Pearson’s Strategy to Disrupt the Education System

(PRNewsfoto/Pearson Education, Inc.)

I recently received a link to a report about Pearson.  Prior to reading it I thought the report was produced by Pearson and would be promoting and justifying their plans for taking over education around the globe.  How wrong I was.  The report, Pearson 2025: Transforming teaching and privatizing education data, was produced by Education International and does not support or promote Pearson’s plans and efforts.  It is informative and alarming.

The first paragraph of the summary the report starts off with raises a number of red flags for me.

Pearson aims to lead the ‘next generation’ of teaching and learning by developing digital learning platforms, including Artificial Intelligence in education(AIEd). It is piloting new AI technologies that it hopes will enable virtual tutors to provide personalised learning to students, much like Siri or Alexa. This technology will be integrated into a single platform— Pearson RealizeTM—that has now been integrated with Google Classroom. It seeks to develop direct and lifelong relationships with customers to whom it will provide virtual schooling, professional certifications, assessments, and other services.  (my bolding to emphasize a few red flag items)

The next paragraph talks about a corporate strategy of creating disruptive changes to the teaching profession, delivery of curriculum and assessment, and function of public schools.

These disruptions do not follow a coherent set of educational principles, but capriciously serve the interests of the company’s shareholders.

In my eyes, the above statement pretty much describes the majority of education reform measures we have seen in the last fifteen to twenty years.

Facebook and Google, while possibly the most well-known, are not the only corporations actively collecting data about their users.  Pearson has been collecting user data for some time.

Pearson collects a range of data from customers, including assignments, student coursework, responses to interactive exercises, scores, grades and instructor comments, details of the books the customer has read or activities the customer has completed.  Consent to collect and use the various kinds of data outlined above is not always explicitly sought.

The first of three strategic priorities provided on Pearson’s website starts off “Grow market share…”  Does it come as any surprise that the driving force isn’t educating people but using education to generate profit?  Let’s get back to the report.

Studies of the development of Pearson’s education business have been critical of its prioritising of shareholder profit over the interests of students, teachers, schools and communities (see for example, Ball, 2012; Ball, Junemann & Santori, 2017; Hogan, Sellar and Lingard, 2015; 2016; Hogan, 2018; Hursh, 2015; Junemann, Ball & Diego, 2016; Riep, 2017a; 2017b; Srivastava, 2016; Willamson, 2016).

Pearson’s focus on ‘personalised learning’ is prominently featured in the report.  (see Personlized Learning for more info)  I have broken one paragraph up into the next three quoted sections.

The most significant shift in education in this context will be the move toward ‘personalised learning’ provided by computer-based ‘instructional systems that contain empirical models of the student to predict student behaviors and knowledge, and to act upon these predictions to make pedagogical moves as students progress towards gaining expertise and mastery of the target domain’ (Arroyo et al., 2014, p. 388).

More about such predictions to be presented later.

Pearson’s focus on providing personalised learning as a private service will answer the question of what we should teach today in narrow and partial ways that are shaped by its corporate interests and the demands of its customers.

This raises questions for me about conversations that should take place:  Who should determine what should be taught?  Parents?  The local community?  The state?  The federal government?  Corporations?  Influential foundations and wealthy individuals?

The expansion of the GEI potentially undermines the social purposes of public education (e.g. preparing national and global citizens) and the public transparency, consultation and accountability that should characterise debate about what is taught, how it is taught and for whom it is taught.

Additional conversations should take place to address the purpose of education, what is to be taught, how it is to be taught, and for whom?  Should education help students develop academically, culturally, and intellectually or should it prime the workforce pipeline pump?

The report goes on to address how data will be used to make predictions.

Pearson’s corporate strategy also raises questions about how data will be used to make predictions in relation to people’s capabilities and propensities.

As Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier (2013) have shown, predictions
made about people’s future actions based on such analyses are correlational and may lead to erroneous assessments and decisions. If such predictions are used to steer customers through Pearson’s digital services, then opportunities to learn may be shaped in opaque ways by the algorithms that are used to assess and predict customer’s capabilities. More troublingly, such predictions could be used to grant or withhold access to opportunities offered by Pearson and its partners, such as allowing customers to progress to the next stage of their education or to access other services within its learning platform. The key issue here is the possibility of intervention on the basis of predicted actions, without letting fate play out and providing the opportunity for students to surprise us, as they so often do.

As for a student’s education, will such predictions pigeon hole students with the possibility of stifling their opportunity to develop their full potential?  There are greater implications for the use of data to make predictions.  What if the government started intervening in people’s lives using predications based on data accessible via various interoperable data bases?  Or is this already happening?  Is it possible people could be arrested based on a prediction that they might commit a crime?

The report seems to be making the case that Pearson is encouraging the privatization of schooling, reducing the need for trained teachers, and the accumulation of data.  The bottom line appears to be that Pearson does what it does to make a profit.

Is this report predicting what Pearson will be like in 2025 or is it providing a description of Pearson in the current day?


Gates and Zuckerberg Partner on New Ed Project, What Could Go Wrong?

The Associated Press reports that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg will team up for an education initiative focused on kids who have trouble learning.

What could possibly go wrong?

The AP’s Sally Ho writes:

Tech moguls Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday they will team up to help develop new methods for kids with trouble learning — an effort that will include dabbling into child brain science.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative intend to explore a number of potential pilot projects.

They’ll focus on math, writing and brain functions — key areas of classroom learning that they note are crucial for academic success.

The effort is now seeking information and ideas from across sectors, from education and academia to business, technology and medicine. Future investments based on that information are expected, but no dollar amount has been set.

The idea that disadvantaged children struggle to learn because of poor executive brain function involving memory, thinking flexibility, and behavioral issues related to autism and other attention disorders has long been lamented by social workers and health advocates.

Read the rest.

Yes, exactly what we want to see, tech moguls exploring child brain science and collecting “information” ie. data to determine future investments.

They say technology won’t be the primary focus, but they recognize the role it will play. What role? How much screen time will this require?

So what kind of experimentation will need to happen for them to know if their ideas will work? How much data mining will it require? How will this then be foisted on public schools?

If their ideas trickle down into local schools will parents be made aware or will the kids be subject to experimentation similar to what Pearson recently did with college students?

What independent group will validate the results or will they be Gates-funded as well?

Where will investments be directed beyond research? Advocacy?

Since Common Core is a failure why in the world should we trust anything that comes from Bill Gates? With Zuckerberg’s involvement, why should we trust that privacy will be protected?

Pearson’s “Social-Psychological” Experiment Should Make Us Wary

Screenshot of the MyLab Program from YouTube.

Education Week reported that Pearson recently tested ‘social-psychological’ messages in their learning software on unwitting college students with “mixed results” and the privacy implications of this should make us wary.

Pearson presented a paper entitled “Embedding Research-Inspired Innovations in EdTech: An RCT of Social-Psychological Interventions, at Scale” at the annual conference of the American Association of Educational Research.

The experiment included over 9,000 students at 165 two-year community colleges and four-year universities in the United States. The students who used the MyLab Program were divided into three groups. One group received “growth-mindset” messages (stressing the importance of effort and building skills over time), another group received “anchoring of effect messages” (ex. “Some students tried this question 26 times! Don’t worry if it takes you a few tries to get it right.”), and the third group was the control group who received no messages.

Pearson then randomly assigned different colleges to use different versions of the software. They tracked whether students who received the messages attempted and completed more problems than those who did not.

The experiment appears to prove the opposite of what they had thought to be true. Those students who did not receive any messages attempted more problems (212 problems) than students who received a “growth-mindset” message (178 problems), and those who received an “anchoring of effect” message (156 problems).

There are already significant privacy concerns with learning software and other ed tech tools. Gizmodo pointed out overlap one of the privacy issues with Facebook, namely, the criticism they received after experimenting on 700,000 users in 2014 by changing what they saw in their newsfeeds and then recording the impact on their moods.

