Tag Archives: MAP

Digitally “Fried”

Warriors, we’ve heard plenty of CCSS Machine rhetoric about “Personalized Learning”. The CCSS Machine has taken a classic teaching tool and destroyed its true purpose.

The phrase has been bounced around SO much by the propaganda, the ‘objective’ studies and research, and all those profiting off the NEW rendition of Personalized Learning (PL) that most everyone has no clue as to what PL should truly be. Most only know it means a computer. Too much computer time/instruction means a ‘digitally fried’ student, a frustrated teacher, and a sold out state of existence.

So, before we get much further into how ‘digitally fried’ our nation has become, I want you to consider the ‘burning’ question you see below:

digitallyfried
*Note: While what you see above is NC specific, this is NOT a problem exclusive to the State. You will find similar in your State. We will be re-visiting the moves NC is making later. But first, a national view.

Classic PL:

Much like the tasty potatoes you order at a restaurant, you’ll notice there are choices. There are ‘classic’ fries (meaning cooked just right, a little salt, not too thin or thick cut), curly fries, seasoned fries, fries smothered in cheese, and other endless examples.

TRUE PL closely resembles the classic fries. How do I know? Ask a retired educator (The best people to ask  need to be over 40 or 50 years old). Look at a classical education model.

True PL plans show a lot of flexibility in both the teacher AND the student; a variety of teaching tools, styles, games to engage the student’s 5 senses or their whole body.

Today’s ‘digitally fried’ PL, uses agenda driven, watered down versions of plans, tools, and resources. Today’s PL hardly uses the student’s 5 senses/whole body.

Think about it from the fries example, lots of copy cat versions seeking to improve upon the classic order of fries, but not nearly as satisfying. Education is HARDLY the place for copy cat, failure embedded versions of what really works.

Ask a researcher or a child psychologist; look at the way in which some school desks have been redesigned. This picture (below)stated it was ideal for the kinesthetic  learner.

Well, which KIND of kinesthetic learner?! The student who needs to keep only their hands busy or the student who needs to move around, sit on their legs, or be able to turn around? As the mother of a kinesthetic learner, I can tell you, my child would not have liked this desk/bike at all. Why? Limited movement. Too much limited movement for some learners like this, stunts their thinking and will cause burn-out when it comes to completing assignments.

pedal-desks
Oh, and the cost of one of these desk/bikes? A single one can be over $1,000.00; One like these 4 seater? Almost $3,700.00! True PL can be accomplished at a fraction of this cost. Who foots the bill for ‘school improvements’ like what you see above? TAXPAYERS! With the way the current education laws are written, P3s (public private partnerships) will also be helping with ‘improvements’ like this. Think of it this way, they want to be the ultimate order of ‘loaded fries’ in your school. A whole lot of ‘eye appealing yumminess’ and a lot of ‘bad for you’ calories.

What does the U.S. Dept. of Ed say PL is?  That depends..do you want the PL for teachers, leaders, or students? See below:

ongoingassess
To find out more: http://tech.ed.gov/netp/assessment/
To continue our order or fries example, think 24/7 hours of nothing but AYCE (All You Can Eat).

CCSScondiments2

To find out about the “Future Ready” PL, see: http://tech.ed.gov/netp/

Dear Old NC:

Now that you see how the nation is serving up PL, just what is SO important I have to (once again) call out NC’s activities?! For starters, the CCSS Machine mouthpieces shouted ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) would free the States, mean less testing (assessments), and so forth. As research is proving in real time since ESSA’s passage, States are creating ways in which to appear like they are taking control of education, but when you look closely, you see the national agenda in the plans. How so? Look below:

repealpl
Before I share more, let me state for the record that I know some of our NC legislators personally. I know they absolutely hate the CCSS Machine and what it is doing to NC. I know you have legislators like this in your State. While not every legislator serving us will be a party to this kind of activity, there are countless others who either will or simply are not aware of how many strings are being put into place.

NC’s been in the news before for what looked like a repeal, but was in all honesty, a rebrand. That was when we supposedly repealed CCSS. Nope, the law which went into place was watered down to a name change. We had the chance to totally ditch the CCSS mustard and ketchup for our fries, and didn’t!

So what else does this ‘new’ Repeal-but-not-really Law do?
a) gives an illusion
b) will be taxpayer funded
c) to access the entire document from above: http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2015/Bills/House/HTML/H237V6.html
d) allows for retention of students from grade to grade
e) supposedly improves transition from elementary grades to middle school; middle to high school as defined by the NC State Board of Ed. Who heads our State Board of Ed? Dr. June Atkinson, State Superintendent AND President of the CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers)!
f) by repealing ‘personalized learning’ this Law opens the flood gates for ‘alternative assessments’.

