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PARCC CEO to Prof Who Posts “Live” Test Items: Reveal Your Informant

May 13, 2016

Email from PARCC CEO Laura Slover, sent to me and others by Prof. Celia Oyler, who writes at celiaoyler.wordpress.com and who published a post referencing three “live” PARCC test items for grade 4:

5/12/16

Dear Professor Oyler:

I am writing to respectfully request that you remove all of the material reproduced from the PARCC assessments reproduced your blog post of May 7, 2016, which was called to our attention at https://celiaoyler.wordpress.com/2016/05/07/the-parcc-test-exposed/.

Parcc, Inc. is the owner of all intellectual property contained in the various PARCC assessments (other than third party literary excepts, for which we have reprint permission), including the essay prompts you have posted. Those prompts are protected by copyright. In addition, the materials are treated as confidential information as they are “live” test questions; indeed, the teacher who furnished you with the material stated in her essay that he or she had breached a written undertaking not to reveal any of the material and wished to avoid personal responsibility for having done so.

Your reproduction of those items infringe the Parcc, Inc. copyrights in the test, amplify the teacher’s breach of confidentiality, and threaten the utility of the assessments, both as their administration is completed over the next few weeks and in versions of the assessment to be administered in the future.

We have noted that a number of websites have linked to your site, further undermining the utility of the assessments.  As an infringer, you can be held personally liable for the damages incurred by Parcc, Inc. and those who have contributed financially to the creation and validation of the assessments, including without limitation the possible need, not only to create replacement items, but to create and revalidate new test forms.

We also request that you provide whatever information you have as to the identity of the teacher who breached the confidentiality obligation and the school and/or school district in which the breach occurred.

Parcc, Inc. is prepared to waive claims against you for damages based on the infringement and/or breach of the test security, provided that you remove the offending material and turn over to us any information you may have about the teacher who supplied you with the material you posted on your blog, both within the next 24 hours.

If you are interested in examining PARCC questions, you can view over 800 released questions from the spring 2015 tests that show the breadth and depth of the kinds of questions on the PARCC assessments. Transparency is one of the hallmarks of PARCC, as is teacher engagement. That is why every PARCC question and every reading passage has been reviewed in confidence by educators from across the country who sign off on their quality and appropriateness.

You are certainly free to discuss the merits of the PARCC assessments in a public forum and/or advocate against the use of those assessments, provided that in doing so, you do not reveal any of the content of the secure tests themselves.

Please confirm that you will remove the content.

Sincerely,

Laura Slover

CEO

slover  Laura Slover

celia oyler  Celia Oyler

Oyler has removed the items as per PARCC’s request.

As for Oyler’s delivering to PARCC the name of the teacher and school/school district: That has not happened to my knowledge.

For information on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), including the “safe harbor” provision, see here and here.

____________________________________________________________

Coming June 24, 2016, from TC Press:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Stay tuned.

 

***

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

25 Comments
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    This is chilling, even if legal.

    So, are the photos of these two people also protected by copyright? Trademarked and so on?

    In all candor, I stopped giving conference presentations in national contexts when the sponsors demanded the right to post the presentation with all visuals on the Internet, which would have required copyright clearances for images selected for educational value and not intended for circulation beyond that one time use.

  2. PARCC should be required to reveal the names of the test developers who felt this was an appropriate test for 4th graders.

    • booklady permalink

      The PARCC CEO cites the educators from across the nation who reviewed every passage. They all concurred that passages 2+ years above grade level were appropriate?

  3. I’m open to any suggestions from lawyers and otherwise knowledgeable people about if I should pursue this as a free use issue.

  4. Courtney Quinn Jones permalink

    Sure makes it look like PARCC is hiding a lot–why go to the extent of threatening to sue? She calls it a “request”?

  5. PARCC-it permalink

    Celia- unfortunately it is not a free use issue. It is PARCC’s IP.

    • I disagree. It is a legitimate topic of public discussion, and the excerpted text is fair use incorporated in a derivative work. Slover is using the threat of a SLAPP lawsuit to suppress Oyler’s speech. No, I am not a lawyer. Oyler has no obligation related to confidentiality.

  6. Seems the question is moot now and the ball is in Slover’s court to pursue. The original post has been saved and shared widely. Questions in my mind: where will the money come from Slover’s team to litigate? As a non-profit financed mostly with public dollars, how will that decision be made? How will Slover et al defend the copyright of test questions that they publish to millions of students? How will they defend the oath of secrecy these students are compelled to sign? How will the states that use these tests for high stakes defend the validity and reliability of the test under scrutiny? Where in the PARCC contract does it stipulate responsibility for breaches of confidentiality? State Chiefs signed the contract, not teachers or students. I don’t believe for one minute Slover will sue but I would love be to see it go to court.

  7. Not a lawyer, but I believe the first amendment grants freedom of the press for matters of public interest. To meet this bar, the blogger would have to convince a court that the public’s right to know about flawed test items trumps the contractual gag order. The court may ask if permission was requested first, but that would mostly be a courtesy/formality as its obvious Parcc would say no.

    It should bother all of us that our tax dollars were “privatized” this way, granting copyright to a corporation who then threatens teachers, students and citizen journalists with fines and imprisonment.

    Another question for the digital age is what would happen if one person put scans of the whole test online anonymously as a protest? Would they invalidate it? Re-administer it? One thing for sure is they would vigorously pursue the person. But the idea that we have so much money and man hours invested in something so vulnerable is worrisome.

    • Classroom Teacher permalink

      Vulnerable, but at the same time worthless. Too bad corporations and politicians can’t (won’t) put this kind of time and money into programs that actually help students, teachers and parents.

      PARCC (all privatization really) is a colossal waste on so many fronts.

  8. Frustrated mom permalink

    Can I copyright my child’s answers to the test so her data is as protected as their test questions?

  9. Ken Watanabe permalink

    “PARCC CEO” must be a C.R.A.Ppy job since it gives her an entitlement to pretend to be a certified lawyer(or scrivener) by stalking persons who are against standardized testing.

    • Ken Watanabe permalink

      Dang it! I forgot a letter “C” for the prefix: C.C.R.A.P.

  10. First, what if a student divulges a test question? What does PARC/Pearson do then?

    Second, doesn’t it seem that this entire notion of standardized tests has gotten way out of hand?

    What happened to taking a test and then finding out what answers you got wrong?

    Not only is the student in the dark along with the teacher and parent but then the scores don’t come back for 6 months. Then there is the question of either CCS test being valid and reliable.

    The PARCC and SBAC are both useless and an expensive waste of time and resources.

    Dora

    • There is also the issue of human vs. computer scoring. I don’t know if PARCC is using computers to score essays, but that would be worth looking into.

  11. Accurately yes. Precisely, no.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Excerpts deleted under legal threat from PARCC. | Fred Klonsky
  2. PARCC on the March | Diane Ravitch's blog
  3. An Open Letter to PARCC CEO Laura Slover | deutsch29
  4. The Long Arm of the PARCC? | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.
  5. PARCC CEO to Prof Who Posts “Live” Test Items: Reveal Your Informant – Cloaking Inequity
  6. The First Rule of Test Club is We Don’t Talk About Test Club | gadflyonthewallblog

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