SAGE Tests Are a Red Herring

Ed. Note: JaKell Sullivan has put together an amazing document helping connect many of the dots between the big players involved in designing a national education system. One of the most important facts below is the Gordon Commission’s report stating that Common Core and its associated assessments are helping challenge the “deeply held belief in local control” of education. Thank you JaKell.

There are three parts to this document. The first is not too long and contains a summary, the second section goes deeper into more resources, and the third are links to other resources.

Utah’s Common Core Tests Are Entering the Next Federal Phase: Stealth, Embedded Assessment

Here’s what every parent should know RIGHT NOW about why you should Opt-Out of Common Core Tests AND aligned-online learning programs!

While Opt-Out of Common Core Testing campaigns are underway all around the country (and ought to be broadly supported by parents in a free society), Common Core’s testing “pilot” is coming to a close. The Federal objective was to use the pilot period of their Race to the Top Assessments Program to gather data on children, schools and districts and to train states on new technology systems—and set them up (and, yes, it was a real set-up) for what’s to come.

Now, Utah is ready to embrace the Next Generation of Assessments. Utah’s legislature is set to pass a bill this session to create a task force to get Utah out of SAGE testing, and a resolution to move us toward the fruition of the federal end-game.

What’s the federal end-game? It’s to get all states—and most importantly, all children in PK-12—using stealth, embedded assessments. These assessments are seamlessly woven into the fabric of the learning environment and are invisible to the user. Gaming companies have been using stealth assessment for quite some time, but they are relatively new to the PK-12 arena, and are now being federally funded.

Parents might ask, “What’s wrong with getting rid of high-stakes tests and using stealth embedded assessments that won’t stress my children out?”

The problem is that the federal government has colluded with global organizations who now have the power to, not only track untold amounts of data (personal information) on your children, but to use that data to control what and how your children learn through “personalized” learning platforms. And, the Feds want to assess much more than “did Johnny know how to add 2+2.” They want to measure what they call 21st Century competencies created by major multinational information technology corporations. These competencies include things like: environmental literacy (ie; does your child have the skills to understand that humans are causing climate change and that we need to solve this “real world” problem through population control?) and global citizenship (ie; does your child have the skills necessary to embrace global citizenship?). If you think this is a stretch, you haven’t gone to the Gates Foundation website lately, or heard him saying this to Germany’s largest newspaper last month, “We need a world government.”

So, what is the Federal Government doing with Bill Gates?

On May 12, 2012, IMS Global Learning Consortium and the SIF Association (the two leading organizations that create industry standards for technology) answered the U.S. Department of Education’s call to support the federal Race to the Top Assessment Program. The two organizations issued a Press Release which announced that they had created the “First Version of the Assessment Interoperabiity Framework” to Expand U.S. Collaboration in interoperable assessments—globally.

IMS Global announced, “IMS is very pleased that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting acceleration of the open architecture for educational innovation that over 270 IMS member organizations around the world have made viable,” said Dr. Rob Abel, Chief Executive of IMS Global. “Achieving 1-click, data-rich connectivity of educational tools, content and apps with institutional systems is a game-changer that is now closer to reality via this grant and the anticipated ongoing collaboration with the [Gates] Foundation.”

When IMS Global says they are working with Gates to achieve “1-click, data-rich connectivity”, it means that they are about to use your child’s student ID like a social security number on steroids. As one friend who’s studied the data-gathering propensities of the federal government put it, “Imagine if anytime you used the internet you could be tracked by a number that not only was linked to your personal identity, but 100s of data points about you. And that most of that information was available to any website that agreed to use the same development standards.”

As mentioned above, 270 IMS member organizations around the world have already agreed to use the federal industry standards, and that number is quickly growing. What tech group, or nation, wants to be left out of the “new economy” being created by Bill Gates?

And, Utah wanted in on the action so much that they were part of the industry standard pilot! IMS Global announced, “To develop an industry standard for accessibility and interoperability of test items, [the] U.S. Department of Education helped fund the “Accessible Portable Item Profile” project. The Minnesota Department of Education led the effort, which included the states: New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah, Montana, Florida, South Carolina, and Maryland as participants and Michigan, Massachusetts, and North Carolina as observers.” APIP “allows for the transfer of assessment content between vendors.”