Pearson’s paper was not without critics. Ben Williamson, who studies big data in education and lectures at the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom told Education Week that there is little evidence that mindset-based inventions will help students. He also pointed out public anxiety over how different companies collect data and use it for psychological profiling and troubling.

Williamson also noted, and I agree, that it is extremely troubling that Pearson did not seek informed consent from students who were the subjects of this experiment.

“It’s concerning that forms of low-level psychological experimentation to trigger certain behaviors appears to be happening in the ed-tech sector, and students might not know those experiments are taking place,” Williamson told Education Week.

Even though Pearson’s experiment backfired, Education Week notes that the idea of placing these messages in education software is “gaining steam.”

Parents take note.

Pearson Is Getting Out of the U.S. K-12 Curriculum Business

Photo Credit: Pearson Education, Inc.

EdWeek Market Brief reported last week that Pearson was selling off their K-12 curriculum business in the U.S.

Michele Molnar wrote:

Pearson is getting out of the K-12 curriculum business in the U.S., the global education company announced Friday during a discussion of its 2017 financial results.

The company, which had said last May it was exploring the sale, is already in conversations with potential acquirers, according to company officials.

Curriculum products and services were identified as a “lower margin” part of its enterprise, representing about 9 percent of its revenues but returning profits of about 2 percent or £11 million (approximately $15.35 million) last year. The K-12 revenues have been under £400 million or $550 million based on today’s exchange rate.

Geographically, Pearson generated about 61 percent of its sales in the U.S. to pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education.

Unfortunately, they are staying in the assessment business.

At the same time, the company plans to keep its $1.2 billion U.S. assessment business, which grew 7 percent in number of digital tests administered last year. Pearson said it is the market leader in this segment, with a share of greater than 35 percent share. The company is expecting stabilization in student assessment in the U.S., according to Coram Williams, the company’s chief financial officer.

Next month, the company plans to publish the first of its “fully audited efficacy reports” into a series of key products, the company said. Details of its PreK-12 efficacy research thus far are available on its site.

This news follows a story in August in MarketWatch that reported the company planned to cut 3000 jobs.

The job cuts are the latest as part of a restructuring program as the London-listed provider of textbooks, language courses and other educational products and services grapples with issues including declining college enrollment and tough competition in the U.S.

Pearson, whose largest market is North America, signaled in May it would further reduce its workforce. Friday’s cuts come on top of 4,000–representing 10% of the company’s total head count–that it announced last year.

Now if they would only see a drop in their assessment sales.

Colorado to Stop Giving PARCC Tests, But Stay With PARCC Developer

Chalkbeat reports that Colorado will no longer give PARCC tests, but how much will change?

Nicholas Garcia writes:

Colorado will begin shifting away from standardized tests developed as part of a controversial multi-state effort and toward tests developed mostly by Colorado educators.

The move, one consequence of a contract announced Wednesday by the state education department, will end Colorado’s membership in PARCC, one of two multi-state testing collectives that were supposed to allow for easy comparison across states but have fallen short of that promise.

However, Colorado will likely keep using some PARCC questions in the math and English tests given to students in grades three through eight, said Joyce Zurkowski, the Colorado Department of Education’s executive director of assessment. Doing so would ensure the state could track student academic growth data and continue rating schools without pause.

“We’re not tossing everything out and starting from scratch,” Zurkowski said. But “we are expecting that Colorado educators will be much more involved throughout the development process — and we’re going to need more Colorado educators to be involved in the process.”

Well, of course, they’ll still use some PARCC questions as Pearson developed the PARCC assessment.

The Colorado Department of Education press release stated:

Pearson, the company that has administered Colorado statewide tests for four years, was selected by a committee of educators from throughout the state and CDE staff to remain as the state’s assessment contractor for Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests.  Students take CMAS tests in math and English language arts (ELA) in grades three through eight and in science and social studies once each in elementary, middle, and high school.

“Because Pearson has been already providing the testing services for CMAS for a number of years, the transition to the new contract should be seamless for educators and students,” said Katy Anthes, Colorado’s education commissioner.  “Educators and students are familiar with Pearson’s systems, so this will allow them to continue to concentrate on teaching and learning the Colorado Academic Standards, which is the content assessed by the tests.”

