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More On John White’s Spring 2015 PARCC Fraud

December 9, 2014

When it comes to Louisiana’s supposed “PARCC test,” we are flying solo– and by the seat of Louisiana Superintendent John White’s pants.

Not at all an encouraging thought.

Louisiana is not included among the ten states plus DC scheduled to administer the legitimate, Peason-developed PARCC common assessments in Spring 2015. (Read here, and here, and also here for the evidence.)

White has been downplaying this fact before an oblivious media and a stunned Louisiana public– administrators, teachers, and parents alike who have been subtly misled by White to believe that Louisiana is somehow connected to the 2014-15 PARCC common assessments.

It just is not so.

Yet White knows he must concoct some arrangement to test Louisiana students and convince all involved that his 2014-15 testing product is “PARCC-like” in order to keep the “PARCC” ruse alive so that he can try to really get Louisiana into legitimate PARCC in 2015-16. To carry this off, he must enter into a legitimate contract between LDOE and official PARCC test vendor, Pearson. And he must also get past the 2015 legislative session, one in which Louisiana’s continued involvement in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and PARCC promise to be volatile issues.

Then there is Louisiana’s value-added modeling (VAM), which is set to resume possibly in 2015-16— and for which White must have test scores. Even though teachers will not be VAMed in 2014-15, White must have test scores to create a baseline in order to resume using VAM in Louisiana under CCSS.

White applied late for renewal of Louisiana’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver and was granted on December 8, 2014, a temporary, conditional extension until March 31, 2015– with the conditions being largely test-score dependent– teacher and principal evaluation among them.

And let us not forget the school performance scores. Gotta have test scores for that ever-changing game.

So, really, as far as White is concerned, any tests in 2014-15 will do for Louisiana– just slap a “PARCC” label on them and keep offering the public impression that Louisiana is included with other PARCC states in the common assessments– just to buy some critical time.

Meanwhile, someone must write items for Louisiana’s faux-PARCC tests. Surely Pearson isn’t going to donate genuine PARCC items to Louisiana. Moreover, the substitute vendor White is trying to use to develop the Louisiana tests, Data Recognition Corp (DRC), advertises CCSS test items available for spring 2015, but DRC does not advertise “PARCC items” because it has not been awarded the official PARCC consortium contract to do so.

White needs someone to write “PARCC-like items.”

Enter Louisiana’s 2014-15 Teacher Leaders (2013 press release here).

Representatives of Louisiana Teacher Leaders have been involved with the PARCC consortium (see page 3). Evidence of their PARCC promotion can be found in this Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) Teacher Leader library.

So, it is through Louisiana’s Teacher Leaders that White could possibly garner some “PARCC-like items.” Indeed, LDOE has contracted with some of these individuals to write test items.  Consider the following:

LDOE Contracts Approved from 09-24-14 to 11-12-14 for Test Item Writing and Prof Dev’t

The above file includes a number of small contracts. What has my attention are the twelve individuals contracted for $1500 from October 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, to each write eleven test items:

CONTRACTOR WILL PRODUCE & SUBMIT 10 ITEMS SETS FOR PASSAGES WHICH INCLUDE AT LEAST 5 MULTIPLE CHOICE OR EVIDENCE- BASED SELECTIVE RESPONSE ITEMS & 1 PROSE CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE ITEM. FOLLOWING EACH SUBMISSION, THE CONTRACTOR WILL RECEIVE & INCORPORATE FEEDBACK TO REVISE ITEM SETS.(100% FEDERAL FUNDS)

These twelve individuals are Amy Gobert, Brianna Pettijohn, Erica Guillory, John Neal, Karly Kathleen Gelardi, Kelly Parker, Mary Frances Lloyd Register, Patricia Thibodeaux, Robin Villemarette, Ronnie Donn, Sandra Lynn Johnson, and Vicky Lynn Powers. I verified all but one (Sandra Johnson) as a Louisiana Teacher Leader.

Now, it is possible that these teachers have not been told the intended use of the items they write. (I have since learned that they have been told for EAGLE and items have been verified as on EAGLE.) However, in the absence of exact terms of the supposed Louisiana “PARCC” tests, one cannot dismiss the possibility that these EAGLE items might appear on the Louisiana “PARCC” tests. Morover, given the now-obvious absence of a valid contract between LDOE and official PARCC vendor Pearson, and given the obvious need for White to somehow produce a “PARCC-like” knockoff test, and given the fact that Louisiana Teacher Leaders have been involved in the PARCC consortium, well, it is just too much for me to dismiss as improbable that White would not try to pass off these teacher-written items as the token “PARCC” items he needs in order to call DRC-developed 2014-15 Louisiana CCSS assessments “PARCC” tests.

