Tag Archives: Springboard

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!

 

Sic’ ‘Em Saturday: “Springboarding” into the CCSS/AP Pool

"Srpingboard" is a product line by "College Board" said to prepare students for Advance Placement classes. Guess, what, Common Core aligned!
“Srpingboard” is a product line by “College Board” said to prepare students for Advance Placement classes. Guess, what, Common Core aligned!

Have you heard of “Springboard”?

According to the ‘College Board’s’ website, the product line is a foundation. The description also goes on to tell you how great it, how it’s been proven, and so on. (http://professionals.collegeboard.com/k-12/prepare/springboard) What’s interesting is that to find out about Springboard, you have to go the site’s ‘K-12 Services’. Oh, gee, thanks College Board, for considering willfully aligning our students to CCSS as a service! Next thing you know, you’ll be telling us there are no sharp rocks in the picture above, as a service!

What the product line does:

Targets 6th-12th graders with customized content full of rigor, performance based assessments and all professional developed. Sounds great, right?  Here’s a link address for a video of one of the schools used as a testing site. There are a total of 22 schools in a select number of states. http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/video_audio/springboard/qcsd-qchs-video.mp4

You jumping in? We did! The ‘water’s fine’!

So far, 8 states have adopted Springboard:  CA, GA, TN, FL, NM, UT, OR, and TX. From what I can gather, member states get free workshops, especially during the first year of a mutli-year implementation process. I picked a state to see just what else is in store for them, here’s Georgia’s Teacher workshop: “introduces the key components of the SpringBoard framework, emphasizing rigorous instruction, alignment to the Common Core, formative and summative assessments, and other challenges facing Georgia educators. Teachers learn how to use SpringBoard’s digital and print components to differentiate instruction, ensuring all students are engaged in education that leads to college and career readiness.” For the school districts: “SpringBoard coaches collaborate with district leaders in partnerships that grow stronger every year. They work together to design and implement a program of professional development that meets the needs of each school and evolves as those needs change.” This is just the first year, the second year is building expertise and covers even more implementation of the standards. The third year is for capacity building, after all, everybody’s gotta jump in at some point.

Learning Walks:
Another partnership Springboard offers the states, is called “Learning Walks“. If you’ve not heard of these they are quite something. While the state I live in hasn’t adopted Springboard, they DO use it in some of the schools. However, the state does use Learning Walks. I’m including the pdf file from one of the public schools: Learning_Walks_Overview

“Using the Learning Walk system (handhelds, laptops, or paper forms), “walkers” collect specific data that provides a series of snapshots of the teaching and learning process. Learning Walks are brief, often lasting no more than four minutes. The focus of a Learning Walk is on student work and teacher responses in the context of teaching and learning. Over time, the observer collects data on five specific components supported by research related to student learning. This information provides the walker with the opportunity to pose questions based on trend data to engage the teacher, PLC team, or entire faculty in thinking about beliefs, goals, practices, and instructional decision making. Promoting reflective practice will result in several benefits for all educators: • building trust in the reflective practice process itself; • inspiring teacher-driven research through the self-reflection focus; • informing dialogue about teaching and learning between the walker and teacher; • expanding capacity for analyzing thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions; • enhancing dialogue about teaching and learning within a professional learning community; • fostering self-monitoring of professional growth; and, • creating a school-wide climate of inquiry and research. In the formative performance appraisal process, observers use the Learning Walk model to collect observation data as a basis for posing periodic reflective questions as well as for sharing trend data periodically.” The five focus areas? Curriculum, lessons, students, work, and the quality framework. You’ll be interested to know that the opportunity for EVEN more data collection is available. The goal behind this particular county’s schools?  “All ________ County Public Schools students will graduate having actively mastered the lifelong-learning skills they need to succeed as 21st century learners, workers and citizens.” Of the ‘lifelong competencies, not one was based on specific subjects. they do contain a long, lofty list of character attributes. Collect and organizing data, think critically, be ethical, be healthy, communicate clearly, be civic minded among others.

How ‘Springboard’ is aligned to CCSS:

You will need to enlarge the picture, but it’s worth a 1,000 words.

Currently, English and Math are the two "Springboard" subjects.
Currently, English and Math are the two “Springboard” subjects.

You’ll want to read some of the texts, books, novels used in the program, among them, Fahrenheit 451, Pygmalion and others you will find interesting. Also included is a Socratic seminar (this should be interesting as well, considering only a few days ago I wrote and shared with you the before/after treatment of Socrates/Plato) Here’s the link to see the rest of what’s in store for your students.

http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/springboard/springboard-publishers-criteria-english-language-arts-146-583.pdf

I can tell you the Springboard Student textbook I have (part of my CCSS evidence collection), is directed to “All About Me”, the changes I’m facing, the changes in my perception, my world, measuring all those changes. If I were you, I’d want to sit in on a class or two with this subject matter.

What you can do:

1) If offered a choice for your student to have another English/Math class, take the non Springboard one. IF there’s no other choice, test the waters..ask to see the teacher’s guide, look at your student’s book. The website for Springboard has samples, so be sure to access those, print them out and take to your school board. Advance Placement courses are all being run by College Board, which means they are under David Coleman’s direction! You may know how the AP U.S. History has been rewritten, there are other courses that will also be rewritten in similar fashion.

2) Inform other families who have students using Springboard! Share this post, resources. Spread the word. Be willing to accompany those conducting “Learning Walks”. Find out how far the data sharing goes. Inform those in charge you will not allow your student to participate. Remember, exercising your rights as an informed parent is making a statement. It is NOT asking permission. You do not need the school’s permission to do what’s best for your student/child.

3) Be a step ahead of your students. Since you may be able to get the reading list (it can’t hurt to ask the teacher), get the book from the library, borrow it from a neighbor, buy it in a store, etc. Use family time to discuss what the actual vernacular is and contrast to the aligned assignment. If you would like other suggestions for how to counter English assignments with non CC aligned activities, leave me a comment with what you are looking for. I can help!

4) Participate, if you can, in the upcoming “College Board” Forum. They’ll be having a grand time discussing more alignments, more rigor, how the SAT alignment is progressing and more! The Forum is in CA, and is to be held 10/27-29, 2014. (details: http://forum.collegeboard.org/) Can’t make it to CA? There’s a Twitter handle already set up, you can follow it, #CBForum14 If you are interested, be sure to look at the extensive list of colleges who will be participating in the College Fair (a portion of the Forum). I spied several public AND private colleges. Hmmm..makes you want to see if all of them are CCSS aligned as well.

5) Draw up a petition to present to your school board that expresses the parents/students wishes to NOT use Springboard, College Board or AP classes! Write your legislators urging them to STOP their paid support of College Board CCSS aligned products. Help stop the misconception so prevalent..that all with CCSS aligned materials is a calm pool of delight. Stir up the water, folks!