Archives for category: Pearson

Somehow, Andrea Gabor got a copy of most of the New York State English Language Arts Common Core-Aligned State tests.

 

She describes them here.

 

She writes:

 

Once again I am in possession of a bit of educational contraband.

For the second year in a row, I have received a copy of the New York State English Language Arts tests for grades 6 to 8, which were administered in April. (Though, this year, my set appeared incomplete as it contained only books one and two for each grade–not the three books that were included last year and that I was told were given this year. So my analysis here is confined to only two booklets for each grade.)

Anyone who has followed the controversy around the introduction of the New York State’s “common-core aligned” tests, knows that there has been a growing backlash–and not necessarily against the common core itself. Rather, a great many educators object to the quality and the quantity of tests–in addition to six days of “common core” testing, New York kids are now finishing the Measurements of Student Learning (MOSL) tests, the sole purpose of which is to evaluate teachers, as well as field tests for next year’s “common core” tests. In the fall, students as young as kindergarteners endured base-line testing for the MOSL.

Most importantly, educators are outraged by the secrecy in which the tests are cloaked.

 

Pearson, which has a $32 million contract with New York, will not permit teachers or anyone else to see the exams.

 

They are hidden by a gag order.

 

This is insane.

 

The value of tests is to learn what students do and do not know or understand

 

If the students, parents, and teachers are not allowed to review the tests, then nothing can be learned from them.

 

There is no point in having tests that are hidden from the view of those who most need whatever information they provide.

 

Of course, the gag order also protects Pearson from public scrutiny and possible discovery of poorly written or inaccurate questions, like the Pineapple questions.

 

So who benefits from the gag order? Not the students.

Testing expert Fred Smith explains here why New York City Chancellor Carmen Farina should say no to the Pearson field tests.

The field tests waste instructional time. They benefit the publisher, not the students.

“Here are some arguments the chancellor could use:

*Because students know the stand-alone field tests don’t count and are of no consequence to them, they are not motivated to do well, especially in lovely June weather. This skews the data and fails to provide Pearson with reliable “intelligence” needed to furnish good exams.

*Proof that stand-alone field testing is an unworkable approach to test development lies in the poorly constructed ELA and math exams that were given in 2012 and 2013. Witness the criticism from teachers and parents across the state on both exams.

*The field tests have proceeded because the state has created a top-down system that inhibits principals and teachers from telling parents about them or seeking permission for their children to take them.

*A definitive analysis of federal legislation and state rules and regulations has found no legal basis requiring schools to give, or parents to go along with, the tests.”

Take Action and Click Here to Demand the Release of the 3-8 Grade NYS Tests, Only 30 Seconds of Your Time

Dear Allies,

New York parents and teachers are outraged that they are not allowed to see the NYS Standardized 3-8 grades tests.

Before 2011, all tests were posted on the New York State Education Department (NYSED) website. That changed after the State Education Department signed a contract with Pearson in 2011 that doubled annual spending on NY State tests. Now, despite the already substantial increase in spending on testing, Commissioner King and Chancellor Tisch say an additional $8 million is required to restore full transparency. According to the contract, Pearson must produce unique test questions each year. This further raises legitimate questions about the need for additional funds.

Parents and educators are denied access to the information they need to determine what their child got wrong and what is needed to improve learning. Just as important, any flaws in the tests and scoring are not subject to public scrutiny and correction.

Beneath it all remains research that refutes the validity of these tests not just in their accuracy and legitimacy for measuring student growth, but in measuring teacher performance as well. Failing to be fully transparent only escalates those concerns.

As was the case with NYSED’s refusal to act within its own authority to address parent data privacy concerns with inBloom, we call on the legislature to act now!

We are asking all parents, educators and community members to join us in demanding that elected and appointed officials in Albany RELEASE THE TESTS!

Again, Please Take Action and Click Here to Demand the Release of the 3-8 Grade NYS Tests.

Thank you,
NYS Allies for Public Education
http://www.nysape.org

.

__,_._,___

It is curious indeed that Pearson has been so effective at buying a controlling interest in American education. It is curious because in school we were always taught that heathy competition produces better products, that America reveres an open field for new products, and that monopolies are clumsy and inefficient. We were also taught that the public sector belongs to the public, not to private corporations.

This post, by Jennifer Job of UNC Chapel Hill, follows the money in trying to understand how Pearson inverted these axioms. How did Pearson become a dominating force American education? She examines the tentacles of power. Maybe the CEO of Pearson should be our next Secretary of Education. But no, that would mean taking a salary cut.

Stephen Krashen shows himself to quite the satirist in this report.

HUMOR ALERT: I post this notice because it is hard to tell the difference between satire and reality in American education these days.

Krashen writes:

“There is now no doubt: Americans overwhelmingly support the common core. In a poll organized by the Pearson Publishing Company, 96% strongly agreed with the statement, “Schools should teach important things.” By a wide margin, those surveyed also agreed that “teachers should help students learn stuff.”

But that’s only the beginning: as you might expect, Arne Duncan says of the Pearson poll, “This is a game changer”

Parents, there is one sure way to stop the testing mania that is devouring your child’s education: Say NO to the next round of field tests, scheduled for June 2 to June 11. Don’t let Pearson and the State Education Department steal more time from your child that should be spent learning, playing, dancing, singing, and studying.

