Tag Archives: NAEP

100, 500, and Still Counting

Celebrating my 100 anti CCSS/Fed Ed blog followers AND my 500th post! We’ve come quite a long way together. I pray our time together will continue to be fruitful. We seek not fame or fortune in what we do to fight the CCSS Machine. We ARE, however, leaving a legacy of patriotism, devotion to remaining free, and love for our people, regardless of educational choices. We do what we do to help each other, not to stand on each other’s shoulders. How absolutely refreshing it would be to see our leaders do the same.

Numbers..Everywhere!

There’s a double purpose to using numbers in this article. One of the best ways to get news out is social media. However, some sites are more oppressive than others. So, purpose #1 is to celebrate, purpose #2 is to hide the article in plain sight on social media.

I’m Not the Only One Spinning Numbers:

ICYMI: My latest article which was banned on Facebook revealed how numbers will be shifted to abuse teachers via ESSA and Title 2 Funds; how special needs and their IDEA funds via ESSA get squeezed; how numerous families across our nation will now be receiving “Family Engagement Ambassadors” aka U.S. Dept. of Ed Parent Nannies.
See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/09/28/bon-voyage-hello-grinders/

 

Then, there are the numbers CCSS Machine member/publisher McGraw-Hill are trying to spin in their most recent survey. I just found this one yesterday.

mcgrawed

Oh, I cannot stop chuckling over how stupid this company assumes us to be by a quiz like this!

dumb

So, what questions does McGraw-Hill have? The brief introduction tells you they got together with top education research groups to create this. Can’t you just smell the CCSS Machine stench already? But wait, it gets deeper. Scroll down to the bottom of the main page and you’ll see it’s a survey to point to the 2016 elections!! I kid you not.

Q1) Proficiency in math question. (Source: the NAEP scores)
Q2)  About ELLs (English Language Learners) (Source: U.S. Dept. of Ed’s National Center for Educational Stats)
Q3)  U.S.’s world rank in reading. (Source: PISA)
Q4)  Low-income students percentage. (Source: Southern Education Foundation)
Q5)  Internet speed in schools. (Source: Education Superhighway) *Note: according to the explanation, 3/4 of the country NOW exceeds the FCC’s requirement.
Q6)   High school graduation numbers. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Ed)
Q7) Cost of remediation in colleges. (Source: Education Reform Now)
Q8) How long it takes to graduate college. (Source: National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)
Q9) Students who need financial aid. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Ed’s National Center for Educational Stats)
Q10) Unemployment for college graduates. (Source: NY Times)
Q11) Student loan defaults. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Ed)
Q12) Over your lifetime question. (Source: College Board) *Note: CB states that the BIGGEST pay increase happens at the Bachelor degree stage.

To take the survey: http://www.mheducation.com/ideas/how-much-you-know-us-education-quiz.html

Oh, and you’ll find it ironic that I ‘flunked’ this survey from the “how many did you get correct” viewpoint. Oh well, flunking a CCSS Member group survey is not something I will fret over. On the more serious side of this survey though, look at the questions agenda points, the sources cited, and what will be more than likely coming soon.

Remember, the ‘fine print’ points all this to the November 2016 elections. Helping drive the conversation? None other than McGraw-Hill’s CEO. Read his article, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/lets-talk-education-david-levin

If you would like more CCSS Machine numbers, McGraw-Hill ever-so-nicely embedded their Workforce Readiness 2016 Study in the CEO’s article..and think, just in time to influence our votes.

mcgrawwork
Check out this bunch of numbers from the Study:

workreadyslide

I’ve got an idea, use this screen shot as proof that your State’s CTE (Career Tech Education), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), as well as CCSS (Common Core State Standards or by their ‘new’ name, CCR, College and Career Readiness) Tracks, Paths, etc. AREN’T WORKING!!

This Study also plays the ‘gender card’. That’s something you may wish to see. You may wish to see how McGraw-Hill’s plays into Pearson Publishing ‘gender intelligence’ CCSS Machine plan. If you didn’t know about Pearson Publishing ‘GI’, I’ve got your back.
See: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/pearsons-gi-more-alignment-in-the-workplace/

To access the McGraw-Hill Workforce Readiness Study2016-student-workforce-readiness-survey-expanded-results

 

Need More Numbers?

10/17/16: US PIE (United States Parents Involved in Education) “Keep Your Child Home From School Day” to protest the U.S. Dept. of Ed on its 40th anniversary. See:
http://www.uspie.org/protest-fed-ed-.html

I have understood via social media that more groups besides US PIE are doing something ‘radical’ for Ed’s 40th anniversary.  As long as we Warriors Against the Core are rebelling against educational tyranny on that day (or for that matter, every day), I think the message will become even louder. If we could unite our events, beyond  our usual circles of influence, we could teach Congress what true teamwork CAN do! As always, know that I am all for speaking out, just be safe and respectful.

This number:

Congress, 9/29/16; call! Protest the move to remove American internet and give it total global access. Knowing how much ESSA is spending on digital, Internet, and all related parts, we NEED our privacy as in tact as we can to protect our children.

See my dear fellow Warriors (Gretchen Logue/Cheri Kiesecker) warning article!
http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/on-sept-30-2016-our-internet-will-be-transferred-unless-you-say-no/

 


Closing:

Warriors, I’ll have more news about numbers and legislation soon. In the meantime, fight, fight, with all your might!  I leave you with a short clip from a TV show in the 1960s called “The Prisoner”. The show was one my Daddy loved. I hated it. I was so young, it scared me.

While I don’t know the entire plot, I do know the main character was not free to be himself. He was assigned a number; his name no longer necessary. Of all the things we give our children, their names are their very first gift upon their birth. Their names are beautifully hand-picked, lovingly chosen, and carry on our family identities. Much like “The Prisoner”, our children are in danger of losing who they truly are.

