Archive for the ‘Stealth Assessment’ Tag

No More Opt Out Possible If Test Goes Underground: Update on HB164 (Down for Now) HB264 (Down for Now) SB91 (A Concern)   1 comment

Update on Utah education bills:

The short version and the good news must come first:  HB 164 (a bill about no more opting out of SAGE tests) did not pass.  HB 264 (a bill about common sex ed) did not pass.

Yesterday at the Capitol, the legislative education hearing was cram-packed with standing room only, and an overflow room was available for attendees.  I’m so glad that so many came.

One of the first bills,  HB201 –that would remove the Common Core SAGE test from being tied to teacher evaluations, a common sense bill– was clearly popular.  Three “Teachers of the Year” spoke in favor of it.  They said that it’s not fair to punish a teacher if a student rebels against a test and doesn’t do his/her best work.  Some said that the test itself was not valid.

When the committee chair asked if anyone in the audience wanted to speak against it, parent Jared Carman volunteered, saying that while he definitely agrees with the idea behind the bill, he disagrees with the bigger picture.  Carman pointed out that since, later in this same meeting, this committee would discuss whether to tie student passing or failing of a course to Common Core SAGE testing, the logic was flawed.  If it’s unfair to base a teacher’s grade on this unreliable and unvalidated test, why is it not unfair to base a child’s grade on it?

Amen, Mr. Carman.

Next up was HB 164, the opt out-or-no-opt-out bill.  Sponsor Kraig Powell summarized the three versions of the bill– not in the way I would have– but he did say that there were three different doors and that the committee could choose which door to open.  True.  They were each different, but each called 164.  Someone on the committee pointed out that this is not a game show!

POWELK

Someone else pointed out that the third substitute bill was only posted online a few minutes before the hearing, making it unfair to expect a vote on it, without a reading and without giving notice for people to know about it and to come to the hearing to speak to its (very different) issues.

Still, Representative Powell hoped to pass the bill anyway, saying (amid wild, enthusiastic cheers from the audience) that it’s high time we get rid of the SAGE test altogether.  For your information, he has always fought the pro-liberty, anti-common core crowd, so it was very, very odd to hear him say those words.

And I wasn’t cheering.

I asked to be allowed to give public comment on substitute 3, since I had read it while sitting in the hearing.  (I had noticed that it was utterly, completely different from substitutes one and two.  It was about “backpack” digital data on every child; it was about labeling schools as “turnaround” schools; it was about getting rid of SAGE testing while relying on embedded, curricular [stealth] assessment.)  I didn’t get the opportunity to speak because the committee wisely decided not to hear testimony and not to vote on it, since there had been no time for reading and analysis by the committee.

So why wasn’t I cheering that we’d get rid of SAGE?  Why would I want to testify against the bill that supposedly spelled the end of SAGE/Common Core testing?  Simply this:  substitute 3 of HB164 gets rid of SAGE, but it also gets rid of any possibility for a parent to opt a child out of testing.  And it totally relies on common core and common, SLDS/CEDS, data.

HB 164 sub 3 relies on a digital “backpack,” which is like an ever deepening, longitudinal fingerprint, to assess children constantly.  The child would provide an I.V. drip of continuous data to the State Longitudinal Database System, via stealth assessment, which has been set up to happen by several previous bills, including this one.

See lines 590-591:  “Every school district and public school shall develop and integrate programs integrating technology into the curriculum, instruction, and student assessment.”

That matches, perfectly, ed committee member Marie Poulson’s task force and resolution of last year, which aimed to minimize the negative effects of excessive testing.  It sounds so good.

Yet, there is something even more sinister than excessive testing, using experimental standards and psychometric analysis of student responses.  That is: stealth assessment; that means, using continuous assessment that is embedded in the curriculum so that no parent can opt a child out of the test– BECAUSE THE TEST NEVER ENDS.

I am not against integrating technology into learning.  There is nothing wrong with technology; it’s a blessing!  But there is something wrong with not applying basic principles of liberty and consent to the technology being used by children.  There is something wrong with forcing students to be monitored all of the time, in all of their assignments, and then to be judged thereby.

Dr. Gary Thompson has been warning us for years that the trendy notion of stealth, or embedded, assessment, would show up here; it has.  Jakell Sullivan has been warning us for years that SAGE was a red herring, or not the real point; the real point was controlling the data via the SLDS longitudinal database system; that’s in HB 164 sub 3, too.

So, despite the cheers of the audience members yesterday, when Representative Powell said, “SAGE needs to go!” I am certain sure that Powell has no intention of allowing any sort of parental opt out of testing.  He simply sees that assessment can go underground, far out of the view of parents or teachers, in the form of stealth assessment: “integrating technology [common core standards-based technologies, and SLDS/CEDS data mining] into the curriculum, instruction, and assessment“.

The question at the core of this issue is: Which is worse–  saving children from the wasteful, stressful, data-robbing SAGE tests now, while making their tests stealthy and continuous, with no parental opt out available, or: sticking with statewide SAGE, where at least those who are aware and informed, can opt out?

