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"This collection has been gathered to raise awareness about concerns related to high-stakes standardized tests and related assessments and as a research tool to organize online content. There is a grey funnel shaped icon at the top right corner of the screen (in desktop view mode) where one can enter keyword searches of content (such as PARCC, SBAC, Smarter Balanced, CAASPP, SAT, Pearson, validity, etc.).  Readers are encouraged to explore related links within each post for additional information. Views provided here are for information only and do not necessarily constitute an official position of the curator nor her employer. For more updates, see Educator Resources tab at http://EduResearcher.com [Links to external site].
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Between A Rock and a Hard Place With College Board and SAT: College Board Says It Allows Subcontractors to Access Personal IEP and 504 Disability data // Missouri Education Watchdog 

Between A Rock and a Hard Place With College Board and SAT: College Board Says It Allows Subcontractors to Access Personal IEP and 504 Disability data // Missouri Education Watchdog  | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

By Cher Keisecker

Sunday, January 28 is International Privacy Day. Please, when you think of privacy, remember that in today’s high-tech classrooms,  K-12 students are a captive audience, in a state of nearly constant surveillance and ever increasing data collection. Student data does not stay in the classroom. Parents cannot opt out of the data collection and many worry about the lack of privacy and security with student data and parents worry how this data could be used to profile studentsThe College Board, owners of the SAT college entrance assessment, just added to this concern.

 

The new SAT is 100% Common Core aligned and Colorado, like other states, mandates the SAT assessments.  Colorado students must take the PSAT in grades 9, 10 and SAT in grade 11. 

Parents of high school students with disabilities recently received this letter from their child’s school, saying the College Board must have access to their child’s disability records without limitation and if needed, any additional or supplemental data requested to verify that the student needs accommodations when taking the SAT test in Colorado this Spring. 

 

The College Board letter also lists subcontracted corporations who will have access to the students’ disability records (see this list below).

With this demand for extremely sensitive data, to be disclosed to subcontractors, the state of Colorado and the College Board have put parents between a rock and a hard place.

Parents feel like they are held hostage.  (We know students’ disability records have a high monetary value. We also know that HIPPA does not protect student records.  Have you ever seen a student’s 504 medical file or IEP file?  These files can contain diagnoses, very personal mental and/or medical health information, information on student and family background, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs.)

Is it ethical that a parent must choose between their child having accommodations and a fair shot on these high-stakes mandated tests, or protecting their child’s privacy knowing that their disability records will be shared with the College Board and accessed by outside corporations: Pearson, Conduent Inc. (formerly Xerox), ETS, and Alorica Inc

Should states like Colorado require that parents grant the College Board and subcontractors access to very sensitive documents about their children? Why do these subcontracted companies doing support work need access to disability data? Why does Pearson need access to the Student Data Questionnaire, when Pearson is only scoring answer sheets?  

 

Of course we understand the need to verify that the child does have an IEP or 504 plan and does require specific accommodations, but instead of giving companies access to this information,couldn’t the student’s disability status be verified by the school principal or even district or state school board by checking the records and telling College Board, “Yes, these accommodations have been verified.”?

Is requiring this sensitive data sharing a violation of FERPA?

We know that the College Board also sells licenses to student data.  Keep in mind that the subcontractors that the College Board listed in the accommodation letter do not include the thousands of entities that College Board licenses access to student data.

I sent letters (like the one posted below) to the Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Board of Education, my School District.  I also sent a similar letter to the College Board saying,  “In light of the Agora USDoE FERPA decision, and Colorado HB16-1423, will the College Board please provide the terms of service and data sharing policies of each subcontractor listed in the accommodation request letter?”  

 

Side note:  If you aren’t familiar with The US Department of Education’s recent decision regarding FERPA rights and schools not allowing students to opt out of data sharing, see the Agora letter here. It was first brought to my attention when Attorney Elena Zeide posted this tweet:

 

"An unprecedented letter from @usedgov re: #studentprivacy finding school violated #FERPA by not giving students the ability to opt-out of #edtech. Great proactive & specific guidance frm Priv. Tech Assistance Ctr http://bit.ly/2mQPcWB  I will write more on implications ltr today"

 

Parents in other states should be paying attention, asking questions.  The College Board had to comply with Colorado’s new student data transparency law, in telling us who they share data with.  Parents should ask if the College Board has similar data sharing policies in every state. 

 

Please check back, updates will be posted on this blog.  

 

"From: Cheri Kiesecker

Date: Tue, Jan 23, 2018
Subject: RE: College Board student disability verification/consent

Dear Colorado Board of Education, Colorado Department of Education, and XX School District,

You may remember that Colorado students with disabilities received this overly broad request for the child’s school records and any other documents the school may have… in order for the College Board SAT /PSAT to honor student accommodations. https://www.collegeboard.org/pdf/ssd/ssd-consent-form-accommodations.pdf

Knowing the College Board sells licenses to student data and wondering what disability data the College Board might have access to and share, I contacted the CO Dept of Ed and College Board with my concerns; CDE agreed the data request letter needed to be updated. See the modified/ updated CB accommodations request letter for Colorado students attached. 

 

The updated accommodations request form still gives the College Board access to broad “additional” requested and supplemental documents. If a parent wants their child’s accommodations (ie: extended time) to be honored when taking SAT or PSAT (or AP, NMSQT), you will see that several organizations (Pearson, Xerox, ETS, and Alorica) can have access to the child’s personal disability information. Keep in mind that these subcontractors listed do not include the thousands of entities that College Board licenses access to student pii data.

 

My concern remains. How can we accommodate special need students without granting College Board and third parties access to all /any sensitive records?

Why do these subcontractors need access to “SSD Online including the required and supplemental student data listed above” when they are providing only support services ? Why does Pearson need access to a child’s Student Data Questionnaire …if Pearson is only providing “operational activities” such as grading and scanning answer sheets?

Why must special needs students who require accommodations forfeit their privacy, in order to have necessary accommodations on this state mandated test?

Can’t districts or CDE step in and verify accommodation needs rather than supplying companies this very sensitive information?

Thank you for any help you can offer.
Best,
Cheri Kiesecker, parent"...

 

For original post, see:

http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-with-college-board-and-sat/ 

 

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Mississippi Fires [Pearson] Testing Firm After Exams Wrongly Scored

Mississippi Fires [Pearson] Testing Firm After Exams Wrongly Scored | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

By Jeff Amy

JACKSON, Miss. (AP)

"The Mississippi Department of Education is firing a testing company, saying scoring errors raise questions about the graduation status of nearly 1,000 students statewide.

The state Board of Education revoked a contract with NCS Pearson in closed session Friday, after the Pearson PLC unit told officials it used the wrong table to score U.S. history exams for students on track to graduate this spring. Students who did poorly got overly high scores, while those who did better didn’t get enough credit.

 
Associate Superintendent Paula Vanderford says it’s too soon to know how many students may have graduated or been denied diplomas in error, or what the state will do about either circumstance.

Pearson spokeswoman Laura Howe apologized on behalf of the company and said Pearson is working to correct the scores.

 

“We are disappointed by today’s board decision but stand ready to assist the state in any way possible,” she wrote in an email.

 

Students typically study U.S. history in their third year in high school, and take the subject test that spring. Students who score poorly, though, can take the test up to three more times as a senior. The 951 students in questions were either seniors, or juniors scheduled to graduate early, and needed their scores to earn diplomas.

