Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cheat to Beat the Tests: We Need an EduLeaks

I have but one test to give for my country.
Teacher Nathan Hale punished for revealing Pearson test passages
Nathan Hale was a teacher.
Then there is this recent historical discovery from Patrick Henry: Give me liberty from testing or give me death. 

Thousands of people in New York have access to these tests. It would only take a few of them to get them before the public.  ----NYC Parent activist
There was a Spartacus, known as Stanley Kaplan who outsmarted the College Entrance Examination Board fifty years ago when ETS was the reigning test master. He knew that ETS was embedding items within its tests and trying them out for purposes of developing subsequent examinations. He sent spies to take the high-stakes exams and report back to him what they saw. He debriefed others who had taken the exams. Armed with the knowledge he compiled, Kaplan's shrewdness paid off. He ran successful coaching courses boosting the SAT scores of those who took them. ----Fred Smith
If they're going to come after you because of your TDA, cheat, cheat, cheat.  ----Retired NYC teacher/blogger/videographer/pain in the ass

See Ed Notes previous post earlier today:
Pineapplegate, or The Pineapple That Ate Pearson

With Diane Ravitch's call for tests to be made public -- don't parents have as much right to know what kinds of tests their kids are being subjected to as to know their teacher data reports? Ho, ho, ho. I can't stop laughing at this idea. Watch the Joel Kleins and Michael Bloombergs and all the ed deform hacks rush to protect the Pearson monopoly when it comes to releasing this information. But do we really need to demand this when there is distributed power in the hands of teachers all over the nation?

Oh, we know what will happen if any teachers get caught sneaking a reading passage of a math problem out. Or worse, taking a photo of a test with their cell phone (I saw one such pic on a teacher's phone yesterday and told her to destroy her phone as I'm sure Bill Gates has given money to track every move a teacher makes). They will be put in solitary with Bradley Manning, charged with treason and threatened with the death penalty.

We really need an edu-leaks (as opposed to Normi-leaks which involved Depends). Someone contact Julian Assange to help us.

This just came in: 
In the spirit of fighting back, here are two modest proposals:
Note: The Math test (Book 1 and Book 2) is coming up this week and these items are easier to remember than the ELA items. 

#1-  From Susan Ohanian Speaks: Testing: How to Stop the Reign 
NOTE: This year the tests contain embedded multiple-choice items that are being field tested, enabling the new vendor (you guessed it, Pearson) to develop future tests on the back of the children. The items won't count but they will make the exams considerably longer.

A strategy for making this greedy scheme backfire.
Ohanian Comment: I don't give up on my dream of the day the corporate-politicos schedule the massive testing scheme and no parent allows their children to participate AND a huge majority of teachers engage in the professional act of refusing to administer the tests.
Teachers, you are too good to revolt against the Caesars who rule education's holy empire through fear and the test master's cruel lash. Too patient awaiting leaders who will finally mass your mighty numbers in unified rebellion. Too battered to engage in acts of resistance. And far too decent to do this:

This week, when forced to participate in Albany's annual rites of examination, subjecting 1.2 million children to ever worsening trials, please closely reflect upon the tests that you are all suffering.

Many of the passages you see and the questions that follow will reappear next spring when the ordeal is repeated. Many of the same math riddles your students must answer will also return in MMXIII. It was so decreed by the emperor's closest advisors. Take heed honorable teachers.

Both you and your young charges in grades three through eight will be judged by how well they perform at this year's testing games and the next and the next. As proctors throughout the provinces, you will have time to minister the 90-minute examinations, study them and remember their contents.

Your legions in those grades are 45,000 strong. Properly deployed you can disarm the test master and destroy his vile instruments. For he has left himself vulnerable at the very moment he expects to lead you and your lambs to slaughter. Arrogant miscalculation has exposed him to defeat at his own hands.

The battle plan is simple. Its successful execution depends on discipline in the ranks. This year four forms of the exams are being given, enabling the master to try out and hone the blades he will use at next year's sacrificial altar. He likes to call them items that he is field testing. You know better. They are the knives and swords that will be used against you in the coming years.

Don't worry that you don't know which items on each form are being field tested. Know that each form will contain 15 to 25 try-out items per grade. The sharper ones will be included on next spring's exams when they will count.

Know that there are 7,500 of you at each grade level, to whom the master is exposing the material. Little does he expect you to attack and overwhelm it. He assumes you are too distracted, disorganized and beaten down by testing to fight back. But he has tipped his hand and given you the opportunity to preview next year’s tests.

Mark every word on this year's examinations. Rely upon your eyes and collective memories to absorb each passage, question and choice set before your flock this week. Use the same weapons next week to penetrate the math material.

After the smoke clears, talk to your comrades and share the information you took away from the exams. Nowadays, there are so many ways to network. Each one of you in the state has a piece of the story. Put the pieces together and you can build the most efficient test preparation strategy ever devised. When you teach-to-the-test next year, you literally will be teaching to the test.

Does this seem far-fetched? There was a Spartacus, known as Stanley Kaplan who outsmarted the College Entrance Examination Board fifty years ago when ETS was the reigning test master. He knew that ETS was embedding items within its tests and trying them out for purposes of developing subsequent examinations.

He sent spies to take the high-stakes exams and report back to him what they saw. He debriefed others who had taken the exams. Armed with the knowledge he compiled, Kaplan's shrewdness paid off. He ran successful coaching courses boosting the SAT scores of those who took them.

The thought alone that test-abused teachers are ready to strike back would make the evil testing empire shake with rage and threaten retribution—and sweat nervously as the backlash gains strength enough to topple its dominion. May the empire’s fall be near.

#2 - How fitting would it be if someone figured out a way to break Pearson's item bank—perhaps, a student grapevine —to compile previously used items, create a national item clearinghouse and put together an app that lets kids review items before being tested by them.  I think smart high school kids would relish the fight--obtain information from test-tortured students across the country and spread the word to the masses.  Robin Hood meet Wikileaks. 


7 comments:

  1. LOVE the EduLeaks idea!

    You forgot to add the crime of endangering "National Security" for the teacher who took the mobile phone pic of the test. The fascists who run things use this catch all term to protect every vile thing they perpetrate.

    Great Blog!

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  2. I say send the pictures to the press. Send them to everyone and lets see what they do or don't do with them.

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  3. Do not send pics to the press as they will give you up to the DOE. Don't send them at all. Download them on a jump drive and then we can figure out a way to get them off the jump onto some central drive. Then erase your thumb. Cover your tracks. I'm willing to help steer you someplace.

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  4. In the years before previously used Advanced Placement tests were made public, my caldulus teacher sat next to a student who was taking the Calculus BC exam, and copied all the questions by hand. He passed them along to me during the next school year. I typed them, and returned them to him. He ran them off for the class and we used them as a source of review questions for the current exam. It was a helpful way to review.

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  5. When I was in high school we prepped by taking old regents. The school used to give them to us. It is a good way to study.

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  6. I'm the same anonymous as apr 22 7:04pm
    Norm, I understand your fears. I was thinking do something like wear latex gloves, print the pictures, then maybe photocopy and send that with no return address, from a random mailbox miles from your home.

    ReplyDelete

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