You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Smarter Balanced Assessment’ tag.

It takes a little sleuthing to figure out what happened.

In a nutshell the game was up when Manuel Alfaro, who was the executive director of assessment design and development at the College Board went online at Linkdin and posted some cryptic messages.  Over time this was his story.

Coleman brought him in a month after his takeover of  SAT by Common Core. Coleman to meet test deadlines simply transferred Common Core’s material over to the SAT data base and had hired Alfaro to create a fake research and development operation to get around copyright laws… Basically his job was to make it look like it was not stolen.

The test was published and distributed before being proof read.  Proof readers were eventually hired but after the test had been sent out… The May 2016 test was this test, it is the one Juniors took in Delaware to determine… whatever…  Small problems in this test were wrong answers marked as right ones, or no correct answer available among the 5 options. Bigger problems involved the “fake” questions now regularly inserted in such tests which do not count towards the score and are only there to test their quality for use in future tests.  These inserted questions were so difficult and time consuming, they prevented students from finishing the test.  Hence the scores of May 2016 will be lower than years past.

However Alfaro though he lived through it, does not have the tests. Therefore he was appealing to several states including Delaware, to use the transparency clauses in their contracts to bypass the College Board’s proprietary restrictions and have them find the questions, answers, and details to back up what he lived through…

His computer has been confiscated by the FBI.  Now, because of this court case, a gag order has been levied upon him and all involved and all relevant documents have been put under court seal.

Simultaneous to this, Reuters is reporting on an East Asian cheating scandal involving the SAT and PSAT  Apparently there is only a small pool of questions which many firms-for-hire to boost scores, already have.  They teach the questions and answers and their customers score very high on these tests.  Sourced out of East Asia Reuters was given 400 of the current questions from an outside source and sent copies of them to the College Board to confirm they were legit.  The College Board pleaded with them not to publish these actual questions and answers since they were the only questions in use this school year.

Bottom line: anyone looking for reassurance that the SAT is a better test under Coleman will be very disappointed.

As Reuters says… the test has never been worse….

“200 hundred items were sent to the Content Advisory Committee for review. Their feedback was scathing. One committee member wrote an 11-page document letting the College Board know that these were the worst items he had ever seen. In the past, he had not seen the worst items because they were rejected due to poor item statistics. In fact, the usual 15-20 percent of the items that are pretested and are rejected due to poor performance, were on the May 2016 test used to hold students and teachers accountable.”

Advertisements

Remember this.

As you view the results posted saying how Common Core has improved our teaching over the past year between the first taking and second taking of the tests…. these tests are graded on a curve…

Math 2016

ELA 2016

One cannot compare one year’s test to another because the curve is set each new year to show a different result..

In plain language, this means the level of proficiency is NOT set by the number of right answers…. but is set by how your right number of answers compare to everyone else…

I have seen nothing regarding the cut scores setting remaining consistent between 2015 and 2016. Being changed by the committee overseeing them,  results in better scores (although we can see they were not set much better)…

This was predicted when we first debated Common Core and the Smarter Balanced. It has now come to pass.

Secondly.

If this overall program were working, we should have seen far greater positive results than what we did. There are political reasons as well as financial reasons for this slow improvement… (If you show too much improvement too fast, no one will invest to gain greater improvement..)

Showing one or two percentages of people doing better is not glowing results. Not after two full years of teaching to the test…

The real result is how these same children will do on the next NAEP, the nation’s report card. Overall in both Delaware and the nation, ever since Common Core was affected, those scores (which since the 80’s had always climbed), have gone down…

If you brag about increased Smarter Scores, yet your real report card score goes down, you are no better than those teachers denigrated as passing people into the next grade who failed to meet the expectation…

In conclusion, all of this is completely meaningless. The scores show us nothing for they are arbitrarily made up. The tests show us nothing because they too are made up. The grading shows us nothing because it is made up… Only the NAEP shows us anything now, because it is a test not curved which has been consistent for years… If it shows improvement then this program is indeed working; if it doesn’t, then we need to pull the plug and return to what once worked so well.

What we DO have (since these tests do not show us anything) is a big waste of money… Make that a huge waste of money…. Money that could have been spent on???

Something like an 11:1 student teacher ratio in all schools over 50% poverty levels….

