Tag Archives: EngageNY

S.O.S Assessments, Pt. 2

A couple of days ago, Warriors, I shared some news about the ESSA assessments.
Today’s article will give you some of the information and research you need to know in order to understand the name game that the CCSS Machine is playing with us.

A Hidden “Gem”:

Where we left off:  U.S. PIE and their team’s worthy efforts of exposing the deceptions surrounding the innovative moves in the works for testing our students.

Among some of the evidence revealed by that team of volunteer parents for U.S. PIE, was the use of the word ‘modular’ in the language describing the ‘innovations’ ESSA’s assessments are bringing us.
From page 6 of the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s Assessment document proposing all the assessment changes (http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/nprmassessementfedreg1b.pdf)

“We also note that, under part A of title I of the ESEA, as amended by the ESSA, States have the flexibility to use computer-adaptive statewide assessments, to administer a single summative statewide assessment, or to offer multiple statewide interim assessments during the course of the academic year that result in a single summative score and provides valid, reliable, and transparent information on student achievement (e.g., modular assessments).”
I urge you, if you haven’t seen this document, to read it. While the excerpt sounds like States will have some choices, they won’t.

Here are some synonyms for ‘modular’, see if you recognize any of them from CCSS Machine propaganda.




2010, An International Paper by ‘Educrats’:

Here’s a screen shot of the 7 page paper, notice the word ‘flexible’ in context with assessments. Notice the international influences for education.


So why did I use the word ‘educrat’ to describe the authors?

Prof. AL-Smadi is a “Google Scholar”. As we know, Google’s a huge CCSS Machine member organization.Visit his “Google Scholar” page and you’ll see tons of works/studies on assessments for students. (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=im_3CvwAAAAJ) Now, simply being a “Google Scholar” doesn’t make this professor an educrat. No, in my research, when folks willingly and knowingly work for or promote any part of the CCSS Machine, that qualifies them.

So, what else has Prof. AL_Smadi participated in? “Learning Layers”, a global career-clusters-like project. ‘Career Clusters’, by the way are a part of the CCSS Machine for students of all ages. It’s also a “7th Framework Programme”. What is blue blazes is THAT?!
“7th Framework Programme” was a part of the European Commission. CORDIS is where old “7th Framework Programme” projects are archived. (See: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/)

So, what’s the big deal? The Learning Layers project the Professor worked with is responsible for the “Learning Toolbox”. What’s the “Learning Toolbox”? A work-based education tool. See the “Learning Layers” blog: http://learning-layers.eu/news/

Now, Warriors, try an internet search on your own for ‘learning toolboxes’. See my example below,

Then, try a search for ‘digital learning toolboxes’. You’ll be sadly amazed.

What about the other professors? Prof. Guelt is also a cited Google Scholar. He, too, is deep into ‘adaptive’ assessments. See his Google Scholar page:
Prof. Guelt is also involved in Global Education/Learning, especially for engineering. See his website: http://www.iicm.tugraz.at/guetl

The last professor, Prof. Kannan, is a Google Scholar, too! His Google Scholar page:
His expertise is in data mining and human-to-computer-interaction. See:

The 7 page paper these 3 Scholars wrote discussed why 21st Century assessments via computer (e-assessing) was (is) such a promising field.

If you noticed in the screen shot of their work, ‘modular assessments’ was used. If you read the rest of the paper, you’ll see the separate domains of effectiveness, the alignment of the education and/or assessment standards to be used in these electronic tests, and MORE. http://www.ijcaonline.org/journal/number9/pxc387342.pdf


**If you still unsure how ‘modular assessing’ works, this simple definition for modular assessing, “A modular course is defined as a part of the main course that can stand alone. The topics are related and when combined with all other parts, become the entire course. Modular courses may not exist without the main course. Some modules may be self-paced. Classes may be offered as faculty lectures, on Web, using CDs, on campus, off campus, or a combination of all of the above with an exam at the end of each module. Modular courses run full term; modules may or may not run full term.”
I found this on the Oregon State University website,

**Remember, ESSA’s language mandates that all education, including assessments, must be streamlined to post-secondary readiness; that standards be aligned to what higher ed uses, SO by using ‘modular assessments’, it is easier to force alignment in testing/teaching.


A Stop in Cambridge:

From a report that appears to be from 2011,


Why pay attention to Cambridge’s findings?! Consider the global shift in education. Wherever education is, assessments will also be! Consider the American demise of shifting from one type of harmful assessing to another type.

What is interesting is that Cambridge found different students need different assessments. To see the 2005 Cambridge study of the Effects of Modularized Assessing:

So, how does ESSA propose to improve testing?!  “Innovative assessments”. The ‘innovation’, however, is MORE e-assessing, MORE data mining. How? Modular testing systems!