What the State Board Says:

If your State Board of Ed is anything like NC’s, you are sick to no end of their selections they serve up when it comes to education. (Think rotten fries or spoiled potatoes..they stink!) Above, point E shifts the responsibility of defining PL from the lawmakers to the educators. While that is as it should be, the obvious fly in the room is that those serving as educators are sold out to the CCSS Machine’s agenda.

In a few days, our State Board will have a meeting (8/31 and 9/1). Among the topics?

reviseplnc

Included in the announcement of this topic was a supporting 22 page document. By removing the PL as it had been defined, the State Board listed ALL the ‘alternative assessments’ they used in conducting a survey of what works and what doesn’t. The actions the Board will take with PL’s ‘repeal’ or revision will more than likely be based on this survey!

In other words, a steady diet of ’24/7 loaded fries’ will continue!

You have to see this. Not only have these ‘spuds which are really duds’ been  24/7 assessing, most, if not all are DIGITAL!

By the State Board’s apparent direction, that means humongous data mining will CONTINUE.  ESSA and WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) increase this mining via State grants/incentives.

2016NCPLreport

To name a few for the K-3rd graders in English and Math: Dibels, iReady, Discovery Education,Dreambox, universal screening, performance monitoring, past performance, SchoolNet Benchmarks, and MAP.

For these students in their ‘success’ or ‘achievement’ measuring (remember, K-3rd graders): SAT Teams; teacher observations; outside entities like the Dept. of Social Service, law enforcement, etc.; below grade level activities; mental health involvement, and after-school programs.

You will find the same types of measuring students in grades 4th and 5th; 6th-8th; and 9th-12th. What I noticed is the K-3rd grade group has more than the others. When you consider ESSA embeds birth to 3rd overreach, this should have you ready to fry some spuds of your own.

If you’d like to listen in via an audio live link (8/31 and 9/1) to see what the NC State Board will do: http://stateboard.ncpublicschools.gov/live-audio-streaming

Closing:

What’s in your State’s PL activity? How many ‘cooks’ are in the education kitchen? How many ‘fryers’ are in State Legislative bodies? Do we really want to see America ‘digitally fried’ and marginalized?! After all this, I’m ready to launch a few potato rockets.

balloonburst

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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!

 

Weekend News: Training for Assessments, Pearson Style

We've seen it thousands of times in CCSS, CTE, CCR...assessment-mania!
We’ve seen it thousands of times in CCSS, CTE, CCR…assessment-mania!

Yes, anti CCSS Warriors, we know how toxic the CCSS aligned assessments are. We also know how life altering those CTE/CCR assessments are when it comes to laying out a career track our students our students are locked into. We also know how much Pearson Publishing is making off these assessments, which by the way are all the way from PreK to graduate school!

BUT, did you know there’s a training facility, led by Pearson, to groom educational leaders in all the latest FORMATIVE assessment moves? That, my fellow warriors, is the focus of the news for this weekend. The previously published articles I’ve written about the formative and summative assessments will be included (for background or review) at the end of this article.

The Assessment Training Institute:

As I’ve shared with you before, I get all kinds of invitations for educational webinars, conferences, and other related events. So, finding out about this upcoming formative assessment on-line leadership meeting (is to happen 11/17/15), is an example. I don’t buy into the hype, but what I look for is the group or groups hosting such pro CCSS rhetoric. So, when I searched the internet for the Assessment Training Institute, I wasn’t surprised to see “Pearson”, but would there be any other surprises I’d find? Let’s see….

The website: http://ati.pearson.com/
The target audience: teachers and school districts
The products/systems ‘chatted up’? MAP and Skills Navigator
The host expert: Richard J. Stiggins

How long has the Assessment Training Institute been around? Since 1992, according to the website. It was founded by Stiggins. The goal? “to help classroom teachers develop skills needed to gather accurate information about student achievement and to use the assessment process and its results effectively to improve achievement.”  They also spread their assessment knowledge…ATI consultants are practitioners with extensive experience implementing the principles of high-quality classroom assessment at the classroom, school, district, and university levels.”
If you’d like to learn the whom the other experts are and the goals related to student assessments ATI has, visit: http://ati.pearson.com/about-ati/

Before we move on to the assessments themselves, you will definitely want the posters ATI offers teachers and others who are using assessments on our students. The first one contains the 7 reasons using assessments for students is a good thing: ATI_poster_7SAL  The second one is all about the qualities of formative assessments: ATI_poster_KeysQCA

Be sure you look at the ATI’s professional papers, especially this one which ties the assessments to the CASL (Classroom Assessment for Student Learning) to the JCSEE (Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evalutation). Why would I point you to this particular paper? I’ve shared with you previously just how toxically aligned JCSEE is to the CCSS Machine! (see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/ftf-create-they-know-your-school-do-you-know-them/)
To access the CASL/JCSEE paper: JCSEE Student Eval Practices Symp Paper 2009


So, What’s a MAP? What’s the Skills Navigator?