So do not be persuaded by appeals that improvement is at hand.. For the data included has some rather darkening and troubling implications… The Science and Social Studies DCAS scores have dropped consistently since Common Core was invented and put into practice…

Our Delaware kids ARE becoming dumber and dumber..Our solitary focus on math and ENGLISH has eclipsed time for civics and science. Everyone knows how to understand and speak English, even if they don’t know what an indecent participle is. But science and social studies are the determiner of an ignorant society or a knowledgeable one.. Delaware is becoming more and more ignorant the more we embrace Common Core… readily seen because those two scores are not arbitrarily set on a curve; they are based on the number of right and wrong answers. More Delawareans are getting the answers wrong consistently every year since Common Core was enacted.

So let’s grade Markell’s administration….

Our English(reading) scores have gone down over his administrations (due to test change).
Our Math scores have gone down over his administration (due to test change).
Our Social Studies scores have gone down over his administration.
Our Science scores have gone down over his administration….
Our NAEP scores have gone down over his administration….

How can that be called a success?

Granted.  Most of us are not legal eagles.  In fact we are kind of scared of the law… We live our entire lives free of legal notice and suddenly one day, out of nowhere, BAM, we get one…

Our fear: “Oh my goodness, I’m going to be bankrupt”.. We then quickly undo what we did and hope that maybe they will forget and follow up with anything else.”

And that is what they hope we will do….

 

But.  That is not the law.  For there are entities who both file and receive copyright violations all the time… Sony, Disney, Samsung, Apple, Google for example.  Where would today’s society be without any of those?

 

The protections the law put in place for them… are also there for you… it is just that you don’t have 150 lawyers working for you and they do…

 

If you are reading this, it is probably because Pearson used Twitter or Blogspot to force you to remove some of their test questions (or links to them) which you (in shock over what they revealed) bravely determined needed to be exposed and announced, so that normal and proper societal actions could be taken to rectify the damage these items were doing to the brains of children….

 

So let us first explain how DMCA works and then you will see how it works backwards as well to your advantage….

 

Imagine you took a picture of yourself and your old college friends acting silly and perhaps a little lewd in some bar….   Now imagine you are later googling images related to your name and see on some commercial site, that same picture was used to represent something totally unrelated to you…  Your first fear is that Snoopy in Human Relations will flag it to your superior.  So you want it quietly gone…. and you can, under the DMCA. You file a DMCA with the ISP …  In it you provide your personal details,  the details of the Internet location of the offending product, and the reason why the image should be taken down (unauthorized use), and then demand it be removed.  Now…. most likely you didn’t copyright or register that photo as being yours. Doing so takes considerable time and money and who does that to facebook photos? So the end, you may lose.  But, because ISP’s get millions of requests per day, they take them down immediately with no concern over right and wrong. It automatically comes down. (Not sure, but at the speed at which they do, it must be done without human involvement or oversight)…

Immediately it is blocked from being seen.  If the party posting it ever notices it is missing, they can file a DMCA Counter Notice. At this point, they don’t even know “who” you represent as the person requiring them to take it down… All they know you as, is that “cease and desist”person. Furthermore, if they contest it, they must blindly provide all their personal information to you in good faith, and they never get to know who filed the complaint, unless they ultimately pursue expensive legal action…

This makes it easy to manipulate. If you have an “enemy” at your job site (who maybe once asked you out and you refused, and then became your troll),  and you post something that is flattering to you, he or she can file a DMCA for no reason, making it immediately go away for a minimum of 10 days and force you to counter and go through the human chain to get it restored. This flawed system is unequally balanced and currently is tilted to allow anyone to use a bullying tactic of forcing immediate take-downs of anything one doesn’t want the public to see… rightly or wrongly.

At the time of the law’s inception, this was originally deemed a good thing.  At that time this immediate course of action was seen as the better alternative over allowing copyright infringement to continue indefinitely until a case was resolved in court…. So for now, the burden of proof fully rests on the defendant of a takedown request to prove he is allowed to show the item.

 

Ok. You got a notice. So what do you do?  Well if you are Samsung, and it’s Apple who files a takedown of all mention of your newly rolled-out product, … you file a counter notice…

 

That same privilege extends to you against Pearson.