 

The answers about graduating students will be tricky because students have different options to graduate. Formerly, every student had to pass each of Mississippi’s four subject tests in biology, history, algebra and English to earn a high school diploma. Now, students can fail a test and still graduate if class grades are high enough, they score well enough on other subject tests, they score above 17 on part of the ACT college test, or earn a C or better in a college class.

 

Eventually, the tests will count for 25 percent of the grades in each subject.

 

About 27,000 students took the test overall. Vanderford said scores for each one will have to be verified. The exam scores also affect the grades that Mississippi gives to public schools and districts.

 

“The agency is committed to ensuring that the data is correct,” she said.

 

Vanderford said Pearson has had other problems with its Mississippi tests. In 2012, a scoring error on the high school biology exam wrongly denied diplomas to five students. Pearson compensated them with $50,000 scholarships to any Mississippi university. Another 116 student who were affected less severely got $10,000 or $1,000 scholarships. In 2015, Pearson paid the state $250,000 after its online testing platform crashed for a day.

 
Pearson had a contract worth a projected $24 million over the next six years to provide tests for history, high school biology, 5th grade science and 8th grade science. The board hired Minnesota-based Questar Assessment to administer all those tests for one year for $2.2 million.
 
Questar, which is being bought by nonprofit testing giant ETS, already runs all of Mississippi’s language arts and math tests. Because Mississippi owns the questions to the history and science tests, Vanderford said it will be possible for Questar to administer those exams on short notice. The state will seek a contractor to give those tests on a long-term basis in coming months."

 

For main story, please see: 

https://apnews.com/115d48fe350843d6baa60bc277fd1bc8 

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Pearson Explores Sale of Its U.S. K-12 Curriculum Business // EdWeek Market Brief

Pearson Explores Sale of Its U.S. K-12 Curriculum Business // EdWeek Market Brief | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"Pearson, the largest education company in the world, announced today that it’s considering selling off its U.S. K-12 digital and print curriculum business, citing the “slow pace of digital adoption” in schools.

 

Besides that issue, the company cited a “challenging competitive and market environment” and the high capital needs of the digital curriculum market as reasons for its announcement of a strategic review of that portion of the business.

 

The U.S. Learning Services business, as Pearson refers to the division in question, sells K-12 print, digital, and blended curriculum, and includes products like enVision Math and iLit. It does not include Advanced Placement (AP), career and technical education, or online courses taken in high school, a company spokesman said.

 

The announcement was part of the company’s sharing of its 1st quarter 2017 results. A release accompanying that report touted the company’s “progress” in accelerating some aspects of digital delivery of the company’s content, focusing on its higher education and K-12 efforts in that vein.

 

For K-12, the company said its future focus will be in three areas: investing in virtual schools via Connections Education, which the company said is one of its fastest-growing businesses; building on the company’s position in U.S. school assessment, and “powering online learning,” by investing in digital courses for use in blended and virtual teaching within physical schools.

 

The influence and outcomes of virtual schools or cyber charters were examined in a November 2016 Education Week investigation by Ben Herold and Arianna Prothero. Connections Academy, an online school provider for grades K-12 that Pearson purchased in 2011. was covered in the series of stories.  Pearson’s Connections Education provided a  defense of cyber charters in the Education Week coverage.

 

No timeline of the potential sale or valuation of the business is available at this time, said a company spokesman."

 

For full post, see: https://marketbrief.edweek.org/marketplace-k-12/pearson-explores-sale-u-s-k-12-curriculum-business/ 

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Why Bother With The Facts? 

Kudos to parent and teacher Heather Hicks -- to see the full video on Youtube, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERFGuUGgdqg.  Also, see full background and post on the Parents Across America Website: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/blended-learning-bombshell-mom-inacol-target/ 

 

 

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For more on the controversial charter school chain that popularized "blended learning" check out: https://eduresearcher.com/2016/03/09/rocketship-pushes/ 

 

For more on Pearson and its infuence in testing, please see:

http://www.scoop.it/t/testing-testing?q=pearson 

 

 

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Pearson Says Farewell to Learning Management System Market // EdSurge News

Pearson Says Farewell to Learning Management System Market // EdSurge News | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"CLOSED FOR CLASS: The doors are closing for Pearson’s learning management systems, LearningStudio and OpenClass, reports Phil Hill of e-Literate. Both tools were the result of acquisitions for which the company paid hundreds of millions of dollars.


By 2018, OpenClass, which Pearson once touted as a free alternative to open-source learning management systems like Moodle, will no longer be supported. LearningStudio, used by an estimated 110 institutions and 1.2 million students, will also be shuttered within three years.


According to Hill’s interview with Curtiss Barnes, Managing Director of Technology Products for Pearson Global Higher Education, “the decision to get out of the LMS category was based on Pearson’s continuing efforts to reorganize and streamline the diversified company, and being competitive in the LMS market just doesn’t help meet corporate goals.”


Citing data from Edutechnica, Inside Higher Ed notes that Pearson’s learning management systems were used by only five to 10 percent of higher-ed institutions."...


https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-02-08-pearson-says-farewell-to-learning-management-system-market 

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Pearson Tells Stock Holders It’s Worried About Data Security

Pearson Tells Stock Holders It’s Worried About Data Security | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"Fascinating things you can find in those boring SEC required reports that publicly traded companies must file.


Pearson, by far the largest educational supply company in the world, filed their annual SEC Form 20-F report in March 2015 with an analysis of the potential risks and liabilities the company will face, as well as growth opportunities. The company states that their goal is to “help people make measurable progress in their lives through all kinds of learning.” They believe that “the real problem in education is not finding a great teacher or a really good school, but being able to replicate that excellence at scale.”  Measurable is a key word in the previous statement which means they only focus on things which they have quantified, developed a test for and can collect data on, and they want to be able to do it on a massive scale. If Pearson can’t measure it, it may as well not exist.


The report has five priorities for the company for 2015. One of them is digital products.


New digital products — to further this work we will be launching new global products to meet the need for much better learning outcomes.


They connect content with assessment and feedback. They use analytics and big data to personalize learning — making it a far more collaborative and effective experience for students and teachers.


All that big data collection by their digital products comes with a risk which they note in their report.


"We operate in markets that are dependent on Information Technology (IT) systems and technological change.


All our businesses, to a greater or lesser extent, are dependent on information technology. We either provide software and/or internet services to our customers or we use complex IT systems and products to support our business activities, including customer-facing systems, back-office processing and infrastructure. We face several technological risks associated with software product development and service delivery, information technology security (including virus and cyber-attacks), e-commerce, enterprise resource planning system implementations and upgrades. Although plans and procedures are in place to reduce such risks, from time to time we have experienced verifiable attacks on our systems by unauthorized parties. To date such attacks have not resulted in any material damage to us, but our businesses could be adversely affected if our systems and infrastructure experience a significant failure or interruption."


That is the initial warning to investors. We may get hacked. But Pearson is not worried about the direct effect on their business from such an attack.


It is the consumer fall out which is more troublesome, or more specifically their responsibilities when such data breaches do happen.  Pearson is worried about legislation and regulation regarding data breaches and their impact the bottom line.


Failure to comply with data privacy regulations and standards or weakness in information security, including a failure to prevent or detect a malicious attack on our systems, could result in a major data privacy breach causing reputational damage to our brands and financial loss.


