Tag Archives: high stakes assessments

Hiding Behind the Tests

Warriors Against the Core, with school back in session (or just about to be back in session), we know assessments are on everyone’s minds.

Tests, assessments, check-ups, quizzes, and whatever else these measurement tools are being called have been the bane of our educational system since Outcome Based Education via the Common Core State Standards rolled out.

We’ve read countless headlines, participated in numerous opt-out movements, held our children as they cried about these ‘wicked weapons’ used against them, and cursed the CCSS Machine for being so cruel.

So, what more could I possible share with you that might help our efforts to END the mindful abuse?

In digging through some ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) resources, I found an organization which has been researching not only assessments, but education in America for the past 100 years. That’s right, since 1916, our education has been studied by an organization not too far removed from the federal government.

**What follows is an in-depth look at one mammoth organization.

Enter, American Educational Research Association (AERA):

Website: http://www.aera.net/
From their “About Us” page, this excerpt, “founded in 1916, is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results.”

Look at bit further into who is involved with AERA and you will find a mixed bag of public-private groups, testing companies, non-profits, federal and state agencies, as well as international organizations. (see the rest: http://www.aera.net/About-AERA/Who-We-Are) (If you would like to see some of the AERA members and their accomplishments, see:
http://www.aera.net/Membership-Achievements) *Note, you need to not only look at the names but what these folks are doing in education. For example, Linda Darling-Hammond was among 3 educational women to be named as one of the 2015 “18 Women Everyone Should Know in K-12 Education”.

As far as the leadership behind AERA? Currently, the ties extend to the NSF (National Science Foundation, a huge CCSS/STEM supporter); The American Bar Foundation (yes, I have found CCSS ties to the American Bar Association); the University of PA; and the University of Michigan. In the recent past, the leadership has been from the Ford Foundation ( a huge CCSS, CTE, STEM financer). Even further back in the leadership, you will find Linda Darling-Hammond (1995-96), Harvard University ties (2000-2001), and a host of other universities we now know which have been a part of the CCSS Machine. Oh, and AERA has lots of SIGs (Special Interest Groups).

The programs AERA has? Those include educational research communications, advocacy, making sure any government legislation impacting education has their input (especially to preserve the scientific parts), professional development for educators, AND social justice issues. See: http://www.aera.net/About-AERA/Key-Programs

As far as AERA and the future of educational research? Here is an excerpt I found on their 2017 Annual Conference theme page, “As we begin AERA’s second century, the theme of the 2017 Annual Meeting is a call to examine these critical dimensions of educational opportunity and rigor in research as they pertain to the diversity of issues, populations, and contexts served in and by educational inquiry. These range from young children to their parents and families, from PreK-12 to postsecondary education and adult learning, from affluent districts to financially struggling schools, and from immigrant to low-income communities within urban and rural settings alike. They are studied in large datasets and in field studies, and through multiple methods, including qualitative approaches, experimental designs, and discourse analyses. They are investigated in both vastly different and complementary theories of learning, human development, literacy, sociolinguistics, and culture, and within different contexts. They are connected to race, language, and gender, and are embedded in systemic inequalities. Finally, they exist alongside enormous technological innovation, new approaches to studying diverse and historically underserved populations, refinement of existing methodologies, recurrent policy revisions, and the wide reach of global exchanges.” To see the rest (and you really should):
http://www.aera.net/Events-Meetings/Annual-Meeting

Bring on the Assessments Research!

