Archives for category: Pearson

Up to this point, Peter Greene has described. “Pearson’s new world order,” as explicated by Michael Barber and John Hill in their 88-page document.

Here he reveals the plans for implementation.

1. Think long-term. “So we have to think long term. The arrival of the assessment renaissance, like the Second Coming of Christ, will appear on a day unlooked for. Everyone best be ready.”

2. Build partnerships. “They particularly like the example of a competition to propose solutions (competitions are great because you can get lots of people to work for you, but you only have to pay the winners).”

3. Create the infrastructure, preferably by getting government to pay for it.

There is more. Read it and be informed.

“If you’ve never read Barber before, know this– he speaks repeatedly about changing the world’s education system not as a business opportunity, but as a moral imperative. He is, in fact, carrying the white man’s burden, fixing all the schools in the world because he Knows how they are supposed to work.”

Peter Greene continues his analysis of Barber and Hill’s projection of a test-dominated future.

Come the Pearson Renaissance, testing will be the linchpin of education.

As Greene writes:

“How do we tie curriculum and teaching together? How do we fix the achievement ceiling an finally make students smarter? How do we make learning really “professional” and not just something filled with human frailty? How do we collect and crunch more data than God? How do we create an ungameable system?

All assessing, all the time.

This is assessment with a new purpose– not to give a grade, but to determine whether Pat and Chris are ready to move on to the next stage of the curriculum. I once posited that Common Core standards were not so much standards as they are data tags for marking, storing, cataloging and crunching everything students do.”

Human judgment is replaced by the Pearson matrix.

Continuing his review of Pearson’s 88-page manifesto for a revolution in educatiion (led by Pearson), Peter Greene here reviews the claim that assessment should drive instruction.

To summarize,

“In other words, we need to teacher-proof classrooms. Teachers are human and variable and not reliable cogs in the educational machine. If we could get them all bound to assessments, that would tie them into a system that would be smooth and elegant. And profitable.

“Assessment is the new Missing Link for transforming education into a teacher-proof, school-proof, techno-driven, highly profitable process.”

Today I am devoting to Peter Greene’s painstaking and often hilarious dissection of Pearson’s plan to revolutionize education. This is Part 1.

As you will see, Pearson doesn’t think small. The writers of their 88-page document–Michael Barber and Peter Hill–have released their plan for “a new world order,” which they define for us, the little people.

I have never given a day of blogging over to one person, but I am doing so today. Peter Greene has carefully dissected an 88-page document, written by Michael Barber and Peter Hill, that reveals the corporate mind of Pearson.

In this post, he distills the lessons to be gleaned from Pearson’s dystopian vision of the future. Pearson is so important in American education that it behooves all of us to watch its plans and priorities with care. It owns large segments of the curriculum, textbook, and assessment industry, as well as the EdTPA for new teacher evaluation and a major virtual charter chain called Connections Academy. It is a mighty educational Octopus.

Here is a summary:



Lesson 1: Students will be plugged in

Lesson 2: Teachers will not be teachers

Lesson 3: Personalized learning won’t be

Lesson 4: Character may be important, but humanity, not so much

Lesson 5: Software will be magical

Lesson 6: Important people are listening to these guys

Alan Singer of Hofstra University is a Pearson-watcher, as we all should be. Pearson is the UK-based mega corporation that is swallowing up American educatiion. It creates assessments for many individual states (like Texas and New York) and Common Core PARCC. It writes curriculum for Common Core. It sells textbooks aligned with its tests. It owns the GED. It owns a virtual charter school chain called Connections Acadey. And it owns EdTPA, which evaluates whether aspiring teachers are qualified to teach.

Singer says that Pearson’s legal and financial troubles are piling up.

“Bad news for Pearson Education may be good news for the rest of us. The testing and publishing mega-giant is on the run, but it looks like it will not be able to hide. Pearson Education is closing its foundation; it is under investigation by the FBI for possible insider dealings in the Los Angeles iPad fiasco; the company is being sued by former employees for wrongful termination; and its PARCC exams are losing customers.”