Across our businesses we hold large volumes of personal data including that of employees, customers, students and citizens. Despite our implementation of security measures, individuals may try to gain unauthorized access to our data in order to misappropriate such information for potentially fraudulent purposes. Any perceived or actual unauthorized disclosure of personally-identifiable information, whether through breach of our network by an unauthorized party, employee theft, misuse or error or otherwise, could harm our reputation, impair our ability to attract and retain our customers, or subject us to claims or litigation arising from damages suffered by individuals, and thereby harm our business and operating results. Failure to adequately protect personal data could lead to penalties, significant remediation costs, reputational damage, potential cancellation of some existing contracts and inability to compete for future business.In addition, we could incur significant costs in complying with the relevant laws and regulations regarding the unauthorized disclosure of personal information."...


For full post, click on title above or here: 

http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/pearson-tells-stock-holders-its-worried-about-data-security/


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For the subset of articles on Pearson in the 'Testing, Testing, 1,2,3, collection check out: http://www.scoop.it/t/testing-testing?q=pearson 

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Grading the Common Core: No Teaching Experience Required // NYTimes.com

Grading the Common Core: No Teaching Experience Required // NYTimes.com | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

By Mokoto Rich 
"SAN ANTONIO — The new academic standards known as the Common Core emphasize critical thinking, complex problem-solving and writing skills, and put less stock in rote learning and memorization. So the standardized tests given in most states this year required fewer multiple choice questions and far more writing on topics like this one posed to elementary school students: Read a passage from a novel written in the first person, and a poem written in the third person, and describe how the poem might change if it were written in the first person.
 

But the results are not necessarily judged by teachers.
 

On Friday, in an unobtrusive office park northeast of downtown here, about 100 temporary employees of the testing giant Pearson worked in diligent silence scoring thousands of short essays written by third- and fifth-grade students from across the country.
 

There was a onetime wedding planner, a retired medical technologist and a former Pearson saleswoman with a master’s degree in marital counseling. To get the job, like other scorers nationwide, they needed a four-year college degree with relevant coursework, but no teaching experience. They earned $12 to $14 an hour, with the possibility of small bonuses if they hit daily quality and volume targets."...

 

[Picture caption]: Rose Rodriguez-Rabin, left, and Valerie Gomm scored Common Core exams at an office in San Antonio. Ms. Rodriguez-Rabin has worked for the testing company Pearson on various projects since 2009. Ms. Gomm described the scoring process as challenging, saying that "you go into analyzing every trait."]  Ilana Panich-Linsman for the New York Times

 

FOR FULL POST, click on title above or
here: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/us/grading-the-common-core-no-teaching-experience-required.html?_r=1&nbsp

 

 

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Online Attack Suspends Minnesota's State Tests // EdTech Magazine

Online Attack Suspends Minnesota's State Tests // EdTech Magazine | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"Cyberwarfare hit Minnesota schools this month.

 

Students taking the state assessment test for science had to step away from their computers after a "distributed denial-of-service” (DDoS) attack from a third-party caused servers to ground to a halt.

 

DDoS attacks saturate servers with requests, slowing down processing speed and ultimately preventing users from accessing system resources.

The tests were being administrated across the state by an online system from Pearson, a global education company. But on May 13, the Minnesota Department of Education suspended the comprehensive assessments due to system disruption “from an outside source,” according to a press release from the department.
 

State Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said districts were reporting serious delays connecting with Pearson's system, forcing the department to halt testing until the issue was resolved.


"It is simply unacceptable and unfair to subject students and teachers to this kind of uncertainty in a high-stakes testing environment," wrote Cassellius.
 

It’s not the first time this year the system has sustained a DDoS attack. On April 21, the testing system was hit by a similar attack, but Pearson issued a letter to the department saying the company had taken precautions so an attack would not happen again. However, following the May 14 incident, Cassellius said Pearson had regarded the latest attack “larger and more sophisticated” than the initial event.
 

Statewide tests resumed on May 15. And Cassellius said the department will investigate whether the delays had any impact on student-testing scores.


“Cyberattacks of this nature are, unfortunately, a reality of the world we live in. However, we expected the proper security measures to be in place to anticipate and deal with this reality. And they weren't,” she wrote.

In 2014, the state began a $33.8 million contract with Pearson over a three-year period to administer its reading, math and science proficiency tests, according to Education Week."

 

For full post, click in title or link here: 

http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2015/05/online-attack-suspends-minnesotas-state-tests


Via EDTECH@UTRGV, Mark E. Deschaine, PhD
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How Pearson Bungled Allegations of Spying on Kids Taking PARCC // Lucid Public Relations

How Pearson Bungled Allegations of Spying on Kids Taking PARCC // Lucid Public Relations | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"There may exist no greater third rail in Public Relations than business activities that lead to a perception of impropriety, no matter how tangential, in dealings with children.  This week, the media caught up with what groups like the “Badass Teachers Association” have been saying for weeks – that during this month’s administration of the already wildly controversial PARCC standardized test, Pearson Education, Inc., the for profit company that helps oversee the test, admittedly conducted mass monitoring of teenagers’ social media in an attempt to do the IMPOSSIBLE: to keep up with social media crazed teenagers to ensure they didn’t tweet about the test.
 

So far, many don’t think it’s so unreasonable. The story, as reported across the country, turns a combination of creepy and downright bizarre from there.
 

When a suspected “security breach” was detected, Pearson sent school districts a “Priority 1 Alert,” after which, in at least one case, administrators tracked down the tweeting teenager, had the tweet deleted, and notified the parent involved, who was less concerned about her child’s conduct than that of Pearson’s and the school’s.  Even worse, the student turned out not to have revealed any of Pearson’s precious test and had tweeted AFTER school–meaning AFTER the test booklets had been collected–meaning the tweet couldn’t have constituted cheating.
 

So, what do you do as a business when you get caught policing a test as if you are guarding the launch codes to a nuclear weapon?–Hopefully the exact opposite of what Pearson did."....

 

For full post, click on title above or here: 
http://www.lucidpublicrelations.com/news/how-pearson-bungled-allegations-of-spying-on-kids-taking-parcc/00939

 

 

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FairTest Reacts to Ongoing Computer-Administered Testing Problems: Exams Crashed in Nine States in April // FairTest.org

FairTest Reacts to Ongoing Computer-Administered Testing Problems: Exams Crashed in Nine States in April // FairTest.org | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"New, computer-delivered, school testing programs have been plagued by malfunctions across the nation. So far in April, exam delivery collapsed in at least eight states -- Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Several different companies are responsible for these faulty systems. The list includes American Institutes of Research (AIR), CTB/McGraw-Hill, Educational Testing Service (ETS), Measured Progress, and Pearson Education.

 

According to Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, (FairTest), which monitors standardized exams across the U.S., policy-makers should learn two lessons from these widespread technical problems. 

 

“First,” Schaeffer explained, “State education officials must suspend the high-stakes testing mandate, as Montana’s education commissioner already did. Results from exams that have repeatedly been interrupted are not reliable, valid or even ‘standardized.’ The fact is students ended up taking them under widely different conditions.”


Schaeffer continued, “Second, state and national politicians must step on the brakes to stop testing overkill. Many schools lack sufficient up-to-date computers and other modern equipment for mass test administration. Large numbers of districts do not have the internet bandwidth to handle the volume. Testing company servers do not have the capacity to meet the surge from thousands of students logging on simultaneously.”
 

Proponents of computerized testing have tried to blame “hacker attacks” in some instances. But Schaeffer said state investigations have concluded that most problems have stemmed from issues within the testing industry’s control.
 

Schaeffer concluded, “These fiascos were largely caused by politically-driven assessment policies. Policy-makers ignored multiple warnings from educators, technical experts and parents.”... 

