Big Brother [The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC] is spying on our children!

WARNING!

Public school students in grades 3-8 will begin taking the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Tests this week.  Children in PARCC States, the alternative Common Core Testing Program begin taking their tests last week.

The Common Core SBAC Testing period runs March 17 – June 15, 2015

The following is just one of the many reasons parents should opt their children out of the destructive Common Core SBAC Tests.

Read the following statement that was provided to all states administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Tests;

Please note that the social media Web sites are being monitored by Smarter Balanced Communications staff members.

In fact, the SBAC consortium has enlisted the help of state governments, school districts, schools and test administrators to participate in their spying operation.

The SBAC Spying Memo is entitled, “GUIDANCE FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING DURING THE FIELD TEST,” and it states:

The Consortium is closely monitoring social media networks for security breaches and escalating to states when appropriate.

Test Administration Procedures

To get ahead of the problem and reduce the number of security breaches on social media, we encourage you to refer to the Smarter Balanced Test Administration Manual (Appendix B) for detailed information on the impact and definition of incidences as well as the timeline for reporting these activities.

Sites to Monitor

Twitter (https://twitter.com/.)  If your school has a Twitter account, you can take advantage of following your students by requesting their @username and/or encouraging them to the follow the school Twitter account.

  • To search for conversations and posts about the Field Test, consider the following search queries: #sbac or #smarterbalanced; #[insert name of school] or @[insert school Twitter handle] and “smarter balanced” or “sbac”

Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/)  If your school has a Facebook page, invite your students to join. If your students have public profiles, you can also search their news feed and photo gallery for security breaches.

  • Similar to Twitter, you can conduct searches by entering “smarter balanced” or “sbac” or “[insert name of school]”

Statigram (statigram.com.) Statigram is a webviewer for Instagram and allows you to search and manage comments more easily. You will need to create an account for yourself to search comments on Statigram. If you have a private account, you can use this information to login and review information.

  • To search for posts about the Field Test, use the same search queries recommended for Twitter.

And for those who think the SBAC statement and instructions are simply being used to scare districts, schools, teachers and students into adhering to the SBAC security guidelines, think again.

Just last Friday New Jersey blogger Bob Braun reported that Pearson, the company that produces the Common Core Tests, was spying on the social media posts of New Jersey students.  After the story was posted, a cyber-attack brought down his site. See: ALERT: Bob Braun’s Blog Has Been Attacked and Closed Down After Post About Pearson Spying on Students.

 Here in Connecticut, there is even a memo from SBAC to the Connecticut State Department of Education highlighting their spying activity;

The memo is dated April 4, 2014 (during the last year’s Test of the Test) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) writes,

“Connecticut has experienced a large number of test security breaches during the first two weeks of testing. Students have had access to cell phones during testing and are posting pictures of test items to social media Web sites.

Please direct all Test Coordinators and Test Administrators to review Section 3.1 “Security of the Test Environment” in the Online Field Test Administration Manual (TAM).

Test administrators should be actively monitoring test sessions and should ensure that students do not have access to cell phones or other mobile devices during testing.”

And the corporate and government spying on Connecticut’s children is just the tip of a much larger and disturbing iceberg of danger and deceit.

Data about Connecticut’s Children:

The Connecticut State Department of Education, like state education agencies across the country, are telling parents that the massive amount of data collected on our children will remain secret. The Connecticut State Department of Education reads;

“All confidential data are stored on secure servers behind stringent multi-level firewall protections and monitored by sophisticated intrusion detection software. Data are only accessible to individuals with the requisite authorization.”

But then there is this….

“[Connecticut State Department of Education] retains ownership of all confidential data that may be shared with any other organization pursuant to an authorized agreement.”

Connecticut State Government retains ownership of all confidential data shared with other organizations?

The data collection process associated with the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC Test is through an authorized agreement with the American Institutes for Research.

According to the company’s website,

“AIR is one of the nation’s leading providers of academic assessments, and has been providing accessible, standards-based statewide adaptive testing services since 2007…”

[…]

AIR has partnered with Data Recognition Corporation, one of the nation’s most respected assessment organizations, to deliver these services.”