Among the SIGs (Special Interest Groups), you will find the following organizations:
a) SIG #18, Classroom Assessments, their website: http://www.aera.net/SIG018/Classroom-Assessment-SIG-18 (Key contact, University at Albany – SUNY)

b) SIG #167, Cognition and Assessment, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG167/Cognition-and-Assessment-SIG-167 (Key contact, University of Georgia)

c) SIG #22, Computer and Internet Applications in Education, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG022/-Computer-and-Internet-Applications-in-Educ-SIG-22
(Key contact, the University of South Florida)

d) SIG #179, Data-Driven Decision Making in Education, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG179/Data-Driven-Decision-Making-in-Education-SIG-179
(Key contact, WestEd)

e) SIG #56, The John Dewey Project, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG056/Dewey-Studies-SIG-56

f) SIG #96, Inclusion & Accommodation in Educational Assessment, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG096/IAEA-SIG-96
(Key contact, Anne Davidson)

g) SIG #141, Large Scale Assessment, no website or contact information. The purpose, however, ‘To provide a forum for discussion of the status, issues, and concerns related to large-scale assessment, including practices and innovations in state assessment programs.’

h) SIG #63, Longitudinal Studies, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG063/Longitudinal-Studies-SIG-63
(Key Contact, CA State University, Los Angeles at Long Beach)

i) SIG #64, Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG064/Measurement-and-Assessment-in-Higher-Education-SIG-64
(Key contact, University of IL at Urbana-Champaign)

j) SIG #99, NAEP Studies, no website information. Key contact, the California Dept. of Education. However, the purpose is as follows, “To facilitate secondary analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress ongoing surveys regarding U.S. students knowledge, attitudes and experiences in diverse learning areas.”

k) SIG #83, Rasch Measurement, their website: http://www.raschsig.org/
(Key contact, University of Memphis)

l) SIG #90, Research on Evaluation, their website: http://www.aera.net/SIG090/Research-on-Evaluation-SIG-90
(Key contact, University of TX at El Paso)

m) SIG #151, Technology as an Agent of Change  in Teaching and Learning, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG151/SIG-By-Laws *Note: be sure to click on the “By-Laws” to see exactly what purpose this SIG is seeking to accomplish.
(Key contact, George Mason University)

n) SIG #72, Test Validity Research and Evaluation, their website:
http://www.aera.net/SIG072/Test-Validity-Research-and-Evaluation-SIG-72
(Key contact, University of Nebraska at Lincoln)

Warriors, I urge you to investigate AERA’s SIG list on your own. Why? Social emotional learning research, whole school reform research, workforce learning research, special needs education research, and so much more! See: http://www.aera.net/About-AERA/Member-Constituents/SIGs/SIG-Directory/First/A/Last/Z

So Are There CCSS Machine/ESSA Ties to AERA?

Absolutely! From an undated AERA Press Release, this excerpt, “Among the AERA members who contributed their research perspectives and expertise were Bridget Hamre, University of Virginia; Steve Hurlburt, American Institutes for Research; Steven Tozer, University of Illinois at Chicago; Mark Schneider, American Institutes for Research; Shaun Harper, University of Pennsylvania; Robert Balfanz, Johns Hopkins University; Gary Miron, Western Michigan University; Laura Perna, University of Pennsylvania; Michael Olivas, University of Houston Law Center; Yasmin Kafai, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education; Richard Ingersoll, University of Pennsylvania; Deborah Loewenberg Ball, University of Michigan; Anthony Bryk, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; and Bryan Hassel, Public Impact.”

What about all those universities? Aren’t they part of the CCSS Machine? Warriors, from my research I have been able to connect several colleges and universities across America as part of the CCSS Machine in one way or another.

I invite you to contribute any anti CCSS Warrior knowledge about ANY of the colleges/universities in this article. A simple way to see if an educational institution you suspect as tied to the CCSS Machine, is to get to their main website page (or, in the case of it being a university, go to their college of education’s main page). Type in ‘Common Core’ (or any of the code phrases you know are connected).

For example, my favorite college football team is from the University of GA (you saw them above in the SIG projects). In less than 1 minutes, I found almost 2,000 resources on GA’s main search page.

These public universities are perfect hiding places for the CCSS Machine to ‘improve’ the CCSS into the now famous CCR (College and Career Readiness); the “Next Generation”; the STEM to STEAM; the CTE (Career Tech Education), and on and on. Many privately funded educational post-secondary institutions are also in this mix. No educational offering should be considered safe anymore.

