I received this thoughtful commentary from a teacher.
"I wanted to pass along to you a Craigslist link that was shared with me yesterday.
Craigslist's ad is looking for standardized test scorers (Test Evaluators):
The link on the Craigslist site: www.kellyservices.us/ctb takes you to another website at Kelly Services hiring on behalf of CTB McGraw Hill (which writes our state standardized test) in Indianapolis, IN/Lake Mary, FL/Sacramento, CA. (Yes, take a deep breath, they are advertising on Craigslist.)
There are job description and work schedule explanations. The compensation is $11.05/hour. It is very difficult to reconcile how much time we are spending on the following: interpretation of standards, unpacking standards, teaching and assessing standards mastery, writing our own assessments because there aren't any resources for the Indiana standards that were unveiled in July.
It is difficult to reconcile because this culminates in an on-the-spot, on-demand, timed scenario for children ages 8-15 who are evaluated by someone who is paid $11.05/hour and knows that child only by a number. I can tell you which children have mastered the standard and which have not mastered the standard before they ever take the ISTEP+ test. I have no doubt that my colleagues can do the same.
Please understand that I am not opposed to high and rigorous standards. I am not opposed to testing or assessment. They serve a purpose and they are very useful for me as a classroom teacher. It helps me help my students, but I don't think I can make educationally sound decisions knowing that someone with any four-year college degree and "knowledge of standard writing conventions and mechanics" is being paid $11.05 an hour to score test answers for children who are nothing more than a number and words on a computer screen.
My concerns and questions are:
This is just another example in the quagmire that has become the profit-driven test mania on the backs of children. Part of this quagmire is indeed the company that writes, scores and holds the pass key to funding, public scrutiny and perception, and the future educational choices of students, but also part of that quagmire are individuals who are part of an agenda.
I also found it interesting that Western Governors University (http://indiana.wgu.edu/education/online_teaching_degree) developed by governors across the country and brought to Indiana by Mitch Daniels, funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, and a training ground for teacher licensing is completely "competency-based" via assessments written by Pearson and CTB McGraw-Hill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Governors_University). Competency-based assessments is their methodology. It most likely is not a coincidence that President Mitch Daniels of Purdue University is doubling down on the faculty of Purdue to require a standardized test for all Purdue graduates. This multiple-choice standardized thinking will continue to choke the K-12 schools as they begin the cultivation of a new era of standardized testing in the state college system."
Diane Ravitch has actually written about our Craigslist ISTEP scorers issue on her blog. And there have been many articles written about the business of scoring these exams.
If any of you can help find some of the answers to the questions raised by this teacher and can write about it, it seems that now would be a good time to expose the nature of how scores are determined! Share with your legislator and write a letter to the editor. Speak up. As we keep saying, this is about the money, not the kids.