Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Red Alert from Fred Smith: How You Can Help Undermine State Ed Dept Duplicity For Possible Class Action Suit

Folks and fellow truth-seekers,
 
An idea, hopefully worth considering:
 
Please get the word out to as many parents and schools as possible to find out what form of the math tests their children are taking tomorrow and Thursday.  At the same time, find out what school the children attend and what grade level they are on.  There is nothing illegal in gathering these three facts.
 
It would also help to ask principals and teachers the same questions.  Why?
 
There are four forms of the test - A, B, C and D.  
 
Each form has a set of items being field tested.
Multiple-choice items are embedded in Book 1 (tomorrow) and Book 2 (Thursday).
 
Each school has been shipped only one form to administer. 
Students indicate the form on their answer sheets.
Eventually SED will have to reveal where the embedded items occurred on each form.
 
By knowing which form children took and schools gave, we will learn where the embedded items were placed. Depending on the placement (early in the test book as opposed to late) the performance of children taking a particular form may be disadvantaged.
 
That is, although the embedded items don't count in scoring the exams, their placement could have a confounding and deleterious effect on the items that are scored (the operational items). In turn, the high-stakes decisions that are reached based on the items that count may handicap students, teachers and schools because of the particular form of the test their schools were given.
 
That seems to be a likely outcome and could be the basis of a class action if groups are penalized because they had the misfortune of being assigned one form instead of another. 
 
I don't think this is trivial.  Each year the New York State exams are taken by approximately 200,000 students per grade.  Thus, each of the forms will be administered to about 50,000 children.  If one form adversely impacts performance on the exam compared to the other forms, then the determinations that are reached based upon "real" test results obtained on that form will be skewed against the children, teachers and schools involved. 
 
If you think this idea has merit, please get the word out.  And we will need to figure out how to compile the Form/School/Grade Level information we are seeking.  We cannot let SED hold all the cards.
 
PS: If you can also ask parents, teachers and principals to recollect the same information about last week's ELA tests, that would double our knowledge base and build our challenge to the misuses of the exams. Knowledge of the Form is most important.  Although the ELA tests were given last week, the make-up tests concluded yesterday and today, so we should be able to pick up accurate information on the ELA.
 
Thank you, as always, for keeping up the struggle.
 
Fred

1 comment:

  1. Nice idea, but I do not think it would hold up in court. (There would be no "proof" of what test the students took as nobody can take pictures of the actual tests) Unless you can get a few thousand people to sign sworn statements or actually show up in court, I do not think this idea can work. However, getting parents to write letters of protest to their lawmakers or opting out of tests is a workable concept.

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