The Big Brother of Orwell’s “1984” turns out to be for-profit corporations and not the governments we elect to represent the people.
Linda McNeill is a well-known scholar of high-stakes testing at Rice University in Houston.
She writes here about the ominous role of testing companies in data mining students as they are studying or taking tests online. They gather confidential data about every child. That data may later be used for commercial purposes.
Even as they regularly invade the privacy of unknowing children, they fiercely resist any attempts to make public their tests, on which the fate of students, educators, and schools hinge.
Any discussion of the test content will lead to claims of copyright infringement and threats of legal action. And as we have seen in recent weeks, the test publishers contact Twitter, Facebook, and other social media and lodge complaints that lead to the deletion of tweets, posts, and comments. The testing companies assert the right to censor other people’s products, while shielding their own from public scrutiny.
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