Copyright owners sometimes send bogus takedown notices that have no basis in law or fact, which are meant solely to intimidate the target. A prompt counter-notice can make these empty threats go away for good.

Here is how you do it:

First, make a backup copy of all the material that you will have to delete. You may need this when you want to restore your web page. Then remove the material in question from your web page. You may substitute a brief note informing potential page viewers that a DMCA attack has been filed against your web page and the material has been temporarily deleted for 10 business days while you contest the DMCA charge via a “Counter Notification Letter”.

Secondly, you should file a counter takedown letter. Provided in the initial takedown will be information on how to contact the ISP, (in our case either Twitter or Blogspot.)

Here is the standard form-letter used by corporate America in their dealings with each other. Customize it to fit your situation…..

==========================================================================

Dear Internet Service Provider:

This letter is written in response to your notification to me of a complaint received about my web page(s). The pages in question are:

(insert list of URLs here)

My response to this complaint is as follows: (include all that apply from list below)

Allegations of Copyright Violation / Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The claims of copyright violation should be rejected because:.

*The material in question is not copyrighted, or the copyright has expired. It is therefore in the public domain and may be reproduced by anyone.

*The complainant has provided no copyright registration information or other tangible evidence that the material in question is in fact copyrighted, and I have a good faith belief that it is not. The allegation of copyright violation is therefore in dispute, and at present unsupported.

*The complainant does not hold the copyright to the material in question, is not the designated representative of the copyright holder, and therefore lacks standing to assert that my use of the material is a violation of any of the owner’s rights.

*Provide a complaint in written form. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)]

*Include a physical or electronic signature of the complainant. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(i)]

*Identify the specific copyrighted work claimed to be infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works are covered by a single complaint, provide a representative list of such works. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(ii)]

*Provide the URLs for the specific files on my web site that are alleged to be infringing. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iii)]

*Provide sufficient information to identify the complainant, including full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(iv)]

*Include a written statement that the complainant has a good faith belief that use of the disputed material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(v)]

*Include a written statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complainant is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. [17 USC 512(c)(3)(A)(vi)]
=====

This communication to you is a DMCA counter notification letter as defined in 17 USC 512(g)(3):

I declare, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the complaint of copyright violation is based on mistaken information, misidentification of the material in question, or deliberate misreading of the law.

My name, address, and telephone number are as follows:

(address here)

I hereby consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which I reside (or, if my address is outside the United States, any judicial district in which you, the ISP, may be found).

I agree to accept service of process from the complainant.

My actual or electronic signature follows:

(electronic or actual signature here)

Having received this counter notification, you are now obligated under 17 USC 512(g)(2)(B) to advise the complainant of this notice, and to restore the material in dispute (or not take the material down in the first place), unless the complainant files suit against me within 10 days.

==========================================================================

As soon as the service provider receives your letter…. it notifies the complainant and awaits their response.

The downside is that as part of the “Counter Notification Letter” you  DO have to state that you will accept a lawsuit from the “Cease and Desist” people.

(Before you send a counter-notice, you should consider carefully whether you are in fact infringing the complaining party’s copyright. There are two reasons for you to consider this carefully. First, the counter-notice requires you to state, under penalty of perjury, that you have a good faith belief that your material was wrongly removed. You do not want to make this claim lightly because it might come back to haunt you. Second, if the complaining party has a good infringement claim, sending a counter-notice may trigger a lawsuit. If you are not prepared to stand up for your use of the copyright owner’s work in a lawsuit, you should think twice about firing back a counter-notice.)

Initially this sounds frightening but it actually works in your favor. For if you were actually infringing on the original “Cease and Desist” people, they could and would have legitimately already filed a lawsuit against you without using the DMCA – thus this requirement on the “Counter Notification Letter” does not open you up to anything that you weren’t already liable for. To pursue, the original “Cease and Desist” people must file a lawsuit IN YOUR DISTRICT COURT if they want to continue. Frequently this would involve travel and legal expenses on their part. If they do not file a lawsuit (most likely outcome), your web host will restore your web page on the tenth day and you are back in business again.