Warriors, if you aren’t sure how the international information ties into ESSA, see below:


Remember, those experts above have been working non-stop (so have scores of other CCSS Machine members) to make sure those modular assessments fit the requirements. Shamefully, Congress, the CCSS Machine, and others made sure this shift was embedded in ESSA.

Heading to New York:

By this time, I was gasping at all that was unfolding before my eyes. But, there’s more…. somehow in searching, this kept popping up: EngageNY. What you see below is a small sample of modular assessing.

If you would like to see the entire one page document for more modular/digital mess:
According to EngageNY, the source for the rubric is “Paul Bambrick-Santoyo’s Driven By Data: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction”.
This link will show you how many assessments schedules and resources are already in place for the modular/digital ‘innovative upgrades’:
**Consider this, while the schedules already in place are dated, they will only increase via ESSA, NOT decrease. You can be sure that Paul Bambrick-Santoyo and many others like him have already been tagged by the CCSS Machine to help with the innovative/modular assessing ESSA will deliver.

Who the heck is Bambrick-Santoyo anyway?! He’s with “UnCommon Schools”. But, that’s not all:

To see the Uncommon Schools website: http://www.uncommonschools.org/
To see the Relay/Leverage partners: http://www.relay.edu/about/partners

If you’d like to see Bambrick-Santoyo’s work for data mining, etc. I found his research at the University of IL. Just wait until you see the collection of research for digital assessments UofIL has.
See: http://education.illinoisstate.edu/search/?site=isu_collection&client=default_frontend&clientID=COE&as_sitesearch=education.illinoisstate.edu&output=xml_no_dtd&filter=p&oe=UTF8&q=data%20improve

While Bambrick-Santoyo didn’t contribute to this ESSA paper, you need to get this one. It is detailing the focus ESSA will put on school leaders, especially principals. Be sure to read it all, including the footnotes.

Related information:
The CA CORE Districts data driven assessment/modular information (circa 2013):
If you want to see how they are stepping in line with ESSA:

The latest on modular/digital assessing and ESSA from Learning Forward:

How classroom data could be used against those assessed:

From Data Quality Campaign (a huge CCSS Machine member organization), their ‘feel good’ data mining video:


If you haven’t contacted the U.S. Congress yet, please do! ESSA’s innovation is the ruin of our nation. Join the U.S. PIE’s Twitter Rally set for 9/12/16, from 7 pm to 9pm. Here’s the link: http://patriotjournalist.com/RTTT2Action.php?v=0&src=Schedule

Bonus: you can tweet anytime! Each tweet goes to the Congress by Chambers AND by ed/workforce committees!



WYBI Wednesday: Common Core Promises

This 'fertilizer' NOT suitable for any purpose known to mankind.
This ‘fertilizer’ NOT suitable for any purpose known to mankind.

How many times have we heard the educratic speech, promises, and goals of Common Core for our students? How many ways have we been bombarded with products specifically based on delivering on those promises? In 3 words, I can tell you (as you can tell me the same); TOO MANY TIMES! Why are so many still ‘buying into’ these promises when it has been shown the CCSS is NOT capable of delivering said promises for every student! Catalogs, magazines, and websites are now chock full of products and services promising to help your student meet the CCSS, AP, SAT, and other such criterion. Because all this tends to be hidden in plain sight (consider yourself lucky if something is actually labeled ‘meets CCSS’ or similar), we’ll spend today’s post looking at just a FEW of those products using the tactic of filling those promises (which are  so empty, they resemble the horse trailer in the above picture).

“Word Voyage”:

I first heard of this on-line product just a few months ago. As you can guess by the name, the product has to do with language. According to their pdf for Common Core alignment, it begins in 4th grade and extends to 12th grade. (see: http://wordvoyage.com/docs/cc_align.pdf) They also admit that there’s a ‘long term approach’ for those using the service to prepare for the skills needed for the SAT (also CCSS aligned). here’s an exerpt: “Word Voyage offers lifelong vocabulary learning that carries students through and beyond high-stakes tests. Because they have learned high-frequency roots, started early, and practiced frequently, Word Voyage students have the knowledge and the skills to grapple with the difficult vocabulary, challenging syntax and demanding writing of the SAT.” You’ll want to read the rest of the paper to see the 7 determining factors repetition is the way to best prepare for high stakes tests. http://wordvoyage.com/docs/rewindingandreinforcing.pdf 

By the way, doesn’t anyone remember the SAT was recently re-written to be not as hard as in years past?! (scores of groups have documented this. For example, http://www.politichicks.com/2014/03/dumbing-sat-match-common-core/)

Watch Word Voyage’s sales pitch. Listen for the rhetoric, buzz words, and promises made.