 

________

 

For full post, click on title above or here: 
http://www.fairtest.org/FairTest-Reacts-Computer-Admin-Testing-Problems

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'Technical Difficulties' Cause Shutdown of Standardized Testing in Colorado // gazette.com

'Technical Difficulties' Cause Shutdown of Standardized Testing in Colorado // gazette.com | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"Technical difficulties caused computerized testing in Colorado to not operate optimally for several hours Tuesday morning, according to the Colorado Department of Education.


The window for new, required science and social studies testing developed by the state opened Monday for Colorado's 179 public school districts.


The CDE told schools to not start or resume additional sessions of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success testing after the problem started, said Cami Anthony of the communications division.

 

Anthony said students who had begun testing sessions could continue.

 

The malfunction, she said, was believed to be a server issue on the part of Pearson State Assessment Services, the for-profit test administrator for Colorado. 
 

In a statement emailed Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman for Pearson said the "unexpected service interruption prevented some test administrators from logging in to PearsonAccess," which is where test sessions begin. She said those logged in before the interruption were not affected.
 

Problems started at 9:45 a.m. and were fixed about two and half hours later, Anthony said. At the time, 34,396 students of the 62,000 testing on Tuesday were taking the test, Anthony said.


The state does not know which school districts were impacted, said Janelle Albertson Asmus, chief communications officer for the CDE. But, she said, "more than 30,000 students were able to test even as the technical glitch was being solved."


Some schools related a different experience. A Colorado Springs School District 11 teacher said half-way into the testing, "the whole thing just shut down." 


"It was like crash and burn," he said."...

 

For full post, click on title above or here: http://m.gazette.com/technical-difficulties-cause-statewide-shutdown-of-standardized-testing-in-colorado/article/1549677

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NJ DOE Commissioner Hespe: A Full Independent Investigation Into Pearson's Privacy Violations // Change.org Petition

NJ DOE Commissioner Hespe: A Full Independent Investigation Into Pearson's Privacy Violations // Change.org Petition | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"With regard to New Jersey’s implementation of Common Core, and the NJ Department of Education’s directives to NJ school districts:
We, the undersigned, believe that Pearson (and its subsidiaries) are in violation of the NJ Administrative Code, FERPA, and COPPA by breaching privacy rights of parents and students. 

In order for districts to enroll the students for PARCC, they would need to provide all student info to NJSmart (which is a third party).  In order to transmit the student test for grading, a district would need to, according to the PARCC Manual, page 62, "upload PNP file to PearsonAccessNext".  Going to that page and selecting NJ, takes you to host nj.pearsonaccessnext.com (a third party) which has an IP address of 54.236.221.159.  A lookup of the owner of that IP address results in Amazon Web Services, Elastic Compute Cloud, EC2 1200 12th Avenue South.  

This demonstrates that the student PNP data record is going to TWO additional third parties - Pearson who owns the system, and host Amazon cloud services.

The PNP file contains (according to a NJ school district administrator) the pre-ID label which includes: Student name, student ID, name of teacher, name of proctor, AND student test data, accessibility features, student accommodations (IEP or 504), etc.  
This is a clear violation of NJ Administrative Code Code as well as FERPA and COPPA (see below).

Additionally, we are highly disturbed by the letter released by Watchung Hills High School Superintendent Jewett regarding Pearson spying on students via social media monitoring.  (See picture below.)  This practice is confirmed by their use of Tracx – a story about which was listed on the company website the morning of 3/14/15, but has since been pulled as of the afternoon of 3/14/2015 – story was titled: Tracx Case Study: Pearson Streamlines Social Media Listening and Monitoring With Tracx.

We, the undersigned, do hereby demand that you cease and desist implementation and/or use of any and all Pearson testing, standards, and all other products and services, and direct all school districts under your jurisdiction to cease transmission of ANY student data by ANY school district until a full independent investigation can be made to determine if Pearson is in violation as outlined above regarding PARCC administration and use of student data, and remedy same.  We demand that the privacy rights of parents and students become your priority and that the State immediately halt use of Pearson products and services until such time as all privacy concerns have been addressed and all remedies have been published to the public.

We further demand that, when such time as privacy compliant state mandated testing resumes, the NJ State BOE inform, in writing, all parents of their right to refuse any/all testing and that the state DOE issue official statements regarding same."...   

For full petition text and link, click on title above or here: 
https://www.change.org/p/nj-doe-commissioner-hespe-a-full-independent-investigation-into-pearson-s-privacy-violations

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The Powerful, Enforced Silence Around Standardized Testing // Dr. Mercedes Schneider

The Powerful, Enforced Silence Around Standardized Testing // Dr. Mercedes Schneider | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

By Mercedes Schneider  

"Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testingtakes more than ten hours for students in grades 3 through 8 to complete.
 

These students have spent countless hours preparing for the PARCC tests, and they have heard that the tests are important. However, they will receive no immediate, clear benefit from taking the tests. Their teachers will receive no clear, immediate information to inform instruction. By the time PARCC scores come, the school year is over, and likely another begun.
 

The teachers know that student scores on PARCC are meant to be used to grade them and their schools. All of the above makes for a high-stress situation for both kids and teachers. And once it is over, kids now know that the testing companies and departments of education are trolling social media to see if kids discuss the experience.
 

Such constitutes an abuse of power.
 

Pretend I am Pearson. I have just spent ten-plus hours with your child. You have no idea what we “talked” about, what exact ideas I have presented or how I presented them to the tender mind of your child. I can “discuss” whatever I like and present it with authority. I can promote certain people as “good and others as “bad.” I can promote products. And I can shape your child psychologically via my topics and presentation of such topics. Why, I can even collect psychological information on your child.
 

And once my ten-plus hours of “meetings” with your child are ended, I make it clear that I plan to monitor your child’s public discourse about the experience.  All that this does is protect me, the one already in incredible power.

 

You did not request that I meet with your child. Your child did not request the meeting. However, those who organized the meeting (e.g., state departments of education, in cooperation with me) have made it clear that there will be consequences if the meetings are not kept. They have also admitted that there is no direct benefit for you or your child as a result of the meeting.
 

Yes, you might receive a report of our meeting produced by me, but that report will be several months in coming, and its contents are chiefly meant to judge a third party– adults who are also kept in the dark about the details of the meetings (e.g., teachers and schools).

 

Meanwhile, in the media, those who arranged the meeting (state departments of education) are able to advertise the meeting as wholesome and good– and even as a civil right– but there will be no equally free opinion allowed from the child about his/her experience.

 

Now tell me again how standardized testing constitutes a “civil right”? The parties involved are clearly not equal in power, neither are they equal in their freedom to express themselves regarding the secretive testing experience."...

 

For full post, click on title above or here: https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/the-powerful-enforced-silence-around-standardized-testing/

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Error Invalidates Hundreds of ISTEP+ Math Scores // Journal Gazette Indiana

 

By Niki Kelly // The Journal Gazette
"INDIANAPOLIS - A testing error has invalidated hundreds of student ISTEP+ math scores around the state, including at three area schools.

 

The students were mistakenly given access to calculators on a section of the test where calculators were not allowed.

 

The Indiana Department of Education and school officials say testing vendor Pearson is to blame for the error.

 

"It's so discouraging for the children. It's discouraging for everyone," said Lori Vaughn, assistant superintendent at DeKalb Central United schools. "It is what it is. I hate that expression but we're going to move on. It's a black eye when DOE puts (scores) out."

 

She said 34 students in third grade at Waterloo Elementary and 19 students in fourth grade at the school will receive "undetermined" scores. This results in passing rates of less than a percent for third grade and 17 percent for fourth.