Remember, the public-private partnerships and their money grease the cogs in the CCSS Machine. It is our job to find as many wrenches to throw into those cogs!

To see what OTHER CCSS Machine member groups AERA works with, belongs to, contributes among: http://www.aera.net/Research-Policy-Advocacy/Coalition-Partners

To see AERA’s Position Paper on High Stakes Assessmentshttp://www.aera.net/About-AERA/AERA-Rules-Policies/Association-Policies/Position-Statement-on-High-Stakes-Testing
*Note, their position is based on a 2000 publication.

To see how AERA is supportive of the ESSA, AERA ESEA Rulemaking Comments
*Note: Much of AERA’s comments circle around the States and Title One. In the ESSA language, Title One is definitely tied to the assessments and these assessments are mandates from the Federal government.

Mentioned in the AERA comments is the “Common Rule”, to see what AERA is doing for the “Common Rule” for researching education (as well as their other research pet projects in the ESSA era), http://www.aera.net/Research-Policy-Advocacy/Issues-and-Initiatives

aeraessa

If you would like to see a recent AERA Research Report on how ‘great’ measuring non academic skills is and should be, see: http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/Recent-AERA-Research/Measurement-Matters-Assessing-Personal-Qualities-Other-Than-Cognitive-Ability-for-Educational-Purposes  *Note: be sure to delve into their OTHER recent research, you’ll need to see the alignment to the CCSS Machine.

Our last tie to the CCSS Machine? You had to know this Foundation would show up at some point:
The Gates Foundation, 2013, granted AERA $250,000.00. See the purpose of the grant: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2013/05/OPP1091034

Closing:

Anti CCSS/ESSA Warriors, there is plenty here to use as weapons of truth in our local fights. Use only what you need, share the other portions. It may seem a bit overwhelming, but when you divide a mammoth organization’s CCSS Machine ties among several like-minded Warriors, it makes light work.

We MUST use this information! Assessments, data mining, and using our educators and students as guinea pigs for research is unacceptable.

exittest

Advertisements

FTF: Loose Ends are Still Strings

ballofyarn

For today’s ‘From the Files’ article, we, those opposed to the overreach in education, will see if we can pick up any loose ends of strings the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Machine has left around the nation.

Could we make a ball of yarn with it? No doubt. Those backing the illegally based (now codified into law) education reform point to ‘no strings attached’, we need to not accept this fallacy quite so quickly. Why? Loose strings are not as loose as they appear. Somewhere connected to that loose string is a ball of yarn. What else is in the ball of yarn? Hidden programs, resources, funding, and MORE.

Loose End #1:

ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)  will return control to the States. This has been publicly proclaimed by Congress members, the mainstream media, and anyone willing to follow this loose end. However, many of those researching the ESSA, including myself have pointed out what pro CCSS/ESSA organization has the ball of yarn connected to this loose end. The U.S. Dept. of Education!! Pages of the ESSA Final Conference Report  (as well as the Final Law version) reveal the ball of yarn as well as the loose ends. “Pages 7, 85, 450, and 905 to see how the States will be under the Sec. of Ed’s thumb, for not only approval of State Ed plans, but getting the bucks to do so.”

To access my “ESSA National Control” Open Office Document (3 pages of where more loose ends of string will tie back to the big ball of yarn): ESSAnationalcontrol

If you would like the entire article this document was first featured in:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/warriors-guide-to-essa/

Related: States have begun, in earnest, to realign education (which also ties into the loose end of workforce) to fit ESSA. If you want to see what pro CCSS/ESSA groups have lined up to help extend the loose strings to make the ball of yarn bigger:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/essa-aligners/
As an example of how States are picking up those loose ends and extending them across our Nation, here is the press release the NC Dept. of Public Instruction about implementing ESSA. Below is the screen shot. In the caption is the link address.