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

CCSS Machine’s Dangerous 3

Warriors Against the Core and Fed Ed, just yesterday you learned about those posing as helpful resources, but are really part of the CCSS Machine (Common Core State Standards). Their agenda boils down to a ‘Dangerous 3 Points: Data, Alignment, and Profit’. In today’s ‘From the Files’, we will look more posers, Pearson Publishing and the Foundation for Excellence in Education  are among them. Why  bother? As in yesterday’s article, since we are now officially in the era of the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), we MUST remain  pro-active against those Dangerous 3 Points!

So, What is Being Pushed Now?

‘Shifting to digital education’, is one of their latest efforts. This is a ‘no brainer’ in the modern education reform. Why? It packs all 3 of the Dangerous Points in 1 punch.
There is even a dedicated Twitter handle for the movement, #ShiftToDigitalEd.

Let me clarify, the CCSS Machine member, Getting Smart website (all about education and technology) is where I learned about this. Pearson Publishing is sponsoring a five part blog series devoted to digital learning. Who is writing the blog? None other than CBE (Competency Based Education) guru, Tom Vander Ark. A huge CCSS Machine ‘poser’!
Here is an excerpt, “This blog is part one in a four part series–sponsored by Pearson Education–focused around the key indicators of success in a digital learning program. Throughout the series we will give details about the five “look fors” in online and blended environments.”

So HOW will VanderArk, Pearson, and other Digital Companies pull all this off?
1) Shared Vision for each student. “A graduate profile and a picture of learning.”
2) Involve the entire community. “Community conversations should consider how the world is changing, how jobs are changing, and how civic participation is changing. What’s really important for graduate success?” Houston (TX) ISD is given as one of the best examples of #1 and 2. See the write up: http://gettingsmart.com/2016/02/how-houston-schools-are-making-it-a-great-global-city/
3) Use the right systems, ask the right questions. See the screen shot:
blendbend

To access the above guide where you can find out more about those Dangerous 3 Points lived out in real time across America: BLIG-3.0-FINAL Be sure to look for how, repeatedly, the Dangerous 3 Points are laid out. Infrastructure (meaning your phone lines and digital bandwidth); legislation to back improvements up (will line the pockets of those in charge); seeking funding to pay for the alignment to digital (means more student measuring, aka assessing), and so much more. Also, note all the other CCSS Machine member organizations and posers involved.
To read the rest of the entire blog post by VanderArk (where the above excerpts are from):
http://gettingsmart.com/2016/03/look-shared-vision-powerful-learning/

Below is the screen shot from the poser CCSS (now ESSA) Machine member, NGLC (Next Generation Learning Challenges) created for the best kind of students: digitally hooked, globally minded, and competently educated. (Can you immediately spot those Dangerous 3 Points in each of the NGCL’s model?)
20comp

 

So, Jeb Bush’s Foundation is in This Too?

Of course! Somehow I knew after he dropped out of the 2016 Presidential Race, we were not through with his meddling in education. We know, by research and a sold out media, just HOW connected to the CCSS Machine, the Foundation for Excellence in Education is!
In my opinion, the ESSA, has given the Foundation a new spark.

The latest (which also pack a 3-in-1-punch for America)? “Why Proficiency Matters”
There is also a dedicated website for this. But, be warned, you will be asked to share your location where you access it. (You do have an option to block your location, too.) Website:
http://whyproficiencymatters.com/
whymatters

According to the information from the website, there are 5 reasons (which handily fit the 3-in-1 punch) we should have proficient students. They are a) education, b) preparedness, c) college, d) skills, and e) employment. The Foundation has combined reports to give you all these alarming figures. For example, 23% of students who take the Armed Forces exam (to join the military), fail. Manufacturers across America have 600,000 jobs and no skilled workers, and of course, the amount of money used in post-secondary education for remediation and lack of CCR (college/career readiness). You can find all the gloom and doom: http://whyproficiencymatters.com/about
 (*Note: do you see the connection to higher education? Remember, the HEA (Higher Education Act) is coming up for re-authorization. The same CCSS Machine members who pushed the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) will most definitely be pushing this! A huge selling point for the re-authorization will be student debt!!)

If you are curious as to what solution the Foundation offers, it is this: states setting assessment goals to match the NAEP. By doing so, states also are aligning the assessments to ‘Readiness’ (as in CCR)! See below:
feeready
When you visit the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s above pages, be sure to click on the ‘Resources’ tab. There will not be much to see, but you need to see what IS there. http://cqrcengage.com/excelined/WhyProficiencyMatters

To see the Facts the Foundation is basing the ‘Proficiency Matters’ campaign on: Facts-Sources-2015.11.02 (*Note: there are quite a few other CCSS Machine members cited as sources here.)

Other ‘Dangerous 3 Points’ the Foundation is pushing? Education Savings Accounts, Education Policy courses for all, and so much more. See: http://www.excelined.org/

Closing:

So there you have it, Warriors, MORE CCSS Machine members posing as helpful folks. Only they forget to add they are pushing alignment, data/digital, and money making opportunities for themselves. What does our nation get? The shaft, the damage, and the demise of our people.

Be sure to catch me on my Media Wednesday, 3/30/16. The day begins with Negdog Radio (FL), 347-843-4165, 10 am (EDT) to 12 noon. Then, in the afternoon, AL based City on a Hill will have a guest spot for me. (Watch my Twitter and Facebook for more information) Lastly, Women on the Wall (TX) and the national Warrior Call: 302-202-1110, code 702165, begins 8:30 pm (CDT). All 3 will be archived.

RMT: Don’t Look Now, NC! CCSS/CTE Overload!

The CCSS Machine's rolling over every state in its path to do WHATEVER it can to align our students!
The CCSS Machine’s rolling over every state in its path to do WHATEVER it can to align our students!