If they do sue, and what you are exposing IS important for society to know… there are some other tricks you can use to keep the material up, tricks which can be loosely defined as making multiple copies and spreading them all over the Internet.  Unless there is a specific instruction stopping you, there is nothing to prevent you from creating another web page that has essentially the same information. If the original page had illustrations, alter them slightly (use any photo editor, add arrows, captions, etc.) so they are “different”. Give the illustrations, and the page a new name (URL identifications), etc. Then put the new page up. If there were links to your old page, include both the link to the old page and your new page in these prior links. If nothing else, this will get your new page into Google’s indexes.

You could even open a new website using the “Free” website offers that are available from many web hosts. Just use the old material on your new free website. Be sure to include a link from somewhere in your old website to “Another example of <whatever> can be found at <your new free website>”. This link will be all that Google needs to get your new website into Google’s index. The object of course, is that you want people to be able to see what you are criticizing. The “Cease and Desist” people will eventually find out about the new website and may repeat the DMCA attack. However they will be spending more effort than you are, and will eventually be forced to give up.

Finally, bring up your problem in an online talk group – e.g. one of the Google Groups. If you are having a problem with the “Cease and Desist” people, the chances are there will be a lot of other people that aren’t happy about them either. Start a “thread” about your problem, and you will probably hear from a lot of people that would like to help. This might well included people outside the U.S. who are not subject to DMCA attacks.

As bloggers (still a new concept legally) you do have some protections. Already it is standard that short quotations will usually be fair use, not copyright infringement. The Copyright Act says that “fair use…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”  This seems to cover the expose of test questions if done for the public good, but not if stolen by a competitor, which would be theft. It will eventually rise to some court to ultimately decide on who has the upper hand here, the citizens of this country, or an LLC whose headquarters are in England.

American Copyright law particularly favors “transformative” uses — commentary, either praise or criticism, is better than straight copying — but courts have said that even putting a piece of an existing work into a new context (such as a thumbnail in an image search engine) counts as “transformative…

As long as you don’t intend on making money or having people substitute your questions for the ones on the test (laughable in this case), you maintain a great chance of never being sued.  Furthermore and the lawyers of Pearson know this, if in your expose`, you either mocked or parodied the questions, even criticizing them so effectively that no one wanted to by them, THAT STILL DOES NOT  count for having “an effect on the market” under copyright law…..

Furthermore, you are free to report the facts and ideas embodied in another person’s article or web page or test. Copyright only protects “the expression” — the “combination of words and structure” that expresses the factual information — not the facts themselves. By changing a few words around so it is not an exact duplicate, you become even further protected and insulated against court action.

Furthermore,  if  you can establish harm occurred to you in any way by a takedown notice (LLC’s use this all the time) you can use the DMCA’s section 512(f) to sue back.“Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section (1) that material or activity is infringing, or (2) that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer, by any copyright owner or copyright owner’s authorized licensee, or by a service provider, who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing, or in replacing the removed material or ceasing to disable access to it.”

=========

So, see, the law IS not one sided, that is, as long as you pursue and engage in the process… Usually DMCA takedowns only involve one or two steps….

  1. Either the person receiving the takedown does not contest and removes the offending content as requested….
  2. Of, a counter notice is filed and after 10 days, the material can be reposted….

It rarely goes beyond…

For if Pearson were to file an injunction after you responded, there is nothing to stop you from opening a new website and reposting the material.  If they went after that, it would cost them double, and if it happened again, it would triple the expense they must undergo.  It is called putting money down a rabbit hole.

Why then are counter notices not more frequently done?

Most infringers (as well as most legitimate users) aren’t invested enough in their uploads to invest the energy to learn how to file a counter-notice or take the legal risk in filing one.

Furthermore most people who are subject to a DMCA takedown are unaware of the opportunity to file a counter-notice and many on-line hosts do a very poor job of explaining the process.

It is to this last point, that I address this post.  For the more you know about take-downs, the less you have to fear….

In this case, since we are dealing with the brains of little children and not with something we popped up on our website without thinking, it would be advantageous for everyone who reads this, to send their server a letter (feel free to copy from the above- it’s fair use) and hit Pearson back with as many counter notices as they sent notices…

The law is actually on your side, not their’s; as experts in the law, they know it.  They are just hoping you don’t…. and never find out……

But, there is one more reason, WHY everyone here who was ordered by Pearson to cease and desist, should file a counter notification…..