Question: Do parents have the fundamental right to know where their children’s curriculum and test questions are coming from? Do parents have the fundamental right to know that Utah is ready to help the federal government track our children into workforce tracks like socialized countries? Think the idea of workforce tracks being used in America is ludicrous?…see the Federal/Gates Learning Registries information below in the “more” section.

In May 2012, IMS Global and the SIF Association said that, as they had helped the federally funded SBAC and PARCC fulfill their federal interoperability requirements, they were helping to move states away from outmoded assessments and stood ready to “personalize instruction and leverage centralized professional development resources.”

From information I obtained, the Utah State Office of Education and other stakeholders were invited on a conference call with the Reform Support Network (a U.S. Department of Education network created to “help” states support all the reforms associated with Common Core standards) on Feb. 3, 2015 to aid Utah in the transition to stealth assessment. On the call, they were going to: “identify and eliminate assessments that are redundant or that do not contribute to teaching and learning” and to “identify the quality of assessments and move toward a better balance of question types.”

So, just three years after IMS and SIF’s said they were centralizing things, we see that our State Office of Education is coordinating with the Feds in the process of centralization. Learn more about the federal Assessment Interoperability Framework using Common Education Data Standards here.

What this means is that third parties, along with the federal government, can now control everything happening at the local school level as it pertains to learning—children’s learning and teachers’ learning. And, use that control to enforce almost any other federal reform or learning “intervention” required for children to be college and career ready.

Question: “Why do school districts, schools, teachers and parents, in a free society, willingly allow third parties to collect information about them and then tell them how to behave in order to meet federal mandates?” Doesn’t it appear that we are selling our children into a life of servitude and bondage all because we are unwilling to be self-reliant?

There is MUCH MORE to this article. For those that want to read it, see below. But, for now, suffice it to say, that the Feds have us right where they want us.

Utah parents DO NOT WANT SAGE, and we DO NOT WANT big-data-gathering-tech-companies, being funded by Bill Gates and the Feds, to replace (or morph) SAGE with real-time, adaptable assessments in learning technology. In order to preserve parental rights, parents should demand that our children’s tests be designed and controlled at the school and district level, so that tests are fully transparent to parents. After all, aren’t WE the consumers of educational services in this country? Aren’t we the sole stewards of our children? And, are we accountable to Government or to God in fulfillment of that stewardship?

STOP Utah’s legislature from creating a Task Force to further grow K-12 stealth assessments. (Contact your legislators and Task Force Sponsor Senator Howard Stephenson in DROVES and tell them “WE DO NOT WANT THIS FEDERALLY-MOTIVATED TASK FORCE IN UTAH!”

STEPHENSON’S EMAIL: / PHONE: 801-572-1038)


STOP Utah’s legislature from supporting a resolution to use K-12 stealth assessments. (Contact Utah’s House members and Resolution Sponsor Rep. Marie Poulson in DROVES and tell them “WE DO NOT WANT stealth assessments in Utah’s K-12 ed system without parental disclosure and opt-in requirements!”

POULSON’S EMAIL: / PHONE: 801-942-5390


STAND for parental rights!

STAND for our children and our children’s children!

STAND so that your posterity will know that you loved them with all your heart!


UACC Opt Out


Stealth learning platforms and assessments (platforms and assessments that operate in real-time within the technology without a child knowing it) foster an education system where parents will have very little control over what our children learn and what they are tested on. Meta-data can be tracked through every key stroke, as well as facial expressions and behaviors through computer cameras, etc. And, the data collected from our children’s learning platforms will be used to control what and how their teachers teach, as well as what federal mandates will be placed on teachers and schools in order to make individual children “college and career ready.” (I used the word “make” because that’s exactly what the Feds are trying to do….force outcomes). The federal mandates will require “Response to Intervention” as well as redistribution of taxes and resources to aid centralization of our education system—and to profit the crony capitalists in bed with big government. (American Institutes for Research (AIR) controls Utah’s SAGE tests and is also in charge of the US Department of Education’s “Response to Intervention” program. So, whether SAGE exists or not, the data AIR collects through learning and assessment platforms will control what schools and teachers have to do to comply with federal mandates.