While all our heads were turned toward D.C. this past week, our states kept rolling on in their CCSS/CTE ways. The ‘riddle’ today (since it is “Riddle Me This” Sunday) is “What did NC get while while ESEA re-vamping was happening in Washington, D.C.?” In short, the answer is ‘CCSS/CTE Overload’! As always, if it’s going on in one state, it’s going on in the rest of them.

NC DPI’s Announcement:

First, on 7/9/15, how NC’s proficiency rate is one of the best in the USA. Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Atkinson, NC’s State Education Superintendent (AND the president of the Chief Council of State School Officers; 1/2 owner of the CCSS copyright), ““North Carolina has set high expectations for our students,” said State Superintendent June Atkinson. “We know that today’s competitive economy requires more in order for our students to be well-prepared for success. The challenge before us is to ensure that our schools are equipped and staffed to help students reach these goals.””

To see the entire press release which reveals NAEP’s (National Assessment of Education Progress) figures for NC: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/newsroom/news/2015-16/20150709-02
To have the NAEP’s graphic for NC: mapping-factsheets

 

Then, a Newsletter Highlight:

As we’ve noticed in all things CCSS related, the timing is precise. While one CCSS related activity is going on, others to support it are either in the works or just appearing. Case in point, NC’s ‘new’ Academic and Digital Learning upgrade. An avid reader of my blog and fellow anti CC warrior sent me a tip and requested I look into this. Here’s the tip, “I get the various DPI updates , this was in the July Web highlights.” Then, my contact shared what you see below:

4. Academic and Digital Learning Launches New Website Academic and Digital Learning recently launched a new website that provides easy access to its divisions that include: Career and Technical Education, Digital Teaching and Learning, Exceptional Children, Home Base, K-12 Standards, Curriculum and Instruction, and the NC Virtual Public School. To learn more about Academic and Digital Learning and how it prepares students beyond graduation for work, further education and citizenship, please visit  http://www.ncpublicschools.org/academic-digital-learning/.​” (*NOTE: NC’s Virtual Schools are accessible by all educational choices, including homeschool students)

 
So, How “Recent” is Recent, NC DPI?

In trying to access the rest of the July 2015 news items from NC DPI, I stumbled upon a January 2015 newsletter where some of the ground work for this appears to have been announced. What do I mean? Here’s a ‘sample’,

Coming in July 2015!  Logging into Home Base with the IAM Service The IAM Service will be replacing the “PowerSchool Login” after the 2014/­2015 End­ of­ Year processing, July 6. With this change, all North Carolina K­12 students and employees will login to Home Base applications using their NCEdCloud username and password. The accounts are currently available and LEAs and Charter Schools can begin providing students and employees their accounts at any time. Employees can follow the “Claim Account” process described in For Teachers and Staff on the NCEdCloud IAM Website (ncedcloud.mcnc.org). Students’ accounts will be issued by their teachers, who have access to their students’ usernames and initial passwords. Parents will continue to use the PowerSchool Parent Portal for access to their student’s information. Identity and Access Management (IAM) is one of the NCEdCloud initiatives for the K­12 community of North Carolina and provides LEAs and Charter Schools a tool to help manage the authentication and authorization needs of students, employees and guests (and eventually parents) in accessing cloud­based resources. It provides self­ service capabilities to all end users, and delegated administrator capabilities to LEA and Charter School technology leadership. The actual service is being provided by Identity Automation and the IAM infrastructure is hosted in Amazon’s AWS, a robust environment providing expandable capacity as well as increased stability. “

What’s more is that in the same Jan. 2015 newsletter, an effective digital teaching course was being offered (course began in Feb. 2015). Here’s the screen shot, the website to access the Jan. 2015 entire newsletter is included.

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/homebase/updates/biweekly/2015/20150108.pdf
http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/homebase/updates/biweekly/2015/20150108.pdf

 

From That July 2015 Website Address:

From the website provided in the tip my anti CCSS buddy sent, I was able to find all kinds of information about Career Tech Education, Common Core, and more.
First, the website address: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/academic-digital-learning/

On the website’s main page, you’ll read this ‘lovely’ information, “This area of the agency encompasses Standards, Curriculum and Instruction, Digital Teaching and Learning, Career and Technical Education, Exceptional Children and the NC Virtual Public School. Area functions address all State Board goals but focus primarily on preparing students beyond graduation for work, further education and citizenship” Among the major tools to cause the preparation> NC’s Standard Course of Study (code name for CCSS) and Home Base (data mining). Assessments will be in BOTH Standard Study/Home Base.

If you’d like to see the 2009 NC, Career and Technical Education’s Strategy and thus, makeover to align to CCSS, strategic-plan

If you’ve followed my blog very long, you know I’ve provided scores of facts, documents, and other related information into NC’s total CCSS Machine alignment. My warriors, NC is far from the lone participant in this, as you can well attest to. I know it’s in every one of our states of residence. It has to be. The workforce/economy components of the reshaping of America are to encompass ALL 50 states, territories, and military posts.

Supporting all this alignment? “Programs that support digital teaching and learning are reinforced by legislation and policies for implementation of legislation.” Source: NC DPI’s Digital Teaching and Learning Policy page. (http://www.ncpublicschools.org/dtl/policy/ )

One of the main laws requiring adherence? The ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965), which is currently in a state of re-vamping. Which leads us back to the current events in D.C. ESEA is ‘boss’ in every state of the United States.! What other laws support the alignment of America? NC’s Digital Teaching and Learning page, offers links to all the federal agencies involved: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/dtl/policy/regulations/ (*Note: NC’s DPI didn’t provide the state legislation, only the federal level)


One last note, the funding to help support the digital teaching and learning? E-rate! (see: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/dtl/resources/funding/) Related resource you can use, my previously published look into what some of those ‘pesky fees’ on your phone bill actually do in regards to all the digital education: http://preventcommoncore.com/?p=1223

The path that leads in a circle soon gets you nowhere.
The path that leads in a circle soon gets you nowhere.