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/newsroom/news/2015-16/20160406-01
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/newsroom/news/2015-16/20160406-01

Loose End #2:

An invitation to participate. If you haven’t expanded the screen shot above, you may not of seen the invitation so graciously extended to the ‘stakeholders’. This educratic buzzword is a favorite of those in the CCSS/ESSA mix who want to extend what appears to be a ‘string of cooperation’. However, the string is another loose end of the big ball of yarn. In this instance, the ESSA language itself. Because the Law is now the rule of the land and all the parameters/mandates embedded MUST be carried out, the cooperation from stakeholders is pretty much a posturing move. It is a move designed to have us think we can have a say in how education is run, but we really won’t. I am planning on attending one of these meetings to see if and how Delphi Method is used. If you are not sure what the Delphi Method is, here is an excerpt of how is was originally supposed to used, “The Delphi technique is a widely used and accepted method for gathering data from respondents within their domain of expertise. The technique is designed as a group communication process which aims to achieve a convergence of opinion on a specific real-world issue. The Delphi process has been used in various fields of study such as program planning, needs assessment, policy determination, and resource utilization to develop a full range of alternatives, explore or expose underlying assumptions, as well as correlate judgments on a topic spanning a wide range of disciplines.”

The CCSS/ESSA Machine likes to use this Method on parents..a lot. Just ask some anti CCSS Warriors who have publicly shared the meetings they attended under the guise of ‘we want your input to help us plan’. Oh, and here is a fun fact about  the Delphi Method, Rand Corporation is given credit for creating it. Rand Corp. is a big CCSS Machine member organization. See the rest of the Delphi Method Study:
http://pareonline.net/pdf/v12n10.pdf

Loose End #3:

Data and Refusing the Assessments. This is a rather big loose end for the CCSS/ESSA Machine to be dangling about, but shamelessly, it is. While I do support those parents who are choosing to protect their children by refusing the high stakes formative, summative, data tracking/mining assessments, we need to know that the ESSA will have MORE assessments, not LESS. We need to realize that almost $850 million dollars in earmarked in the ESSA for digital/technology based updates. This is where the assessments will be hidden! Huge ball of nasty yarn! What do I mean? One of my dear anti CCSS Warrior friends from Alaska granted me permission to share their loose strings and where the ball of yarn ended up. See: http://refusetheamp.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-rise-of-new-answers-while-amp-was.html
We Warriors must opt out of not only the assessments, but ANYTHING digital. This loose string portion of ESSA is a ball of yarn which will be used to knit a web of educational crimes against humanity.

Related:
My article detailing the digital yarns of ESSA:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/02/04/essa-and-digital-overload/

The 2015 article where I exposed the data yarn trails of SBAC, PARCC, and the Federal Learning Registry: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/monday-musings-assessments-data-mining/

The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s loose ends/balls of yarn are woven into the ESSA and the HEA (Higher Education Act). These are probably some of the most deceptive loose ends in the nation! See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/weekend-news-essas-untold-ties-to-hea/

Closing:

Yarn can be used to make many beautiful items. ESSA is not one of them. The CCSS Machine is using all its yarn to bind us up. Let’s be savvy. Let’s fight this. Let’s knot up the yarns as much as we can.

Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: CCSS Menu, Your Choice

applemenu

Warriors against Common Core, make no mistake, Common Core isn’t only going to be set in stone for the next 7 years IF the HR5 re-authorized bill headed up by Sen. Alexander is passed; it will also be set in stone IF the HEA re-authorized bill headed up by Sen. Alexander is passed, as well!!

Many warnings have been given over the past months–by others who’ve researched both bills and in my articles. I’ve researched the HEA one especially.

While HR5 is set to impact K-12 students, teachers, and their schools;  HEA’s Common Core tentacles will grasp all citizens no matter what educational choice they had in the past. This means if you were homeschooled, attended a private charter, or private faith-based school for K-12: Common Core via its adult version of Career and Technical Education (or Career Pathways, Career Clusters, American Apprenticeship Initiative, Workforce Training) will be there. This means if you just graduated from a public charter school, a public school of any kind, your introduction to Career and Technical Education (or the other names above) has already begun! This means that if  you’re hold a job which requires you to further your education via post-secondary education, Common Core will ensnare you, too! This means if you’re going back to school to begin a new chapter of life, Common Core is your ‘welcome back’ to class!