Here’s some background:

The US Department of Education, with funding funneled through the Education Testing Service, created the Gordon Commission to develop policy guidelines to help state legislatures change their education technology policies to align with Common Core Standards Metadata Requirements’—and to push states toward using stealth assessments.

(see Graphic #1 below)

Two key members of the Gordon Commission are President Obama’s former education policy advisor Linda Darling-Hammond, who was originally responsible for creating content specs for Common Core tests, and former governor Bob Wise. Bob Wise helped found Digital Learning Now with former Governor, and GOP Presidential candidate Jeb Bush. Digital Learning Now is profiting off of federal and state tech reform policies and Utah’s legislature is leading the charge in implementing all 10 of their digital learning policies.

The Gordon Commission published a report that said, “The Common Core Standards, and the rethinking of assessments that they are fostering, provide an opportunity to challenge [the] deeply held belief in local control.” Translation: “Parental rights mean nothing to us. We want to control what your children learn through stealth assessment and we are going to use your tax dollars to do it. Local boards will operate as subsidiaries of the Federal administration and eventually be regionalized so that we can further erode your local tax systems.”

The federal government funded the ConnectEd Initiative to replace textbooks within 5 years and simultaneously, the US Department of Education joined forces with IMS Global Learning Consortium and Bill Gates to fund open-coding specs for technology and learning companies. They used the Race to the Top Assessments program to get most tech and software companies to adopt open-free license coding specs that are interoperable across platforms—some nations have already adopted the specs.

IMS Global’s goal is to “Advance Learning Impact by Enabling the Open Foundation for Seamless, Agile and Information-Rich Educational Technology Integration.” Pearson wrote a Request for Information Response for the US Department of Education regarding which assessment programs the Feds should fund via Race to the Top Assessments (RTTA) to support this “seamless integration.” Their report states, “The RTTA program and state consortia adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have identified interoperability as essential in helping to maintain the feasibility and affordability of next-generation assessments.” It should be noted that Pearson plans to take over the United Nation’s PISA tests (tests that compare nations to each other) in 2018.

It should also be noted that the groups over Utah’s testing—American Institutes for Research and Bill Gates’ MeasuredProgress—have both adopted IMS Global’s interoperability specs, see member affiliate list here. (The USOE signed a contract with Bill Gates’ MeasuredProgress in 2009.)

IMS Global talks about a single student login like this:

“Achieving single sign-on and an overall seamless experience for students and teachers is a key foundational step for interoperable assessments across formative and summative environments….The open IMS platform of standards features the Learning Information Services (LIS) standard and Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, both of which work in tandem with these federated identity solutions to enable single sign-on and reporting relative to specific individuals as required LIS and LTI focus on the data and service exchanges among cooperating learning related systems, such as assessment systems, learning management platforms, student systems, and learning tools.”

Page 37 of IMS Global’s report to the U.S. Department of Education entitled, “IMS Response to Assessment Standards RFI”, shows that they need Common Core standards to facilitate meta-data collection.



IMS Global is piloting an educational GPS system that operates just like the GPS on our phones and in our cars. It’s called EPS (yes, it’s meant to sound like GPS), or Educational Positioning System. IMS Global describes it like this, “As with a GPS system, there must be a way to compare the current position (student progress) with a starting point (past academic accomplishments) and destination (future educational goal).”

They published an online call to tech companies and encouraged them to become part of regional data clusters to begin pooling the data they collect so that it can be further centralized. In the call, they explain that “this EPS concept was put forth by President Obama released an Executive Letter from the Whitehouse which is posted on StudentAlignment or “EPS” Website. The President’s letter is entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Education Data For All Americans” and can be found here. Here is a student review of the EPS System and how it can create a student’s Learning Registry. President Obama’s letter highlights progress being made with the Learning Registry.

What’s the Learning Registry?