 

"It's horrific," Vaughn said. "And that's what's going to be put out with no explanation. It will impact our participation rate and our accountability grade."

 

Test scores are a large factor in the A to F accountability grades that schools will receive later this year.

 

Department of Education officials told Vaughn there is nothing that can be done now but schools can appeal those A to F grades when they are issued.

 

She explained that schools received guidance on calculators that seemed different than previous years. Two people in the district called the company separately to verify the information and were told by Pearson to proceed as directed.

 

So when the test began the calculator icon came up on the screen for students who shouldn't have been allowed to use a calculator. Some special education students are provided calculators as an accommodation.

 

Vaughn said two other schools in the district luckily hadn't started testing before the error was realized. Pearson said it is aware of the "isolated issues" having to do with calculator accommodations.

 

"In some cases, Pearson inadvertently provided inaccurate or unclear guidance on the use of calculators during testing. In these instances, we followed up quickly to help local school officials take corrective action," a statement from the company said. "Pearson regrets that any Indiana students, teachers, and schools were impacted by this issue."

 

It affected only 20 schools out of hundreds, including New Haven Middle School and Emmanuel-St. Michael Lutheran School in Fort Wayne Molly Deuberry, communications director for the Department of Education, didn't have an overall number of students affected.

 

The biggest problem came at Rochester schools in Fulton County, where 700 elementary, middle and high school kids mistakenly had access to the calculator. Some used it and others were stopped by individual teachers.

 

Their results have been invalidated. Some sophomores who were specifically affected will need to retake the math portion of the assessment.

 

A Department of Education press release said it is working with school corporation's to evaluate options for limiting the accountability impact.

 

Rochester and other schools may have a high volume of undetermined math results due to the invalidation, which in turn leave proficiency rates and growth scores to be based on a small subset of the overall school population in 2016-17, and student test results from the 2015-16 school year.

 

The department does not have any authority under current statutes to address or rectify this concern. However, the State Board of Education conducts an appeals process for schools that believe the final A-F letter grade does not accurately reflect the school's performance, growth, or multiple measures.

Parents received access to student scores starting this week. Individual appeals can be brought."...


For original post, please see: 

http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/indiana/20170620/error-invalidates-hundreds-of-istep-math-scores 

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Pearson Botches Mississippi Testing [Again]; Mississippi Immediately Severs Contract

Pearson Botches Mississippi Testing [Again]; Mississippi Immediately Severs Contract | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"Education and testing mammoth Pearson has an established history in botching high-stakes testing.

 

Pearson did it again, in Mississippi.

 

According to the Associated Press (AP), Mississippi canceled its contract with the testing giant after Pearson fessed up to mixing up scoring tables for an exam that now has approximately 1,000 Mississippi students either graduating when exit scores were not actually high enough or not graduating because of test scores that were not too low after all.

From AP on Friday, June 16, 2017:
"The Mississippi Department of Education is firing a testing company, saying scoring errors raise questions about the graduation status of nearly 1,000 students statewide.

 

The state Board of Education revoked a contract with NCS Pearson in closed session Friday, after the Pearson PLC unit told officials it used the wrong table to score U.S. history exams for students on track to graduate this spring. Students who did poorly got overly high scores, while those who did better didn’t get enough credit. Associate Superintendent Paula Vanderford says it’s too soon to know how many students may have graduated or been denied diplomas in error, or what the state will do about either circumstance."

 

The AP release continues with an inept-yet-contrite Pearson will “assist the state in any way possible.”

 

Of course, the way to assist the state is to not put the state in this awful position to begin with.

 

And it’s not the first time Pearson incompetence has caused Mississippi problems.

 

As the AP continues:
"In 2012, a scoring error on the high school biology exam wrongly denied diplomas to five students. Pearson compensated them with $50,000 scholarships to any Mississippi university. Another 116 student who were affected less severely got $10,000 or $1,000 scholarships. In 2015, Pearson paid the state $250,000 after its online testing platform crashed for a day.

 

What is astounding is that even as Pearson profits are suffering to a record extent, its CEO, John Fallon, received a 20-percent pay raise in May 2017.

 

From the May 05, 2017, Telegraph:

"Two thirds of shareholders rejected the company’s remuneration report at its AGM after Mr Fallon received a £343,000 [$439,383] bonus, equivalent to a 20pc [percent] pay rise, despite having presided over its worst 12 months in nearly half a century on the stock exchange.


Mr Fallon’s position was undermined as 66pc of shareholders voted against his pay in a meeting marked by protests from teaching unions over Pearson’s activities in the developing world. …

Earlier in the day, Mr Fallon had sought to calm criticism of his bonus by spending all of it, net of tax, on Pearson shares to align his own interests with those of shareholders.


He declined to comment on whether he considered rejecting the bonus, which came after a £2.6bn [$3.34 billion] annual loss and the biggest ever one-day fall in Pearson’s shares following a massive profit warning. …


Despite the controversy, the shares were up nearly 12pc in the afternoon after Pearson unveiled a new £300m [$384 million] tranche of job cuts and office closures, in the latest phase of Mr Fallon’s battle to reverse its fortunes. His third round of restructuring comes after 4,000 staff were cut last year, when it sought similar savings."

 

Indeed, Fallon is being rewarded for throwing the crew overboard on a poison ship that is taking more water than ever.

 

It seems, however, that the Mississippi Board of Education has finally had enough of Pearson."

 

For original post, see: 
https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/pearson-botches-mississippi-testing-again-mississippi-immediately-severs-contract/ 

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Pearson, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and McGraw-Hill Lobby Big and Profit Bigger from School Tests // A Center for Media and Democracy Reporter's Guide 

Pearson, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and McGraw-Hill Lobby Big and Profit Bigger from School Tests // A Center for Media and Democracy Reporter's Guide  | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

To download full document, click on title above or here: http://www.sourcewatch.org/images/b/bc/Pearson_ETS_Houghton_Mifflin_and_McGraw-Hill_Lobby_Big_and_Profit_Bigger.pdf 

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Over 100 Education Researchers Sign Statement Calling for Moratorium on High-Stakes Testing, SBAC // California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education

Over 100 Education Researchers Sign Statement Calling for Moratorium on High-Stakes Testing, SBAC // California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"The California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education recently released a research brief documenting concerns and recommendations related to the Common Core State Standards Assessments in California (also referred to as the CAASPP, California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress or “SBAC” which refers to the “Smarter Balanced” Assessment Consortium).  A two-page synopsis as well as the full CARE-ED research brief may be downloaded from the main http://care-ed.org website.  The following is an introduction:

“Here in California, public schools are gearing up for another round of heavy testing this spring, including another round of Common Core State Standards assessments. In this research brief, the California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education (CARE-ED), a statewide collaborative of university-based education researchers, analyzes the research basis for the assessments tied to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that have come to California. We provide historical background on the CCSS and the assessments that have accompanied them, as well as evidence of the negative impacts of high-stakes testing. We focus on the current implementation of CCSS assessments in California, and present several concerns. Finally, we offer several research-based recommendations for moving towards meaningful assessment in California’s public schools.

Highlights of the research brief are available for download here.
The complete research brief on CCSS Assessments is available for download here.”