There is also the reality that these item-writing teachers are being paid with “100 percent federal funds,” and PARCC is federally funded consortium. Of course, this introduces the possible problem of White’s using federal money earmarked for PARCC to instead write items for a PARCC farce. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and secondary Education (BESE) should investigate this situation.

BESE is John White’s boss.

A message to BESE:

You are responsible for John White and his PARCC fraud.

You are responsible.

Louisiana needs to permanently ditch not only CCSS and PARCC but test-driven reform altogether. Test-driven reform serves only to incubate fraud, as John White’s actions (and BESE’s complicity) repeatedly demonstrate.

 

UPDATE 12-11-14: Apparently White’s assessment minion termed this post “a complete lie” in a December 10, 2014, Teacher Leaders meeting. Not sure who this person is; however, I am more than willing to be set straight by posting the details of Louisiana’s supposed “PARCC-consortium-developed items.” Also, I heard from one teacher leader who said her items were part of Louisiana EAGLE. But here’s the issue: How can one be sure that White will not use such items on a supposed “PARCC” test? One cannot– unless LDOE produces the details on exactly where the “PARCC-consortium-developed items” are coming from; how exacly LDOE is procuring them, and what LDOE’s plans are for the testing outcomes. All such issues aside, nothing LDOE does at this point alters the fact that Louisiana is not part of the legitimate Pearson-developed PARCC common assessments. Thus, any assessment product White concocts is faux-PARCC, the phrase “PARCC-consortium-developed items” notwithstanding.

For more of my digging on these “PARCC-consortium-developed items,” see this post and also this post.

UPDATE 12-13-14:

See this post on Pearson’s role in PARCC since 2011. No teachers wrote “PARCC-consortium-developed items.” From 2011 to 2014, Louisiana administrators and teachers only reviewed and commented. They did not write.

In order to procure “PARCC-consortium-developed items” outside of a legitimate Pearson contract, there must be a rigged arrangement.

 

john white 3    PARCC

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Like my writing? Read my ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education

 

 

 

14 Comments
  1. Reblogged this on Crazy Crawfish's Blog and commented:
    Mercedes, myself and a few others discussed the implications of these no bid micro-contracts this morning. I don’t expect the majority of BESE that unwaveringly supports John White and all his fraud and malfeasance to reign him in over contracting for a test the approve of anyway. I would hope that Kristy Nichols would take a look at this situation however. Over the summer Nichols and DOA reduced John White’s contracting authority from 20,000 to 2,000 on July 12th to prevent John White from circumventing state procurement laws and procedures for contracting services. If anyone is going to put a halt to this obvious subversion of the Governor’s will and the spirit of the State’s contracting laws it will have to be DOA, Nichols and Jindal. I would contact those folks and let them know what you think about White’s latest scheme and ask them to intervene.

  2. What’s worse is since White and his teacher leaders all love Eureka, they will Eurekify the test to show that Eureka works best as a curriculum.

  3. Mickey permalink

    It is peculiar that there is no letter from the feds posted on the US DOE website saying the ESEA waiver revision is accepted or is conditionally accepted and what those conditions are. 12 people writing 11 items each cannot create even a faux PARCC, and even with all the minions contributing, they can’t pull off a valid or reliable set of tests. There’s no one left at the Claiborne Building who knows much about test design.

    I think the teacher leaders are writing sample items for teachers to use — since the state has been promising those for some time. Six grade levels times 2 subjects (ELA and math) would take 12 contracts.

    There’s some evil work afoot in Baton Rouge, just like there always is, but I don’t think we have enough info to determine the plan.

  4. Mary permalink

    I am one of the contracted teachers mentioned in this post. I can assure you that we are not writing items for any state assessment. The items we are creating are for EAGLE, which is an online assessment tool to help teachers and students prepare for spring assessments. Some of the items that I have personally created have already been loaded into this system. Teachers in Louisiana currently have access to these items and they will not be used on any state test.

    • Mary, thank you for responding. Two items: First, until White comes forward with specifics on where these “PARCC items” are coming from, no one can be really sure that he will not reuse your items (or any others) for some duct-taped PARCC tests. Second, could you offer any information about who might be writing the supposed “PARCC consortium developed items” White plans to use as part of Louisiana’s solo-flight “PARCC” tests? Thanks.

      • Mary permalink

        I can reiterate the fact that the items that are being created are being continuously uploaded to the Eagle system. They are not test-secure items that could be used for state testing. Your questions are laced with biased language and conjecture. I have no interest in that type of discussion. I wanted to simply state the facts related to my work. I am not under any contract related to the spring assessments, so I am not qualified to answer your questions.

      • Thank you, Mary. I appreciate your reply.

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