IMS Global’s website states, “the IMS Instructional Innovation through Interoperability Leadership Council (I3LC) of school districts and states has recently published a position paper that attempts to put some of the myriad projects and investments made in the last few years in the U.S. by the Gates Foundation into perspective. These initiatives include the Learning Registry (initially funded by the U.S. government, later by Gates), LRMI (Learning Resource Metadata Initiative) and SLC (Shared Learning Collaborative), now InBloom. These projects all share the notion that learning objects or progress can be referenced back to a common set of educational standards, and are generally complimentary, and perhaps even dependent upon success of the Common Core.” [note to reader: Although inBloom is defunct, IMS Global touts what they’ve done right and what inBloom did wrong].

So, lucky Utah, our Governor still thinks Common Core Standards have nothing to do with federal reforms, meanwhile, President Obama and internationalists are clearly using them to create Learning Registries on our children so that they will know what our children are learning and thinking at every step of the way through their education and beyond. Sounds exactly like the system needed to get our children into socialist-style workforce tracks. Ask yourselves again, “Why do Bill Gates’ kids attend a private school that does not use Common Core standards or aligned-assessments?” It seems obvious that we are creating a class system: some families will be workers and their tax dollars will be used to fund the companies of the elites who receive non-standardized educations.

Here’s a graphic from IMS Global about the US government/Gates Learning Registries. LOOK AT ALL THE DATA POINTS THAT CAN BE TIED TOGETHER FROM BIRTH TO WORKFORCE. It creates quite a profile on children and their families.

Click for full size

As mentioned above, Utah is an IMS Global APIP (e-assessment interoperability standard) Leader state:

“APIP: States & Suppliers Collaborating to Revolutionize Assessment”

“APIP has been under evaluation by both SBAC and PARCC since December 2010. The recent SBAC architectural analysis has indicated a key role for APIP. PARCC is currently performing its architectural analysis. The U.S. Department of Education performed an extensive analysis of interoperability standards for assessment in early 2011 that highlighted APIP as a good fit for the needs of RTTA.”

IMS Global lists Utah’s involvement in APIP:

“Q. What efforts have been under taken to build accessibility standards for assessment content?
 Recent technological advances and the growing importance of—and unique demands inherent in— assessment drove efforts to increase the accessibility of test content for all students, illustrated for example by the requirements for the U.S. Federal Department of Education’s (USED) Race to the Top Assessment Program. To develop an industry standard for accessibility and interoperability of test items, USED funded the Accessible Portable Item Protocol (APIP) project. The Minnesota Department of Education led the effort, which included the states: New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah, Montana, Florida, South Carolina, and Maryland as participants and Michigan, Massachusetts, and North Carolina as observers. National interoperability and accessibility experts provided technical support. In December 2010 the team released the first version of the APIP standard, intended to make assessment content portable between systems and accessible to a wide range of students.”

Page 11 and 12 of IMS Global’s Report to the US Department of Education reads:

“The conformance matrix shown at the above URL is also significant because it relates to the critical issue of supporting assessment interoperability throughout an “integrated system of instruction and assessment” which is required to support the balanced assessment requirements of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and achieve the potential of Race to the Top Assessments. In order to achieve use of interoperable assessments throughout formative, summative, and intervention strategies, interoperability must go beyond item and test interoperability. Diverse digital learning content and applications must provide interoperable results reporting that enables a diagnostic student record created from data that comes from a wide range of formative and summative tools. And, interventions must adapt based on the same interoperable data.

The range of interoperability requirements to support the Common Core and the Race to the Top Assessments projects are depicted in the following series of three figures.”

Here are the graphics from Page 11 and 12. It’s clear that there are a myriad of ways that embedded assessments can collect data on our children.



Everything at the local school level will be controlled by third parties and international organizations using stealth assessments to centralize and synthesize data collection (I’ll leave the reader to surmise who).


These global organizations will:

  • Track your children’s metadata through learning and assessment programs


  • Build data profiles on your children from preK-career (and into the workforce)


  • Send real-time feedback to teachers to control what learning “interventions” your child will undergo (making sure those interventions will pad the pockets of those crony companies in bed with the federal government)


  • Make it impossible for parents or local schools to understand who’s controlling the data that parents, teachers and local schools must comply with, and what kind of data is being collected


  • Potentially, and most-likely, push our children towards a globalist mindset where families, parents and individual rights are undermined so that children will support collectivist strategies for solving “real world” problems, ie; global government





Even More Resources:

Pearson admits IMS Global tied to Common Core:


IMS Global Announces Inspiring Action to Transform Education:

“Digital Assessment Transformation: Get the latest on the rapid transition to digital assessment for both summative and formative purposes and the integration of assessment systems and data with learning platforms. ”


Technical working group members of the “Learning Resource Metadata Initiative” (LRMI) include Microsoft, Gates Foundation, IMS Global, and of course, Creative Commons.


IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces Pilot Project Exploring Creative Commons Licensing of Interoperability Specification


Contributing Members, Affiliates, and Alliance Participants include: MeasuredProgress, AIR, ACT, SBAC, Pearson, etc.

MeasuredProgress, AIR, ACT



Efficient and Descriptive Learning Object Metadata: And Essential Component of K12 Instructional Reform:



2015 Leadership Opportunities in IMS Global Learning Consortium:

Here are a few quotes:


” 1-click integration of educational apps. ”


“…syncing student information between SIS systems and learning systems,”


“…better support for assistive technology and serving as an actual rendering format (versus just an interoperability format – which is what QTI is) for the range of devices supported via the web. They are calling this aQTI. Some long time contributors, such as Educational Testing Service, along with some newer IMS Global member organizations, like Dutch Exam Board, Cito, TAO, NWEA and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium are leading the way on all of this.” (So, Stealth assessment was the plan all along)


“…get to the next generation educational content interoperability. In less than one year we went from an exploratory meeting (hosted by Pearson) to an implementable draft specification”


“…defining and authorizing a more robust set of outcomes or achievements beyond grades”




Big Districts Demand Interoperability Standards:



IMS Global’s Learning Analytics:


5 thoughts on “SAGE Tests Are a Red Herring”

  1. Jakell,
    I appreciate the depth of information you have placed here.
    I am a teacher and I am trying my hardest to do the best I can.
    Have you considered the benefits of testing in helping educators address the needs of their students and in improving their practice?
    I am all for state/local control of education. How can we get the same level of data about what the students have learned without sacrificing our local control?
    Those test, while repellent to some, provide very valuable feedback to me as an educator that helps me to understand how my students are learning (or not learning) what I am trying to teach them.
    I, like so many other fine Utah educators, am just trying to do the best I can to build young people that have a good base of facts and a better ability to use those facts to think for themselves.
    Thank you for how much you care about the education of our students and the future of our country.


    1. Nate, my reply to your question is that if the data was solely kept at the local level and only used by the teachers, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I know how helpful it is to have feedback, and the purpose of quizzes and tests is to assess what’s being retained and learned. However, SAGE results and even more than that is stored in both a state and federal database where behavioral and psychometric data is kept on children using hundreds of data points and they are talking about collecting millions of data points on children to create profiles of them. AIR’s servers are in Washington DC which every child logs into to take their tests. They are a behavioral research company. Here are a couple articles that go into more depth. So to me, it’s not that our kids take a test, although SAGE is far too intrusive and long a test for young children, but it’s about the data collection and what’s being done with it and the potential for what it can be used for.

  2. Oak,
    Thanks for the quick response.
    I appreciate the links. I am doing more research on AIR.
    As a teacher, I have obviously been involved in the administration of these tests. As part of that, I circulate throughout the room while the children are testing. I have seen the questions that are asked and I haven’t seen any questions that ask anything about something other than what was taught in the class during the year. How are they obtaining the other information?
    The adaptive tests are a terrific tool for assessing the depth of knowledge that a student has. It is useful because it gives questions that let me see how much a student has synthesized the information taught.
    The UTIPS system was useful but not nearly as useful as what we have been given with the adaptive system. How can we get that same tool minus the intrusion?
    I’m trying to understand because I want to have the best tools for helping my students but agree that we should have local control of that info and that parents should be kept abreast of what I am teaching and assessing their students on.
    Thanks Oak.


  3. Nate, Thanks for your heartfelt questions.

    I see great difficulty in restoring local testing control unless more parents start taking an active interest in the policy decisions that affect their children. This whole fight has made me keenly aware of just how many Utah parents (who consider themselves anxiously engaged in parenting) have abdicated their rightful role as stewards over what their children are taught and who controls their children’s tests.