Background from the 2 page overview includes the following summary of concerns:

  • “The assessments have been carefully examined by independent examiners of the test content who concluded that they lack validity, reliability, and fairness, and should not be administered, much less be considered a basis for high-stakes decision making.
  • Nonetheless, CA has moved forward in full force. In spring 2015, 3.2 million students in California (grades 3-8 and 11) took the new, computerized Math and English Language Arts/Literacy CAASPP tests (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress). Scores were released to the public in September 2015, and as many predicted, a majority of students failed.
  • Although proponents argue that the CCSS promotes critical thinking skills and student-centered learning (instead of rote learning), research demonstrates that imposed standards, when linked with high-stakes testing, not only de-professionalizes teaching and narrows the curriculum, but in so doing, also reduces the quality of education and student learning, engagement, and success.
  • The implementation of the CCSS assessments raises at least four additional concerns of equity and access. First, the cost of implementing the CCSS assessments is high and unwarranted, diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from other areas of need. Second, the technology and materials needed for CCSS assessments require high and unwarranted costs, and California is not well-equipped to implement the tests. Third, the technology requirements raise concerns not only about cost, but also about access. Fourth, the CCSS assessments have not provided for adequate accommodations for students with disabilities and English Language learners, or for adequate communication about such accommodations to teachers.”…

And the following quote captures a culminating statement:


“…We support the public call for a moratorium on high-stakes testing broadly, and in 
particular, on the use of scientifically discredited assessment instruments (like the current SBAC, PARCC, and Pearson instruments) and on faulty methods of analysis (like value-added modeling of test scores for high-stakes decision making).”…

For the full research brief, including guiding questions and recommendations, please see: http://www.care-ed.org

As of February 2, 2016, the following university-based researchers in California have endorsed the statement.
University affiliations are provided for identification purposes only.

Al Schademan, Associate Professor, California State University, Chico
Alberto Ochoa, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University
Allison Mattheis, Assistant Professor, California State University, Los Angeles
Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, Professor, San Francisco State University
Amy Millikan, Director of Clinical Education, San Francisco Teacher Residency
Anaida Colon-Muniz, Associate Professor, Chapman University
Ann Berlak, Retired lecturer, San Francisco State University
Ann Schulte, Professor, California State University, Chico
Annamarie Francois, Executive Director, University of California, Los Angeles
Annie Adamian, Lecturer, California State University, Chico
Anthony Villa, Researcher, Stanford University
Antonia Darder, Leavey Endowed Chair, Loyola Marymount University
Arnold Danzig, Professor, San José State University
Arturo Cortez, Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco
Barbara Henderson, Professor, San Francisco State University
Betina Hsieh, Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach
Brian Garcia-O’Leary, Teacher, California State University, San Bernardino
Bryan K Hickman, Faculty, Salano Community College
Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University, Monterey Bay
Christine Yeh, Professor, University of San Francisco
Christopher Sindt, Dean, Saint Mary’s College of California
Cindy Cruz, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
Cinzia Forasiepi, Lecturer, Sonoma State University
Cristian Aquino-Sterling, Assistant Professor, San Diego State University
Danny C. Martinez, Assistant Professor, Universityof California, Davis
Darby Price, Instructor, Peralta Community College District
David Donahue, Professor, University of San Francisco
David Low, Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno
David Stronck, Professor Emeritus, California State University, East Bay
Elena Flores, Associate Dean and Professor, University of San Francisco
Elisa Salasin, Program Director, University of California, Berkeley
Emma Fuentes, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Estela Zarate, Associate Professor, California State University, Fullerton
Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
George Lipsitz, Professor University of California, Santa Barbara
Gerri McNenny, Associate Professor, Chapman University
Heidi Stevenson, Associate Professor, University of the Pacific
Helen Maniates, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
Cynthia McDermott, Chair, Antioch University
Jacquelyn V Reza, Adjunct Faculty, University of San Francisco
Jason Wozniak, Lecturer, San José State University
Jolynn Asato, Assistant Professor, San José State University
Josephine Arce, Professor and Department Chair, San Francisco State University
Judy Pace, Professor, University of San Francisco
Julie Nicholson, Associate Professor of Practice, Mills College
Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Professor, San Diego State University
Karen Grady, Professor, Sonoma State University
Kathryn Strom, Assistant Professor, California State University, East Bay
Kathy Howard, Associate Professor, California State University, San Bernardino
Kathy Schultz, Dean and Professor, Mills College
Katya Aguilar, Associate Professor, San José State University
Kevin Kumashiro, Dean and Professor, University of San Francisco
Kevin Oh, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Kimberly Mayfield, Chair, Holy Names University
Kitty Kelly Epstein, Doctoral Faculty, Fielding Graduate University
Lance T. McCready, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Lettie Ramirez, Professor, California State University, East Bay
Linda Bynoe, Professor Emerita, California State University, Monterey Bay
Maren Aukerman, Assistant Professor, Stanford University
Margaret Grogan, Dean and Professor, Chapman University
Margaret Harris, Lecturer, California State University, East Bay
Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
Maria Sudduth, Professor Emerita, California State University, Chico
Marisol Ruiz, Assistant Professor, Humboldt State University
Mark Scanlon-Greene, Mentoring Faculty, Fielding Graduate University
Michael Flores, Professor, Cypress College
Michael J. Dumas, Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Miguel López, Associate Professor, California State University, Monterey Bay
Miguel Zavala, Associate Professor, Chapman University
Mónica G. García, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge
Monisha Bajaj, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Nathan Alexander, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
Nick Henning, Associate Professor, California State University, Fullerton
Nikola Hobbel, Professor, Humboldt State University
Noah Asher Golden, Assistant Professor, Chapman University
Noah Borrero, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Noni M. Reis, Professor, San José State University
Patricia Busk, Professor, University of San Francisco
Patricia D. Quijada, Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
Patty Whang, Professor, California State University, Monterey Bay
Paula Selvester, Professor, California State University, Chico
Pedro Nava, Assistant Professor, Mills College
Pedro Noguera, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Penny S. Bryan, Professor, Chapman University
Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor, Chapman University
Rebeca Burciaga, Assistant Professor, San José State University
Rebecca Justeson, Associate Professor, California State University, Chico
Rick Ayers, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
Rita Kohli, Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside
Roberta Ahlquist, Professor, San José State University
Rosemary Henze, Professor, San José State University
Roxana Marachi, Associate Professor, San José State University
Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath, Adjunct Professor, San Francisco State University
Scot Danforth, Professor, Chapman University
Sera Hernandez, Assistant Professor, San Diego State University
Shabnam Koirala-Azad, Associate Dean and Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Sharon Chun Wetterau, Asst Field Director & Lecturer, CSU Dominguez Hills
Sumer Seiki, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
Suresh Appavoo, Associate Professor, Dominican University of California
Susan Roberta Katz, Professor, University of San Francisco
Susan Warren, Director and Professor, Azusa Pacific University
Suzanne SooHoo, Professor, Chapman University
Teresa McCarty, GF Kneller Chair, University of California, Los Angeles
Terry Lenihan, Associate Professor and Director, Loyola Marymount University
Theresa Montano, Professor, California State University, Northridge
Thomas Nelson, Doctoral Program Coordinator, University of the Pacific
Tomás Galguera, Professor, Mills College
Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen, Adjunct Faculty, University of San Diego
Uma Jayakumar, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco
Ursula Aldana, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco
Valerie Ooka Pang, Professor, San Diego State University
Walter J. Ullrich, Professor Emeritus, California State University, Fresno
Zeus Leonardo, Professor, University of California, Berkeley

_______________________

California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education. (2016). Common Core State Standards Assessments in California: Concerns and Recommendations. Retrieved from http://www.care-ed.org.