 

RMT: Why Is the Deck Still Being Stacked to Serve CCSS?

Why are those in charge of so much in education STILL stacking the deck to serve CCSS?
Why are those in charge of so much in education STILL stacking the deck to serve CCSS?

Just a day or so ago, EAG News shared Truth in American Education’s story that a whopping 17% of parents actually like CCSS. So, that leaves a tremendous amount of us who DON’T like it! So, IF this is a true representation of America, WHY are so many in charge of educational products STILL stacking the deck FOR CCSS? This is our “Riddle Me This” post for today.

First up, The 17% story:

In case you missed it, here’s the link to the story. See: http://eagnews.org/just-17-of-americans-support-common-core/ Written by Shane Vander Hart, this article states that while 17 % don’t mind CCSS at all, 40 % don’t like CCSS and 42 % of parents are undecided. Now, there’s a lot more information given in Mr. Hart’s article and I’ll leave you to digesting it on your own.

However, it is my strong belief we may have the answer to our riddle almost immediately! How’s that, you ask? Well, IF I were in the market to sell you on the merits of CCSS, wouldn’t I stop at nothing to entice you? I would do all I could to sell you, after all, there’s lots of money in it for me if I do.

Think about it from a more simple approach. One of my favorite card games. It involves a lot of ‘selling’ my opponents as to why my line of thinking is better than anyone else’s in order to win something.

Those who are stacking the educational deck are doing almost the same thing. They are trotting out any line of logic possible..whether it’s fact based or trumped up. Any pro CCSS group known to be conducting some study at any point in time (at least recently) is now THE absolute ‘gospel truth’ in education. Let me give you a recent example.

“Education Week”:

When I first subscribed to this online newsletter, I had no idea it was funded by so many of the same big name foundations supportive of CCSS. Thus, making almost everything reported vented toward CCSS. When I did discover this fact, I was able to discern the lies from the truth much more easily. However, not everyone is into the amount of research I am.

So, IF I were one of those 42% on the fence about CCSS, I’d take a look at the website. I’d notice all the awards given, all the community benevolence going on, etc. I’d not think to look at WHO is funding the on-line news. Well, now you can! Here’s the link: http://www.edweek.org/info/about/philanthropy.html?intc=thed What a difference it makes knowing that the SAME foundations helping to bring us the Core are now bringing us so much news about it!

EW’s recent story shared that U. S. students, once again, are coming up short when compared to their global peers. (see: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/02/18/us-millennials-come-up-short-in-global.html?cmp=ENL-CM-NEWS2). How’s this a ‘stacked deck toward CCSS’? Simple, the entire article bases ‘facts’ on a study conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Service). Here’s how EW described ETS, “a new study by the Education Testing Service Center for Research on Human Capital and Education in Lawrenceville, N.J.” 

(see Education Week’s article in its entirety: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/02/18/us-millennials-come-up-short-in-global.html?cmp=ENL-CM-NEWS2)

ETS (Educational Testing Service)

In 2014, I wrote about the obsession CCSS has with assessing and I focused on ETS. You will really enjoy the research presented in the article as it ties ETS to the SBAC/PARCC and so much more. (see: https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/tag/ets/)

(*NOTE: In my original article, you’ll see how dependent many pro CCSS groups are acknowledging the ‘importance’ of NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress); you’ll see what other testing/assessments are considered the ‘top’ ones in the realm of all things CCSS related. NAEP has been used repeatedly to distort the need for national standards.) 

ETS’s newest report, just out a few days ago, indeed paints a bleak picture for our American students. You can access ETS’s website: http://www.ets.org. As far as their research topics, see the below screen shot.

Be sure to note the topics on the right hand side of the picture not in purple. See the award for OCED's PISA??
Be sure to note the topics on the right hand side of the picture not in purple. See the award for OCED’s PISA??

The ETS Study EW mentions can be found in its entirety: http://www.ets.org/s/research/30079/asc-millennials-and-the-future.pdf

PIAAC (Programme of the International Assessment of Adult Competencies):

Ed Week’s article from above also gives PIAAC some visibility in the article. PIAAC is a part of OCED (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) (*NOTE: The spelling is correct for international English, not American English) 

 Here’s how PIAAC’s stacking the ‘skills’ deck:

 Related links you may find helpful:

NAEP: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/ (since this is from the U.S. Dept. of Ed, you’ll know it’s stacked evidence)

PIAAC/OECD: http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/ (To see how PIAAC is using each country in an educational competition with the others: http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/country-specific-material.htm)

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

OECD and PISA (Programme for International Assessment): http://preventcommoncore.com/?p=1263 This is the latest article I wrote for Prevent Common Core and address the stacked deck for CCSS from the educational leadership viewpoint. You may not believe some of the deck dealers involved.

To access the rest of ETS’s research topics: http://www.ets.org/research Here you can get an up close look at how our students are termed ‘human capital’, assessed internationally, and which policies in Washington are being impacted.

 Closing:

So, our answer to our riddle has taken us all over the globe and we still can easily see WHY so many are stacking the deck in education to CCSS…to make it’s global rhetoric a reality. So, while the pro CCSS dealers are dealing a stacked deck to the 42% currently reported as undecided how they feel about CCSS, that means we, the opposed have just as much opportunity to win those 42% of parents support with the TRUTH about CCSS. What a great way to start off a new week in the battle for our students!

FTF Tuesday: Comprehending Assessments

You won't believe the document I have found for your files for today's post. Be sure to read on!
You won’t believe the document I have found for your files for today’s post. Be sure to read on!

