CSCOPE tests posted online need to be rewritten

Sep 8, 2013 by

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Education officials will have to rewrite classroom tests used in hundreds of Texas school districts after conservative activists posted their questions and answers online.

The Austin American Statesman reported ( ) Saturday that 30 tests were published on two conservative Websites.

The tests were produced under a controversial curriculum system originally known as CSCOPE, though last week it formally underwent a name change. Some tea party groups say CSCOPE promoted anti-American, anti-Christian values.

The first 10 tests were posted Wednesday by, while a second website,, added a second batch Friday.

Mason Moses, the son of disgraced former TEA Commissioner Mike”Nasty Tempered” Moses, a spokesman for the state-funded Education Service Centers which developed CSCOPE, said it could cost up to $1 million if a rewrite of all compromised tests is required.

“It’s unfortunate that some individuals believe that this is something they need to do,” Moses said. “It’s hurting teachers, and it’s hurting kids.”

Created in 2006, CSCOPE was meant to provide school districts with a cost-effective package of lesson plans, tests and other tools aligned with state curriculum standards. It has drawn so much ire from conservative groups, however, that its name has now been changed to the TEKS Resource System.

The 20 state-run educational service centers are designed to support school districts. CSCOPE was born when they teamed up with districts to offer about 1,600 model lessons that districts could access for a per-student fee, and were meant ensure teachers covered all state-mandated topics, or TEKS.

Moses said that of the 700 total tests, all those slated for use after the sixth week of school will be pulled down and then modified.

“We’re going into this with the assumption that we have to start from scratch,” he said.

The curriculum system is used by about 875 mostly small or midsized school districts. Its users educate about 35 percent of the state’s more than 5 million public school students.

Most lesson plans were originally behind a pay wall for intellectual property reasons, making them unavailable to the public. That angered some conservatives, who worried about schools spending lavishly without public oversight.

Criticism intensified when parents discovered an old CSCOPE lesson plan asking students to consider whether participants in the Boston Tea Party could be considered terrorists in some contexts. Another sample lesson asked students to design a flag for a new socialist country.

Some critics also suggested that lessons on the world’s major religions contained too much material on Islam.

CSCOPE has dominated state politics for months — and could be a key issue during Texas’ Republican primary next year.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, a Republican who heads the powerful Texas Senate Education Committee and is now running for lieutenant governor, held a series of hearings on the system and declared it officially dead in May — saying that the service centers had agreed to remove all online lesson plans by the end of August.

It turned out, however, that the lesson plans had simply been moved into the public domain where any school district could continue to use them.

CSCOPE tests posted online need to be rewritten – Houston Chronicle.

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