To bar repeat offenders, the DMCA law requires ISP providers to keep track of how many takedowns you get. Responding with a counter, puts you back to zero.  Right now, everyone who received a takedown notice has a “strike” against them. If you file a counter, that strike goes away… If you don’t, it stays…. you only get three and then you do get kicked off the internet. In today’s world, that is serious.

So before you forget. respond to your ISP and say the take down was done in error. You had fair use of the material.

 

Since I’m in Delaware, I couldn’t reveal my signed obligations… But someone in New Jersey can… And likewise, I can reveal questions off the PAARC in New Jersey, whereas no teacher in New Jersey can…..

And it is all legal.  Neither of us violated our signed statements.

Here is what every parent needs to know is on the PAARC for fourth grade.

On the Spring 2016 PARCC for 4th Graders, students were expected to read an excerpt from Shark Life: True Stories about Sharks and the Sea by Peter Benchley and Karen Wojtyla. According to Scholastic, this text is at an interest level for Grades 9-12, and at a 7th Grade reading level. The Lexile measure is 1020L, which is most often found in texts that are written for middle school, and according to Scholastic’s own conversion chart would be equivalent to a 6th grade benchmark around W, X, or Y using the Fountas and Pinnell scale.

However Common Core standards dictate a student should be at level S on this scale by the end of 4th Grade.  The reading material on this test is therefore two grades advanced of the level of stressed teaching recommend even by Common Core. 

Since by Common Core itself, the Lexile measure of 1020 is for grades 6-8….. so why is Pearson putting this in a test to be taken by 9 year olds?

Right out of the gate, 4th graders are being asked to read and respond to texts that are two grade levels above the recommended benchmark. (Which, duh, is why we are telling every single parent to opt out of this test!!! )

“After they struggle through difficult texts with advanced vocabulary and nuanced sentence structures, they then have to answer multiple choice questions that are, by design, intended to distract students with answers all of which appear to be correct except for some technicality.”

Finally students combine a series of these two-year advanced texts, and write an essay based on prompts.  The ELA portion of the PARCC takes three days, and each day includes a new essay prompt based on multiple texts….

Here is a pulled question from the test.

ELA 4TH GRADE PROMPT #1

Refer to the passage from “Emergency on the Mountain” and the poem “Mountains.” Then answer question 7.

  1. Think about how the structural elements in the passage from “Emergency on the Mountain” differ from the structural elements in the poem “Mountains.”

Write an essay that explains the differences in the structural elements between the passage and the poem. Be sure to include specific examples from both texts to support your response.

Now, you are an adult. Could you do this?  Click the links, reread the question, and decided if this is grade appropriate for 9 year olds.  

Common Core standard RL.4.5“Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.”

But nowhere does it say children should be comparing the structural elements between a passage and poem.  This is something most all adults would fail as well, since the entire ELA lexicon has changed since they were in school. Structures have completely different names now.

So why is Pearson putting this in the PAARC for fourth graders, age 9 years?

The answer:  to drive scores lower so they can sell book on how to improve your child’s score.

The entire enterprise of analyzing text structures, called the New Criticism, is a literary theory that dominated American literary criticism in the middle decades of the 20th century, and has since been left there.  So why are we making children perform what professors forced on their college students in 1950?

ELA 4TH GRADE PROMPT #2

Refer to the passages from “Great White Shark” and Face the Sharks. Then answer question 20.

Question 20: Using details and images in the passages from “Great White Sharks” and Face to Face with Sharks, write an essay that describes the characteristics of white sharks.

This prompt assesses a student’s ability to research a topic across sources and write a research-based essay that synthesizes facts from both articles.  CCSS RI.4.9 says: “Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.” Fine. But remember, this is being done on middle school grade level reading. 

This is unfair. It is the equivalent of  trying to assess children’s math computational skills by embedding them in a word problem written in a foreign language that the child cannot read.)  No one can say this correctly assesses a student’s ability at grade level…

So why is Pearson putting this in the PAARC for fourth graders, age 9 years?

The answer:  to drive scores lower so they can sell book on how to improve your child’s score.