As always, on Tuesdays, you anti CCSS warriors are treated to those files, documents, and links I’ve been able to uncover that continue to point to the underbelly of the CCSS Machine. Today’s is a doozy!

“Pathways to College On-Line Library”:

Website: http://www.pathwaylibrary.org/

The file from their archives today has an interesting note at the bottom you have to see, “The above resource was included in the Pathways to College Online Library prior to the involvement of the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and thus has not been fully reviewed by AIR. Appearance in the database does not equate with endorsement by AIR or its affiliates.”

Why AIR’s stamp of approval is a big deal:

For the rhetoric of the Career Pathway/Common Core Standards to succeed, pro-CCSS groups, like AIR are needed to ‘approve’ all kinds of things. If you aren’t aware of how AIR is tied to CCSS, see: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/news/smarter-balanced-awards-test-delivery-system-contract-to-american-institutes-for-research/ (this is just ONE of the many ways AIR is tied to CCSS..assessments)

Back to the File: 

The file’s original backer: Alliance for Excellent Education (http://all4ed.org/)

The file’s name? “Principles for a Comprehensive Assessment System”, published 2010.

A current Alliance for Excellent Education webpage.
A current Alliance for Excellent Education webpage.

Why the CP Library loves this document: 

In their own words, “The United States is poised to make the most dramatic advance in assessment in decades. A state-led effort to develop common core standards in literacy and mathematics is defining what it means to be ready for colleges and careers, and this effort will invariably heighten the demand for assessments that measure a broader range of knowledge and skills and open the door for common assessment components across states. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Education is providing $350 million for consortia of states to develop new assessments that measure the common core standards. And a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will set guidelines for assessments and their use for years to come. This opportunity could not be more timely.”

Looking back, we know the big bucks mentioned here refer to the PARCC and SBAC assessments. We know we’ve been fighting them. We know many researchers, myself among them, have given you wonderful ‘ammo’ to use against the assessments which are so high stakes.

Will we find any new ammo, in a 5 year, old document? Let’s see!!

1) The “Need” for MORE sophisticated assessing is addressed. See this excerpt, “In large part, this situation results from the fact that the primary means of assessment being used in the nation’s schools—state tests administered at the end of the school year—are not up to the job. For many reasons, these tests cannot measure the full range of competencies students are expected to demonstrate and provide at best a blurry snapshot of student and school performance. Yet they are expected to inform students and parents about academic progress, teachers about what to do to improve instruction, community members about school success, and states and the nation about whether students and schools are meeting goals. These expectations, all important, are more than any assessment—even the most sophisticated—can bear. This brief suggests the principles upon which the federal government and states should base their work in fashioning new assessments.

2) Giving Horace Mann’s way of schooling the thumbs up is heralded as a ‘right’ to continue high stakes assessing. See this excerpt, “Since Horace Mann administered tests of student performance in Massachusetts in 1840, assessments have played multiple roles in American education. As Mann did, states and districts continue to administer tests to inform the public about the state of student achievement and to hold schools accountable for meeting achievement goals.”

3) Using CCSS as a wheel..what a horrid example. See this excerpt, “A new assessment system would redesign the summative tests used for accountability purposes and embed them in a comprehensive and coherent system in which curriculum, instruction, and assessment are intertwined. Think of the system as a wheel—at the hub are the common core standards, and the spokes include summative assessments, formative assessments, curriculum tasks, instructional tools, and professional development.

4) The Principles Supposedly Upheld via the summative and formative assessing, curriculum tasks, etc.

a) cohesion (are we talking people or machines, here?)
b) comprehension (one of the most under-served parts of education to date via CCSS)

c) accurate (are you serious?)

d) credible (anyone care to acknowledge that by breaking the 3 education federal laws AND the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that there is NO credibility available?)

e) fairness (only to the profiting companies)

f) matching learning goals (can anyone who created the CCSS machine even spell ‘inappropriate developmentally’?)

g) clarity for reports (can’t have data mining without some clear guidelines)

h) technology in the classroom (yes, we have to be digital at all costs, can’t be tracked if we don’t)

i) engaging teachers (yes, that’s right they’re SO  engaged, they are leaving their beloved profession in record numbers)

*NOTE, when you access each of the above principles, be sure to notice the international countries used as successful models.

The Fed’s Role a Bit More Defined:

With the 2015 Sen. Alexander bill up for consideration, this section of the 2010 Report sounds like someone was seriously into copying, pasting goals. I’ve read the entire Alexander bill and some of what I’ve read in this Report is eerily close in rhetoric.

Excerpts you’ll want to know:

a) “Federal education policy over the past two decades has played a dominant role in shaping state assessment systems.”

b) “The pending reauthorization of the ESEA offers an opportunity for the federal government to reshape testing practice yet again… shift the ESEA to focus on college and career readiness, which will require new assessments to measure student progress toward that goal. To help ensure the development of comprehensive, coherent assessment systems that support student learning toward standards for college and career readiness.”

How the above is to be accomplished via assessments per the Fed’s role in education:
1) requiring all assessments to include the CCR (College/Career Readiness) factor.

2) requiring curricula to be aligned to catch and measure what assessments can’t in regards to CCR.

3) requiring teachers to be as assessed as the students.

4) requiring no student to NOT be assessed.

5) requiring states to participate in skewed reports (NAEP, etc.)

6) using money to implicate the states in participation

7) create MORE education research

Is this your vision of 'excellent education'? It's not mine!
Is this your vision of ‘excellent education’? It’s not mine!

(please note, the year should read 2010, NOT 2009 in the above graphic)

The Report: 

Anti CCSS warriors, we know that the updated ESEA/NCLB bill is set to be voted on soon. While public comments may be closed, we still can make noise. Use the above information, contrast it to the newer version (which encompasses MORE than assessing).