    Race To The Top helped the Obama administration seize control of the International exams called PISA; the national exams called NAEP (Senator Hatch called Arne out for this); the state exams called Pearson (or PARCC) & AIR (or SBAC); the district exams like SAT, ACT, Career and Tech Ed; and as I exposed above, the online classroom exams that teachers will use to make sure their students are excelling at the standard benchmarks. So, if schools and teachers are held accountable to the test scores, than we have no local control. I don’t see any testing group in the country who won’t be using the Common Education Data Standards because they will lose out on market share. The President has successfully created a federal oligarchy over testing—thereby, controlling what will be taught. The end-goal for Race To The Top was to get every child online so that real-time assessments can control learning. Computer Adaptive learning is not creative learning which ensures that new answers and new ideas can be found in enlightened ways and through divine inspiration. Computer Adaptive learning is a way of controlling learning (think Pavlov and Skinner) so that a certain outcome can be reached.

    The Obama administration and it’s crony partners want Open Data. (Please read these two items from Bill Gates’ KnowledgeWorks to understand that Race To The Top was devised to drive states/districts/schools/students into personalized, adaptive learning). They have created the Open Data Initiative to make sure that America’s citizens in government, schools, and families start looking to data to make decisions about everything—including what our children learn. Why would they want us to foster a love of data? Because data can be manipulated. It’s probably THE most effective tool at controlling the masses because you can get buy-in from “stakeholders” at all levels of the community around specified (fake) talking points. Meanwhile, most parents are unaware of how the data will drive their children towards secularism. Charles Krauthammer recently said, “The rise of secularism directly corresponds to the rise of science.” I agree.

    I recently listened to a girl from South Korea (who is 17 years old and here as an exchange student) talk about how South Koreans excel at testing, but don’t learn to “become” a better person. They know how to amass degrees, but don’t know that family is important or that learning is about personal growth and finding ones personal mission. She is hear being taught at a Christian school and said that she had never read an entire book before because over there they are only taught to complete “the standard.” Once here—reading whole works of literature—she realized that she had been deprived of real knowledge and an ability to see her place in history. Common Core is designed after the South Korean education model. In a state like Utah, we should see what this will mean for religious liberty.

    I believe that the fight for our children’s educations is the most crucial battle in preserving religious liberty. When the P21 Skills (behaviors, values, beliefs) identified by the Feds and their cronies are what they are tracking in student learning in real-time online, then they will turn our children away from God and toward science—moral relativism will ensue. Our children will be unable to make correct decisions because their will be no truth, only pseudo-data-controlled-science.

    If more teachers understood that the adaptive tests (never before used broadly in K-12) were federally devised to control teachers and students, as opposed to truly educate children, we would see an exodus from public schools. Walking around the testing center to see if there are questions that arouse suspicion is like looking at a child’s toe to see why his throat hurts. There will be no “fire” that tells teachers that they and their students are being boiled. There will only be more “data based decision making” that will control every one and every thing, and each generation of teachers will have less and less understanding of America’s history, less ability to be self-reliant (relying on the spirit), and more desire to have all their teaching resources given to them online.

    I realize that there are great technological tools that can help us in wonderful ways, but, under a federal oligarchy, these tools have the potential to control what our children are exposed to—to change their perceptions and to make them think about life in terms of civil rights instead of personal responsibility. Will they learn about how to fulfill their life’s mission, or will they learn to jump through Pavlov’s hoops?

    I would sincerely like to help more local school board members realize that children, families and teachers are about to witness a supreme loss of agency and religious liberty with Obama’s testing takeover. Wanna help me?

    If districts tried to find a test outside of the federally-synched tests, they would find very few. But, maybe if one district gave that little, independent, freedom-loving testing guy the opportunity to help us restore local education control, then we’d have a shot at preserving religious liberty because those children could be taught to value true learning. Those children would end up being the children who save our country.

    1. Sorry. Here are the two Policy Briefs I mentioned above from Bill Gates’ KnowledgeWorks that show that Race To The Top was designed to drive schools and students into personalized learning. When we hear that phrase going forward, we should all realize what it really means in our current system—indoctrination. I would really like to talk to you further about these documents if you have the chance to read them.

      Thanks again!

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