Read on for the details.

Mercedes Schneider describes the remarkable shrinkage of states enrolled to give Pearson’s Common Core PARCC test from 2011-2014.

In 2011, Pearson boasted that 31 million students in 25 states plus D.C. Would take PARCC. By 2014, the numbers are down to 10 states and D.C. with 5 million students.


REINVENTING THE STANDARDIZED TEST: Pearson has been adjusting its internal focus from print to digital; now the global education giant is out with a study of how that shift can improve testing around the world. “Preparing for a Renaissance in Assessment” argues that our current standardized tests – many of them, of course, developed by Pearson – aren’t making the grade. They’re not sensitive enough to accurately assess student performance at either the low or the high ends of the scale. They don’t give teachers timely, useful feedback. And they’re too focused on assessing low-level skills, rather than the competencies valued in today’s workplace, such as critical analysis, personal communication and hands-on problem solving. What’s the solution? Pearson touts the power of adaptive technology to customize exams. It’s also high on using computer algorithms to robo-grade student essays. (The report states as a fact that the PARCC consortium will use automated essay scoring, though member states have not yet made that determination.) The company also wants to see assessments that collect far more information than current tests, covering “multiple dimensions” of student ability.

– In short, Pearson envisions a future in which students produce ever more data . The report notes that “without such a systematic, data-driven approach to instruction, teaching remains an imprecise and somewhat idiosyncratic process that is too dependent on the personal intuition and competence of individual teachers.” Speaking of teaching, authors Peter Hill and Sir Michael Barber also argue that the field must evolve into a more tightly controlled profession with higher barriers to entry and a common framework for evaluating quality. That will require repudiating a tradition of “teaching as a largely under-qualified and trained, heavily unionized, bureaucratically controlled ‘semi-profession’ lacking a framework and a common language,” Hill and Barber write. Read the report:

Pearson conquers the world! It holds contracts for Commin Core testing, for textbooks and curriculum Ligned to the Common Core, it owns the GED and a program for assessing would-be teachers (the edTPA), and it owns online charters called Connections Academy. Students are likelier to get higher scores on Common Core tests created by Pearson if they use Pearson texts and curriculum. Have I forgotten anything?


In 2011, Pearson, the world’s largest education publishing company, won the contract to design the 2015 international assessment (PISA), the Program in International Student Assessment. This is the test that gives Secretary Duncan the opportunity to lambaste public schools and teachers every time the results are announced, without reference to the huge and growing income and wealth disparities that account for a large share of the test score gaps between haves and have-nots..


Pearson’s advisory panel includes Andreas Schleicher, the deputy director of the OECD in charge of PISA. It also includes Michael Barber (now chief education advisor to Pearson, formerly at McKinsey, also known as “Mr. Deliverology,” for his fervent belief in standards, testing and targets) and Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution, noted for his proposal that schools should use test scores to identify and “deselect” (fire) the bottom 5-10% of teachers on a regular basis to weed out “bad teachers.” These are the masters of the educational universe.



Caitlin Emma, who writes for, here reviews the threat to student privacy posed by online courses.

While students are taking these courses, the provider is gathering a treasure trove of information about each of them. This data may later be sold to marketers, who see students as customers.

There is a federal law that is supposed to protect student privacy, but in 2011-12, Secretary Arne Duncan oversaw a weakening of FERPA regulations, removing key protections.

Companies working together, like Pearson and Knewton, are gathering confidential student data whenever your child goes online.

Why should corporations advertise when they can use Big Data to identify their target audience? Race to the Top required states, if they wanted to be eligible for federal cash, to create a massive student data warehouse, to open more charters, and to adopt “college and career ready standards,” I.e. Common Core. Clever, no? A bonanza for certain corporations.

This is scary stuff.


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