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Sunday, March 15, 2015


Don't Worry:  It's just a staple gun and red ink!
Bob Braun's blog recently broke some startling news.  We are living in a world replete with (what I call) Testpionage and Counter Testpionage!  His blog was temporarily shut down for one reason or another.  It is back up again.  The blog contained a copy of the letter below.


Elizabeth Jewett, superintendent of Watchung Hills Regional High School, NJ, confirmed that  Pearson and/or the D.o.E. is "monitoring" all social media during PARCC testing.  There were several instances of breaches of security.  In one case, a student tweeted about one item after the test ended.  Although no picture was included, it seems the student tweeted "before the paper had been completed in other parts of the world."  

I'm guessing Pearson recycles the same stale items over and over again.  This may be one reason they hesitate from releasing full exams.  Odd.  They tell us their new tests will boost creativity, yet they don't have enough new ideas for all the tests they would love to sell.  They have been known to borrow readings and/or questions from the same books they sell to classrooms as well as to use the same question, for better or worse, across grade levels:

"Reportedly, one of the four forms of the test had the same passage in grades 3,4, and 5.  So many principals and teachers thought this was a mistake that the state posted a memo, calling this "vertical linking" and claiming that repeating the same items in adjacent grades is one of the'typical testing processes.' Yet a principal told me that in her twenty years as a NY educator, she’s never seen this before on a state standardized exam."

Students who breach test security face consequences.  They may suffer the invalidation of part or all of their test.  Note:  This might not be a bad thing.  Students may also be banned from future exams.  This may be a blessing in disguise.  

Here is part of Pearson's official policy:

"During stressful periods, some comments may not be very flattering. However, we’d like to ask you to act responsibly when discussing us or your exams and coursework online."

I'm guessing that in addition to threatening the validity of some questions, breaches of security may end up reflecting the absurdity of some test questions.  Better keep quiet about it though unless you want to become the equivalent of a little Eddie Snowden.  

One thing is for sure, if you don't want to be a teacher in a classroom Pearson has plenty of jobs for you, adding untold contributions to "college-and-career readiness" as promised!

In China, "invigilators" prevent cheating.  Perhaps the same career choice will soon be coming to a school near you.  Given the high-stakes nature of our new assessments, one can hardly guess the opportunites.

  • 1962 Dr No animated GIF
    Looking for an exciting new career in a fast moving field?:  Drivers wanted to help ensure against security breaches following the close of exams.
Note:  You do not need to be an adult to win this war against testpionage!  Pearson is an Equal-Opportunity Employer.  Plain-clothes children, with or without braces, are needed to help monitor their peers and report back to Pearson.  After all, every great villain needs to get his start somewhere!

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