Florida, which bought and uses Utah’s SAGE/AIR test, has taken the phenomenally reasonable step of assessing its assessment: testing the standardized test– something that Utah has not done.
Florida hired Alpine Testing and EdCount to assess its (and Utah’s) assessment instrument –to see if the SAGE measures what it claims to measure. The simple question was: Is the test valid?
The answer that came back was “NO.” The independent company, Alpine Testing and EdCount, who testified at length to the Florida legislature, said that SAGE is not measuring what it claims to measure. (See that legislative testimony here.)
Now, two members of Utah’s largest school district (Alpine) have published a letter summarizing Florida’s findings on SAGE. Brian Halladay and Wendy Hart wrote:
“What Alpine Testing said in their comments to Florida is astounding. I have outlined some key points from the video:
At 44:50- Many items found in the test didn’t align with the standard that was being tested.
At 47:70: Test scores should only be used at an aggregate level.
At 48:15 – They recommend AGAINST using test scores for individual student decisions.
At 1:01:00 – They admit that “test scores should not be used as a sole determinant in decisions such as the prevention of advancement to the next grade, graduation eligibility, or placement in a remedial course.”
At 1:20:00 – “There is data than can be looked at that shows that the use of these test scores would not be appropriate”.
Alpine Testing was the only company that applied to perform the validity study for Florida. Once awarded the contract, they teamed with EdCount, the founder of which had previously worked for AIR.
So, what we have is a questionably independent group stating that this test should not be used for individual students, but it’s ok for the aggregate data to be used for schools and teacher evaluations. If this sounds absurd, it’s because it is. If it’s been shown that this test isn’t good for students, why would we be comfortable using it for the grading or funding of our schools and teachers? The sum of individual bad data can’t give us good data. Nor should we expect it to.
What more evidence is needed by our State Board, Legislature or Governor to determine that our students shouldn’t be taking the SAGE test? This test is a failure. How much longer will our children and our state (and numerous other states) spend countless time and resources in support of a failed test, or teaching to a failed test?…” (Read the whole letter here.)
Why is this so important?
Any test– a pregnancy test, a drug test, a breathalizer test– should probably actually measure what it claims to measure. People should be able to solidly trust a test that’s used as a foundation for labeling, rewarding and punishing students, teachers and schools.
If there’s no validity test, SAGE is nothing more than a gamble with children’s, teacher’s, and taxpayer’s time, money and futures. Without validity, we’ve just conscripted every public school student in the state to be unpaid, uninformed, academic and psychological lab rats.)
Fact: Utah stubbornly refused to do a validity test on SAGE, despite pleading, prodding, and even a $100,000 reward offer for proof of validity testing –yet, as it turns out, that’s okay now. Since Florida uses Utah’s SAGE test, Florida’s research on SAGE directly, unquestionably, reflects on Utah’s test. So we finally have a Utah validity test. And SAGE failed its test.
If you haven’t already done so, opt your children out.
I can’t wait to read Drilling Through the Core.
I’m sharing this brand new book before reading it myself, because I know these authors and I’ve read their work, making it a must-read for me.
You can check out the book’s review at: The Corner (National Review) by Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
Buy the book here.
of Drilling Through the Core
says: “It’s all here, from the most basic explanation of what Common Core is, to the history, the major arguments for and against, and so much more. The controversies over both the English and math standards are explained; the major players in the public battle are identified; the battle over Gates Foundation’s role is anatomized; the roles of the tests and the testing consortia are reviewed; concerns over data-mining and privacy are laid out; the dumbing-down effect on the college curriculum is explained; as is the role of the Obama administration and the teachers unions. I found the sections on “big data” particularly helpful. I confess that despite my considerable interest in Common Core, I hadn’t much followed the data-mining issue. Boy was that a mistake.
It strikes me that the potential for abuse of personal data is substantially greater in the case of Common Core than in the matter of national security surveillance. With Common Core we are talking about databases capable of tracking every American individual from kindergarten through adulthood, and tremendous potential for the sharing of data with not only government but private groups…
Feds Will Control Curriculum, Competency and Credentialing
Reblogged with permission from Return to Parental Rights on 09/21/15
by Jakell Sullivan
The federal government has absolutely no constitutional right to control curriculum, but they’re doing it anyway. In a 2011 video for the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry, Steve Midgley, the Deputy Director of Education Technology for the US Department of Education, says that the Learning Registry “makes federal learning resources easier to find, easier to access and easier to integrate into learning environments wherever they are stored.” He also admits that the Federal Communications Commission changed broadband internet regulations to get federally-sanctioned curriculum items into every child’s classroom.
Say what? Yes. You heard it right. The Whitehouse is picking winners and losers in curriculum providers. They have created an effective oligarchy over online learning and testing resources in order to make sure that the curriculum coming through your child’s school-issued iPad or computer contains the right worldview.
They funded the creation of Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), gave states federal grants to expand their state longitudinal data system (see Utah’s here and here), got 300 (and counting) online learning and testing groups to create interoperable curriculum and computer-adaptive tests, and created a one-stop-shop called the Learning Registry where every child’s learning data will be tracked. This is information control, folks. And, it’s not just for K-12.