ELA 4TH GRADE PROMPT #3

  1. In “Sadako’s Secret,” the narrator reveals Sadako’s thoughts and feelings while telling the story. The narrator also includes dialogue and actions between Sadako and her family. Using these details, write a story about what happens next year when Sadako tries out for the junior high track team. Include not only Sadako’s actions and feelings but also her family’s reaction and feelings in your story.

 

Nowhere, and I mean nowhere in the Common Core State Standards is there a demand for students to read a narrative and then use the details from that text to write a new story based on a prompt. That is a new pseudo-genre called “Prose Constructed Response” by the PARCC creators, and it is 100% not aligned to the CCSS. Not to mention, why are 4th Graders being asked to write about trying out for the junior high track team? This demand defies their experiences and asks them to imagine a scenario that is well beyond their scope.

So why is Pearson putting this in the PAARC for fourth graders, age 9 years?

The answer:  to drive scores lower so they can sell book on how to improve your child’s score.

 

Now it is no secret that many of us find the Common Core Standards to be ridiculous in the first place… Read them, and quickly agree….  However… that is beyond the point of this article.  It’s point is to “point out” that the Pearson Test does not even conform to the Common Core standards it is supposed to represent….. In other words, it is impossible to teach to… because this test is so far advanced over what the students are capable of reaching, and it gives prompts that are completely off the chart over what Common Core is supposed to be teaching at this grade level.

In all aspects this test is a colossal failure.  And therefore it is important that it gets stopped.

The best way and only way to stop it (barring a state legislature coming to its senses and voting to remove either the Smarter Balanced or the PAARC from their entire state), is for large numbers of people to opt out….

If these tests are meaningless because no one shows up to take them, then the point will hit legislators hard and corrective action will be taken if not sooner, then later after all of those royally pissed-off parents vote, and they no longer find themselves in office.

This is the best way because it puts you the parent in control of the fate of your children…

Now that you have seen the tests let us look at the administration’s arguments why they insist you should not opt out…..

“Assessments are an important tool for teachers and families to have,”  Jack Markell 2016

Are they?  Now that you have seen what these assessments are, tell us how they do anything to help teachers and families…  “Damn it Junior, you failed the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  No computer for you this summer; no breakfast or dinner either…”

“Minority and other at-risk students will slip through the cracks if there is no objective measure of performance,”  Jack Markell 2016

So how do they benefit, if they are already struggling through poverty just to keep up with their white peers, and then get slammed by an assessment two grade levels above their best possible hope of attainment… If you push children off a cliff to the rocks below and tell them to flap their arms as wings, will they learn to fly?

Even hard hearted minority parents who see the exact questions their Afro-American children will now have to answer, even the most starry-eyed of them can now see that their entire race will be targeted and “black-listed” as being “below standard” unless they all opt out and we get rid of this test and replace it with one more realistic.

Business groups that believe results should be measured when billions of dollars are spent on schools  Jack Markell 2016

Business groups need to go fvck themselves.  You’ve read the questions! How do questions two grade levels advanced show results of billions of dollars?  In fact, if these business groups had any moral fiber whatsoever, they should have been the ones pouring over every one of these tests with a fine tooth comb, before these ever got disseminated to rate students, parents, teachers and schools.  What kind of business group would support testing children at two grade levels over what they have ever learned?

Not only should they go fvck themselves, but they should do it in hell and skip purgatory!

Lawmakers also should take note that federal law mandates annual tests and that states that do not meet certain participation levels could lose federal funds.  Jack Markell 2016

Now that you have read these questions real 9 year olds have to answer… let us put that phrase exactly as it was stated…..

“Lawmakers also should take note that federal law mandates annual tests (not aligned with Common Core and scored two grade levels above every student taking them), meet certain participation levels or lose federal funds….”

I hope by now you can see the insanity of this entire program… If the tests did measure proper standards at proper grade levels, which is what we all automatically assumed would be what would happen, then all of this might make some sense…..

But that is not reality.  The reality is that these tests are designed on purpose to FAIL HUGE PERCENTAGES OF OUR STUDENTS….

No if‘s… No and‘s…. No but‘s….

You must opt out, or lose your kids to a life of video games and social media.  That’s exactly where I’d go if I were a student in this zoo we created for them today. The only way to regain any semblance of credibility for any educational program in the United States, is to quickly get rid of these tests …..

In no way do we benefit from failing HUGE PERCENTAGES OF OUR STUDENTS, all because they instinctively did not know what they will eventually learn two years hence…..

  • Opt out.
  • Scream at your legislator.
  • Protest.
  • Make damn sure the following:  Sokola, Jaques, and Schwartzkoph all lose this November.

 

Just don’t do nothing…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging studies presented recently at the American Educational Research Association national conference suggest new ways to emotionally support students during transitions—and how badly things can go wrong when students don’t feel supported.

2,119 students in 10 middle schools were interviewed across the country, with about 60 percent of students in poverty.

Students who frequently distracted themselves, accepted their emotions, asked for help, and reappraised the situation to change their perspective had higher levels of what the researchers called “school and general well-being.” Students who felt they had more internal control were coping in healthier ways.  By contrast, students who mentally rehashed the stressful situation—called “ruminating”—fared worse.

Results of which were a no-brainer to real parents… A revelation to “corporate educational “experts””.

The “test” applied strategies used to alleviate stress among college students, to those in middle school.

The students in the test were given made-up quotes allegedly written by real students the year before which showed they too had apprehensive stress.   “I felt like I had a knot in my stomach the first four months,” read one such quote..

At the year’s end, the results including grades, test scores, and surveys of general well being, were considerably higher in those classes who were led to believe that stress was a temporal factor, that teachers were there to help,  and given the inceptional idea that  “the knot” would disappear. It acted as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Also important, an additional study focusing on those students who DID NOT get any well-being treatment. found that district policies can backfire when leaders don’t take students’ emotions into account.

In the 2016 book When School Policies Backfire: How Well-Intentioned Measures Can Harm Our Most Vulnerable Students, researchers found the school community felt betrayed by the closure—it had been assured the school would not be closed before the school board voted to do so—and students felt blamed for the closure even a year later.

The district had dubbed the closure a “rescue mission” intended to settle students into higher-performing schools and boost their graduation chances. Instead, students’ academic progress declined. While students had grown on average 20 points per year in math and 19 points in reading from 6th through 10th grade on annual district tests at their previous school, in the years after the closure they lost 2.3 years of typical score growth in math and 3.7 years in reading. Their likelihood of dropping out of high school doubled as their graduation rate fell.

It is obvious to all, that the push for testing has destroyed any emotional well being in students and therefore is the anathema to real learning and successful graduations.

Every parent and grown up adult, knows by experience in life, that learning and emotions are intermittently mixed.
Now, if we could only get some grown up adults in charge of the Delaware House and Senate Committees, on the state School Board, into the Delaware Department of Education, and even into Rodel, we as a state might begin the process of returning Delaware’s schools back to the progress they were making before “Corporate Reforms” came in and ruined absolutely everything….

They did, you know, ruin everything…

 

 

.

 

Having read Kevin’s account of the Donna Johnson trying to make the case for banning public comment at State Board meetings, a case that baffled everyone in the room, it opens a door into what is really going on….

There is a standard question on corporate profiling questionnaires which asks whether you think it is funny when someone falls down…. Although the corporate answer to that is: what does the boss think, in real life outside the corporate world, the answer depends on how close our relationship is to the victim… if it’s our mother, it’s not funny.

Watching Donna Johnson fall down and keep slipping as she tries to regain her footage each subsequent time, reminded one of that question. There I’m sure were some who gleefully watched her twist in the wind… But even Kevin says he felt sorry for her…

Things like this would be funny if it didn’t affect 130,000 of Delaware’s children… And the dialogue that took place under questioning from House Education members, made an overall picture very clear.

WE are in a transitioning phase…. The DOE which once was stacked to the top with corporate whores, now has those whores all heading for the door… What once made very good sense in a corporate bubble, now with no bubble walls to bounce off the echoes, lacks the high frequency of repetitions required to make it become absorbed as truth.

In the past, and correct me if I’m wrong, if Donna Johnson would make a nonsensical statement, Mark Murphy would chime in with nonsensical word salad, then Penny Marshall would add some nonsensical word dessert and Paul Hefferman would follow up with nonsensical word coffee and his word nuts, and listeners would be too full of words to take in anything else without first going to the word toilet….

And that is how so much crap became law……

Now without the support, the idiocy is wide open…  bringing us to this probably important question… Can the Department of Education do its job if it is seen as being staffed by idiots?

