I received this as a response the following day:
I was satisfied for the time being as I had other concerns I was attending to, but a Montello teacher, Emily Kennedy Talmage, also saw the ad. We started discussing it. She was particularly concerned that her students, who were working so hard to make gains in their writing this year, would not have their work scored by the most qualified scorers. This concern for her students spurred her to do some research.
First, Emily found an article in Ed Week that connects Smarter Balanced with Measurement Incorporated, the company in the ad.
"McGraw-Hill Education CTB, for instance, told Education Week it is relying on seven subcontractors to help with a $53.7 million Smarter Balanced contract that includes test-item development, review of items, scoring, checking alignment with standards, and project management. The subcontractors include not only individuals providing consulting, but companies and organizations such as the AIR; the Data Recognition Corp., of Maple Grove, Minn.; and Measurement Incorporated, of Durham, N.C."
Next, Emily found the following on the Maine DOE's web site.Who is handscoring?
Individual school staff are being trained to hand-score that component of the interims. The hand-scoring for the summative is being performed by AIR’s sub-vendor, Measurement Incorporated.
Suddenly, my concerns were more than I could express in a tweet. Even though the Maine DOE had said "no," our tests are not scored like this, that didn't seem to be the case. I emailed both of the texts presented above to Samantha Warren. She was out of the office, but responded the following day with this:
"Now that I am back in the office, I wanted to follow-up with you on how constructed responses to the State assessment, which was developed by teachers including dozens from Maine, are scored. As in the past, answers are scored anonymously by educated (four-year degree or higher) specially trained and monitored raters, which often include many educators (a solicitation targeting Maine teachers will go out soon I am told).
While Ms Warren's response was certainly respectful, it did not change the following:
- The initial response from the Maine DOE on twitter and this email do not match. That calls into question for me just how valid the assertion that teachers were meaningfully involved in the writing of the exam as well as that it will be scored in Maine.
- How can we let non-educators be the work force scoring these exams? Not only does that seems disrespectful to the hard work of students, but it is also disrespectful to the hard work of teachers and the schools as they will also be judged on these scores.
- Ms Warren says that this is how the exams have been scored previously. However, I saw a Maine teacher comment online that when she scored MEA's it was a three day weekend at USM and the scorers were all teachers. Also, the scorers were not paid, but received professional development credits. That is quite a different picture to me.
- Ms Warren did not provide any documentation showing that Maine tests are not shipped off to Detroit to be scored by the very people hired by this ad.
- Craigslist is not the proper venue for posting a professional job such as this, in my opinion. Teaching jobs in Maine aren't posted there but on Serving Schools; why would scoring be any different?
This finding is just another reason these tests are not right for our students. Best practices are being ignored by politicians and corporations making these decisions.