Why I love computer adaptive testing

Short post by Jared Carman who helps articulate our position on computer adaptive testing.

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OK, I don’t love them. But I don’t hate them either. The problem with the SAGE tests is not the technology. It’s that the technology is being used by Big Business, Big Government, and Big Philanthropy to marginalize and usurp parental authority in education

Parents have the natural, and Constitutionally-protected primary role to direct the education of their own children. SAGE tests are a powerful cog in the centralized education machine: SAGE content is based on standards created by the CCSSO and the NGA; SAGE technology and databases are owned by AIR, a proud arm of UNESCO; and the whole centralized education movement is driven by USDE mandates/incentives/waivers.

We need to re-discover the “genius of small.” If vegetables and fruits are better grown locally, so are our children’s minds and hearts.

With the SAGE tests, 99.99% of Utah parents are locked out of SAGE test question development and review. After hours and hours of testing, every child finishes with a grade of 50%. Databases are filled with student data, visible to AIR and to the education elites, but parents are never given feedback in any useful form. The tests serve no purpose for students or parents, and exist only to serve the goals of whoever controls the centralized education machine.

A nail gun is a powerful tool that makes building houses very efficient. But a nail gun in the hands of a small child is unthinkable. Likewise, computer adaptive testing, and associated data gathering, are extremely powerful tools, that can help make learning more efficient. But allowing politicians and social engineers to wield these tools, in shaping our children’s minds and hearts, is unthinkable.

I am my kids’ dad, and I OPPOSE the SAGE tests.

Jared Carman

3 thoughts on “Why I love computer adaptive testing”

  1. Jared. You are a true warrior Dad. Thank you for clarifying that it’s not technology that out to be opposed, but the control. I would like to add that the next phase for testing will be formative assessments embedded in the technology, so that district personal will not be able to give parents a guarantee that our children’s data is safe. Former Governors Jeb Bush and Bob Wise started Digital Learning Now in order to support the policy push toward personal computers for every child so that a “rethinking of assessment” could take place. The Gordon Commission (of which Bob Wise is a member) had this to say about Common Core, “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.” To paraphrase a wise mom, “We don’t need data to reach high education standards. Third parties need national standards so they can compare, collect and profit from our children’s data.”

  2. Excellent article! And a good point to bring up, one which I hadn’t thought of. The technology is awesome, but its purpose is not. No need to say more!

  3. Computer-adaptive testing is an amazing tool, but it’s not amazing when used for testing–it’s amazing only when used for teaching.

    As a teacher I have issues with the following:
    1. The computer “adapts” to the answers given by a student, directing each student to a different question based on their answer to the previous question. For example, Student A answers question #1 as “C” while Student B answers the same question as “D”. Based on their answers, the computer gives them each a different question #2. This is blatantly unfair as NO TWO STUDENTS ARE TAKING OR BEING GRADED ON THE SAME TEST.

    2. As the computer “adapts” to the student’s answers, it offers progressively more difficult questions until the student can’t answer them because s/he hasn’t learned the concept. As a result, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR A STUDENT TO SCORE 100% ON A TEST EVEN THOUGH S/HE MAY KNOW THE MATERIAL FLAWLESSLY. Students are set up for failure.

    3. Teachers have no KNOWLEDGE OF OR CONTROL OVER the test questions.

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