And so how safe is all that confidential data that is owned by the Connecticut State Department of Education but shared with companies like the American Institutes for Research and the Data Recognition Corporation?

May 2014 – Major School Research and Assessment Provider Suffers Data Breach

(May 19, 2014), The American Institutes for Research, a major research and testing organization with a significant presence in K-12 education in the United States, suffered a serious data breach earlier this month.

After one of the organization’s servers was hacked, the sensitive personal information of as many as 6,500 current and former employees, including Social Security numbers and personal credit card information, was compromised, an AIR spokesman confirmed during an interview Monday with Education Week.  No student or client information was affected.

Claiming student data was safe, AIR’s director of public affairs explained, “The breach only affected our business systems.” 

And just last week, AIR was hit with another “cyber-attack,” this one via the software running Florida’s Common Core Test.  

“Citing testing provider American Institutes for Research, the [Florida] state education department said the hack, which is being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, “will not compromise student performance on the test or any personal student data.”

This is the week to opt your children out of the Common Core SBAC Test….

And if your local school administrator says that is a problem, point them to the Wait? What? Blog for guidance for how to handle their moral, ethical and legal responsibilities.

Then remind them what George Orwell said in his book, 1984,

 Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

  • Linda174

    Here you go:

  • Al Korczynski

    John. I have a sixth grader in Windham Middle CT.. Along with three other school aged sons, one in elementary and two other high schoolers. All of them have excelled in class and testing. Under the districts turn around plan, the six graders are required to surpass growth scores on his nwea tests in order to be promoted to seventh grade. Now there is a alternative method for six graders by way of a project. My son is an honor student and has already surpassed the levels needed for promotion. Many have not. As it relates to Sbac, why does my son need to take this? Over the years my sons have taken the Cmt’s and my oldest Is a junior, 3.95 GPA, honor student, nhs, mms, receiving lots of attention from quality universities and I wonder if opting out of these tests will effect how schools recruit in the future? Is the Sbac the only mastery test that schools will base decisions on? Maybe I’m confused about all of it but I’m trying to understand. I’ve read your posts and I am a member of the Schools Governance council. There is much concern from the teachers, as well as parents, Regarding the way the district seems to be over pushing the required number of classes in math to help move along a struggling sixth grade improve its test scores. In some cases children have three periods of math three times per week. My son would have been part of that had I not stepped in. Kids enrichment time is being used. That means missing things like band, a second language or Tsa etc. I’m concerned for individual progress, not raising scores to make a district look good. What are the pros of taking this test? How do I opt my son out? What are the concerns of a superintendent if they have a high percentage of students opted out of these tests?

  • Brian Gosper

    Another great and useful post by Jonathan! Already shared and commented on my Stop Common Core page on Facebook!

  • Mary Gallucci

    Ann Arbor schools dropped the NWEA-MAP tests last year (Windham public schools seem to administer every test there is, so besides the thrice-yearly NWEA-MAP, instituted by Steven Adamowski and a colossal waste of time, they will begin SBAC plus some students will take CMTs and CAPT). They said:
    “The NWEA MAP test doesn’t test the content of what the teacher taught
    to the child,” MacPhail said. “It tests random knowledge, not what’s
    happening. I don’t think it’s a good measure of them understanding
    content.”
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2014/04/ann_arbor_open_school_drops_us.html
    I utterly object to these outside tests that are a total mystery until the child sits down and takes it–and then, all that pops up at the end is a “score”–I have never heard of students getting answer sheets back. Nor do the teachers even know what is on the test! Such a huge waste of time, money (tax-payer money, thanks to Adamowski–he may be gone, but his dire legacy lingers on), and, more crucially, of children’s minds.

