Feb. 5, 2014 - Dr. Peg Luksik explains how Common Core testing can embed questions that result in behavior change without protest from the children. Poughkeepsie, New York
"I'm trying to understand because I thought that PARCC and the Smarter Balance, with both, it sounds like as the student is taking it, the test will actually modify itself to how the student is doing? And when the test results comes back, that would be to the benefit of the student? So why is it then that the teachers don't like it if it is self-paced? Wouldn't you think that would be wonderful?"
"The problem isn't that it is self-paced, the problem is that the test is open to manipulation."
So if I wanted to look like the students are doing poorly, I can adapt it to make the test harder. If I wanted to make it look like the students are doing well, it can be adapted to make the test easier. And you, as parents, or taxpayers, or policy-setters, will never know which way the test was adapted because it is an internal mechanism so it is not a valid assessment, and that is the fundamental problem with it. The test is being manipulated as the test is being taken. In other cases, when you're not in math but some of the other areas, history or where it is more philosophy-driven, you have to comply before you can move on. So the child is put in the position of: "you must agree."
"I don't agree with the global warming." (giving an example) But you have to because the test won't let you move on unless you comply.
So the test-makers can make the test adaptive: we can make it easier... we can make it harder... or we can make it so that we force compliance. You can't take the next step unless you comply with whatever is being taught or presented in the test. So even if you don't agree with it, you are gonna have to write it, you're gonna have to say so.
Perhaps an example that is older will help you... I have a long history in this movement. This is not the first time that the federal government has attempted to take over education. So in the 1990s, it was called "Outcome based education" and then called "School to Work." I was one of the leading national opponents then, too. I got involved because a woman showed me a test. It was given in Pennsylvania and was called the Educational Quality Assessment (EQA). It was originally given back in the 70's and early 80's. The test said "Citizenship" so parents thought they were testing things like George Washington and the Declaration of Independence... but when you looked at the internal documents of the test, which I did, it said "we're not testing objective knowledge," it said "we are testing and SCORING for the child's threshold for behavior change without protest" and that was in the test!
A sample question said: "There's a group called Midnight Marauders and they went out at midnight and did vandalism. I, the child, would join the group IF..."
... "my best friend was in the group."
... "my mother wouldn't find out."
There was no place to say they would NOT join the group. They had to say they would join the group.
Another sample question was, "Your parents just found out that they are moving to outer Mongolia, how much time would you spend on each of the following:"
So, how adaptable are you to change?
Based on the results of the EQA, districts were given curriculum packets to modify their curriculum so that the children would do better on the EQA the next time. So they were using the test to get a threshold for behavior and then adapting.
Now that was a paper and pencil test, so to say that it was easy to track is a gross overstatement of the level of difficulty that it was to get the information, but compared to a computer adaptive test... much easier.
And when we were fighting Outcome Based Education, I was in every state but Hawaii. And in one state I was reading the Assessments, it was a Reading Assessment, and it was a story about a child who found a wallet and there was money in the wallet, and what do you do with the money. I'm sitting in the Department of Education, reading it in front of the other Secretary, because they didn't want me to make a copy and take it anywhere, which was fine, and the question was to the child:
"If you found a wallet with money in it, would you take it?"
(pause) Do you read better if you say "yes"? or do you read better if you say "no"?
Or were they testing a child's honesty on a State assessment with their name on it that was computerized? Because, with paper and pencil, I could find it.
What if they put that in a computer test? and if they don't give the right answer, I can change the computer to move them in the next direction.
So, the computer adaptive testing is REALLY dangerous for our children. Because the State can manipulate achievement data by making the test harder if they want, or easier if they want, but you won't know... you'll just get "proficient" results.
Or they can use the test to test for, and then influence, what your child thinks and how your child thinks about a variety of topics. And, again, parents thought that was a Reading test. They didn't know that "honesty" was being tested on a paper and pencil State Assessment with their child's name on it that is now part of their record.
And no child would think to say (raising hand), "Is that a Reading question?" Children just answer the questions in front of them because they're KIDS. They just take the test. THAT is what they are using the test for. Computer Adaptive makes that so much easier, and, therefore, so much more dangerous.
(end transcription, emphasis added by Momma Bears)
Will the PARCC have questions about honesty or character?
We don't know. We will never know. Parents and teachers are never allowed to see the questions. Test security is tougher than Fort Knox. In fact, a teacher in Memphis was fired last year because a high school student snapped a picture of a test question and put it on facebook. So, unless children mention the strange test questions to their parents, we have no clue. That's how Momma Bears found out about the awful Climate Surveys in TN (which, thanks to parents raising heck, have been stopped this year until parents give written consent. Go, Momma Bears!!!) And that's how parents in New York found out that the PARCC included questions with name brand products embedded in them.