MAP stands for ‘Measure of Academic Progress’. I found a great FAQ MAP pdf from a school district in Maryland which spells out what MAPs do, what students receive the assessment, and more. See: mapfaq

This school district didn’t create the MAP, nor did ATI, just what group did? The NWEA. The NWEA stands for “North West Evaluation Association”. What’s interesting is that the intended purpose of using MAP was to REDUCE the amount of assessments. I was able to track down a pdf from a Connecticut school district where they revealed MAPs have been used for a number of years. Here’s an excerpt from that pdf: “A main motivation in adopting MAP is actually to reduce the amount of testing. There is no reason to gather the same student performance information from multiple sources—we don’t need three or four reading comprehension measures if one provides enough actionable and reliable information.” You might be interested in what else this CT school district’s document shares. See: CTMAP

So, on to NWEA, we go! Their website: https://www.nwea.org/
Here’s a screen shot you need to see:

Creators of not only, MAP, but Skills Navigator and CPAA (Children's Progress Academic Assessment)
Creators of not only, MAP, but Skills Navigator and CPAA (Children’s Progress Academic Assessment).

You should check out their business partners: https://www.nwea.org/business-alliances/
NWEA is a global, not for profit organization. From the NWEA’s “About Us” page, you can see USA school leaders extol the virtues of the MAP. Visit: https://www.nwea.org/about/, then scroll down until you see the embedded video (it is 2:50 minutes). To see the group’s history and learn who the founders are: https://www.nwea.org/about/history/
If you are like me, you may want to know who funds the NWEA. I was able to find the Gates Foundation’s recent grant to NWEA for the Next Generation System Initiative.
To see the grant: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2015/09/OPP1135897
To see what the Next Generation System Initiative is, first see the screen shot below, then access the entire press release by using the website address provided:

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2011/01/Next-Generation-Learning-Challenges-Seeks-Promising-Tools-That-Can-Help-Students-Get-Ready-For-College
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2011/01/Next-Generation-Learning-Challenges-Seeks-Promising-Tools-That-Can-Help-Students-Get-Ready-For-College

To see NWEA’s information on the Skills Navigatorhttps://www.nwea.org/assessments/skills-navigator/
To see NWEA’s alignment to the CCSS and other ‘state led’ standards: https://www.nwea.org/assessments/standards-alignment/

Did you know the NWEA has a Growth Research Database? Yes, according to a 2009 NWEA press release celebrating the state of South Carolina’s alignment of MAP to state standards, NWEA does indeed have one. Here is an excerpt:NWEA delivers computerized assessment services to more than 3,400 education agencies and approximately 4 million students. Additionally, its Growth Research Database, the most extensive collection of student growth data in the country, provides a rich source for the study of academic achievement.’ Below is a Growth Data infograph chart. In my research, and from other’s against CCSS, we know this infograph is misleading, and on purpose!

https://www.nwea.org/resources/growth-assessment-data-infographic/
https://www.nwea.org/resources/growth-assessment-data-infographic/

While the NWEA has recently updated their website and the Growth Research Database isn’t as easy to find as it once was, I did find a 2006 NWEA report geared toward the use of the GRD to show the skills and achievement gaps in education. Here’s a quote you might find revealing,Northwest Evaluation Association’s (NWEA) Growth Research Database (GRD) one of the most expansive repositories of longitudinal data on student growth in the country. The database comprises data of interest to education researchers, including assessment data gathered from NWEA member districts. These data provide a detailed look at academic growth, and aggregated proficiency levels. In addition, the tests from which the data are derived are more sensitive for low-and high-performing students, giving a more accurate picture of achievement.’ To see the entire report: https://www.nwea.org/content/uploads/2009/08/409_AchivGapStudyFinallowres_111006a.pdf

To see the other NWEA research (which details many subjects about CCSS) resources: https://www.nwea.org/resource/type/research-report/
(*Note: if you look all over the NWEA site, you can find the MAP ties to SBAC and PARCC!)

Now, knowing  all this, combine it with the data mining Pearson has going on not only our students, but our teachers as well. It doesn’t take much to see how Pearson’s ATI and NWEA are working together. However, is there proof? Let’s see.

On page 10 of the NWEA’s 2015 publication, Assessment Integrity E-book, you can find  Pearson’s ATI, not by name, but by the founder’s name (Stiggins) of ATI and other ATI associates!  This E-book is slam full of all kinds of CCSS aligned programs, measurements, and ‘supportive research’. You will want to pour over this document with a fine tooth comb. Get it: NWEA-Assessment-Integrity-eBook

Another place you can find both Pearson and NWEA working together: The CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers)

Related articles:

https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/ftf-tuesday-comprehending-assessments/

https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/sic-em-saturday-when-your-faith-based-school-uses-ccss-assessments/

https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/monday-musings-purposed-embedding-for-the-core/

https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/wybi-wednesday-assess-obsess-then-assess-again/

Weekend News: Heads Up, Higher Ed CTE Update

headdown

This Weekend News is an update to the continued Common Core/Career Tech Education/Aligned Apprentices efforts our post secondary students are facing. What can we do to fight this? How can we inform others? Read on, my fighters!!

A White House “Fact Sheet”:

Dated September 9th, 2015, this news release gives us several key pieces to the continued alignment of our students. We know this is part of the ‘cradle to career’ agenda so prevalent in the CCSS Initiative. What is stunning, is that the White House continues to promote these efforts.
WHfactsSo, what are the ‘key pieces’? Here’s my list:
1) “Education and job training are among the surest pathways to the middle class.” (The old school ‘American Dream’ wasn’t middle class, it was MUCH bigger)
2) “President, the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and Secretary Arne Duncan will travel across the country in the coming days to highlight the need for affordable, quality career and education choices..” (in my past articles, I have shared how the Vice President was tasked by the President to come up with Workforce/Education ideas)
3) “President will announce new steps to expand apprenticeships and to continue to build momentum nationwide to make community college free for responsible students.” (in past articles, I’ve shared with you how the nation’s community colleges are already CCSS/CTE aligned)
4) Specific agenda items the “Touring Team” will promote:
a) Dept. of Labor grants “Grants to 46 public-private partnerships marrying the efforts of employers, organized labor, non-profits, local governments, and educational institutions to expand high-quality apprenticeships.”
b)  “independent creation of the College Promise Advisory Board, led by Chair Dr. Jill Biden, and Vice-Chair former Wyoming Governor Jim Geringer and directed by former Under Secretary of Education, Martha Kanter.”
c) “Heads Up America will call on everyone to join the movement to make two years of community college free for responsible students around the country.”
d) Those “American Apprenticeship Grants “ will help train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries as diverse as health care, IT, and advanced manufacturing while scaling up proven programs in construction, transportation, and energy over the next five years.”
e) “Over 140 employers, colleges, and labor organizations have signed on to be ApprenticeshipUSA LEADERS (Leaders of Excellence in Apprenticeship Development, Education and Research) by expanding their own training programs and encouraging their peers to get on board.” 

To summarize the rest of the news release, it is basically affirming that the White House is over-stepping its authority again, blaming Congress for not being supportive enough when it comes to WIOA (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act). It is also revealing the massive amounts of money, the number of citizens to be involved in MORE career pathways for life.

The College Promise Advisory Board:

Helping the efforts of ‘free’ community colleges will be the following:
Walther Bumphus (American Association of Community Colleges) I exposed his ties to CCSS/CTE in my 2 part series: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/wybi-upskilling-america-part-1/  AND https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/tech-thursday-upskilling-america-part-2/
Lily Garcia(NEA), Randi Weingarten(AFT), LaVerne Srinivasan (Carnegie Corp.), Ellen Alberding (Joyce Foundation), and Randy Boyd (TN Economic and Community Development). There are many others, but these individuals above are well known CCSS/CTE/CCR supporters. (you can see the entire list by accessing the news release’s link)

Those 46 P3s:

The grants are broken down by regions across the USA. In the Northeast, MA, NY, CT, RI, and VT were the ‘winners’. The bulk of the grants appear to be workforce education, outcome based education, or economic based. Some of the programs include The United Way, various department of labor current activities, and more. In the South, SC, GA, AR, TX, and FL ‘won’ money. Money awarded in these states appears to be ’21st Century Initiative’, ‘compressed education’, economic, and workforce based. Mid-Atlantic ‘winners’ are WV, MD, DC, VA, and PA. Their money will be devoted to all kinds of apprenticeships, including a grant to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters! The Mid-West states getting grants are IL, MI, MN, and WI. Illinois received the bulk of the grants. Among the apprenticeships, workforce, education alignment, you’ll find STEM and MAP+ (MI). In the West, HI, CA, OR, NM, WA, NV, and AK will get the big bucks. It appears the bulk of the money will be for either community wide efforts (including community colleges).

