Formative vs Summative Assessments- ESSA Mental Health Legislation (Updated)

By Alice Linahan April 2015 Updated August 2017

They make it all sound so good and positive and like they actually care about our children.

For example in the article “Path To Personalization: Better Models & Better Tests” it states

Gene Wilhoit recently said, “We’ve given up on schooling; we need to shift to systems that enable high-quality learning and educational opportunity for all.”

Gene describes three critical attributes of a system of personalized learning:

  1. Clear, high expectations: for the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for success in college and careers;
  2. Competency-based education: demonstrating learning through meaningful assessment; accountability for the learner and those who support the learner.
  3. Customized pathways: anytime, anywhere learning opportunities with comprehensive supports.”

Now, let’s break down exactly what they are saying….. Think of it as an individual mandate on a child to be under the federally mandated College and Career Ready/Common Core workforce model of education which shifts American education from a Kindergarten -12th-grade system to a P-20W (Pre-School through the workforce).  Your child’s data is the new commodity in the education curriculum product industry.

As Anita Hoge shared with us there were three major actions under the Obama administration, without legislative approval, to change two hundred years of traditional public education in the United States.

(1) The Common Core copyright, which created a national curriculum and national testing mandating that individual students meet individual standards (similar to the Obamacare individual mandate).

(2) Unlocking data ‘to flow’ through the Family Education Rights in Privacy Act, FERPA, which allows personally identifiable information on our children to flow to outside 3rd party contractors for research and curriculum development to match Common Core.

(3) No Child Left Behind Flexibility Waiver, (ESEA, Elementary and Secondary Education Act), that is re-training teachers to teach to Common Core.

This also allowed ALL children in public school to be funded under Title I by changing the definition of who is poor or educationally deprived to anyone not meeting Common Core/College and Career Ready Standards. (Free and reduced lunch guidelines of 40% school wide were dropped to 0%.)


These three important points control standards and testing, curriculum, and teachers with all public school children being funded under Title I.

‘Obama and Progressive Republican’s Equity in Education Plan‘ for our entire country:

• charter schools replace public schools:
• everyone has federal Title I choice funds to go to any school (charter, private or religious schools)
• every child is taught the same standards:
• every teacher must teach the same standards:
• every test must be aligned to these standards:
• curriculum and software is aligned to standards:
• everything listed here is aligned to government data collection compliance.

As Robin Eubanks points out in her book “Credentialed to Destroy”…

“In that famous year of 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down while Harlan Cleveland was finishing up the international transition planning , a famous report was issued in June called Turning Points: Preparing American Youth for the 21st Century by the Carnegie charitable foundation. Turning Points sought to remake American middle schools with a heavy dose of SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and Theme education around the purported goals of reducing the dropout rate, teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, and other social ills.

Turning Points mentioned a shift to Higher Order Thinking of the sort mentioned frequently but left undefined by today’s Common Core . Here’s the definition provided. Sound familiar?

Higher order thinking is nonalgorithmic (the path of action is not fully specified in advance); tends to be complex, involving multiple perspectives; often yields multiple rather than unique solutions; involves dealing with uncertainty and gaps in information; involves the application of multiple, sometimes conflicting criteria; is self-regulating; and involves considerable mental effort. [ 304 ]

Gold stars to every reader who accurately recognized John Dewey’s emotionally frustrating ‘indeterminate situation’ that was intended to alter the student. And since the cited author of that Higher Order Skills definition, Professor Lauren Resnick, was involved in the New Standards assessment project in the 90’ s and was on the Board pushing Common Core today, I believe we have located our still relevant definition.

Eubanks, Robin (2013-10-12). Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon (pp. 288-289). . Kindle Edition.

Take the time to listen to this short clip from the Women On the Wall Communication Team conference call with guests Robin Eubanks and Clinical Mental Health Therapist Joan Landes. 

Both of these professionals explain the dangerous fundamental shift in education from (knowledge-based, academic, traditional) to (subjective, socio-psychological-behavioral, attitudes/values/beliefs) and why the reauthorization of ESEA (NCLB) now known as ESSA is the nail in the coffin of Education in America because it is an integration of Education and Mental Health.

U. S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has was passed and is now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

Robin Eubanks explains how the requirements in ESSA federalize every classroom in America, and how the wording “in the small print” of these thousands of pages would have a detrimental impact on the future of America.
Joan Landes describes her very disturbing day-to-day experiences counseling Pre-K through Grade 12 students who are suffering under the College and Career Ready/Common Core curriculum and assessments.
Both Robin and Joan carefully explain how the College and Career Ready/ Common Core philosophy of education is meant to cause all students to move from being independent thinkers to becoming group thinkers whose brains have been changed through carefully manipulated strategies.

As Dr. Nicholas Kardaras explains in this article,  A CLOSER LOOK AT THAT EACH-YEAR-MORE-EXPENSIVE EDUCATIONAL DEMAND: Screens In Schools Are a $60 Billion Hoax

Tech in the classroom not only leads to worse educational outcomes for kids, which I will explain shortly, it can also clinically hurt them. I’ve worked with over a thousand teens in the past 15 years and have observed that students who have been raised on a high-tech diet not only appear to struggle more with attention and focus, but also seem to suffer from an adolescent malaise that appears to be a direct byproduct of their digital immersion. Indeed, over two hundred peer-reviewed studies point to screen time correlating to increased ADHDscreen addictionincreased aggressiondepressionanxiety and even psychosis.

So that you clearly understand the education language currently being pushed by Linda-Darling Hammond and Gene Wilhoit’s who have a vision for a new system laid out in their August paper, Accountability for College and Career Readiness: Developing a New Paradigm.

    • Formative Assessments are Monitoring Student Response. 
    • Summative  Assessments determine what a child has actually learned.

Here is a quick 4 min. video that explains it in a nutshell. Then read below for what we can do to stop it.

As parents, are you okay with the schools assessing mental health and behavioral competency on your children? Or, do you expect that when you send your child off to school, they are actually learning to read, write, do math well and know history? So, they have an equal opportunity at success at life. If you expect the later, I would suggest you begin your journey from #CANiSEE to I CAN SEE …

Parents are beginning to Revolt! Parents from ALL sides of the political aisle care about our kids and their teachers! #PrivacyMatters Join The Campaign to STOP #ChildAbuseInTheClassroom  for more information please go to 

You can start by going into your children’s schools [Public, Private and Charter] and ask these three questions….

#CanISee WHAT you are teaching my child?
#CanISee HOW you are teaching my child?
#CanISee WHO is financially benefitting from the curriculum products on which my children’s teacher is evaluated?
Sign In