Common Core Testing Meeting

This is the common core meeting with the group that is collecting the data on your children. We need you to attend!

Next Thursday, April 11th, you are invited to participate in the SAGE assessment System presentation at 4pm at the Alpine School District Office Building.

SAGE is the acronym for the common core testing system that will be collecting data from our children.

I think it’s important for all of us to know before the meeting what SAGE is and it’s implications for our children, our privacy, and our school district.

Student Assessment for Growth and Excellence (“SAGE (http:// www.schools.utah.gov/ assessment/Adaptive-Assessment-System.aspx) ”) is being developed for Utah by the American Institutes for Research (AIR (http://www.air.org/about/) ). SAGE is Utah’s comprehensive adaptive assessment system, or the testing mechanism that will replace the CRTs. It is designed to replace and expand UTIPS, and provides the test delivery and administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

So, who is AIR? AIR is not an academic assessment company - it is a behavioral research organization. AIR has been around for over 60 years. Their founder, John Flanagan, a psychologist, started AIR by developing the “critical incident technique (http://www.apa.org/pubs/databases/psycinfo/cit-article.pdf) ” one of the most widely used behavioral methods that is even now used in assessment models today.

In 1960, AIR initiated “Project Talent (http://www.projecttalent.org/docs/Designing_the_Study_(1960).pdf) ,” a research project administered by John Flanagan and a group of other behavioral scientists involving 440,000 high school students, collecting information on “aptitudes, abilities, knowledge, interests, activities, and backgrounds” of each student. These questions included questions about “hobbies, organizational and club memberships, dating and work experiences. There were questions about students’ health and about their school and study habits. Students were asked about their fathers’ occupations, parents’ education, financial situations, etc.” One question asked was, “How many children do you expect to have after you marry?” and “How old were you when you first started dating?”

What is AIR doing today? AIR is currently working with multiple partners, including the Department of Education, United Nations (http://www.air.org/focus-area/international-development/) , the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Open Society Institute (George Soros), (http://www.air.org/about/?fa=viewContent&content_id=351) to “conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.” AIR prides itself on its "long history of contributing to evidence-based social change."

What does this mean for the Alpine School District, or even the State of Utah? In 2012 USOE developed the USOE Technology Standards 2012 (http://www.setda.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=169&name=DLFE-1560.pdf) . One of the standards is to have a network-enabled computing device capable of providing access to the school’s technology resources. A purpose of this is for the understanding “human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.” I don’t think it’s a stretch to think that AIR will be heavily involved with this.

AIR will be developing these assessments, which will include behavioral questions. It’s what they do. One of their primary objectives is to use this data not only in collaboration with other states in relation to common core, but also in collaboration with the United Nations.

With the recent amendments to the FERPA laws, the question becomes what will we as parents do right now to protect the privacy of our children?

Come to the meeting next Thursday at 4pm at the Alpine School District Office Building and get informed!

Brian Halladay

 

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  • Lynda R.

    Well, I didn't necessarily get the idea that he was at all going to change his mind. He was just being all nice. I got the feeling that no matter what we said, it is a done deal. I believe, and have heard that they ask for teachers to submit questions, but in reality, they don't really use them. They already have their questions written up before, by Common Core people. There is no way to know that they didn't use the teacher's questions.

    April 13, 2013

  • Pam W.

    Lynda, didn't you feel that the Superintendent was surprised (if not alarmed) at the strong feelings of the group? I think he seemed genuinely concerned, and may take another look. I had to leave early (about 6:15), so I don't know how the meeting ended. I was pleasantly surprised at his openness. He didn't shut people down or discount their concerns as I had expected to happen and has happened in other meetings by the presenters. While I am totally against Common Core, I felt good about this meeting. I think we may have finally been heard, at least to some degree.

    1 · April 12, 2013

  • Lynda R.

    Bad, in that the School Board guy was taking his sweet time on his presentation so that we wouldn't have enough time to ask questions. So we wrote our questions on the white board at the side of the room in case he didn't leave enough time. A huge majority of the people there were against common core. It was great that way. We were able to ask questions at the end, however, but you can tell that it will all come to naught.

    1 · April 11, 2013

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