“Dragon Speech Voice Recognition Software”/Nuance Communications:

This one is especially ‘hot’ right now with Christmas a few weeks away. Maybe you’ve heard the radio ads. I know I have. Why in  just one commuting trip, the ad was played at least 3 times. This product is from “Nuance” (website: http://www.nuance.com/for-business/by-industry/education/dragon-education-solutions/index.htm) Officially, the company is ” Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) is a leading provider of voice and language solutions for businesses and consumers around the world. Its technologies, applications and services make the user experience more compelling by transforming the way people interact with devices and systems.” Per their 2014 Fiscal Year ending press release, “In fiscal 2014, Nuance reported GAAP revenue of $1,923.5 million, up 3.7% from $1,855.3 million in fiscal 2013.” {Note: GAAP means ‘generally accepted accounting principles’}

Here’s a short Nuance promo for the Software:

I’m sure you’re wondering why I have this in a post about CC aligned materials, after all the pretty lady didn’t say one word about Common Core OR education. However, let’s dig a bit deeper so you can see how it connects. According to Nuance’s own website they have a long list of education institutions they contract with and those that do not qualify. Among those institutions using Nuance (which will include not only Dragon software but others) are

  1. “Accredited* public or private primary, secondary, vocational or correspondence school providing full-time instruction for grades K-12 or a school district for such schools.
  2. Accredited* public or private university or college (including community, junior, scientific, technical or vocational college) that grants degrees requiring not less than the equivalent of two (2) years of full-time study.
  3. Administrative Offices & Boards of Education of Educational Institutions. Defined as (a) district, regional and state administrative offices of public Educational Institutions (b) administrative entities organized and operated exclusively for the administration of private Educational Institutions or (c) other state or local government entities nearly all of whose activities consist of administrative support, of a nature that advances academic learning, for public Educational Institutions.
  4. Government schools located in United States territories
  5. Home School Programs approved by Nuance in its sole discretion, which provide K-12 education to a student or students and is able to provide written proof that it a) belongs to a nationally recognized home schooling organization or b) is expressly recognized by a local school district as an acceptable alternative to an accredited or state recognized/approved education institution.
  6. Hospitals and Healthcare Systems that are wholly owned and operated by an accredited Educational Institution (see definitions above). “Wholly owned and operated” means that the Educational Institution is the sole owner of said hospital or health care system (including all of the organization’s assets) and the only entity exercising control over the hospital’s day-to-day operations.”

While searching I was able to find numerous school districts across the US either using Dragon in conjunction with the CC assessments (Like this document for the CT schools: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/student_assessment/practice_test/connecticut_ccss_aligned_practice_test_tem_4_11_2013_revised.pdf) to several Nuance company pdf files with specific CCSS work. No where will you see “Nuance” but you will see “EngageNY”. So why is it in the Nuance pdf section??(see: http://www.rcsdk8.org/ourpages/auto/2014/9/9/59700382/Module%201%20HW%20Answers.pdf) In searching I also saw Nuance in connection with Tulsa, OK schools, Belmount schools (not sure which state). Each time, however, you saw only the kinds of information like the CCSS work from NY above. No direct mention that I could find of Dragon or Nuance, yet they have the information. Did you notice in the CT document the number of places the data is shared with? We’ll have to keep each other updated on this group.

“Math Talk”: While researching this I found a website {here’s the link, but note that most of all the resources are either directly CCSS aligned or somehow connected to the CCSS: http://atclassroom.blogspot.com/2010/09/math-math-and-more-math.html} for those with special needs recommending “Math Talk” with relies on ‘Dragon’, when I clicked on the live link, this is what I found, http://www.mathtalk.com/products.htm This page highlights that the software isn’t cheap (around $900.00, that doesn’t include the price for “Dragon”), it also highlights the types of math, who has access (teachers/students). Here’s another You Tube that shows how “Math Talk” works with “Dragon”. When watching this almost 9 minute video, notice how much set up goes into being able to ‘practice math’ before the demo guy actually begins his math!

Can you imagine a student who’s young wading through this?! I can’t. It makes sense why so much of the CC rhetoric is pushing computer coding, etc. This is breeding such a dependence on computers!!

Other products, websites CCSS aligned:

See the 10 “Best Early Childhood CCSS apps”, http://www.earlychildhoodeducationzone.com/10-apps-for-common-core-standards/

As an example of how your school district may have the resources listed: Directly from the New York City Schools, all their CC aligned choices for in the classroom, http://schools.nyc.gov/documents/d75/technology/assistive/Common%20core%20apps.pdf

From the “Success for All” Common Core alignment report (“Success for All” is a non profit education reform group. They worked with Johns Hopkins University on this report. JHU developed the featured programs) See:

There are SO many other broken promises connected to CCSS. These products/services mentioned above are only making matters worse by supporting Standards that fail our students, not build them up. If you know of a product, service, or app that’s failing our students, please share them in your comments. Thank you.