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ERIC Number: ED565741
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Fordham Institute's Pretend Research. Policy Brief
Phelps, Richard P.
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute has released a report, "Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments," ostensibly an evaluative comparison of four testing programs, the Common Core derived SBAC and PARCC, ACT's Aspire, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' MCAS. Of course, anyone familiar with Fordham's past work knew beforehand which tests would win. Richard Phelps calls this latest Fordham Institute Common Core apologia, not so much research as a caricature of it and presents 5 arguments for this perspective: (1) Instead of referencing a wide range of relevant research, Fordham references only friends from inside their echo chamber and others paid by the Common Core's wealthy benefactors; (2) Instead of evaluating tests according to the industry standard "Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing," or any of dozens of other freely-available and well-vetted test evaluation standards, guidelines, or protocols used around the world by testing experts, they employ "a brand new methodology" specifically developed for Common Core, for the owners of the Common Core, and paid for by Common Core's funders; (3) Instead of suggesting as fact only that which has been rigorously evaluated and accepted as fact by skeptics, the authors continue the practice of Common Core salespeople of attributing benefits to their tests for which no evidence exists; (4) Instead of addressing any of the many sincere, profound critiques of their work, as confident and responsible researchers would do, the Fordham authors tell their critics to go away--"If you don't care for the standards…you should probably ignore this study" (p. 4); and (5) Instead of writing in neutral language as real researchers do, the authors adopt the practice of coloring their language as so many Common Core salespeople do, attaching nice-sounding adjectives and adverbs to what serves their interest, and bad-sounding words to what does not. [To access the Thomas B. Fordham report: "Evaluating the Content and Quality of Next Generation Assessments," see ED565742.]
Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. 185 Devonshire Street, Boston, MA 02110. Tel: 617-723-2277; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research, Center for School Reform
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System