Both are bad, but one is clearly worse, in terms of parental judgment, control and liberty.  But embedded assessment is what Poulson and Powell and the whole educational establishment appear to be favoring.  Embedded tests certainly get rid of whiny parents and rebellious kids aiming to wreck their test scores with careless bubbling in of answers.  But at what cost?!

(Please contact your legislators and tell them that you are opposed to stealth assessment and digital “backpacks” on children.  This will show up in many bills, now and next year.)

brian king

 

The third bill from yesterday’s hearing that I want to review is Rep. King’s Comprehensive Sexuality Bill, HB 264.  The committee allowed public comment, but only a very few people were given time.  One of the first commenters arguing against passing the bill said that Rep. King’s opening line was false.  (King had said that there was “misinformation” on the internet that said that this bill had something to do with Common Core.)  The commenter said that Rep. King might not be aware of the national, common standards for sexuality education, but the promoters of the common standards sure are aware of Rep. King; just today, SIECUS had posted an article about Rep. King’s Utah bill promoting their standards.

sex standards

I looked at that article.  It was far more revealing about what the bill aimed to do than its testifiers seemed to be:  “House Minority leader Rep. Brian S. King (D-Salt Lake City) is leading efforts to change Utah’s sex ed law… Utah’s current law, passed in 1988, mandates medically-accurate sex education classes in schools but requires the stressing of abstinence-only instruction. The law stipulates that health education teachers cannot discuss intercourse nor positively discuss homosexuality…. This bill removes the instruction prohibitions on homosexuality, sexual intercourse and contraceptive devices”.

Most of the testifiers for the bill who stood to speak overtly appeared to be LGTB, a point that stood out to me.  It was not mentioned by the newspapers today, of course.  But think about it.  If the bill was just about giving additional, medically accurate knowledge, and not about altering “values, attitudes and beliefs” as the national sexuality standards movement requires; if there was no LGTB agenda being pushed on the children through HB 246, why were all the LGTB activists there to testify for it?  Since when do they go out of their way to testify in hearings for the cause of “medically accurate knowledge”?

I am not hostile toward gays.  Live and let live.  But  I am opposed to the LGTB agenda being pushed in public arenas as if it were the new, national religion.  I am opposed to the minimizing of truth about what that lifestyles’ consequences are.  The national common sexuality standards do push that lifestyle and political agenda on children, while calling it education.  Altering beliefs is not what reproductive health classes are supposed to be for.  Altering beliefs and attitudes is the job of the family and the church.

HB 264 did not pass.

The last update that I want to share is about HB 91, Hillyard and Eliason’s bill to change the power levers of the state school board.  I am concerned about the apparent power grab that the state school board is taking in this bill:

“The board may delegate the board’s statutory duties and responsibilities to board employees.”

This is bad because we, the people, cannot elect or fire employees as we can elect and fire the board.

85          (ii) temporarily or permanently withhold state funds from the education entity;
86          (iii) require the education entity to pay a penalty;

This is bad because it overreaches into the localities, pushing the state board’s will onto the local boards, which is not in harmony with the constitution.

There are also audits of localities, new rules about how a local entity interacts with a third party, and other seeming power grabs that need attention from local boards and liberty-minded representatives.  We don’t want to recreate the nightmare of the beastly federal Department of Education within our state, by allowing the State Department of Education to micromanage the localities, using money and unfire-ability as leverage.

Please continue to email, text, call or write to your representatives.

They need to hear what your thoughts and feelings are.  Silence is acquiescence.

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

thDB6F9D5E

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.

 

 

 

Update: High-Stakes Testing Pushback News   Leave a comment

 tes

Once again, we are indebted to Colorado Principal Bob Schaeffer who has collected this list of national news articles about pushback concerning high-stakes tests in the U.S.

Before I post the list of news articles, I want to share a concern recently raised by Utah Dr. Gary Thompson: that perhaps the heated, national testing pushback could result in public acceptance of another nascent trend called stealth assessments. What do you think?  Stealth Assessments are tests that are so deeply embedded into the curriculum and into video-game-based assignments that students do not suffer from test anxiety, not knowing they are being tested; but parents cannot easily opt children out of the tests; and in fact, teachers may be unaware that any testing/data mining is going on during stealth assessment. The tests blur the lines between assessment and curriculum. Is that to be the solution to all the test trouble?  Which is worse? View Dr. Thompson’s full lecture on SAGE testing (Utah’s Common Core testing) here.  See minute 35 for information on stealth assessments.