Admit it, you think Momma Bears are a little cuckoo for thinking that the government is spying on your children's brains and wanting to know their character traits. It does sound like something you'd see in a sci-fi movie. But you cannot argue with official government documents. We didn't write it, the government did. So, we give you facts. This document published by the U.S. Department of Education says:
"What will it take to shift educational priorities to promote not only content knowledge, but also grit, tenacity, and perseverance? This is an important and exciting time to stop, take stock, and prepare to move forward. New and emerging trends in research, policy, programs, and technology are providing unprecedented opportunities... new research programs are exploring ways to promote these factors. Several private foundations have recently initiated programs to push the frontiers of theory, measurement, and practice around these and related factors, particularly for at-risk and vulnerable students. In national policy, there is increasing attention on 21st-century competencies (which encompass a range of noncognitive factors, including grit), and persistence is now part of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.(page V)
Take the time to read that government document from the U.S. Department of Education. It is super-creepy!
p.39 has a Character Report Card
p.44 has pictures of the student sensors (facial cameras, pressure monitors, wrist straps, etc.)
And also take time to read the TN Race to the Top Application, Appendix C
(It is also an official government document, but it was written by consultants paid for by Bill Gates). It, too, will freak you out majorly to learn that they are compiling a 360 degree view on every child in public schools in TN, and they will share that information with the Federal Government and 3rd parties.
What if I don't want my child to take the PARCC, SBAC, State Mandated tests, or District tests?
Currently, there is no "Opt-out" law in TN. There is a proposed bill sponsored by the very awesome Knoxville Representative Gloria Johnson (she is also a teacher). If that bill passes the Legislature and becomes Law, parents would have the right to make the decision for their child (Ummm... so the government owns our kids, and parents have to get legal permission to prevent them from taking a test that could be harmful??? Momma Bears disagree with that!). The Pearson testing company sure doesn't want Rep. Johnson's Opt-Out bill to pass, and their 8 well-paid lobbyists are pushing hard to prevent it from passing. Now a half-a-billion dollar fiscal note has been added to the bill, because if students don't take the test, the federal government won't be happy and will want the $500 million back from the Race to the Top grant (which is really our tax dollars in the first place!) Crazy. Our kids in TN have a half-a-billion-dollar testing bounty over their heads. Crazy, crazy, crazy.
If you want to "opt-out" of testing for your child, be sure to use the word "REFUSE" instead. It seems to work for parents who have used it in TN. If you use the word, "opt-out," you'll be told the Attorney General says you cannot legally opt-out (which is true because TN does not have an Opt-out law. Yet.). Crazy, huh? Refuse is the magic word.
What if I keep my child home on testing days?
Some parents do that and it works. However, the testing windows to administer state mandated tests last a few weeks because there aren't enough computers to test every child at once. Testing must be done in shifts and this takes a long time. Plus, there are make-up test days following the test window weeks. That's a LOT of unexcused absences for a student.
Note: We're not saying you should lie and say your child is sick those days, because lying is dishonest, but your child could possibly be reported for truancy for having that unexcused absences. Crazy, huh?
Another negative: the State mandates that the test count as 15%-25% of the child's grade on his/her final report card. So, depending on your district, your child will be given a zero averaged in with his other grades. In most districts, this means 10% of their English grade will be counted as a zero, and 10% of their math grade will be a zero, averaged in with their semester grades.
Withdraw your child from school the day of testing. After the testing window is complete, re-enroll them in school. This method is a big hassle both for the parent and for the school personnel. And you'll need to figure out childcare arrangements since they won't be at school. But it prevents the test from being given to your child, prevents the zero being a part of his/her final grade, and means you won't be reported to DHS for truancy or unexcused absences.
Call and/or email legislators as soon as possible and let them know that you support these bills:
- Testing Opt-Out (HB1841/SB2221): “This bill permits parents to opt their children out of participation in high-stakes testing.”
- Repeal Common Core (HB 2332/SB 2405) This bill would Repeal Common Core Standards in TN!!!
- Postpone Common Core (HB 1825 /SB 1985) requires the state board of education and the department of education to postpone any further implementation of Common Core State Standards beyond those standards implemented as of June 30, 2013, until further implementation is approved by the general assembly.
We will even put their email addresses here to make it easy for you:
HOUSE EDUCATION SUBCOMMITTEE PHONE & EMAIL:
Harry Brooks 615-741-6879 firstname.lastname@example.org
John DeBerry 615-741-2239 email@example.com
John Forgety 615-741-1725 firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Kane 615-741-4110 email@example.com
Harold Love 615-741-3831 firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Moody 615-741-3774 email@example.com
Joe Pitts 615-741-4575 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dawn White 615-741-6849 email@example.com
FULL HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE EMAIL:
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE EMAIL:
Contacting your elected officials from your own District is a SUPERHERO power, too!
Click here to find YOUR Legislators: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators/
Not sure you have the guts to contact legislators?
They won't bite, we promise. The TN Parent website has some great tips on how to do it effectively. Click HERE to visit the TN Parents Take Action website