community involvement. Included in this aspect is social issues. What else? The environment, health care, safety, labor, and government. How is a company and mindset like this, how do they consider themselves successful? When all the ‘stakeholders’ are satisfied! Acting under the guidance of the UN Principals for responsible investing. See their community involvement guidelines: providenceabout

investprove

 

Ascend Learning, One of the “kids”:

This portion of Providence is a ‘private equity’ one. It is also stated that it is the ‘leading provider for on-line learning, especially in healthcare fields and other vocational based areas of work in America. To access the entire Ascend page, http://www.provequity.com/portfolio/ascend-learning

Ascend Learning is just one of the eight educational ‘private equities’ PEP holds the keys to. Here’s a screen shot of all 8. In case you cannot access the screen shot, the eight ‘kids’ are: Archipelago Learning, Ascend Learning, Blackboard, EDMC, ITT, PADI, Twenty Eighty, and Vector Learning.

privateedu

Ascend Learning is the main company for several health care based careers. To see each of the other companies Ascend Learning holds, visit: http://www.ascendlearning.com/companies/  Once there, you’ll notice nursing, assessments, and much more. The proof of alignment to CTE (Career Technical Education) can be found in a press release from 2014. Here’s an excerpt, “Ascend Learning, a leading provider of technology-based education solutions for healthcare and other vocational industries, today announced that Scott Hess has joined the company as vice president of Community Partnerships in the Career and Technical Education group. Hess will be responsible for helping state departments of education and school districts design, implement and assess career and technical education programs that ensure students are career- and college-ready. Hess also will oversee Ascend Learning’s professional development and services delivery, and will establish community partnerships among school districts, community colleges, employers and non-profit organizations.” To read the entire press release and see where Hess was ‘plucked’ from to work for Ascend, http://www.ascendlearning.com/news/hess-named-vp-of-community-partnerships-at-ascend-learning/

Another interesting ‘tidbit’ of information about Ascend Learning is directly from their website. It is the the fact that PhD staff are hired “who specialize in psychometrics and research foster and continuously improve rigorous assessments utilized to determine student outcomes and create new methods of learning.”


Archipelago, another ‘child’ of PEP:

Archipelago was purchased by PLATO Learning back in 2012 and is now known as “Edmentum”. Below is a screen shot of all their educational selections.

edmend

What evidence is there that Edmetum in CCSS aligned? What about CCR or CTE?  The company has an entire section available. Included will be the CCSS alignment proof, the Next Generation (state by state) Assessments, the Career Readiness proof, and the Career Technical Education proof. Access: http://www.edmentum.com/resources/white-papers

Directly from their website: “Edmentum offers a wide variety of innovative learning programs to empower 21st century teaching and learning.”

 

What About the other PEP ‘kids’?:

Vector Learning holds 2 other companies and is devoted to the construction and engineering career fields. Leading Vector is a board full of folks who are either tied to Ascend Learning or Harvard University (they partnered with Pearson Publishing to begin the “Pathways to Prosperity” movement that’s slam full of CCSS/CTE/CCR and Workforce agenda). There’s even one board member who sat on Microsoft’s Partner Advisory Council!
See the board members: http://www.vectorlearning.com/about-us/board-members.aspx
To access any of Vector’s ‘white papers’ you have to register with them first. Their CTE tie? McGraw Hill Publishing. Are there others, yes. Dupont is among them. Here’s a pdf file from their “RedVector” e-learning brand. (be sure to scroll through and see what the data warehouse holds). See: redvector

Twenty Eighty is geared for nothing but Workforce. PEP has this kid overseeing 11 other companies. See: http://www.twentyeighty.com/our-companies/

EDMC (Education Management Corporation) belonging to PEP is extremely interesting. Especially when you consider their purchasing partner (Goldman Sachs)! In a March (2006) press release, it stated that EDMC “is among the largest providers of private post-secondary education in North America, based on student enrollment and revenue. EDMC has 72 primary campus locations in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. EDMC’s education institutions offer a broad range of academic programs concentrated in the media arts, design, fashion, culinary arts, behavioral sciences, health sciences, education, information technology, legal studies and business fields, culminating in the award of associate’s through doctoral degrees. EDMC has provided career-oriented education for over 40 years.”  See the press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/education-management-corporation-announces-agreement-to-be-acquired-by-providence-equity-partners-and-goldman-sachs-capital-partners-for-43-per-share-in-34-billion-transaction-55239807.html In a 2014 press release the CCSS tie was revealed, “The company is now privately held and two of its new board members announced Tuesday are John Danielson, chairman and managing director of the Chartwell Hamilton Group LLC, a New York-based educational consulting firm; and Johnathan Harber, the founder of Schoolnet Inc., a firm that develops online learning solutions and helps schools implement learning standards, including Common Core.” See that release:
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/20150414/for-profit-school-firm-education-management-restructures

As for the others, I think you can see that each one is somehow tied to the CCSS Machine in some way. No matter if it’s “Common Core”, the workforce, or career tech education, on-line learning, or data mining.. Providence Equity Partners has an investment in it. I’ll be diving into the others I didn’t cover here, sometime in the future.

Warriors? Isn’t it time we boot business OUT of the classroom?!