Friday, May 20, 2016

Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media - The Washington Post

Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media - The Washington Post:
Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media


The Common Core testing group called PARCC Inc. has been waging an aggressive campaign to take down several dozen social media references to the PARCC test being administered to students this spring — items that include questions from the exam and some that don’t.
Dozens of education bloggers have been writing about the PARCC exam since May 7, when an anonymous teacher posted a piece on the blog of Celia Oyler, an education professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, that harshly critiqued the fourth grade PARCC exam and offered three questions from the test many students are taking this spring. Other education writers and activists began to weigh in, critiquing those questions as being either inappropriate for the grade level or nonsensical, and publishing some test items.
PARCC Inc. officials say these postings and tweets violate their copyright and can lead to problems with test validity.
“Students are given an unfair test environment when anyone posts active test questions on the Internet – whether the test is PARCC, the SAT, or any other exam,” Heather Reams, director of communications and public relations at PARCC Inc., said in a statement (which you can see in full below).
Take-down requests are sent to the hosts of blogs or websites such as Twitter, and the hosting service then removes, or blocks, the post. Asked why PARCC would seek to remove items that critique the test but don’t actually disclose test questions, Reams said in an interview that “the intention is to ensure that we have the validity of the test protected.” Asked if the disclosures threatened the validity of the entire test, Reams said that the problem would be “specific for that question,” and that most students had already taken PARCC before the publication on Oyler’s blogs.
PARCC Inc. is  a non-profit organization that supports the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career, which itself is one of two multi-state consortia that were given millions in funding from the Obama administration to create new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The PARCC test and other Core tests have drawn scrutiny, with hundreds of thousands of parents opting their children out of the exams amid increasing criticism about their content and the potential consequences the exams carry.
Leonie Haimson, an education activist who founded the non-profit Class Size Matters and is a co-founder of the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy, said that flawed test questions should be publicized. She and others argue that it is “fair use” for writers to reveal a few items from a test if the intent is to critique the test questions.
“There needs to be at least as much accountability for those who make and give the tests as they’re urging on our students, teachers and schools,” Haimson said. “Yet there can’t be any, without complete transparency showing the flawed quality of these assessments.  As with the [badly worded] Pineapple question [on a 2012 Common Core test in New York], which triggered outrage and has become a symbol of the defective nature of the standardized tests imposed on our children, it is the public’s right to know.”
Oyler received a letter dated May 12, 2016, from Laura Slover, the chief executive officer of PARCC Inc., threatening possible legal action if the questions were not removed from the blog. It said in part (and you can see the full letter below):
Your reproduction of those items infringe the PARCC, Inc. copyrights in the test, amplify the teacher’s breach of confidentiality, and threaten the utility of the assessments, both as their administration is completed over the next few weeks and in versions of the assessment to be administered in the future.
We have noted that a number of websites have linked to your site, further undermining the utility of the assessments. As an infringer, you can be held personally liable for the damages incurred by PARCC, Inc. and those who have contributed financially to the creation and validation of the assessments, including without limitation the possible need, not only to create replacement items, but to create and revalidate new test forms.
Oyler has said she received the post anonymously and doesn’t know who the teacher is. She did, Common Core testing group wages aggressive campaign against critics on social media - The Washington Post:

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