Here’s the full document: ComprehensiveAssessmentSystem

WYBI Wednesday: Summative Testing Task Force

Nothing says more about Standards and their quality like assessments.
Nothing says more about Standards and their quality like assessments.

A funny thing I’ve learned while waging war against CCSS (Common Core State Standards), when you listen very closely, all kinds of truth can be shared, especially when those who support the Standards seek to impress those within earshot. Case in point? The recent NC ASRC meeting (Academic Standards Review Commission). It was in this meeting I learned of a new (at least new-to-me) Task Force for NC. It’s purpose? Dealing with summative assessments. You know summative assessments, right? Those are the types of tests that are high stakes, that measure and demean those on either side of the test. (See my posts from 11/15/14; 09/08/14 where I go in-depth on types of assessments, the control factor from businesses, politicians, and government)

Found in my older articles:

Here’s an excerpt from the Sept. post about Assessments that features the report “Using Assessments”, Repeated assessment allows governments and the international community to set goals for improved learning outcomes to spur reform efforts. Although the worldwide rates of improvement in test scores suggest these goals should be modest and long term, assessments can help hold leaders to account. In the right institutional setting, they can also form the basis for incentive payments; schools, districts, or countries that meet goals might receive additional resources from national governments or donor agencies. In particular, specific goals and incentives might encourage progress in schools or districts furthest behind. Finally, assessments allow for wider experimentation on what works in education, inside and outside the classroom, applicable to specific country circumstances. This experimentation is clearly required given the limited progress we have seen in improving outcomes to date.”

You might recognize summative assessments by at least 2 other names, SBAC and PARCC. The big push to have the Task Force up and running? The timetable used by our states to be ready for these two mammoths. However, depending on your state as to when your high stakes assessments begin or have already begun, you’ll want to read on to find out WHY all this matters.

What’s a Task Force to do?

Well, great question. It’s going to need another question in response before we can get an answer. Which level of government would you like..state or federal? Since this all started for me at a state level, I’ll go there first. While NC’s officially titled group needs it’s own zip code (the name is so long), it’s not the only state with such a task force. The NC State Board of Education’s Summative Assessment Task Force held its first meeting back in Oct. 2014. It’s accountable to the NC Legislative Joint Education Oversight Committee. Of note, one member you may find interesting, Dr. Atkinson (as in our State Superintendent; President of CCSSO, 1/2 owner of the CCSS copyright) serves on the Task Force.

taskforce

Here’s a description of the Task Force, “The State Board created the Task Force to explore options for the administration of state summative standardized tests beginning in the 2016-17 school year. The State Board is to report its decision to the North Carolina General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by July 15, 2015. The General Assembly will ultimately approve the summative assessments, which are to be nationally normed, aligned with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study and field tested. Here’s a link to the NC State Board of Ed’s meeting notes/minutes. However, you won’t get much information as there have only been 2 meetings and no supporting documents tied to the meetings are linked. (https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/MeetingListing.aspx?S=10399&TyID=2)

Summative Task Force from a Federal Level:

Since NC is a member of SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium), I thought I’d include the SBAC Quarterly Report where they happily share with us how they have partnered with the U.S. Dept. of Education to create Task Force groups. (see: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Quarterly-Report-September-2013.pdf)

Since I know some of my readers are members of PARCC states (Partnership of Assessment of  Readiness for  College and Career) Here’s their statement of gathering a task force: http://parcconline.org/prepping-parcc-new-resources-under-development

NOTE: Considering the above groups were given $160 million, I would think our connection between federal level and summative assessments doesn’t need a tremendous amount of evidence to add to what’s already available.

Related:

A letter promoting the alignment of assessments to standards from the NC Chamber of Commerce: http://ncchamber.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/11-04-Buddy-Collins-Letter.pdf

There’s more than SBAC and PARCC!

Thanks to the Chief Council of State School Officer’s website, you too, can have access to a more complete list of summative assessment groups. So, while SBAC and PARCC have a big advantage, they also don’t have a corner on the assessments market. For review purposes, SBAC states are: CA, CT, DE, HI, ID, IA, ME, MI, MO, MT, NV, NH, NC, ND, OR, SD, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
PARCC states are: AR, CO, the District of Columbia, IL, LA, MA, MD, MS, NJ, NM, NY, OH, and RI.
Others are/states involved:

NCSC (National   Center and State Collaborative Partnership) covers Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, North Dakota. A subgroup of NCSC is the PAC-6 (Pacific Assessment Consortium) and covers 6 states: Pacific Assessment Consortium (PAC-6), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

DLM (Dynamic Learning Maps Alternative Assessment Consortium) which is geared for those with learning disabilities. Member states are Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

ASSETS (Assessment Services Supporting English Language Learners Through Technology Systems Consortium) received a multi-million dollar 4 year grant (expired this year) to not only align assessments for those learning the English language to CCSS as well as conduct more research for future projects with ‘nationally renowned partners’.

ELPA21 Consortium 

This collective group consists of 11 states, several universities, colleges, and the CCSSO. All are working together to assess, track, and monitor those learning English not only through their K-12 path, but higher education in regards to College/Career Readiness. Member states are: Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, and West Virginia. Member universities/colleges are: Stanford, Univ. of CA at LA, and the Univ. of MN. The Univ. of OR is the head of the project and CCSSO manages the operations.

Also accessed from the CCSSO website (http://www.ccsso.org/):

“Alignment and the States” from 2009, a CCSSO pdf publication. See: Alignment_and_the_States_2009 While a bit dated, the information is priceless in our fight against the CCSS. In this you’ll see the 3 different types of assessments being used in modern day education reform. What is a ‘need to know’ piece for you is that commercial companies, state education departments, P3s (public, private partnerships), and others had a hand in not only formulating these, but promoting them now. You’ll need to look at the ‘cross grain’ comparisons (quality is okay, but not terrific). NAEP (‘The Nation’s Report Card’ people) had a big hand in this; but more about them in a bit.