Each grantee will have a specific dollar amount, what organizations will benefit by receiving the money and what purpose the money will serve. All kinds of ethnic groups, special needs, and much more are included. The grant information can be accessed:
americanapprenticeshipinitiativegrantsawardsummaries

“Heads Up”:
This website gives us only two choices 'yes' and 'maybe'.

This website gives us only two choices ‘yes’ and ‘maybe’.

This website is so full of agenda driven motives it isn’t funny. For example in the ‘toolkit’, you’ll find ‘willing to work for it’ defined. Part of the definition? Good grades, credits that will follow you, and a commitment to serve your town. As an example of the ‘service’ TN is featured. “Required community service” there when you get ‘free community college’.
“Heads Up” is being called a nation wide grassroots activity. They’ve got a Twitter account (#HeadsUp) The group is really pushing for everyone to get on board with the program, too. One of the ways is to embed their website or Twitter handle in every communication you have access to. Here’s a quote, “Spread the word through social media and by organizing events on your campus and in your community! Think creatively about ways you can make a lasting impact. Every time you spread the word, use our official hashtag ..Make sure you keep an eye on all @Comm_College, @CCTrustees, @AchieveTheDream, @WhiteHouse and @ScholAmerica social media accounts for the latest campaign updates and progress as well. And spread the good news. Let’s do this!”

Here’s the ‘toolkit’, wait until you open to to see how ‘grassroots’ this really isn’t. HeadsUpAmerica_toolkit

The White House Press Release: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/09/fact-sheet-providing-more-americans-affordable-access-education-and-job

One last quote from the news releaseThe Administration has also undertaken efforts to better align community college programs to in-demand jobs.”


Resources:

 To access my articles about the Vice President’s role in aligning America to CTE, Apprentices, and more: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/tech-thursday-career-pathways-meet-competency-based-pathways/ (*Note: this article will link you to two other articles about the VP, CCSS, CTE, and Achieve.)

To access the article about those “Aligned Apprentices”, see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/tech-thursday-aligned-apprentices/

To see how all this ties to the current NCLB (No Child Left Behind) re-authorization bills (HR5, The Student Success Act and the S1177, Every Child Achieves Act), read:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/sic-em-saturday-ccss-menu-your-choice/

Monday Musings: Purposed Embedding for the Core

Oh, the things I find in my email.
Oh, the things I find in my email.

Going through my email a couple of days ago, I opened this ‘lovely gem’. It’s all about how I can learn to purposefully embed formative assessments in my classroom.  While many anti CCSS warriors AND pro CCSS supporters have tackled formative assessments, we still are seeing new resources everyday geared to help us shine in the CCSS spotlight. What a crock. My hard earned money to pay for a book to teach me how to align my students. Let’s see what else we can find out. Join me as I ponder over assessments.

One Co-Author:

Pictured above is Dr. Dylan William. If you don’t know his name in education. That’s okay. I didn’t really either. I can tell you he’s got a great British accent. I can tell you he’s been in education for over 30 years. You can ‘google’ him and find out all kinds of CCSS related things he’s done. For example, “Education Week” writer Mr. Hess had an article back in 2014 about the 5 non signers of the CCSS validation committee. Dr. William was one of the five. However, his love for CCSS is ever present. See this excerpt, “In any event, one of the more interesting responses I received was from my friend Dylan William, emeritus professor of educational assessment at the Institute of Education, University of London; former senior research director at ETS; and author of Embedded Formative Assessment. Dylan was one of the 29 members of the Common Core Validation Committee and one of the five who refused to sign off on the standards. I asked if I could share his note, and Dylan gave his okay. It’s worth noting that Dylan remains bullish on the Common Core. He writes, “To re-iterate, I think the Common Core State Standards are our best shot at creating an education system that meets the challenges of the 21st century. I am frankly appalled at the level of much of the debate, so if you think this can help, by all means share it.” ” To see the rest of the article,

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2014/09/common_core_validation_committee_non-signer_dylan_wiliam_shares_thoughts.html (*Note: ETS stands for Educational Testing Service. I’ve written about ETS as recently as yesterday. See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/rmt-why-is-the-deck-still-being-stacked-to-serve-ccss/)

From back in his days at ETS, I did find a speech he gave to during the Salzburg Global Seminar back in 2011. Conference Theme? “Optimizing Talent: Closing Educational and Social Mobility Gaps Worldwide”. Dr. William’s full speech? “How Do We Prepare Students for a World We Can’t Imagine?” I found the document in Dropbox form, but I encourage you to access it for yourselves. It’s important you read and discern for yourselves what was shared. I’ll give you a hint however, his abstract paragraph opens with words to the effect of educational achievement is any given country’s economic detriment.  I urge you to access the 2011 version, then compare it to the 2014 version. Optimizing-Talent-20140829

