High-Stakes Testing

Pearson’s very own “Testing Factories”

I am excited about the Educational Policy Analysis class I am taking. Most of the students are finishing up their SBL – some are already Principals or Assistant Principals in local district or charter schools. Everyone is to follow one blog and post thoughts about it weekly on our class blog. It’s a useful way for me to keep up to date on things that I was only following sporadically at times.
The professor offered a few choice Education Next, Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences and Rick Hess. At first I chose Bridging Differences- this was origninally a blog that both Deborah Meier & Diane Ravitch led but apparently their opinions were quite similar so they separated into different blogs. The professor suggested that I was drawn to the blog for a particular bloggers voice who was leaving anyways so then I moved to Diane Ravitch who has been really opening my eyes to a lot of trends.

Recently, she has been posting about Pearson’s influence in the high-stakes testing industry. This was my latest response to her blog entry

The extended theme of private entities or not necessarily always private in tax status -as in the case of education funding foundations- persists with the current example of Pearson. Ravitch refers to Texas’ pioneering of the high stakes movement and its impact on those who stand to profit like Pearson’s $468 million contract to push out assessments – the contract details are highlighted in this post.

In thinking about how philanthropic funding looks different now – I formulate the question: How has the role of philanthropic and mega foundations changed in creating “testing factories”in the past decade? Perhaps more people are cognizant of the blatant “scheme” the behavior is evidenced is in actions like the Pearson Protest in NY last year. I am not sure how the strategy has evolved- its seems to have a wider scope and more strategic influence in some ways – does anyone have examples of how it has evolved?

When key players like Pearson can influence the testing agenda to maintain their dominance in the oligopolist testing market- then students, schools and teachers become mere consumers that testing products are sold to- true educational priorities are turned off – kilter. A principal that shared his thoughts on Diane’s blogs grounds us in his statement “we lack the infrastructure to be testing factories, and that shouldn’t be our job in the first place.”

With online-learning and online universities becoming more prevalent it seems like this is just the tip of the Pearson iceberg.

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