Want to learn more about the campaign to Change the Stakes? Open this link to go to the webpage of Change the Stakes. You will find practical information about how to opt out of the field testing.

Somehow I missed this piece when it appeared several months ago. It is a Mercedes classic, where she shows her skill at reading tax returns and connecting the dots.

You may or may not recall that Attorney General of New York Eric Schneiderman fined the Pearson Foundation $7.7 million for engaging in activities related to its for-profit parent Pearson. In some regions, this fine would be referred to as “chump change” or “chicken feed” for a billion-dollar corporation.

Mercedes digs into this story and finds a golden goose. And the golden goose is the Common Core standards.

Pearson administers a new teacher certification program called edTPA. The acronym stands for Teacher Performance Assessment. Student teachers must pay $300 to be evaluated and tested.

In this article, Alan Singer explains why education faculty and their students reject edTPA.

Although some states are delaying implementation, Arne Duncan is forging ahead to make this process a national requirement.

Singer says his students don’t like edPTA:

“Although it is being used to evaluate student teachers for certification, the TPA in edTPA stands for Teacher Performance Assessment. Student teachers in my seminar suggested a better title would is “Torturous Preposterous Abomination,” although “Toxic Pearson Affliction” was a close runner-up in the voting.

“All of my students passed the edTPA evaluation, including some who I felt were weak. In one case, two student teachers that handed in very similar packages received significantly different scores, which calls into account the reliability of the evaluations.

“Statewide, the passing rate was 83%. One graduate student summed up the way the class felt about the procedure. “The whole process took time away from preparing in advance for future lessons . . . It really just added unneeded stress.”

When Singer testified before an Assembly Committee, he said:

“Did Mike Trout learn to play baseball by writing a fifty to eighty page report explaining how he planned to play baseball, discussing the theories behind the playing of baseball, assessing a video of his playing of baseball, and explaining his plans to improve his playing of baseball?

“Did Pablo Picasso learn to paint by writing a fifty to eighty page report explaining how he planned to paint, discussing the theories behind painting, assessing a video of his painting a picture, and explaining his plans to improve his painting?

“Did you learn to drive a car by writing a fifty to eighty page report explaining how you planned to drive a car, discussing the theories behind driving a car, assessing a video of your driving a car, and explaining your plans to improve your driving?

“Of course the answer in all three cases is a resounding “NO!” You learn to play baseball, paint a picture, or drive a car by playing baseball, painting pictures, and driving cars, not by writing about it.

“Yet Stanford University, Pearson, and New York State are trying to sell the public that you learn to teach, not by teaching, but by writing about it. They also want you to believe that they have perfected a magically algorithm that allows them to quickly, easily, and cheaply assess the writing package and accompanying video and instantly determine who if qualified to teach our children. Maybe they plan to sell the algorithm to Major League Baseball next.

“New York State is currently one of only two states that proposes to use edTPA to determine teacher certification. Not only should New York State postpone the implementation of edTPA, but it should withdraw from the Pearson, SCALE, Stanford project. edTPA distracts student teachers from the learning they must do on how to connect ideas to young people and undermines their preparation as teachers. Instead of learning to teach, they spend the first seven weeks of student teaching preparing their edTPA portfolios and learning to pass the test. Based on preliminary results on the first round of edTPA, most of our student teachers are pretty good at passing tests, so edTPA actually measured nothing.”

The most outspoken opponent of edTPA to date was Barbara Madeloni, a professor at the University of Massachusetts. After she won national attention for her resistance to outsourcing her job to Pearson, she was fired. As Michael Winerip wrote in the New York Times in 2012:

“Under the system being piloted, a for-profit education company hired by the state, like Pearson, would decide licensure based on two 10-minute videos that student teachers submit, as well as their score on a 40-page take-home test.”

“This is something complex and we don’t like seeing it taken out of human hands,” Ms. Madeloni said to me at the time.

“By protesting, she said, “We are putting a stick in the gears.” A total of 67 out of her 68 student teachers refused to submit their videos or take the test during last year’s trial run.

“On May 6, the article appeared in The Times; on May 24, she received a letter saying her contract would not be renewed for the 2013 year.”

Just a few weeks ago, Madeloni was elected president of the 110,000-member Massachusetts Teacher Association.

The times, they are a’changing. Maybe.

Add Spackenkill to the list of districts in New York that will not administer the Pearson field tests in grades 4 and 8. More are on the way. When districts realize that they have the power to say no, that’s when we begin to clip the wings of the testing industry and begin to restore reasonable balance to education as well as a reasonable balance of power between the state and localities.

Boycotting districts:

Babylon
Bellmore/Merrick CHSD
Comsewogue
Fairport
HFL
Glen Cove
Great Neck
Happauge
Jericho
Manhasset
Merrick
Mount Sinai
North Bellmore
Ossining
Pittsford
Plainview Old-Bethpage
Rye Neck
Rocky Point
Spackenkill
Syosset
West Irondequoit
Webster
White Plains

Add White Plains and Rye Neck to the list of districts that are refusing to administer the Pearson field test in New York.

Boycotting districts:

Babylon
Bellmore/Merrick CHSD
Comsewogue
Fairport
HFL
Glen Cove
Great Neck
Happauge
Jericho
Manhasset
Merrick
Mount Sinai
North Bellmore
Ossining
Pittsford
Plainview Old-Bethpage
Rye Neck
Rocky Point
Syosset
West Irondequoit
Webster
White Plains

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