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Thu Apr 23, 2015, 03:08 AM

This Article May Be Illegal: Lifting the Veil of Silence on Standardized Testing

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/04/22/article-may-be-illegal-lifting-veil-silence-standardized-testing

Because teachers are being fired and jailed. Students are being threatened with litigation.

All because they talked about standardized tests.

The US government mandates public school children be subjected to standardized assessments in reading and math in grades 3-8 and once in high school. Most schools test much more than that – even as early as kindergarten.

And since all of these assessments are purchased from private corporations, the testing material is ideological property. The students taking these exams – regardless of age – are no longer treated as children. They are clients entering into a contract.

At the start of these tests, students are warned of the legal consequences of violating the terms of this agreement.

In particular, the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests require students to read the following warning on the first day of the assessment:

DO NOT PHOTOGRAPH, COPY OR REPRODUCE MATERIALS FROM THIS ASSESSMENT IN ANY MANNER. All material contained in this assessment is secure and copyrighted material owned by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Copying of material in any manner, including the taking of a photograph, is a violation of the federal Copyright Act. Penalties for violations of the Copyright Act may include the cost of replacing the compromised test item(s) or a fine of no less than $750 up to $30,000 for a single violation. 17 U.S.C. $ 101 et seq


So the first act of testing is a threat of legal consequences and possible fines.

There are no such warnings on my own teacher-created tests. Sure I don’t want students to cheat, but I don’t threaten to take them to court if they do.

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Reply This Article May Be Illegal: Lifting the Veil of Silence on Standardized Testing (Original post)
eridani Apr 2015 OP
JDPriestly Apr 2015 #1
DetlefK Apr 2015 #2
eridani Apr 2015 #4
Sancho Apr 2015 #3

Response to eridani (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 03:50 AM

1. What about that rare child with a photographic memory?

Every once in a while, there is a child with a very good memory. And children don't understand the concept of intellectual property.

This is absurd. Children should be taught not to cheat, but some do not need to take photographs in order to remember the questions on a test. And they will talk about what the questions were. That is a child's nature.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 06:21 AM

2. To be honest: I would also claim copyright. For very practical reasons.

Coming up with questions and tests for an exam is hard work: It has to be close to what you want to reproduce, but it has to be so unique that the student hasn't seen this particular exercise before.

A teacher can adjust the difficulty of his exam to the class by modifying assignments, but a company has a finite portfolio of exam assignments it can use because they have to be so general they can be used for every class. It would only be a question of time until someone comes up with a neat collection of all possible exam assignments of this company.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #2)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 05:12 PM

4. Which is an excellent reason why for-profit testing should go straight to hell

Teachers don't get a big pile of profits from thinking up exams, and that's how it should be.

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Thu Apr 23, 2015, 07:06 AM

3. The biggest problem is that teachers can't talk about what's on the test...

so the test must be a set of items that no one teaches.

This is completely contrary to the prescriptive-learning that research has demonstrated works.

What's even more insidious. The test makers don't like items what everyone "gets right" or everyone "gets wrong". They prefer items that about half the student get right. That way, they can separate the good students from the bad in a shorter test without wasting items and time.

If teachers teach a concept that is on the test and the students start getting it, then the next version of the test drops those items. Over time, the test becomes a test of nothing that's being taught!

Fun and games in education!!

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