The results from the 2018 CMAS assessments are expected to be comparable to prior years’ results, creating little disruption to the accountability system in 2018.

A new request for proposals (RFP) was required by state law because the current contract for the state’s CMAS science and social studies assessments is expiring.  In addition, at its December meeting, the State Board of Education directed the department to issue a RFP for math and ELA assessments that would result in reduced operational testing time for students and faster turnaround of results. The board also required that CDE have decision-making authority over math and ELA test design, form development and test administration policies. The department in March issued a RFP for all of the CMAS assessments, and both Pearson and Questar submitted proposals.

“After a thorough review of the proposals, demonstrations and interviews, Pearson was selected as the successful offeror for a variety of reasons,” said Colorado Department of Education Assessment Executive Director Joyce Zurkowski. “The committee determined that Pearson’s online test management and test administration systems better met Colorado’s assessment requirements and district expectations. The committee also emphasized that of the two proposed potential contractors, only Pearson’s systems are currently capable of protecting student demographic data and personally identifiable information in accordance with Colorado’s requirements.”

The contract will also require a review of all of the CMAS assessments following the adoption of the revised standards in summer 2018. The new contract may be renewed annually through 2023-2024.

The administration of the CMAS assessments in science and social studies will fall under the new contract starting in spring 2018. The math and English language arts assessments remain under the existing contract with Pearson for one more year and transition to the new contract in the 2018-19 school year.  However, the department has already begun the planning necessary to implement the board’s directives for shorter tests and faster turnaround of results.

The only real change is that Colorado will have more control over the test questions. I have to laugh about the claim that only Pearson’s systems “are currently capable of protecting student demographic data and personally identifiable information in accordance with Colorado’s requirements.” The fact the state is collecting data through a third party tells me they are not serious about student privacy.

Fortunately, not all are happy with Pearson being given the new contract as Chalkbeat reports:

Board member Steve Durham, a Colorado Springs Republican who led the effort to abandon PARCC, was critical of the decision to continue using Pearson as the state’s testing administrator.

He pressed the department to ensure Pearson could deliver on the board’s directive, especially limiting testing time to eight hours and delivering results quickly.

“It simply can’t run on for days or weeks as it did,” he said, referring to the amount of time some schools needed to complete the tests.


Angela Engel, a leader in the testing opt-out movement and founder of the nonprofit Uniting4Kids, said the change did little to alleviate her concerns about the role of standardized testing in schools.

“This new direction by the State Board of Education is simply another version of a bad idea,” she said in a statement. “Colorado has already changed test vendors, test names, and test styles – all with the same failed outcomes. Innovation and equity require an entirely different approach than administering a test.”

The silver lining is a reduction in the volume of tests in Colorado and Pearson’s contract is renewable on an annual basis. Also, this decision leaves PARCC with just six remaining members. How long will this consortium survive? That said, it is still a Common Core-aligned assessment using the same developer so in reality what Colorado will have is a PARCC-lite assessment that they control.

NJ School Superintendent Criticizes State for PARCC, edTPA Decisions

Dr. David Aderhold

Dr. David Aderhold

Dr. David Aderhold, the superintendent of schools for the West Windsor – Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey, wrote an op/ed for NJ pointing out some troubling decisions the New Jersey Department of Education and State Board of Education have made.

I commend the piece to you and laud Dr. Aderhold’s courage for speaking out.

He attacks the use of PARCC for teacher evaluations:

On August 31, 2016, at 3:32 p.m. the New Jersey Department of Education released a memorandum changing the evaluation criteria for all grades 4 to 8 language arts and mathematics teachers (including special education). The change moves the percentage that student growth percentages (SGPs) count in a teacher’s overall performance rating from 10 percent to 30 percent. The SGP score attained for teachers is derived from each individual teacher’s students’ performance on the PARCC examination.