Now, here is the testing pushback news list:

2015 Will Be “Crunch Time” for New Common Core Assessments
http://www.districtadministration.com/article/outlook-assessments-crunch-time-common-core

Republican U.S. Senate Aides Drafting Bill to Overhaul “No Child” Law; May Eliminate Annual Testing Rule
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2014/12/gop_senate_aides_working_on_dr.html

Los Angeles Superintendent Seeks Suspension of California’s Test-Based School Rating System
http://www.scpr.org/blogs/education/2014/12/15/17683/lausd-superintendent-seeks-state-testing-relief/

Annual Testing Not Beneficial to Colorado Parents, Teachers Says New Survey
http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1101987812292-130/DAPE+survey+money+results+pdf+executive+summary.pdf
Opt-Outs Reduce Colorado’s 12th Grade Test Participation Rate to 83%
http://co.chalkbeat.org/2014/12/10/cde-participation-rate-only-83-percent-for-12th-grade-tests/#.VIihrC7vcZw

Is This the “Mean Season” for Educating Connecticut Children
http://ctmirror.org/op-ed-is-this-the-mean-season-for-educating-our-children/

Delaware’s Test-Data Fetishism Doesn’t Work
http://www.delawareonline.com/story/opinion/contributors/2014/12/13/education-departments-solution-work/20331407/#.

Backlash Against Testing Overkill Finds Home in Florida, Where It All Began
http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/testing/national-backlash-against-school-testing-finds-an-audience-in-florida/2209931

 

More Florida Families Opting Out of Standardized Exams
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/more-and-more-parents-opting-out-standardized-test/njRTd/
Many Florida Teachers Resign Over Common Core Testing Demands
http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/osceola-co-teachers-resigning-en-masse-over-common/njPXY/?nmredir=true

Idaho Board of Ed Appoints Parent, Teacher, Community Committee to Review Test Items for Bias
http://magicvalley.com/news/local/state-committee-to-review-standardized-test-questions/article_325c5da6-6c21-534f-8cb8-407d86f06e2b.html

Chicago Mayoral Candidate Wants to Slash Illinois’ School Testing Requirements
http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/garcia-unveils-education-plan-vows-cut-back-testing/thu-12112014-345pm

Indiana Education Dean: Test-Based Teacher Measures Are Not Fair
http://in.chalkbeat.org/2014/12/09/indiana-education-dean-teacher-measures-arent-fair/#.VIhcfy7vcZw

PARCC Test Creates New Hurdle for Maryland English Language Learners
http://news.wypr.org/post/new-state-standardized-tests-pose-unique-challenges-new-english-speakers
The Rising Tide of Maryland Opt Outs
http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/education/the-rising-tide-of-opting-out/article_f4d38eeb-83f8-5703-baa6-bd7692ac726f.html

Michigan Test Changes Frustrate Educators
http://www.cadillacnews.com/news_story/?story_id=1823394&year=2014&issue=20141213

New Jersey Parents: Students Take Too Many Standardized Exams
http://www.app.com/story/news/education/in-our-schools/2014/12/09/marlboro-tests/20136527/

New Mexico Teachers Think Online PARCC Test Will Confuse Students
http://www.abqjournal.com/512077

North Carolina Parents Worry About Schools Testing Too Much
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/12/13/buncombe-parents-worry-schools-testing-much/20381487/

Growing Support Across Ohio to Limit High-Stakes Tests
http://www.local12.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/growing-support-limit-highstakes-tests-schools-21949.shtml

Telling the Truth About Oklahoma Standardized Testing
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-thompson/you-just-heard-it-we-must_b_6319886.html

Philadelphia City Council Resolution on Pennsylvania State Testing — as Adopted
http://www.workingeducators.org/call_city_council_support_the_standardized_testing_resolution
Impact of Philadelphia City Council Resolution on Opt-Outs and State Ratings
http://thenotebook.org/blog/148033/effect-student-opt-outs-schools

Tennessee Gov. Proposes Temporary Roll Back in Student-Test Weight in Teacher Evaluations
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2014/12/push_to_reduce_test_scores_weight_in_evaluations_announced_by_tenn_governor.html

Texas Advocates for Meaningful Student Assessment Posts Reform Agenda
http://www.tamsatx.org/

What Arne Duncan Says vs What Arne Duncan Does
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/12/10/what-arne-duncan-says-vs-what-arne-duncan-does/

Duncan Brings the Sham of VAM to Teacher Evaluation
http://www.livingindialogue.com/duncan-brings-sham-vam-teacher-education/

School “Reform” Flunks the Test
https://theamericanscholar.org/school-reform-fails-the-test/

Thirty Years of Failed “Accountability” Policies
http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/2014-ncuea-fall-conference-thirty-years-of-accountability-deserves-an-f/

What (Besides Tests) Should Count?
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_california/2014/12/paul_tough_on_what_besides_tests_should_count.html

Who Is Really Failing Students
http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/whos-really-failing-students/

Season of Protest: Interview with Jesse Hagopian
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-berkshire/high-stakes-testing-protests_b_6295622.html

Bad Ass Teachers Call on Sec. Duncan to Investigate Civil Rights Abuses From Testing
http://badassteachers.blogspot.com/2014/12/bats-send-open-letter-to-secretary.html

The Testing Camera: A Cartoon Allegory
http://fablevisionlearning.com/blog/2014/12/the-testing-camera/

United Opt Out National Conference — Jan. 1618, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale
http://unitedoptout.com/2014/11/30/united-opt-out-stand-up-for-action-florida-schedule/

%d bloggers like this: