NYSEDs Shell Game at the Carnival

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Nysed disclaimer on the teacher state tests instructions for students as young as 8 reveals trick questions and “hard choices” that must be made by students thanks to the Pearson made common core tests.

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According to the 2015 RFP for test development, NYSED will require Pearson to craft tests using  complicated rationale such as  offering choices that amount to “common student misconceptions”:

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The test passages must be  laced with “distractors” designed to fake out the students and trick him or her from choosing the correct answer:

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The questions will require “close” reading such that the question must be developed so that NO outside, personal or experiential information can be relied on to assist the student in deciphering “plausible but incorrect” from  a “fully correct” answer:

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What is the point of all this deceit and trickery? Is this a legit test or is this a joke, are students really at the carnival and dont know it?

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Are students betting on a what shell the cookie is under or is the test supposed to measure something in a reliable manner? Because these tests sound more like a game then a test to me.

A copy of the RFP for NYSED ELA and MATH test development that contains the above specifications is here:

State Assessment Details

If you want to take your kids to the carnival, by all means please do. They will get much more out of spending the day with you and enjoying some time off then taking the ridiculous common core grade 3-8 tests, Im sure.

Your choice – refuse the test or subject your child to the “game” unwittingly while you feed money to the Pearson  carney.

Its not a hard decision to make – refuse the test.

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Outraged yet?

But, wait…..there’s more.

For those of you not aware, Pearson’s contract with NYSED was scheduld to run out December 2015. However, we have recently learned that NYSED extended Pearson’s contract for test development services worth millions of dollars. Advocates are presently looking into how and why this was permitted to occur without notice to the public and/or other bidders.

In the meantime, here is a nice little list of Pearson’s various errors. Why NYSED would opt to RENEW its contract with Pearson is mind boggling and outrageous!

“Incorporated: A Problematic Reputation for Performance and Influence in Education”

Compounded by the 2011 AG investigation into Pearson’s malfeasance, questions arose as to the monolithic testing giant’s competence and professionalism.

Many dont realize, in addition to student test development, Pearson also produces teacher tests tied to EdTPA. In early August 2013, State Assemblyman William Magnarelli began requesting from NYS Education Commissioner John King information on NYSED contracts with Pearson—including amounts of the contracts. After repeated requests, on November 7 he finally received his response: $55 million for testing products and services. Strangely, the official record shows the contract for the edTPA costs the state $0, implying all costs will be borne by the candidates. But these stakeholders—and the parents and faculty who advocate for them—had no input into the $300 fee that goes directly to Pearson. This is a lucrative contract.

As noted above, Pearson/SCALE performance in the administration of the edTPA has been faulty, with repercussions for hundreds of individual candidates.

The awarding of state contracts to this company must be examined in the context of its other failures. Pearson is starting to look like the “Blackwater” of education privatization. Like the company that earned infamy for its military subcontracting, Pearson delivers shoddy goods and services that cost taxpayers dearly and some have dire consequences for users.

The company has not followed “best practices” that would apply to public deliverers of the goods and services, and its intensive lobbying raises the ugly specter of corruption. Mainstream media have brought
little attention to the issues, but some sources have spotlighted the company’s dubious performance and influence. Examples of more recent problems:

November 16, 2013. New York State Principals posted an update on their “Letter to Parents About Testing, with over 3000 people signing in support. Comments related to Pearson: “How Much this is Costing Already-Strained Taxpayers: We don’t know how much public money is being paid to vendors and corporations that the NYSED contracts to design assessments, nor do we know if the actual designers are educationally qualified. … We believe that the failure [of new standardized tests by many students] was not on the part of our children, but rather with the officials of the New York State Education Department. These are the individuals who chose to recklessly implement numerous major
initiatives without proper dialogue, public engagement or capacity building.
They are the individuals who have failed.29

October 2013: Pearson, subcontracting for Apple, Inc., failed to fully deliver on digital curriculum for the Los Angeles School District Common Core Technology Project. In the first phase of the project the District paid $30 million to Apple for iPads and the promised Pearson software; the
second phase was expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars.30
Controversy continues over the $1 billion rollout.

April 2013: Pearson claimed that it was “unintentional” that reading passages in NYS exams were identical to those in Pearson-produced curricular materials for grades 6-8.31

April and May 2013: Parent inquiries led to the exposure of Pearson’s many-faceted scoring errors in “Gifted and Talented” testing in New York City. Despite the impacts on students’ eligibility, district officials retained the Pearson contracts.32

August 2012: Inspiring heated responses from Pearson, University of Texas professor Walter Stroup publicized flaws in the “Item Response Theory” employed by Pearson and other standardized test designers. Initially inspired by experiences in middle school programs, he and other researchers analyzed the Texas “TAKS” exam and found that “The test-taking profile is an ability to read tricky language, to think strategically about which one of these four letters is right. I don’t think society should
be optimizing education for that.”33

Texas has $500 million in contracts with Pearson, including for the
TAKS. May 2012: NYSED acknowledged problems with a “talking pineapple” question in Pearson’s 8th grade ELA test and that item was dropped from scoring. Additional problems were identified in different
Pearson assessments. 34

A much longer “History of Testing Problems” involving Pearson has been compiled by FairTest, and other analysts have also publicized the company’s shortcomings.35

Despite all of these problems, Pearson maintains its contracts and its control in every level of education in New York State.

https://www2.cortland.edu/…/2013-11-25TECMeetingMinuteSuppl…

Read more here: http://www.fairtest.org/pearsons-history-testing-problems

PDF: http://www.fairtest.org/…/fi…/PearsonTestErrorChronology.pdf

Additional reference:

https://www.engageny.org/resource/test-guides-for-english-language-arts-and-mathematics

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