Changing the SGP percentages the day before teachers return to work demonstrates a lack of professional understanding and signals that the politicization of education has created a disregard for those of us in the field. The change signifies the intensification in the value our New Jersey Department of Education and New Jersey State Board of Education holds for the PARCC examination. An intentional ratcheting up of the importance of a standardized assessment further burdens an already stressed educational system.

He asks some excellent questions in light of the state board’s decision to make passing PARCC’s Algebra I and ELA 10 exam a requirement for graduation.

With these new graduation requirements, there are so many elements still undefined. For instance, if PARCC is a graduation requirement for the Class of 2021, what happens if a student passes Algebra I in 8th grade but does not pass the PARCC examination? How is the New Jersey Department of Education going to work with students that transfer into a school district from out of state? What will PARCC remediation look like? Who will score these assessments? How will PARCC be administered for Option ii courses? Further, what is the value for students of the Class of 2021 to take the PARCC assessment for geometry, Algebra II, ELA 9 and ELA 11 if only the Algebra 1 and ELA 10 assessments count for graduation? How will the burdensome appeals process be addressed?

The unspoken message is that the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey State Board of Education believe they can change educational outcomes by implementing a system of standardized tests, data points, and accountability measures. They believe that if you create “valid” and “reliable” assessment instruments, that all students will magically succeed. Through a blind allegiance to standardized assessments, the NJDOE and NJSBOE have failed to provide the support, programs, and professional development that would work to ensure that all students succeed.

Then he brings up the new teacher performance assessment, edTPA, that will be used. Oh and guess who has been contracted to implement that? There are also student privacy concerns with this.

While there may be some benefits to this framework, one should have significant concerns about aspects of the implementation process. It is important to note that edTPA currently is the only performance assessment approved by the State of New Jersey. It is a new performance assessment that will be required for licensure. As such, the New Jersey Department of Education and New Jersey State Board of Education have outsourced an aspect of licensure to a third-party provider.

In this case the New Jersey Department of Education has awarded the implementation of edTPA to Pearson, the same company that has the PARCC contract. This new assessment uses video recording. While confidentiality guidelines and video recording permission slips have been created, we should all be fundamentally opposed to the submission of video recordings that will include students to a third-party provider. Let’s be clear, the use of video recording and the reflection of instructional practices is a longstanding best practice for educators. In this scenario, the use of video recording is based upon a system of accountability and accreditation. It is important to note that the intention for using edTPA goes beyond student teaching. This third-party provider will also be impacting the award of certificates for alternate route teachers and for teachers transferring credentials from other states.

With the concerns about this performance assessment the school district is making a bold move.

As a result of these changes, the West Windsor – Plainsboro Regional School District no longer will be accepting student teachers after the 2016 – 2017 school year, as the new regulations go into effect for the 2017 – 2018 school year. The New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey State Board of Education have not sufficiently established the reason for these changes. Rather than helping public schools train and recruit candidates for areas in tremendous shortage (physics, calculus, special education, ESL, bilingual/bicultural, career and tech ed, family and consumer science, school psychologists, social workers, LDTCs, industrial technology, computer science, world languages), the New Jersey Board of Education and the New Jersey Department of Education have chosen to focus on changing a system that has worked well for years.

Centralization and state control of education causes more problems than it actually fixes. What is happening in New Jersey is evidence of that.

Be sure to read his whole article.

Blame the Textbooks for Poor Common Core Implementation!

Photo credit: World Economic Forum (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Gates funds the standards, funds reviews of the standards, and now funds reviews of the textbooks.
Photo credit: World Economic Forum (CC-By-SA 2.0) reviewed five high Common Core-aligned math textbooks in their first round of reviews and found only one textbook was “aligned.”

  • College Board – nope.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – nope.
  • Pearson – nope.
  • Carnegie Learning – partial credit for “focus and rigor,” but nope.
  • The CPM Learning Program was the only textbook deemed “Common Core-aligned”

Pearson wasn’t happy with the review because obviously this isn’t good for the bottom line.