If you’d like ETS’s short version of the 2011 speech, see their 2012 publication: optimizeded

NWEA:
A little more snooping on the internet and I found Dr. William on the NWEA‘s website (Northwest Evaluation Association). Based off the 5 ways William states that formative assessing should be embedded, is a blog article that you’ll need to read to believe. Especially the embedded video. The narrator of the video shares a huge nugget of information for us as CCSS warriors. He states that IF the kids score higher, get better jobs, the taxes generated off this successful students would pay the entire K-12 public school system’s needs for the next 30 years! See the blog AND definitely watch the video: https://www.nwea.org/blog/2013/using-formative-assessment-to-build-school-and-teacher-leadership/ 

(*Note: If you’re a bit curious about NWEA, be sure to check out their website: http://www.nwea.org  Maybe you’ve heard of their best product “MAP” (Measures of Academic Progress), which is used is both PARCC and SBAC. See: https://www.nwea.org/?s=MAP

You might also be interested in this 2011 article about NWEA which shared how NWEA is funded. See: http://www.oregonbusiness.com/articles/99-may-2011/5177-educational-nonprofit-makes-software-for-schools?start=1 )

Hawker Brownlow Education:

This company is a privately owned one in Australia and featured Dr. William back in 2013 where he extolled the virtues of formative assessing. Now, don’t get me wrong. When taken away from CCSS alignment, I believe formative assessing CAN help our education. But herein lies the “Catch 22”, no one in the assessing business seems capable of NOT aligning to CCSS, or to College/Career Readiness Standards, Next Gen Standards, and on and on. So, does HBE have ties to CCSS? Let’s see…

From Down Under, more CCSS alignment.
From Down Under, more CCSS alignment.

To see their video featuring Dr. William:

HBE also partners with  the Marzano Institute. If you’ve not heard of them, you will know about this group in a few minutes.

Marzano Institute:

Based in America, but with global outreach capacities. Also head of the RISC (Re-inventing Schools Coalition). Before we get to RISC, however, my Texan friends will most likely tie Marzano to CSCOPE. Their not “CCSS” but yes, it really is CCSS nightmare. Here’s an excerpt I found on The Blaze’s website, “But while the groups to which CSCOPE appears relatively beholden may sound alarms for critics, the actual researchers CSCOPE credits with providing the basis for its curriculum seem to be formidable industry veterans by and large. Those educators include Robert Marzano, Fenwick English, John Crain, Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe, H. Lynn Erickson, and James Barufaldi.” (see the entire article: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/07/cscope-exposing-the-nations-most-controversial-public-school-curriculum-system/) You’ll probably want to read the 2013 article Freedom Outpost/Charlotte Iserbyt’s published article  as to how they described Dr. Marzano’s take on education. See: http://freedomoutpost.com/2013/06/school-choicecharters-will-kill-private-education/

To read Dr. Marzano’s own words, see his article on the (Gates Foundation funded) ASCD website: http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/dec93/vol51/num04/When-Two-Worldviews-Collide.aspx

To see Marzano’s CC publications,

More Core for sale!
More Core for sale!

RISC (Re-Inventing Schools Coalition):

Their website: http://www.reinventingschools.org/

Right off the bat, at this website, I was greeted with the “Acheive, Inc.” logo. This won’t take long to find the CCSS tie, now will it? You’ll want to see all the groups who are partnering in the RISC project. Access the information:

 http://www.reinventingschools.org/about/affiliates/

In their own words, a chart to continue the outcome based type of education that doesn’t honor our students as much as it rates them on performance.

Nothing says OBE quite like 'perform, perform, perform!'
Nothing says OBE quite like ‘perform, perform, perform!’

In case you didn’t blow up the screen shot above, the web address to see more about how our schools are being re-invented: http://www.reinventingschools.org/about/the-risc-approach-to-schooling/ 

If you hurry, you can learn about the upcoming RISC/CCSS alignment package! It’s set to be in our faces by 2016. See: http://www.reinventingschools.org/services/common-core-proficiency-scalesassessment-package-2/

Closing:
SO much purposed embedding! Have you noticed a theme among the different people, groups, and organizations? I sure did. Economy, taxes, performance. UGH! What happened to real education?! As long as powerful people like this with very global agendas that are frankly un-American, we will need to sharpen our efforts to remain a land of free thinkers.

 

Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: When Your Faith Based School Uses CCSS Assessments

It's one thing when your student's school has no choice about aligning to Common Core, it's a whole other issue when the choice is made TO align on purpose.
It’s one thing when your student’s school has no choice about aligning to Common Core, it’s a whole other issue when the choice is made TO align on purpose.