From the published pdf above, one national company was mentioned that I’d not heard of before. So, after finding it on the internet, I snooped in their education blog and found their 4 suggested criteria for aligning computer adaptive assessments. See: https://www.humrro.org/corpsite/blog/2013-10-22/alignment-criteria-adaptive-tests

So, What Can I Do Now?

First off, identify what assessment group your state is in. If you don’t already know the types of assessments used, research them. For example, Texas didn’t adopt the CCSS, but uses assessments held by CCSS aligned publishers. (see their list: nrtlist1415v92314)

Second, know your laws. If your laws are anything like NC’s there will be separate sections for what education is and what assessments are. For example, while NC made a lot of noise about repealing CCSS and the 7/16/14 law (formerly SB812) states certain things about assessments, I think we need to closely look at what IS said about assessments. Why? Because while the SBAC and PARCC are widely known and associated with CCSS, the ones mentioned in the 2014 Law to Repeal suggest others that aren’t as widely identified as being tied to CCSS! Not everyone will associate the National Assessment of Educational Progress as ‘toxic’ or “CCSS aligned”, but this is one of the CCSSO’s choice ‘go to’ organizations!
I did find another  section in the NC General Statutes devoted to assessments says NC is to continue on in CCSS. From item 3, Section 10 of Chapter 115A, “The State Board of Education shall continue to participate in the development of the Common Core State Standards in conjunction with the consortium of other states, review all national assessments developed by both multi-state consortia, and implement the assessments
Common Core State Standards.” This portion of the Section 10 has been in the General Statutes since 7/1/2009. Also included in Section 10, ” State Board of Education
shall not require the public schools to administer any standardized tests except for those
required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant. The State Board of Education shall adopt and provide to local school administrative units all tests required by federal law or as a condition of a federal grant.”  

Third, find out if your state has an assessment task force and who serves on it.

My point? The left hand and the right hand not only have to visible in education, they need to be open, with palms facing up and placed on the table. Hold your legislative members accountable. If they draft or pass legislation that states ‘repeal’ and didn’t address the assessments, ASK about it!

I leave you with one of the latest NAEP promo videos for yet another assessment that tests across subjects:

WYBI Wednesday: Assess, Obsess, then Assess Again

Yesterday,  I had the ‘pleasure’ of listening to 2 assessment experts extol the virtues of not only Common Core, but SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) and PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness in College and Careers) as well. Much has been written about the SBAC, PARCC. Before we get too far into the experts and their views, here’s a bit of background on the financial costs of assessments.

Just what is an 'assessment'? Documentation of knowledge, skills, attitude, and beliefs.
Just what is an ‘assessment’? Documentation of knowledge, skills, attitude, and beliefs.

2013 Report:

According to the 2013 NCES, The National Center for Educational Statistics (an arm of the U.S. Dept. of Education) Report,  “Condition of Education 2013”, (see: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013037.pdf),

‘The single largest component of current expenditures was instruction, amounting to about 61 percent of the total, or $6,852 per student in 2009–10. These expenditures include salaries and benefits of teachers and teaching assistants, as well as costs for instructional materials and instructional services provided under contract. Between 1999–2000 and 2009–10, expenditures for instruction per student increased by 19 percent. Expenditures for some major school activities increased more rapidly than this. For example, expenditures for student support services, such as for guidance and health personnel, increased by 35 percent, from $460 to $622. Expenditures per student for instructional staff services, including curriculum development, staff training, libraries, and media and computer centers, increased by 28 percent, reaching $536 in 2009–10. Also, transportation costs per student increased by 25 percent during this period, reaching $465 per student. In contrast, some categories of expenditure increased at a slower rate than instruction. School and general administrative costs per student and food services expenditures per student both increased
by 15 percent, reaching $830 and $425, respectively, in 2009–10. Expenditures per student for operation and
maintenance of schools increased by the same percentage as instruction costs (19 percent) and reached $1,063 per
student in 2009–10.’   Do you see ‘assessments’ anywhere in the above descriptions? I don’t!

The above excerpt is from Chapter 3, aptly named ‘Finance’. Assessments are in Chapter 4 and will give you gobs of information EXCEPT how much the assessments cost.

However….

As has been well reported, written, and spoken about was the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s 2010 move to ensure MORE assessments could be taken. This is from the National Conference of State Legislators, “States will need new assessments to measure student progress against the Standards. In 2010, in recognition of this need, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded two assessment consortia $330 million in Race to the Top competitive grants to develop assessments aligned to the Standards:

  • $186 million to Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
  • $176 million to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). “

FYI or ICYMI:

To ensure we’re an educationally assessed nation, the National Assessment of Educational Progress was created via a mandate from Congress. According to their website, the first assessing was 1969-70 school year. Somewhere between 2003-2007, each of our United States got NAEP state level coordinators. Their jobs are to be a liasion between the State Departments of Education and the NAEP. They get to analyze collected data before sharing in further across or up the chain of offices, authorities. Over the years, many contracts and/or grants have been awarded to various companies, all in the name of educational assessment. There are subcontractors as well. AIR(American Institutes of Research), NCS (National Computer Systems), NCS Pearson (an arm of Pearson Publishing), and Aspen Systems Corporation were among the subcontractors anywhere from 1996 to 2003.  So while I’ve listed the biggest companies according to their length of service, know there were, at times, others involved as well:

ETS (Educational Testing Services, non profit organization established in 1947) has been awarded assessment contracts/grants since 1983.

Westat, an employee owned research firm, formed in 1963 has served NAEP since 1983 as well.