They wrote:

Our analysis of the EdReports evaluations of Pearson Integrated High School Mathematics Common Core ©2014 shows that the EdReports evaluations continue to be plagued by inaccuracies, misunderstandings of program instructional models, misinterpretations of the both the intent and the expectation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and the Publisher’s Criteria, and a lack of understanding of effective curriculum development and pedagogy. Pearson Education and its authors consider the EdReports evaluation an incomplete, invalid, and unreliable reporting of the quality of the program and of its alignment to the expectations of the CCSS-M.

This group recently said all of the K-8 math textbooks reviewed were not “Common Core-aligned.”

Look here is all you need to know about They received just shy of $1.5 million in 2015 from the Gates Foundation (by way of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc.) for operating support “to enable them to build their core priorities of publishing reviews of instructional materials, and to grow their operations and capacity to include teacher feedback of such materials.”

See if all the textbooks are bad then they can blame the poor implementation of Common Core on the textbooks, not the standards themselves.  They have already started that narrative. See teachers just need better resources, not new standards… Nothing to see here folks, just ignore the clear conflict of interest.

3rd Grade Teacher: New York Common Core Test Age-Inappropriate

Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Katie Lapham, an elementary school English-as-a-Second-Language teacher in New York, took to her blog to express her disappointment with New York’s Common Core assessment developed by Pearson.

She stated that the test was still too long, there were issues with the content, but the complaints I wanted to highlight is in in regards to the test questions being confusing and the reading passages not being age appropriate.

The questions were confusing.  They were so sophisticated that it appeared incongruous to me to watch a third grader wiggle her tooth while simultaneously struggle to answer high school-level questions. How does one paragraph relate to another?, for example. Unfortunately, I can’t disclose more.  The multiple-choice answer choices were tricky, too. Students had to figure out the best answer among four answer choices, one of which was perfectly reasonable but not the best answer.  Here’s what P.S. 321’s principal,Elizabeth Phillips, wrote about the 2014 Common Core tests.  Her op-ed We Need to Talk About the Test appeared in The New York Times on April 9, 2014.  These same issues were evident on the third grade 2016 ELA test.

“In general terms, the tests were confusing, developmentally inappropriate and not well aligned with the Common Core standards. The questions were focused on small details in the passages, rather than on overall comprehension, and many were ambiguous. Children as young as 8 were asked several questions that required rereading four different paragraphs and then deciding which one of those paragraphs best connected to a fifth paragraph. There was a strong emphasis on questions addressing the structure rather than the meaning of the texts. There was also a striking lack of passages with an urban setting. And the tests were too long; none of us can figure out why we need to test for three days to determine how well a child reads and writes.”

The reading levels of the passages were above “grade” level, whatever “grade” level means these days.  One passage was an article recommended for students in grades 6-8. Has the NYSED done any research on early childhood education?Defending the Early Years cites a Gesell Institute of Child Development report that says,

“…the average age at which children learn to read independently is 6.5 years. Some begin as early as four years and some not until age seven or later – and all of this falls within the normal range.”

Yet for the NYS Common Core ELA test, the NYSED expects all third graders to be able to decode and comprehend texts that are typically used with fourth, fifth and sixth graders?

Be sure to read her whole article.

HT: Valerie Strauss

President Obama Has You Cornered With K-12 Test Data

Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)

The Race to the Top Initiative created an opportunity for President Barack Obama’s administration to wrest control over K-12 testing — from the international level to the classroom level — aligning most testing to Common Core “college and career ready” standards. Despite trying, states like Indiana and Oklahoma have found it impossible to exit Common Core because of this testing takeover. Just as Obamacare was intended to push states towards a single-payer system, Race to the Top was designed to push children into personalized learning programs that can assess personal beiefs in real-time.

According to the Bill Gates-funded KnowledgeWorks, which supports the Obama administration’s efforts, the end goal is to get all children online and into personalized learning and competency-based programs where teachers’ teaching and students’ learning can be controlled from pre-K through higher education.

Parents who are concerned about preserving religious liberty in education, and in America, should evaluate how Obama’s Race to the Top Initiative took over K-12 testing at every level so that assessments can assess and adapt individual values, as opposed to simply testing academics.