  • Mary Gallucci

    I realize this post is about SBAC, to which I will try to return in a later posting, but I think that the parents of Connecticut should know that children in stressed, under-funded school districts have SBAC-type tests to the power of 5 all year long! it is so grotesque.
    An outside research group found the following SERIOUS RISKS with NWEA-MAP “tests” (I can say for a fact that students who do very well on the first test in September are then targeted as “not growing” because they do not exceed their initial score by enough points in subsequent tests [so, if a student in 7th grade tests at a 10th grade level in the Fall, they are supposed to be 11th grade or higher later, otherwise they “fail”!]… this is utterly ridiculous and shows the idiocy of the tests):

    “Risks:
    Parent anger towards school and teachers because of stagnant or dropping test scores. The test gives high achievers dropping scores more often than low.. Yet the higher performing the student the more likely parents are to be angered by dropping scores.
    Incorrectly tracking students due to significant errors caused by
    low testing precision and low testing accuracy.
    Shifting emphasis of education from real accomplishments and high cognition, to test preparation and low level skills. This may result in lower interest and performance for all students, especially high achievers.
    Emphasis, resources, and focus drawn from average and high achieving students, to be given to address the needs of raising test scores for low scoring students.
    Distraction from the real needs of students including study skills,
    hearing & vision problems, emotional and social problems, and other factors that that significantly affect performance.
    Self-fulfilling low expectations for low scoring students.”

    http://conceptualmath.org/misc/MAPtest.htm

    • Mary Gallucci

      Just to reiterate, this nasty NWEA-MAP nonsense is guaranteed to snatch defeat (read: failure) from the jaws of victory (read: “normal” or better student ability)–thus, students in stressed districts who have somehow managed to beat the odds stacked against them are then tagged as failures and problem students:
      F: Negative Expected
      Growth for High Achievers

      One of the most disturbing aspects of the precision
      and accuracy problems of MAP testing is that NWEA’s data clearly shows
      that negative growth is normal for high achievers.http://conceptualmath.org/misc/MAPtest.htm

  • Mary Gallucci

    A proponent of the Common Core says of SBAC tests:
    “There is no good reason for the tests to be this bad.”

    He notes: “If the released items on the tests are indicative of the quality of the
    actual tests—and Smarter Balanced tells us they are—their shoddy craft
    will directly and significantly contribute to students’ poor and
    inaccurate scores. The result? Untold numbers of students and teachers
    will be traumatized, stigmatized, and unfairly penalized.”
    https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-03-11-why-the-smarter-balanced-common-core-math-test-is-fatally-flawed

  • Mary Gallucci

    This spying is utterly heinous. In addition to all of the other huge problems with SBAC, NWEA-MAP, and the rest of standardized tests, this should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
    I wish it would also result in Arne Duncan’s ouster.

  • Bill Morrison

    I sent this to my Superintendent and to my Principal:

    Dear Mike and Beth,

    Is
    this report true? If so, is our district involved in any way? If not,
    can we make a public statement to that effect? This dubious practice
    violates every ethical standard in the Connecticut Code of Professional
    Responsibilities for Educators.

    Bill

    Just think . . . we could have been done with this standardized testing nonsense if we hadn’t reelected Malloy!

  • Pingback: The latest PEARSON scandal. Still considering letting your children test? | stopcommoncorenys()

  • Bluecoat

    Out of all the Jonathan postings, this in my view is the most important and the main reason pulling out of SBAC is priority number one.
    See the National Data Model for the 400’or so data points that need to be collected form every kid, that must be included in the Statewide Longitudinal Data System.
    Creepy is a nice word.
    There is no reason for nay adult to purge personal and/private information from a child. No one needs to know a child’s sexual preference or parental voting record, etc.
    I will say this again, every public official, elected or appointed, every school employee, every Board of Ed member and every State employee should take periodic psych and personality tests, and every bit of personal information should be on a website for every voter to review, including medical records, etc. so that we may know what kind of people we are voting for, what kind of people are attending to our children every day. Nobody should be excemt.If you think this creepy behavior and data mining is appropriate to be performed on kids, then I want to know which adult is on Prozac, Viagra, I want to see medical, records, You should have Palm scanners, retinas scans, blood tests, etc. performed on you just to get to work.
    Sorry for the ramble, but I have been warning about this for 4 years.
    My e-mails to the officials on data collection, to the DOE have gone unanswered for almost 3 years