Both bills, HR5 and HEA contain data mining, high stakes assessments which encompass not only students, but the teachers, professors, and/or instructors.

Both bills are being sold to America as improvements for education. HR5 will give the states sovereignty again. HEA will save taxpayers money. Again, both of these points have been proven to be smoke in our eyes to blind us from the stark reality of what is really written in both bills! Both bills are the babies of not only Sen. Alexander, but a wide array of the CCSS Machine members–both public and private citizens and/or their corporations. Many hours by dedicated researchers have shared all of the above and even more tied to BOTH bills.

So, what can you do? Tell your Congress members to kill BOTH bills..not just one. Where one dies, the other can live on and be implemented even moreso in our laws. Don’t let the CCSS Machine continue to use the law to hide behind or be embedded in when Common Core (and all that goes with it) are ILLEGAL in the first place!

We don’t have time for emails, snail mails, we MUST call ASAP!
Call the United States Capitol switchboard at 1-202-224-3121.  The switchboard operator will connect you with the office you request. Call your Congress members, call the Congress members who don’t represent you. Call every single Congress member on the Education and Workforce Committees; the Education Appropriations Committees; the Early Education Committees; the Committees overseeing alternative education, special education. Make your voice be heard, Warriors..our country needs you..NOW! Remember, we’ve been given an educational menu of apples gone bad. We need a different menu for our students.

This upcoming week: Make D.C. tremble with the war cries of those opposed to the CCSS, CTE, Workforce agenda.
This upcoming week:
Make D.C. tremble with the war cries of those opposed to the CCSS/ CTE Workforce agenda.

WYBI: FEE’s CCSS ‘Opt Out’ Mocking

We know FEE loves CCSS, but to mock those choosing to opt out is truly in poor taste.
We know FEE loves CCSS, but to mock those choosing to opt out is truly in poor taste.

In today’s “Would You Believe It?” post I hope you will find yourselves fired up more than ever to see the backside of the Common Core Machine ASAP! I know I am!

What Started This:

If you haven’t already, click on the above screen shot to enlarge it. Did you find that shallow? Well, guess what? There’s even more shallowness and poor taste on the Foundation for Excellence in Education‘s blog entry from 3/9/15.

Known as the “EdFly Blog”, even the title of the article is mocking. “I Wish I Could Opt Out of Writing This” was written by a paid member of the FEE family. His remark about going ahead and writing or he wouldn’t get paid is offensive, frankly. Consider the millions of students who will receive absolutely NO payment whatsoever for having to suffer the assessments currently being given. Maybe he found all the recent citizen uprisings, students walk outs, and teacher refusals to be a bit too much.

The Mocking Continued:
The vein of the article continues that by parents choosing to opt their children out of these high stakes assessments, the kids are being taught a lesson of avoidance for anything unpleasant. To which he compares the assessments to colonoscopies or other things that could be called ‘necessary evils’.

My Comments:

What the author is blind to is that parents are teaching their kids to stand up for what’s wrong! It is wrong that Common Core high stakes assessments exist at all, Mr. Author. It is right for the citizens of the US to exercise their rights to protest. It is right for a student to not have to be over tested. It is right that teachers and parents expose the CCSS Machine for what it is! You can find my similar comments in response to the blog.

Your Comments:

So, would you care to comment to the blog entry? I hope you give it to FEE with all you have! To access the mocking, smarmy article:
http://excelined.org/2015/03/09/wish-opt-writing/

Read it all the way to the end and use the ‘response’ option. Help strike a blow to the CCSS supportive Foundation for Excellence in Education!

8-Ways-To-Fight-High-Stakes-Testing