And no, they are not idiots.  They are smart people in the wrong place at the wrong time.. They have one agenda which is charter propagation…  In a water where everything is pro-charter they function fine.. If they have to leap out of that environment, before they could always trust gravity would  bring them back into the ocean in which they were comfortable.

But now, they keep coming down  on land…. And watching them flop about is kind of sad.

At stake is can the Department function with this rift?  And that is why I think Godowsky needs to set his future goals in public education,  determine which members of his staff can get him there and who needs to go elsewhere, and create one team all on the same page, so we can put the shenanigans forever associated with the tenure of Mark Murphy, behind us.

There is now no protection of children’s privacy and therefore by implication, their parents’ privacy…

As a parent if anyone violates your child’s privacy, such as putting your child’s data on a porn site, you the parent have no private rite-of- action….

We cannot emphasize it more clearly… Opt Out Your Child Today…….

Smarter Comparisons ELA

Charts courtesy of Education Reform Now

Delaware’s Rankings by Grade Levels in ELA  Among Smarter Balanced States

Grade 3:  2nd (Tied with Connecticut)

Grade 4: 4th

Grade 5:  5th

Grade 6:  7th

Grade 7: 7th

Grade 8: 7th

Grade 11: 7th

Smarter Comparison Math

And in math:

Grade 3:  2nd

Grade 4:  3rd

Grade 5:  5th (tied with I da ho)

Grade 6:  8th

Grade 7:  7th

Grade 8:  7th

Grade 11:  7th

=====

But before one can jump on Delaware’s poorer showing, one must take into account a very glaring factoid totally ignored by those intent of foisting corporate reforms on public schools….

That is:

Delaware has one of the highest proportion of its students (all the highest quality) in private schools; completely outside of public education….

Private enrollment

Map and Charts Courtesy of The Atlantic CityLab.com

Over 15% of all our state’s children are taught in our private schools.  That has to suck a lot of cream off the top of  overall test scores…. Kids whose parents have a college or graduate degree are much more likely to go to private school. Their lack of impact in the public school system, should hit Delaware hard when comparing scores across states.

Particularly when Greater Wilmington Metro Area

Wilmington Private Enrollment

…. is ranked 6th in the nation for highest private school enrollment and we have one zip code, 19807 =  Greenville.………..

Private enrollment by zip

…. fourth highest in the nation at a whopping 78%..….

I’ll do the calculations at another time but with math we can begin to predict based on some assumptions, where if we had fewer of our best in private schools how that would stack our state up against other states.

Bottom line:  if you trim a tree at its first branch, it will not be as tall as those allowed to grow naturally….

A common sense explanation for Delaware’s low scores.  (And none of these private schoolers have to undergo Common Core)  None.

Fortunately it was an early Easter this year… Spring Break is done and now we roll straight through Memorial Day into June and summer….

Wait you say:  “Isn’t that 8 weeks to Memorial day and two more in June?”

“Didn’t you just make an error?”

My reply is this… Look at the title, I said 4 more weeks to teach… not 4 more weeks of school… After May begins, testing becomes the sole focus of every teacher, every school in the state.  What your children will know,… stops growing as of April 29th…  Testing runs all May… and it is intense.  There is no teaching between May the Fourth (be with you) and Memorial Day….

So out of roughly a 180 day school year, we are culling off the final 6 weeks to undergo testing.  WE defacto have a 150 day school year… This calls “bull” on all those against Hocker’s Bill to limit the school year to Labor Day and Memorial Day.

I think he should add an amendment to his bill that gets rid of all Smarter Balanced testing, then we have good possibility of support and passage.  Because when truth is told, a child has a better chance of learning while NOT in school over a longer summer break, than they do sitting in a room either taking the test, or waiting for his classmates to finish.

This is pure tragedy… With the Smarter Balanced, WE are teaching our children 30 days less this and last year, than before when we had the DCAS which had a much more positive impact than the current one now taken.

Everyone in General Assembly still supporting the taking of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, needs to be forcefully thrown into some cold tar and rolled around in chicken feathers;  then made to drink tea…… it is the only patriotic thing left for Americans to do….

Citizens Catch Up To Dave Sokola

Image courtesy of the Smithsonian.