A few months ago I was chatting via Facebook with a parent of 2 children enrolled in a particular faith-based school. She had contacted me to find out how to discover where the Common Core Standard ties were hiding. What tipped her off? Homework!

“Sara’s” Story:

To protect my long-distance, anti Common Core mom, I’ll refer to her as “Sara”. Sara lives on the other side of the USA from me. She’d read a post I’d written and felt confident I could help her out. Sara told me that previously her children had been in another school that wasn’t faith-based but full of Common Core. After much soul searching and discussion, Sara and her husband made the sacrifice to put both children in this highly recommended faith-based school. Their house of worship’s leadership team was the one suggesting the move.  By the time Sara messaged me, the children had been there about 6 months. Thankfully, both Sara and her husband had had “The Talk” with the kids. No, not the coming-of-age talk, but the Common Core talk. What to look for on the pages of their books or what assessments, etc. Thanks to great communication, the kids were able to tell their parents when things went ‘to pot’.

Sara was livid. Her husband was ready to tear those leaders apart. After asking a few questions Sara didn’t mind answering, it was discovered that not only had the worship leadership team given this school a great thumbs up, but the school, itself, had assured ALL the parents, including Sara and her husband ‘that ABSOLUTELY NO Common Core was in their school’. Now distraught, she asks me if I can find the connections. After getting the website of the school and looking through some of the related web pages, I found the connections. I’ll share in the action items how you, too can spot connections IF you suspect them.

Willfully Choosing Common Core:

By now, you’ve probably heard reasoning like this from parents around you:

“I might as well have them attend XYZ, they’re bound to have CCSS anyway.”

“So what, the school said…”

“I have to have my kids get CCSS, if I don’t they’ll not be ready for college!”

“If they don’t get CCSS, how can we score well on the assessment?”

If you’ve not heard these , count your blessings. I’ve heard not only these statements, but others that have caused me great sadness and puzzlement.

The reason I share these trains of thought with you is while these are from parents, I think the statements can help us to TRY to understand why an entire school, especially faith-based would exercise some of the very same attitudes.

Is it truly possible to have education anymore WITHOUT Common Core? While I cannot answer that question outright, I can tell you that I believe if we are very careful in our discernment, we can be CCSS free.

However, no matter where our students attend Pre K through 12th grades, as long as Common Core lurks in post-secondary schools and is being hidden in Workforce training, it’s going to be a work in progress. I’ll share a bit more in the action items below.

Faith-based, CCSS aligned assessments:

No, you didn’t misread the heading. There are, not only CCSS aligned assessments for faith-based schools, but there are entire companies which specialize in them!! ERB is where we begin.

1) ERB (Educational Records Bureau): According to their website, they are at least 85 years old. “ERB is a global not-for-profit educational membership organization of independent, public, faith-based, and boarding schools providing admission, achievement and instructional services for PreK – Grade 12” Their goal: support student learning. (more about their history,
http://erblearn.org/about)

ERB’s Assessments are many, each aligned to CC in some way. Let’s take a look. Now, remember, this is a company which serves all kinds of independent schools, public schools and/or charter schools. They also serve faith-based schools (read their website description again).

WrAP (writing assessment placement) and WPP:

ERB decided to use these 2 Common Core aligned assessments after working with WestEd. (‘WestEd is at the forefront of providing alignment services for states, districts, several non-profit organizations including ACT and College Board, and most recently, Smarter Balanced Consortium of the Common Core State Standards.’) Why? Because ERB believes the ‘rigor’ is what is worth going for in today’s education. To see exactly how the assessments are aligned with Common Core and what they mean for your schools: http://erblearn.org/news/wrap-wpp-ccss-alignment-study-1

Formative Item Bank Assessment:

ERB only provides an overview for this aligned assessment because you’ll have to talk to a company representative to see how to get it implemented in your schools. Here’s a bit about FIBA, “pre-made Benchmarks or Testlets that are developed with items that meet the content expectations and cognitive demands outlined in the Common Core frameworks. Powered by Measured Progress and eMetric”. Students in grades 3-8 will face over 6,000 reading and math items to be measured.

2) Prometric, part of ETS (Educational Testing Services):

Before looking into Prometric, you need to know that ETS was created back in 1947, as a result of 3 organizations joining forces. Two of which are the Carnegie Foundation for Education and the College Entrance Examination Board (in modern times it is known as College Board). So, not really a question of how aligned Prometric would be, but rather, where.

