Thursday, October 15, 2015

How the Great PARCC/Common Core Scam Works

A Special Thank You!

I want to take this opportunity on behalf of thousands of dedicated educators in Louisiana to sincerely thank the four members of BESE who have courageously refused to fold to the pressure of our clueless business community to give John White a blank check to further commit educational malpractice with the futures of Louisiana school children. Thank you to:

Dr Lottie Beebe, BESE member, District 3

Mary Harris, BESE member, District 4

Carolyn Hill, BESE member District 8

Jane Smith, BESE member at large 

John White has convinced the business community and seven members of BESE that his phony PARCC scale score system really means something. But only he and his statisticians at the LDOE can interpret for us exactly what it tells us. Unfortunately for White and his Common Core/PARCC "raising the bar" scam, some of us have been using critical thinking skills long before Common Core came along.

I pointed out in this blog exactly what the scale scores for the level of "Basic" performance really means in terms of actual knowledge of the tested material in the previous post on this blog. Now lets talk a little about how the testing bosses of the PARCC consortium use these scores to muddy the water about the real performance of students on these poorly designed tests in all the PARCC states.

It is expected that all states in the PARCC Consortium and even Louisiana, which is no longer officially in the PARCC Consortium, are probably going to adopt the same cut scores using the 650-850 point scale for each of the 5 levels of achievement. But the real cut scores are to be found in the corresponding raw scores based on a set of secret conversion tables such as those we revealed in Louisiana with a public records request and the threat of a lawsuit against John White. Did you know that John White has now lost and been forced to pay court costs and penalties in every case where citizens sued for public information? So far he pays the penalties with our tax dollars, but that could change when the judges finally get tired of having to order White to produce public records material that has heretofore been kept secret from the public.

So each of the 12 states and the District of Columbia will adopt the same scale cut scores for each of the 5 levels of achievement on PARCC. But all they have to do to make the scores come out the way they want for their state is to claim that they are using a different test form than what other states are using. John White had originally told The Lens in New Orleans that Louisiana was using the exact same test as all the other PARCC states; "the same items in the same order", so that our student performance could be easily compared to the 11 other states and D.C. But now he is saying that we are using a different test form in Louisiana made up of questions specifically approved by Louisiana Educators, so we have to use a different conversion table. That's the secret conversion table that was only produced because of the threat of another lawsuit, and the sure wrath of the 5 legislators who were part of that public records request. White never worried about the 4 members of BESE who were part of the public records request because he has them outvoted by the "bought" majority of BESE. But he had better fear the legislature, especially with 4 out of the 5 candidates for Governor vowing to get rid of the Common Core.

But White pulled another fast one on BESE this week that was not publicized by any of the news media. In addition to adopting the cut scores for PARCC he also got BESE to remove about 82 pages of BESE regulations that defined how state accountability tests were to be designed to measure each level of student performance. He not only wiped out all the BESE regulations having to do with the PARCC tests, but he wiped out the regulations having to do with LEAP and iLEAP tests in Social Studies and Science and all the high school end-of-course tests. What does that mean? It means that from now on, White and his testing companies can set all the underlying raw cut scores that equate to the scale cut scores any way that they please. They can also change the ratio of easy to difficult questions on each test to get whatever result they want each year in average student performance. That's why I call all of this testing and setting of student performance levels an out-and-out scam! The parents, and the business community are simply being taken for a ride. John White and his testing companies can produce whatever results they want with our student scores from year to year, and now BESE has given him the full authority to do so. But there are two important things that the scam cannot control, and these will eventually cause the downfall of White's Ponzi scheme.

White cannot continue to violate the public records law, because we have his number. We can always uncover Whites changes to the underlying raw cut scores on all of these state tests. From now on we will always get the new conversion tables. White can make the tests easier or harder each year by changing the ratio of difficult to easy questions, and he can lower or raise the raw cut scores, but he has no control over the NAEP, the only true gold standard of testing that actually does compare the performance of Louisiana students with all other states. About 8 years ago Louisiana ranked 6th from the bottom of the states on the NAEP test. Today after all the "higher expectations", "raising the bar", "greater rigor" "our kids deserve higher standards" etc etc, Louisiana now ranks third to last on NAEP, just ahead of Mississippi and the District of Columbia.

John White, would you please explain to the parents and the business community how you have improved the future of our kids and helped business and industry get a better educated work force with your rigged test and punish policy?


Ann Edwards said...

Is it Bulletin 118 that was gutted, and what page numbers or sections were removed?

Michael Deshotels said...

Yes, major sections of Bulletin 118 describing varioius requirements for LEAP, iLEAP, and end-of-course testing were removed, Go to this link to see the changes:$file/AGII_6.4_B118_Oct_2015.pdf