AIR (American Institutes for Research), moved from subcontractor to alliance member sometime in 2003-07. It handled  development for national-only subjects, as well as the scoring rubrics, assisting in scoring and the training of scorers; to conduct small-scale pilot tests of the items and rubrics; and to participate in reviews of items. ETS got to handle math, science, reading, writing’s design, analyzing, and reporting during this time period. Pearson Publishing was in charge of preparing the assessments, delivering them, and scoring them. Joining them in 2006, Government Micro Resources, Inc., known as Fulcrum IT Services Company as of 2006, to acquire, develop, implement, and support Internet-related applications and services for NAEP and the NAEP contractors. (this was about the time the NAEP state coordinators were put in place)

From 2008-2012, you’ll find AIR(see above) , CCSSO (Council of Chief State School Officers, half owner of the CCSS copyright),CRP, Inc. (works with several government agencies), ETS (see above), Fulcrum IT (see above), Pearson Publishing. Along with the other companies, you’ll find SEAs (State Education Agencies)  involved. Every aspect (including marketing at trade shows, conferences) of assessments you can imagine is covered.

Currently, the Big 12:

To date, the NAEP has 12 contractors handling our students assessments! Now, I’ve no idea the size of the contracts/grants. Frankly, I don’t care how much money they’ve received. That’s the ‘blood on their hands’, not mine.  The order in which each contract is listed,  is alphabetically.

AIR, BI (Business Intelligence, Inc. a US Veteran owned company working with NAEP since 2008), CCSSO, CRP, Inc., ETS, Fulcrum IT, Hager Sharp, HumRRO (Human Resources Research Organization. Established in 1951 as a non profit which works with P3s (public private partnerships), Kauffman and Associates (an SBA certified 8 company serving the native Americans), Optimal Solutions, LLC (begun in 2000, a public policy research group), Pearson, SEAs, and Westat. If you are interested to see the exact history, http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/contracts/history.aspx#partners69

So how do the NAEP, PARCC, and SBAC intersect?

From their white paper report “Future of the NAEP”, here are their words as to how all these tie together. “As we look to the future, NAEP will be called upon to do all that it has historically done and more. We see at least four major trends to which NAEP must respond. First, NAEP must provide value as a nationally representative assessment when it is
likely that other assessments will also provide information about student achievement that may be aggregated and compared across districts, states, and even at the national level. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have adopted
the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. Two federally funded state consortia are developing assessments aligned with the CCSS for general education students in grades 3-8 and high school—
the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).” (all the italicized sections below are also directly from the report)

In the works:

“Two more state consortia are developing ELA and mathematics assessments linked to the CCSS for students with severe cognitive disabilities – the Dynamic Learning Maps Assessment Consortium (DLM) and the National Center and State
Collaborative Assessment Consortium (NCSC).Yet another, the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) consortium, is developing English language proficiency assessments.”

Even the NAEP can’t predict the future of assessments, it just knows we have to have high stakes ones!

“It is not entirely clear how NAEP’s role may change with the advent of these new assessments. However, we can
anticipate that many of these consortium tests will become “high-stakes” as they are used for accountability purposes. In response, educators will shift their focus toward preparation for these new accountability tests. If NAEP remains a low-stakes assessment program aligned to frameworks that reach beyond the confines of the CCSS, then it will be well positioned to provide uniquely valuable information about the extent to which other learning is maintained or declines as curriculum and instruction evolve toward the CCSS. History suggests that even for ELA and mathematics content included in the CCSS, achievement trends shown on NAEP will likely differ from those seen on the high-stakes tests themselves.”

Among their other purposes, measuring MORE outcomes! Data tracking, mining, and leading the way in innovating the assessments! With all this change, the NAEP even asserts that it will be more important than ever. We’ll need to continue to keep an eye on this agency. **NOTE: I’ll be writing more in-depth about some of the newer consortia in the coming days, so stay tuned.

About the experts:

As I shared with you in the beginning, I was listening to two assessment experts yesterday during a webinar funded by Joyce Foundation(gives grants of all sizes to all kinds of educational efforts, according to their 2013 grant list, money was given to research more ways to have K-12 human capital policy making and research. Another grant was given to continue to help implement CCSS) and hosted by “Education Weekly”.

The experts were Randy Bennett of  ETS via assessment innovation with a specialty in cognitive based learning; Dr. Daniel Hickey of Indiana University as a research scientist. Dr. Hickey was even very instrumental in creating the digital educational badges you may be seeing more and more of. Both are very well versed in their areas. Both are convinced CCSS holds much promise-if handled correctly. They did not quite agree on a few things during the presentation, but were very respectful of each other. Both are sold out via sponsors, beliefs that high stakes assessments are here to stay, in fact will become moreso. They like the SBAC/PARCC. Each had a favorite and it was ‘debated’ which one will survive the scrutiny presently in the news.

Here, in bullet point style are the biggest takeaways about the educational obsession with assessments:

  • Standard of importance is the assessments must be tied to common measures.
  • At least one of the presenters used an image of Tea Party symbolism and anti Common Core symbol as part of the problem.
  • It is being perceived the biggest push-back against SBAC/PARCC is due to the length of the tests.
  • High stakes assessments are vital to close the achievement gap; to improve US education in order to global compete.
  • Consequential testing needs to be transformed into ‘real world, best practices, learning challenges’ and calibrated to have common exercises everyone can complete, especially projects.
  • Whatever assessments used, embed them; award certificates for tasks like problem solving.
  • Use HSA (high stakes assessments) to drive schools.
  • Education needs to be more open to all and on-line.
  • Formative/summative assessments should be combined, aligned, synergized.
  • Don’t blame the assessments, blame how they are used incorrectly.
  • CCSS is an important step in all of this.
The real cost of high stakes assessments?? Self worth, esteem, thinking skills, learning skills. NO amount of money is worth killing a mind.
The real cost of high stakes assessments??
Self worth, esteem, thinking skills, learning skills.
NO amount of money is worth killing a mind.