Teaching Experience? Who Needs Teaching Experience?

Students in Computer Lab --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisAS IF we needed more news to make us even more uneasy with the Common Core Assessment Consortia, consider this article from the New York Times about Pearson who is the sole vendor for the PARCC states.

On Friday, in an unobtrusive office park northeast of downtown here, 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.

No teaching experience necessary… that doesn’t bother me as much provided they grasp the content being assessed.  It’s what they receive bonuses for… hitting daily quality and volume targets.  What?  I agree with A.P. Dillon, this seems very much like a salesperson.

No chance of a mistake happening there I’m sure.  Granted they do have scorers with teaching experience, but Pearson doesn’t have any data on how many currently teach.

Educators, especially those whose review may depend on student assessments, are leery about this process.

…educators like Lindsey Siemens, a special-education teacher at Edgebrook Elementary School in Chicago, see a problem if the tests are not primarily scored by teachers.

“Even as teachers, we’re still learning what the Common Core state standards are asking,” Ms. Siemens said. “So to take somebody who is not in the field and ask them to assess student progress or success seems a little iffy.”

But hey I’m sure they train these temporary employees quite well.