Archive for the ‘big brother’ Tag

Orwellian Reason Obama Said States Can “Stop Obsessing” About Tests   4 comments

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People throw around the word “Orwellian”.

What does “Orwellian” mean, and how does it relate to education –and to our current president’s latest softening commentary about high stakes testing?

George Orwell showed, in his books 1984 and Animal Farm, how tyranny looks, works, stomps on the individual and suffocates freedom.  He could have been describing Obama’s CEDS/SLDS/EdFacts data exchange in its final form.

(If you haven’t, read 1984.  Just read the first half and skip the nightmarish ending (my advice)  –that way, you’ll see why privacy matters so very, very much, why the freedom to choose the path of your own conscience matters, and why big government control of data is deadly.)

News articles now describing Obama’s supposed, new-found softness about standardized testing, remind me of the news stories put out by the central managers in the novel 1984.  The reactions of the masses remind me of 1984, too.

Some see Obama’s new testing attitude as sincere enlightenment; others think it’s a move to regain popularity among teacher’s unions and angry parents; but the reason I am sure that Obama’s softening his stance on high-stakes testing is that he does not need it in his Orwellian-style, centrally managed, Constitution-be-damned kingdom.

He does not need the tests to control the people nor to get data about them, now that he has:

Peg With Pen said it  this way:

“I keep getting texts, phone messages and emails telling me how happy folks are that Obama is now listening to us – and that Opt Out has been heard. This is heartbreaking for me – because this tells me that mainstream media has done a stellar job of co-opting Opt Out…

The next wave involves the U.S. Dept. of Ed’s recommendations for testing reduction which also comes with funds to support states in getting there. And the scariest part is this – the GROUNDWORK IS COMPLETE. The feds/corporations did exactly what they came to dothey dangled carrots. They got high stakes testing systems in place with longitudinal data bases to carry the seamless productivity of the data. They loosened privacy regulations.  They got common standards out there which are essential for easy data tagging. They pushed and pushed and pushed to support charters and alternative teacher certification. They set the groundwork for the STATES to now lead the way – and they (feds/corporations) have their people in place on school boards, schools of education, depts. of ed…

And now, they simply have commiserated with the masses and said we need to reduce testing and make sure the testing that occurs is meaningful and does not take away from classroom instruction. This is accomplished so easily. It’s called online daily computer based testing. Followed by online daily computer based instruction. Call it mastery testing. Competency based testing. Proficiency testing. Whatever you like. It will begin to fall in place very quickly as states move away from the hated interim testing and massive amounts of end of year testing. There will be less need for these large tests with quick, tidy, END OF DAY testing TIED TO STUDENT GRADES and STUDENT PROMOTION to the next grade/digital badge – whatever it may be – and of course testing which tells the teacher what the next day’s online instruction must be. It’s already happening. And now the federal gov’t. is simply nudging it into the states’ hands with a resounding message of support, an apology for overstepping their boundaries and a few bucks along the way…”

The worst part about seeing federal (Obama) or local (Senator Stephenson, Representative Poulsen) officials suddenly seeing the Opt Out light, and suddenly pooh-pooh-ing high stakes testing– is the replacement, the “new” and bigger river of data to fulfill their stated goal of “data-driven” central decision making:  it’s stealth assessment, also known as embedded assessment.

I’ve written about stealth testing before.

Stealth assessment is nonconsensual assessment, unannounced assessment and data gathering.  (Hello, consent of the governed.)

It’s testing that happens while students are simply using their technological devices for any school assignment.  And it’s being discussed right now in our Utah legislature as the solution for the ills of high-stakes testing.

What are they discussing?  Which is worse, SAGE or stealth?

Let’s make a little pros and cons list together.  (Also, see my top ten reasons to opt out if you want more detail on why SAGE opt-outs are so vital.)

CONS:  For High Stakes Standardized Testing (SAGE/PARCC/SBAC/AIR tests)

The tests rob students of real  learning by pressuring teachers to teach to the test.

They rob teachers of professional judgment by punishing and rewarding them based on test scores.

Utah’s SAGE is secretive, closed to teachers and parents.

The tests are un-valid (never having been tested).

The standards, upon which the tests are based, are un-valid (never having been tested).

The untested tests are using our children as guinea pigs without our consent.

The tests do not meet basic values for codes of ethics.

PROS:  For High Stakes Standardized Testing (SAGE/PARCC/SBAC/AIR tests)

We can opt out of the tests.

That’s it.

We can opt out of the tests; we can’t opt out of stealth testing, aka curriculum-embedded assessment.

Do you see?  The move away from standardized tests is also a move away from the parental or individual ability to opt out of the data mining assault on privacy.

Taking Utah as an example:  if Representative Marie Poulson’s committee— that was formed after her stealth assessment (anti-high stakes testing) resolution passed— decides to kick SAGE testing to the curb, the Utah legislature will follow the federal trend of pushing all the data mining further underground by using embedded assessment (stealth testing) as its replacement.

Don’t let this happen.  Talk to your representatives.  Say no to stealth/embedded testing.

 

 

 

Dr. Thompson, Dr. Glass: Exposing the Underbelly of Psychometric Testing   4 comments

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Dr. Gene V. Glass, the award-winning psychometrician who invented the term meta-analysis, made recent news when he announced that he is no longer comfortable in his field.  In a Washington Post column, Dr. Glass summarized the failure of psychometrics (educational measurement using big data) to give accurate information: “Both talent and tasks were too complex to yield to this simple plan.”

This failure of psychometrics to win “the wars on poverty and ignorance” do not stop psychometric testing companies from lobbying politicians to alter American education for financial gain, he said.  Glass writes: “test company lobbyists convince politicians that grading teachers and schools is as easy as grading cuts of meat. A huge publishing company from the United Kingdom has spent $8 million in the past decade lobbying Congress.”

Glass laments the false belief of politicians who are convinced by articulate, monied lobbyists to buy, and then act on, the idea “that testing must be the cornerstone of any education policy”.

The results? “Parents see the stress placed on their children and report them sick on test day. Educators, under pressure they see as illegitimate, break the rules imposed on them by governments. Many teachers put their best judgment and best lessons aside… And too many of the best teachers exit the profession.”  A result Glass did not mention, but which is also notable, is that some politicians are beginning to be swayed by the idea of stealth testing.

The resignation from the field of psychometrics by Dr. Glass came to my attention because of Utah-based child psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson, who published the article with the following warning directed at Utahns who are complicit  in the use of Utah’s nonconsensual student data mining web.

 

A Warning To Educational Data Worshipers:

We can’t paint a meta data picture of creations we still know so little of. The arrogance of the “career and college ready crowd” along these lines, is astounding to me both as a father, and as a doctoral level local clinical community scientist.

Apparently the scientist, who I studied in graduate school…and who pioneered the process of mass educational meta data analysis, feels the same way that I do.

Mankind (e.g., “Bill Gates, Secretary Duncan, AIR, USOE, or Superintendent Smith, etc) will never create a form of data analysis more accurate and informative than what can be garnered from the combination of a mother, a well trained local teacher and principal, and valid, personalized, private, assessment tools interpreted by a professional, with one, and only one motive in mind:

To lift the academic, emotional, and spiritual foundation of a child for the sake of the joy of enrichment.

Assessments, as well as the associated meta-data generated by our current Common Core-based educational system, will never be able to be used as a valid measure of teachers, schools, or as a tool to achieve the mythical political term of “career & college ready”….or to support the political desires of our current Governor and Utah’s Chamber of Commerce.

Parents are, and must always be the resident experts of their own children.

The testing/data pseudo-science spewing from the lips of the educational/political bureaucracy, can’t change this very law of nature and the universe.

Be wise Utah.

tocqueville

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Thank you, Dr. Gary Thompson and Dr. Gene Glass.

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