George Washington University, among many other institutions of higher ed, has jumped on the Learning Registry’s bandwagon. They are helping the federal administration (perhaps unwittingly) succeed at redefining student competencies around student behaviors, as opposed to academics.
When Utahns think of competency-based education, we think of a student mastering something factual and proving competency. That’s not what the federal Learning Registry seeks. It defines competencies around values, attitudes and beliefs.
In other words, the more a student can think in moral relativist terms, the more “skilled” they are. Students who think “all truth is relative” will be easily malleable workers for a globally managed economy—widgets for crony business leaders.
So, how will the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry work? It will:
- Filter the curriculum content that reaches teachers and students
- Collect data on how a child thinks and what they believe
- Use that data to personalize online learning curriculum and adaptive testing systems (compare this to political campaigns changing the way voters vote by collecting data to create personalized marketing)
- Viola! A child will see America in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality—and advocate for big government solutions.
When John Marini talked about the famous movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington written by Frank Capra, he said, “Frank Capra did not see America as many Americans do today, in terms of personal categories of identity…he understood America in terms of its political principles.”
If we want our children to be champions of liberty, including religious liberty, we need to engage our local education leaders in a discussion about who is defining “competency.” And, we cannot be naïve in thinking that we will implement competency-based education differently than the federal administration desires. If we put our plug (technology systems) into their electrical outlet (Learning Registry), we will be giving them all-power over what our children learn—and, we’ve already started plugging in. As one tech-savvy mom recently noted, “Parents need to understand that a unique student ID# will act like a social security number on steroids.”
George Washington University says that they are helping the Whitehouse “create a beta version of a credentialing registry on the existing Learning Registry.” This means that the Feds are positioned, not only to control curriculum, but how colleges rate student credentials—also called “digital badges.” If this sounds like German-style education, that’s because it is.
We can’t allow the federal administration to use personally identifiable data to “personalize” learning resources for our children. It’s time for Congressional hearings into the Whitehouse’s Learning Registry—and it’s international data standards-setting partners, IMS Global and the SIF Association.
It’s also time for our local boards of education to take back what it means to have locally controlled education. Local boards should stand with parents by making sure that their district’s online curriculum and test items do not conform to federally-funded data standards.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
For more information on how the federal administration is aligning state and district policies to internationalist goals for competency-based education, see:
• Race To The Top for Districts (RTT-D) gave priority funding to districts that would embrace personalized learning and competency-based ed. See: http://www.ed.gov/race-top/district-competition
• Feds Give Nudge to Competency-Based Education https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/03/19/feds-give-nudge-competency-based-education
• Bill Gates’ KnowledgeWorks has published two Policy Briefs with the most extensive information about how the federal administration used Race To The Top to push state and district policies towards implementing personalized-learning and towards the competency-based education that Utah is now embracing.
This article is written by Alpine School Board member Brian Halladay for parents in the Alpine School District. It is published here with his permission.
The Reality Behind Your Child’s Test
By Brian Halladay, Board Member, Alpine School District, Utah
Sage test results were recently released that showed less than half of Utah’s students were proficient in math, English, and language arts. Taken at face value, this means that more than half our students are “not proficient.” So, what does this mean? Absolutely nothing.
The SAGE test is an unreliable, unverified test that our children from 3rd-11th grade are taking not just once, but up to three times a year. These tests aren’t scored by their teachers, but rather by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). This company is the one of the world’s largest social and behavioral research organizations. Your child’s proficiency is being scored by a bunch of behavioral researchers.
No teacher is scoring, or has the ability to score, an individual child’s SAGE test.
Your child is taking a test for 8 hours (4 hours for math and 4 hours for English) that their teacher can’t see the questions to. This test is designed to have your child fail. Gone are the days when a student could feel a sense of achievement for getting 100% on a test. This test is touted to be “rigorous. If your child gets a correct answer the test will continue to ask harder and harder questions until he or she gets it wrong (who knows if what is tested was actually taught in the classroom?) Put simply, this means that your child likely will come home grumpy, anxious, or depressed after taking this test. With over 50% non-proficiency, this will affect more than half of the students that take it.
The teacher is almost as much of a test victim as the child. Having no idea of the test questions, teachers are still starting to be evaluated —on a test they can’t see. I believe we’re starting to see this leading to more experienced teachers leaving, and an increase in teachers with little to no experience not knowing the pre-SAGE environment.
Points to consider:
- When did we allow testing to become more important than education?
- Your child’s data is subject to being shared with people and organizations without your consent. There is nothing that prohibits AIR or any its multiple organizations from accessing your child’s data. As long as AIR doesn’t make a profit from the data without the USOE’s consent, they can use it for anything they want.
- This test has no contractual provisions that prevent it from collecting BEHAVIORAL data. AIR has a long history of collecting behavioral data, and seeing they’re a behavioral research organization, don’t you think they will? (Just look up Project Talent).
Last year, two fellow board members and I wrote a letter to our State Superintendent asking him to address our concerns, for which we’ve had no response.
If your parental instinct is kicking in, I would ask that you at least consider opting your child out of taking this test. State law allows any parent to opt their child out. Even if you don’t decide to opt out, talk with your teacher, know when your child is taking this test, and make sure your decision is in the child’s best interest.