 

##

CARE-ED, the California Alliance of Researchers for Equity in Education, is a statewide collaborative of university-based education researchers that aims to speak as educational researchers, collectively and publicly, and in solidarity with organizations and communities,to reframe the debate on education. 

___________________________________

 

For main post, see: 

http://eduresearcher.com/2016/03/16/sbac-moratorium/ 

 

For Washington Post coverage of the document, see: 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/03/16/education-researchers-blast-common-core-standards-urge-ban-on-high-stakes-tests/

For related posts on EduResearcher, see here, here, and here.
For a collection on high-stakes testing with additional research and updates, visit “Testing, Testing, 1,2,3…”
http://bit.ly/testing_testing 

 

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The Data Consortium That Allows Student Information To Be Shared With Hundreds Of Companies & Universities Globally // Exceptional Delaware

The Data Consortium That Allows Student Information To Be Shared With Hundreds Of Companies & Universities Globally //  Exceptional Delaware | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

[Selected quotes from original blogpost at Exceptional Delaware]
By Kevin Ohlandt


"One picture. Nine cross-state collaborations. And a company that houses all of the big testing companies and many of the big education reform players as well as some unusual shockers."...

...


..."Similar bills went through in other states, and nearly all of them had the same amendments added and the lobbyists swarmed in to make sure the following language was added, which is taken from the final legislation for Senate Bill 79:


(6) Nothing in this subsection prohibits an operator from using student data for any of the following:

a. Maintaining, delivering, supporting, evaluating, or diagnosing the operator’s Internet website, online or cloud computing service, online application, or mobile application.

b. Adaptive learning or customized student learning purposes.

(7) Nothing in this subsection prohibits an operator from using or sharing aggregate student data or de-identified student data for any of the following:

a. The development and improvement of the operator’s Internet website, online or cloud computing service, online application, or mobile application, or other educational Internet websites, online or cloud computing services, online applications, or mobile applications.

b. Within other Internet websites, online or cloud computing services, online applications, or mobile applications owned by the operator, and intended for school district, school, or student use, to evaluate and improve educational products or services intended for school district, school, or student use.

c. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the operator’s products or services, including their marketing."...


______


"A company called IMS Global Learning Consortium has ALL the major players involved.  They are an umbrella company for data to be shared between all of these companies"...

 

"Contributing Members

Act, American Institutes for Research, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Blackboard, California State University, Data Recognition Corporation, ETS, EduCause, Harvard Business Publishing, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, IBM, Indian River School District, Intel, Learning.com, Lumen, McGraw Hill Education, Measured Progress, MediaCore, Microsoft, National Student Clearinghouse, Northwest Evaluation Association, Pacific Metrics Corporation, PARCC, Pearson, Public Consulting Group, Qualcomm Education Inc., Questar, Samsung, Schoology, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and numerous other companies and universities in the United States and around the world.
 

Affiliates

ACE Learning, College Board, Google, Red Clay Consolidated School District, Scantron, Scholastic, SunGard K-12 Education (houses Delaware e-school and IEP Plus), WestEd and many more.
 

And then they have hundreds of Alliance Participants. You can see what all the members get for their dues to IMS."... 


###


For original full post on Exceptional Delaware, please click on title above or here:  
https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/the-data-consortium-that-allows-student-information-to-be-shared-with-hundreds-of-companies-universities-globally/ 



For additional background about data sharing: http://colohub.weebly.com/data-connect-the-dots.html 

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Pearson Takes Big Hit in Continuing War Over Common Core

Pearson Takes Big Hit in Continuing War Over Common Core | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"Last week Pearson lost its 40 to 50 million dollar contract to provide 3rd through 8th grade Common Core aligned high-stakes tests in New York State. A headline and article in Newsday, a major daily published on Long Island in New York, described the decision to drop Pearson as the latest skirmish in the political debate over Common Core. Laura Howe, Pearson's Vice-President for Media and Communities, tried to make light of the decision. The Newsday article quoted Howe promising, or perhaps threatening, that Pearson "will continue to serve the people of New York through our other assessment work, along with learning materials and higher education services."
 

While I am glad to see Pearson go, just dropping Pearson will not end the battle over the legitimacy of Common Core and high-stakes tests mandated by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. A big question is why the New York State Education Department signed a multi-year contract with Questar Assessment while the renewal of No Child Left Behind is being debated in Congress and no one knows for sure which direction the federal government will take on mandated high-stakes standardized testing.
 

Some commentators who defend Common Core blame opponents of high-stakes testing for distorting the public's understanding of the benefits of the national standards. But when you look at the history of the push for national standards dating back to the Clinton and Bush administrations, you realize Common Core is all about testing and shifting educational resources from teaching to test prep companies.
 

In May, I spoke about Common Core at the annual Left Forum conference held at John Jay College in New York City and in June at a forum sponsored by the Literacy Studies program at Hofstra University. These gave me the opportunity to rethink and formulize my opposition to Common Core and the high-stakes testing regime"...


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-singer/pearson-takes-big-hit-in-_b_7792202.html

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Group Presses for Safeguards on the Personal Data of Schoolchildren // New York Times

Group Presses for Safeguards on the Personal Data of Schoolchildren // New York Times | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"A leading children’s advocacy group is challenging the educational technology software industry, an estimated $8 billion market, to develop national safeguards for the personal data collected about students from kindergarten through high school.


In a letter sent last week to 16 educational technology vendors — including Google Apps for Education, Samsung School, Scholastic and Pearson Schoolnet — Common Sense Media, an advocacy group in San Francisco that rates children’s videos and apps for age appropriateness, urged the industry to use student data only for educational purposes, and not for marketing products to children or their families.


“We believe in the power of education technology, used wisely, to transform learning,” said James P. Steyer, the chief executive of the group. “But students should not have to surrender their privacy at the schoolhouse door.”...

 

For full post, click on title above.

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High Stakes Testing And Privacy Don't Mix // Forbes

High Stakes Testing And Privacy Don't Mix // Forbes | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

" High stakes testing is one of the most divisive issues in education just now, and it is becoming increasingly clear that for many parents it is not just their children’s scores that are at stake, but their privacy.
At the center of the row is the world’s biggest education company. Ranged against them is a coalition of teacher unions, non-profits and – perhaps most crucially – parents.

Parental grievances over testing have been mounting for some time, but bubbled over last week at the annual meeting of the multinational education and publishing company Pearson.
The FTSE and NYSE listed company, headquartered in London, administers many of the tests used in U.S. high schools and U.K. state schools, as well as publishing widely-used textbooks.

A key accusation levelled by objectors lobbying the meeting was that Pearson is at the vanguard of attempts to commercialize and privatize education.

According to campaign group Global Justice Now, Pearson’s promotion of private schools in the global south, supported by taxpayer-funded aid money is at odds with every child’s right to a free education.

“There is significant evidence to show that private education, even when ‘low cost’, ultimately increases segregation and marginalization in society because access and quality depend on ability to pay,” said Nick Dearden, the group’s director. But the company has also come under fire for monitoring the social media accounts of students taking part in high stakes tests."...

 

For full post click on title above or here: 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2015/04/29/high-stakes-testing-and-privacy-dont-mix/

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The Common Core Tests Cannot Be Independently Verified for Validity or Reliability // Charlene Williams, Ph.D.