Prometric is another globally serving assessment service. Typically, their services are for higher education and/or professionals (like teachers), however, since the company is a partner of ERB, a subsidiary of a known pro CC group, we should look at them. While not every student will have to complete the biometric procedures used by Prometric, you really should watch this short video, called “What to Expect on Testing Day”. https://www.prometric.com/en-us/news-and-resources/pages/videos.aspx  (*Note: if you have older students, remember they are not free of CCSS or data mining either.)
You’ll want to view the short video “Setting the Standards” that’s on the same page. It details not just data mining/sharing, but what credentialed workers are needed. Be sure to watch this from the perspective of all that you’ve been able to learn about a CCSS aligned Workforce, Career Pathways education.

While I couldn’t find much of anything for a definitive statement on the Prometric website about Common Core, I was able to find a press release from ETS about a new CCSS assessment called Praxis which is administered at Prometric. Here’s an excerpt you really need to see, “We worked with committees of teacher educators to ensure that the new Praxis CORE series of exams reflects the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), in particular those standards that the educators deemed most important to success in a teacher preparation program,” said ETS Vice President and COO of Teacher Licensure & Certification Programs, George Powell. “The new tests are designed to help teacher educators choose the candidates most likely to flourish in programs geared to meet the intensified demand for teachers whose students will complete their K–12 education ready for college and for the workforce.” To access the entire press release: http://www.ets.org/newsroom/news_releases/praxis_core_academic

3) Certica Solutions:

This company uses assessments to aid school districts in being in a better position to receive more funding, more data, and better information about outcome-based CCSS aligned education. Founded in 2001 as the consulting firm for the U.S. Dept. of Education.

TestWiz: 

This is a student based assessment that allows the learner to be tracked by any number of school administrators. Used at a district wide level and shared with a variety of  ‘stakeholders’. Here’s an excerpt: “Users can create local assessments using their own items or items from NWEA’s (Northwest Evaluation Association’s Formative Assessment Item Bank, a high-quality, Common Core-aligned Item Bank.”

” NWEA’s Formative Assessment Item Bank, with over 81,000 items in Math, ELA Science and Social Studies, including over 53,800 Common Core-aligned items.” (more about the Formative Item Bank: http://www.certicasolutions.com/k12-assessment-creation_assessment-administration_assessment-reports/testwiz-item-banks_nwea_locals.asp)

There are others:

MAP (Measure of Academic Progress)/MPG(Measure of Primary Grades), from NWEA, offers you seamless assessment from K-12. (See: https://www.nwea.org/assessments/map/map-for-primary-grades/) Scroll all the way to the bottom.

ACIS (Associatin of Christian Schools International) has partnered with known pro CCSS publisher, supporter, and curricula provider McGraw Hill (see the website: http://www.acsiglobal.org/student-assessment)

Iowa Assessments are a division of Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt, another known pro CCSS publisher and supporter. (See: http://riversidepublishing.com/products/ia/index.html)

Stanford 10 (see Pearson Publishing’s pdf on the alignment: http://images.pearsonclinical.com/images/PDF/Stanford_10_Alignment_to_Common_Core_Standards.pdf)

**Note: they are probably many other assessments available to the faith-based schools. I only have listed the most popular ones that I can find.

Action Items:

So, if you’re like Sara’s family, what do you do?

1) Have the CCSS talk

2) Notice publishers names on any textbook, website, homework, or take home paper. Keep the list. Make notes, then share the list…far and wide.

3) If your faith-based school is part of a larger group, find out what organizations the school answers to, is a member of, or pays fees to.

4) If  those larger organizations have a Common Core statement, position paper, or disclaimer, ask to see it.

5) Ask for a list of the textbooks to be used during courses of study and what assessments are being used.

To avoid becoming slammed with CCSS in your faith-based school:

1) Use action item 3, 4, and 5 from above BEFORE you sign the contract or admission papers.

2) Talk with the governing body of the faith-based school, listen for any buzzwords known to be used by those supportive of the CCSS. For example, “globally competitive in the 21st Century”; ‘skilled workforce’.

3) Learn the names of the publishers who are supportive of CCSS by accessing websites or using the database available on the Homeschool Road Map’s Common Core Project (many faith-based schools use the same resources for assessments/curricula as home educators)

For both sets of parents:

1) Ask to see demonstrated ANY on-line assessments to be used. Take notes, names of those providers.

2) If any school personnel is not willing to be open with you as a discerning parent, ask someone else. If the entire staff seem closed off or clueless, be prepared and share with them facts, evidence as to WHY they need to know.

3) Determine to be choosy if you feel the school is in any way being pushy, after all, most faith-based schools can be quite expensive.

As Sara told me before our chat ended, “We paid tons of money on the basis of what we were told about the school being CC free! I wracked myself with guilt over not getting them out of the public school sooner and now to know I’ve paid to have them exposed, I feel horrible.”

Whatever action you take, don’t take alone. Find a friendly fellow anti CCSS warrior and take them with you! There’s safety in numbers, my friends.