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Diane Ravitch’s Blog: Who is Grading Common Core Tests? It is Worse Than You Thought

Motoko Rich of the Néw York Times answered the question deftly. Peter Greene says she gave a “master class in how to let the subjects of a story make themselves look ridiculous.”

Most of the graders have never been teachers. We know that Pearson and other testing companies hire test graders from Craigslist and Kelly Temps.

Rich writes:

“On Friday, in an unobtrusive office park northeast of downtown here [San Antonio], about 100 temporary employees of the testing giant Pearson worked in diligent silence scoring thousands of short essays written by third- and fifth-grade students from across the country.

“There was a onetime wedding planner, a retired medical technologist and a former Pearson saleswoman with a master’s degree in marital counseling. To get the job, like other scorers nationwide, they needed a four-year college degree with relevant coursework, but no teaching experience. They earned $12 to $14 an hour, with the possibility of small bonuses if they hit daily quality and volume targets.”

My favorite lines in Rich’s story (and Peter’s too) are these:

“At times, the scoring process can evoke the way a restaurant chain monitors the work of its employees and the quality of its products.

“From the standpoint of comparing us to a Starbucks or McDonald’s, where you go into those places you know exactly what you’re going to get,” said Bob Sanders, vice president of content and scoring management at Pearson North America, when asked whether such an analogy was apt.

“McDonald’s has a process in place to make sure they put two patties on that Big Mac,” he continued. “We do that exact same thing. We have processes to oversee our processes, and to make sure they are being followed.”

So, if you want test scoring by readers who are paid by volume, who are not teachers, and who are trained like employees of McDonald’s and Starbucks, the results of Common Core testing should please you.

Don’t you wonder whether this madness is done on purpose to drive parents out of public schools and make them desperate to find an alternative to be free of mass-produced teaching and testing?

The best way to stop it is to refuse the test. Opt out. Take control away from Pearson, PARCC, and the privatizers. Make the machine grind to a halt.

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Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and a historian of education. She is the Co-Founder and President of the Network for Publi...