Tag Archives: PLAN

Assessment Quest, Parts 1 and 2

Part One

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

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

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

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

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

One State Goes on a Quest:

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


Questar:

Website: http://www.questarai.com/

questaracct

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part Two:
So Where is IMS Global?

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

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

imsglobal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing:

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

 

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Tech Thursday: Hunting for CCSS/CTE

Hunt Institute has a long history of being Common Core supportive.

Hunt Institute has a long history of being Common Core supportive.

While it appears all anti CCSS eyes are on the HR5 (the re-authorization of the NCLB), it’s been proven via documents that the HEA re-authorization is just as CCSS tied! Both have been re-authorized in almost the same time periods since their original passing in 1965. Time and time again, Sen. Lamar Alexander has been tied to the re-writing of BOTH bills. The intent? Simply put: what gets started in HR5 for CCSS, CTE, data mining, control,assessments, and educational abuse is CONTINUED into the HEA.

So what does the Hunt Institute’s announcement of 6/16/15 have to do with this? The announcement HI released, details a report published by the SREB (Southern Regional Education Board), which gives us an overview of the BRIDGE between K-12 and post-secondary..This plays right into the hands of BOTH bills being up for re-authorization. We MUST act quickly in alerting our legislators to KILL BOTH bills!! This ‘bridge’ even has a name…and I’ve taken you in great detail into the creation of that bridge. It’s called “Career Pathways”.

 

The Hunt Institute Announcement:

Here’s an excerpt from the HI’s website about SREB, “Labor market economists project that by 2020, two-thirds or more of all jobs will require some post-secondary education — either a certificate, a credential or a degree at the associate level or higher. At present, however, the Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) analyses of educational attainment data suggest that millions of young Americans are being left behind in the transition from high school to college and well-paying jobs. Significant numbers will never graduate, and many who do go on to college will never complete a credential with value in the marketplace. Credentials for All: An Imperative for SREB States, the final report of SREB’s Commission on Career and Technical Education, offers a powerful solution to this problem: Provide more than one pathway to college and careers.”

A Hunt Institute ‘Bridge’ of Their Own:

While busy promoting the SREB’s last report in a series of them, HI has produced some of its own ‘bridge’ reports for connecting K-12, post-secondary education, and alignment to the CCSS/CTE way of educating our students (remember, all ages attend post-secondary schools).

While the report I’m about to share is ‘state specific’ it can be used as evidence to research what your state may have going on that is either the same or eerily similar. Remember, the Hunt Institute has been instrumental in promoting CCSS is every state; SREB is busy promoting CCSS/CTE across several states (other regional education boards complete the coverage across the nation). (*Note: I’ve written several articles on SREB and those other regional education boards, you can find them by searching my blog, just insert the acronym for the region you wish to find.)

Hunt Institute’s series, “CoNCepts”, from their latest issue: “This issue of coNCepts examines the ways North Carolina’s K-12 and higher education systems are working together to ensure college and career readiness for all students by aligning K-12 with post-secondary expectations, creating clearly defined pathways for career training and college preparation, and forming robust partnerships with industry.” Further down the page, you’ll see: “ As part of NC Ready for Success, NCDPI has partnered with ACT to administer a series of college readiness assessments: EXPLORE (8th grade); PLAN (10th grade); and ACT (11th grade). Beginning in 2011-2012, PLAN and ACT were administered to all 10th and 11th graders free of charge. These assessments inform students, parents, and educators about the student’s current academic trajectory, as well as where further interventions and support are required.” See the screen shot below of another page from the ‘CoNCept’ issue.

New Schools, Jobs for the Future have been traced to ties with the CCSS Machine; NCCCS (NC Community College System) has been aligned to include CTE/CCSS, as well.
New Schools, Jobs for the Future have been traced to ties with the CCSS Machine; NCCCS (NC Community College System) has been aligned to include CTE/CCSS, as well.

To read the rest of the HI’s CCSS/CTE education reform news: CoNCept-Issue5

 

SREB, Southern Regional Education Board:

One of the last times I researched and wrote about the SREB designs on post-secondary education was another report from the same series as Hunt Institute refers to above. That was back in  April 2015. That report’s name was ““Community Colleges in the South: Strengthening Readiness and Pathways”  The report HI is promoting is titled, “Credentials for All: An Imperative for SREB States”. The new report, like it’s predecessor, has 8 strategy points laid out. I’ll not repeat the former 8 points from the April 2015 article, but I am including the link so you can read it for yourselves. You’ll also be able to see how the Gates Foundation and others are backing the SREB (you can bet the other regional education boards are just as well taken care of by the CCSS Machine). See April’s SREB article:
https://commoncorediva.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/sic-em-saturday-using-community-colleges-for-more-core/

The latest SREB bridge connector from K-12 to post-secondary titled “Credentials for All: An Imperative for SREB States” is more of the same we’ve seen from those seeking to misguide Americans into believing all this CCSS/CTE reform is the best we can do for our students. No, it’s the best the CCSS/CTE Machine can do to undermine our country!  “Credentials” includes a message to the SREB states (and those of us fighting CCSS/CTE) from the Governor of KY. Here’s an excerpt from his message, One of my goals as chair of SREB and its Commission on Career and Technical Education is to promote policies and practices to support strong career pathways that help more students earn industry and post-secondary credentials and obtain good jobs.”

The latest 8 action steps laid out in “Credentials” are as follows:

“1) Build bridges from high school to post-secondary education and the workplace by creating rigorous, relevant career pathways driven by labor market demand.”
2) Expect all students to graduate academically ready for both college and careers.
3)  Select assessments of technical and workplace readiness standards that offer long-term value to individual students, employers and the economy; carry college credits; and are directly linked to more advanced certifications and further study. 
4)  Provide all high school career pathway teachers, especially new teachers from industry, with the professional development and fast-track induction programs they need to meet high academic, technical and pedagogical standards and enhance students’ academic and technical readiness for college and careers.
5) Adopt a framework of strategies to restructure low-performing high schools around rigorous, relevant career pathways that accelerate learning and prepare students for post-secondary credentials and degrees. 
6) Offer early advanced credential programs in shared-time technology centers, aligning their curricula, instruction and technology with home high schools and community and technical colleges.
7)  Incentivize community and technical colleges and school districts to double the percentage of students who earn certificates, credentials and degrees by setting statewide readiness standards and aligning assessment and placement measures with those standards. Other strategies: Use the senior year of high school to reduce the number of students who need remediation, retool developmental education, adopt individualized support strategies for struggling students and improve affordability. 
8) Design accountability systems that recognize and reward districts, high schools, technology centers, and community and technical colleges that double the number of young adults who acquire post-secondary credentials and secure high-skill, high-wage jobs by age 25.”

How these action steps are taken in your states is something you MUST read for yourselves. It includes federal and state pressure via funding. Get the entire report by accessing it here: CredentialPlan

Remember, your state may not be an SREB one, but you can more than likely find the exact message from your regional education board or one extremely like this. Why? Because while all 50 states don’t have CCSS, every one of them, by law has Career Tech (aka Workforce). As I stated in the beginning of this article:

                                                                        What starts in HR5 ends in HEA!