Diane Ravitch: "A reader, Charlene Williams, who holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, sent the following comment in response to this post (http://dianeravitch.net/2015/04/24/heidi-hayes-jacobs-dont-just-sit-on-your-plinth/) about the vocabulary used on one of the Common Core tests:   

 

'This speaks to one of the essential issues in the current high stakes testing debacle. Why the Pearson, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced testing is unscientific and unethical. I am a psychologist, faculty at UCLA, and a mother in California. I hadn’t heard about these concerns with the current high stakes testing, until after I became very concerned with the developmental level of the SB practice items when helping my daughter (dutifully prepare for the tests).


The 6th grade ELA practice performance task for the Smarter Balance was completely inappropriate for 11-12 year olds, requiring them to toggle between several screens (on small Ipad screens), and choose multiple pieces of evidence to evaluate, select, paraphrase, compare and contrast, as well as write a multi-paragraph essay. Never mind that while practicing, toggling back to the articles caused the students’ written work on the essay to be erased (lost).

 
Why the current high stakes testing is unscientific:
1) There is no proven Construct Validity (does your test measure what you think it measures)


2) Cut scores are determined by an unknown (arbitrary) process- labeling children as proficient, or failing appears to not be based on any scientific process. It is not scientific to arbitrarily decide what levels of your test scores actually mean in the real world. Scientific measurement requires cross-validation with external measures that provide evidence for your claims (like grades, or independent in-depth measures of children’s educational achievement in a a smaller sample with highly experienced evaluators).


3) Computer adaptive tests- there have been many concerns raised about how item difficulty has been decided. Children continue to progress on these tests if they continue to get a certain number the most recent answers correct. Educational measurement specialists (true academically trained professionals) and parents and children have observed that very often items following very difficult questions are significantly easier. This raises concerns that children’s scores are artificially deflated by unscientifically determined item difficulty determinations.


4) Inter-rater reliability- No checks exist to independently determine whether the scoring administered by these testing companies has truly reliable and valid measurements of children’s answers (see Todd Farley http://www.bkconnection.com/static/Making_the_Grades_EXCERPT.pdf

 

Most importantly, the Pearson, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced testing is unscientific because they violate the basic rule of science. The assessments are not verifiable, because they are not permitted to be subject to independent scientific evaluation. Their validity cannot be proven nor disproven. Under the guise of “test security” companies use copyright laws so extreme they prevent true scientific evaluation of the validity of these tests, by scientists with expertise in the fields of Education, Psychology, and related fields.


So I am deeply concerned that the profit-driven testing business is using unscientific (and expensive) testing which is portrayed to the public as if it’s truth, with high stakes ramifications on children, teachers, and our public education system. As stakeholders and parents, we need to demand accountability, real science, and an ethical separation between profit-driven educational businesses and the true scientifically-based education and measurement. For the sake of our children, our teachers, and our educational system which is truly one of the foundations of our democratic country.'...

 

For full post, click on title above or here: 
http://dianeravitch.net/2015/04/29/reader-the-common-core-tests-cannot-be-independently-verified-for-validity-and-reliability/

 

 

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Computer Glitch Interrupts Statewide Testing for Some Schools (Minnesota) // MPR News Updates

Computer Glitch Interrupts Statewide Testing for Some Schools (Minnesota) // MPR News Updates | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it
A server malfunction at testing company Pearson prevented students and test administrators from logging into the system. The system should be working by Wednesday.

 

For full post, click on title above or here: 

http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/04/14/statewide-testing-glitch

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Report: Big Education Firms Spend Millions Lobbying for Pro-Testing Policies

Report: Big Education Firms Spend Millions Lobbying for Pro-Testing Policies | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

By Valerie Strauss
"The four corporations that dominate the U.S. standardized testing market spend millions of dollars lobbying state and federal officials — as well as sometimes hiring them — to persuade them to favor policies that include mandated student assessments, helping to fuel a nearly $2 billion annual testing business, a new analysis shows.

 

The analysis, done by the Center for Media and Democracy, a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy agency based in Wisconsin that tracks corporate influence on public policy, says that four companies — Pearson Education, ETS (Educational Testing Service), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw-Hill—  collectively spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014.

 

The analysis notes that of the four, only one, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has signed the  Student Privacy Pledge, an initiative by the Future of Privacy Forum and the Software & Information Industry Association to get K-12 school service providers to pledge to safeguard student privacy built around a dozen commitments regarding the collection, maintenance, and use of student personal information. Currently 127 providers have signed it.

 

Here’s a summary of findings from the new analysis on lobbying by testing corporations:

 

Pearson Education: Apart from $8 million spent lobbying from 2009 to 2014, Pearson also underwrote untold sums on luxury trips for school officials. A crackdown by the New York attorney general led to a $7.7 million settlement in 2013, and the shuttering of the “charitable” organization used for the scheme. The company is currently embroiled in a lawsuit in New Mexico for alleged bid rigging when landing an “unprecedented” $1 billion contract for K-12 testing with no other bidders, an allegation the company denied but which warrants greater scrutiny by policymakers.

 

ETS (Educational Testing Service): The $1 billion-a-year nonprofit pays its directors for-profit salaries. Outgoing president Kurt Landgraf received $1.3 million in total compensation in 2013. ETS has lobbied against legislation to require agencies to “immediately initiate an investigation” after complaints on “inadequate” testing conditions. It also lobbied against a bill designed to safeguard pupil data in subcontracting. ETS has also developed guidelines for tests which explicitly ban any mention of evolution and global warming.

 

Houghton Mifflin: With revenues of $1.37 billion in fiscal year 2014, the company holds a 44 percent market share in Common Core testing and has its sights set on the pre-K testing and training market, crediting the federal government with creating “more opportunity in the early childhood market space from birth to eight” for revenue and profits. [Harcourt Mifflin says that 44 percent represents its "addressable market share for U.S. instructional resources K-12" which includes non-Common Core. The company also says it does not offer any high-stakes Common Core assessments.]

 

McGraw-Hill:  With rapid expansion of its testing business to make up for lost revenues from its textbook segment, McGraw-Hill’s state tests have been disrupted by “glitches” in multiple states, affecting tens of thousands of students taking the high-stakes exams. The company has so far refused to sign the Student Privacy Pledge."...

 

For full post, click on title above or here: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/30/report-big-education-firms-spend-millions-lobbying-for-pro-testing-policies/

 

For Full Report on PRWatch: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/03/12777/reporters-guide-how-pearson-ets-houghton-mifflin-and-mcgraw-hill-are-profiting

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Instructure and Pearson Announce Partnership // EduKWest

Instructure and Pearson Announce Partnership // EduKWest | "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3..." | Scoop.it

"Instructure Canvas and Pearson announced a bi-directional integration of the Instructure Canvas LMS with the Pearson PowerSchool SIS. According to Instructure’s Mitch Benson, this feature was the most requested by Canvas’ K-12 customers.

 

PowerSchool is the most widely used student information system with more than 30% of U.S. school districts using the product, reaching over 130 million students. The integration takes effect immediately. Schools that don’t use Canvas LMS can also easily set up an account using the data stored in PowerSchool.

 

Instructure raised a $40 million Series E last month in preparation of its IPO later this year, and launched a corporate learning and engagement platform called Bridge. Since its launch in 2011, Instructure’s Canvas LMS has been used by over 18 million students and teachers from more than 1,200 universities, colleges and K-12 school districts across the globe."...

 

For full post, click on title above or here: 
http://www.edukwest.com/edbrief-instructure-and-pearson-announce-partnership/

Roxana Marachi, PhD's insight:

For the subset of Pearson-related articles in this collection: http://www.scoop.it/t/testing-testing?q=pearson

 

To get back to full collection: http://bit.ly/testing_testing

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