International exams — PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) is being turned into a Common Core test through the Fed’s Race to the Top partner, Pearson. Pearson is advising PISA on implementing computer adaptive tests to track how students learn and work throughout their lives — assessing attitudes, values and beliefs.

National exams — In an August 2014 letter, Sen. Orrin Hatch and other congressional leaders chastised Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for turning NAEP into a high-stakes Common Core test. The test is being redesigned to assess “mindsets” and other psychological traits. The secretary changed Title 1 regulations to “phase out the authority of states” over testing.

State exams — Race to the Top funded the Common Core assessments: Pearson (PARCC) and AIR (SBAC). These groups were designed to help states “rethink assessments” so that curriculum embedded assessments could be developed to track students’ attitudes, values and beliefs and to adapt questions in real-time.

District exams — The SAT is headed by Common Core’s architect David Coleman. All AP courses and exams are being redesigned to support an internationalist worldview. The first AP course changes to spark controversy were to AP U.S. history. In addition, the ACT, GED, Career & Technical Ed tests, Readistep, PSAT and others are being aligned to Common Core.

Classroom formative, summative and online learning assessments — The capstone of Obama’s testing reforms was created when Race to the Top funded an international standards setting group called IMS Global Learning Consortium. IMS Global — along with Bill Gates SIF Association — created a way for Common Education Data Standards to be used in most online learning programs and tests. Already nearly 300 tech and testing groups have synchronized their coding specs to the Common Education Data Standards so that most personalized learning and testing platforms can be “interoperable.” Race to the Top funded projects like the Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) and the Assessment Interoperability Framework (AIF).

The effect of this final play in the testing game will be that every child’s student login will operate like a Social Security number on steroids — a student’s learning can be trackedand adjusted in real-time using “interoperable” learning and assessment programs. State’s Longitudinal Data Systems will ensure that a child’s learning record is tied to the child’s medical, family, workforce and criminal records (see the White House’s Learning Registry). And, just like the doctors under Obamacare, teachers are being controlled, manipulated and pushed out by the test data. Teachers can’t stop Common Core any more than doctors can stop Obamacare.

While Utah’s leaders contemplate policies that will nudge our children into digital learning programs, parents can and should rise up to preserve our history and heritage. Honest leaders will look at Utah’s accountability system and consider that the federal tripod of standards, tests and school/teacher grading is being used against us. Can America’s history and religious liberty really be preserved under a testing system that is almost completely under federal control?

Editor’s note: This article was originally published at Deseret News and was republished with the author’s permission.

Teaching Experience? Who Needs Teaching Experience?

Students in Computer Lab --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisAS IF we needed more news to make us even more uneasy with the Common Core Assessment Consortia, consider this article from the New York Times about Pearson who is the sole vendor for the PARCC states.

On Friday, in an unobtrusive office park northeast of downtown here, about 100 temporary employees of the testing giant Pearson worked in diligent silence scoring thousands of short essays written by third- and fifth-grade students from across the country.

There was a onetime wedding planner, a retired medical technologist and a former Pearson saleswoman with a master’s degree in marital counseling. To get the job, like other scorers nationwide, they needed a four-year college degree with relevant coursework, but no teaching experience. They earned $12 to $14 an hour, with the possibility of small bonuses if they hit daily quality and volume targets.

No teaching experience necessary… that doesn’t bother me as much provided they grasp the content being assessed.  It’s what they receive bonuses for… hitting daily quality and volume targets.  What?  I agree with A.P. Dillon, this seems very much like a salesperson.

No chance of a mistake happening there I’m sure.  Granted they do have scorers with teaching experience, but Pearson doesn’t have any data on how many currently teach.

Educators, especially those whose review may depend on student assessments, are leery about this process.

…educators like Lindsey Siemens, a special-education teacher at Edgebrook Elementary School in Chicago, see a problem if the tests are not primarily scored by teachers.

“Even as teachers, we’re still learning what the Common Core state standards are asking,” Ms. Siemens said. “So to take somebody who is not in the field and ask them to assess student progress or success seems a little iffy.”

But hey I’m sure they train these temporary employees quite well.