Psychologist: Common Core Tests Cognitive Child Abuse


Dr. Gary for Article


Dr. Gary Johnson is the Director of Special Education Advocacy and Instruction, at the Early Life Child Psychology and Education Center in Utah. His testimony before the Wisconsin State Legislature is simple and his evidence is compelling: Common Core is Cognitive Child Abuse. His comments are specifically aimed at the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The tests are not valid and have no validation data. They discriminate against minority students. They discriminate against ADHD and other vulnerable populations, such as depressed children.

The SBAC test also has zero peer review. There is no validation based on professional standards. There is no norming data based on professional standards. There will be no pilot of the final test with the adaptive component. At the end of his presentation, Dr. Thompson characterized the U.S. Department of Education’s testing guidelines as the “Wild Wild West.” They are doing what they want with no accountability, no constraints, and no oversight. When combined with the loosening of student privacy laws, the possibilities of abuse is enormous.

The consequences of Dr. Thompson’s analysis of the SBAC test is not only bad news for at risk students, it is also bad news for teachers. In states like Alaska, the pay and promotion of teachers is based on the performance of minority students. The No Child Left Behind waiver for Alaska and other states ties teacher retention, pay, and promotion to the performance of minorities on the test. For any given Alaskan teacher, that means minority students have to outperform white students for teachers for teachers to be retained. Since the SBAC test discriminates against these very students,  teachers are placed in a no-win situation.

He specifically addresses the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test uses a technology that is not appropriate for children. According to Dr. Thompson, the use of adaptive test is tantamount to allowing psychological experimentation on our children. While the technology has been used on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), this population is a mature, narrow population. Dr. Thompson noted that a test of this scope has never been done before in the United States of America. The pilot tests are being conducted without the adaptive technology component. The full and final test will be adaptive.

Dr. Thompson said that the first rule of experimentation is that there must be informed consent and validity data. If an experiment was done in the classroom or private practice without informed consent, the person doing it would be fired and lose their credentials.

He specifically addressed the SBAC pilot of 500,000 student February 20 through May 24, 2013. They were submitted to experimental tests without informed consent by the children’s parents. They should have been warned that there are potential consequences of testing. There is a pilot test in Wisconsin in March 18-June 6, 2014. Based on statements by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, Dr. Thompson  said,

“This [Wisconsin pilot] will closely resemble the summative assessment that will be taken in 2015. The final test will never be piloted.”

In his professional opinion, we need stop common core. In his opinion as a psychologist and a father, parents should not allow their children to take the test.

For the record, Dr. Thompson said he votes Democrat. His clinic specializes in facilitating the educational attainment of at risk population groups.
Here is his written synopsis of his testimony:

1. Despite misleading reports from State Superintendents from Utah and Wisconsin regarding how well Core Tests have been “pilot tested”, it was indisputable that the FINAL version of the Core test (complete with its most experimental component of “adaptability”) would never be properly tested, evaluated and “tweaked” in a transparent manner by independent experts prior to our children taking the tests in 2014-2015.

2. With that fact in mind, the only reasonable conclusion was that our children were being used as research guinea pigs under the direction and approval of our respective State Superintendents. (See Dr. Thompson and Attorney Ed Flint’s Letter To Utah Superintendent of Schools Dr. Martell Menlove)

3. We have over 50 years of peer reviewed data showing psychology’s struggles of measuring “achievement” as well as cognitive potential (I.Q.) of African American, Latino, ADHD, Autistic, Dual Exceptional, and children diagnosed with specific learning disabilities.

The SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium), the group that the federal government paid hundreds of millions of dollars to facilitate the production of these tests, proudly proclaimed on their web pages that they have basically solved this problem. My exact words were, “SBAC has just announced to the world that they have created the ‘Holy Grail’ of Achievement Tests.” That feat is kind of hard to perform if no validation studies have been performed.

4. I compared and contrasted the extreme difference between the ways children were tested/evaluated in the private clinical psychology sector, versus the current way proposed by the U.S. Department of Education via the SBAC. Professionals in clinical psychology have learned through a 100-year history of well-documented testing abuse in America to put into place restraints to ensure the safety of our children. Common Core testing policies arrogantly ignored each and every one of these.

5. We need to stop our obsessive focus on measuring WHAT our children havel earned and focus on utilizing neuropsychology technologies available that can now measure with great accuracy HOW a child’s brain processes information (PASS Theory, Naglieri, 2008).

6. Professional recommendation:  Stop Common Core testing.

7. Recommendation as a father:  Don’t let your kids take the test.

The audio portion only is available here :




Hat Tip: What Is Common Core

  • WorriedMom

    I’d love to tell the school “My sons won’t be taking your tests this year.” But, if I did that, they’d fail. The annual “achievement tests” are part of their class grade. They would definitely fail the grade and have to repeat it. So, how do I protect my sons?

  • mjaphotography

    it is ridiculous that students with disabilities are tested the same way and expected to do the same programs as other kids, when there are many educational programs designed for students with specific and generalized disabilities, or different capabilities than the rest of the general student population. it is ridiculous to expect them to complete the same sort of testing as other students. the entire education system needs a major overhaul. it is much like the animal school story, where all animals were to complete the same courses, such as the animals who were not created to swim or climb trees, but all were expected to equally perform the same tasks and were punished until they could complete each section of the school. this is what we are doing to kids in schools. kids are not animals. and school should not work this way. common sense people! not common core!

  • mjaphotography

    home. school

  • Ange M. Irizar

    Learning for children should be as much fun as kite making and flying them; of course these days cement covers much of the lily fields of yore, but the laptop PC can be a lot of fun too.

  • EarthMama

    How is that possible for families where both parents have to work? Or for single parents? You wouldn’t recommend one parent quitting their job, losing their home, and falling behind on bills just to avoid the school system. The system needs to change. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to quit their job and still stay afloat.

  • Moeyknight Check by your state. And if your state is one of those that ties testing to retention, start complaining loudly. The site has letters and talking points to start sending to school districts, school boards, and legislators. Your voice needs to be heard. Parents should be in charge of their children’s education, not politicians.

  • Ange M. Irizar

    Kindergarten is the first step in
    a successful life for children reared in an adequate environment during their
    first five years of life, there they will develop an appetite for learning from
    parents, grand-parents, uncles, etc. By the time that they enter HS they must
    have started to learn basic lessons that will prepare them for the challenges
    that await them soon as professionals and parents. (schk)

  • umbrarchist

    The trouble is my teachers could not even suggest interesting things to read. School was mind control. But now there are free works to download.

    David and the Phoenix (1957) by Edward Ormondroyd

    Omnilingual (1957) by H. Beam Piper

    Black Man’s Burden (1961) by Mack Reynolds

    There are 40,000 free books in Project Gutenberg. Even if only 5% of the stuff is really good then 2,000 free books are quite a lot of literature especially if some of it is good for grade school kids.

  • Sunshynsue

    Children do not essentially need an 8 hour day of instruction to learn what is necessary for a school day. A child only needs a few hours to 3 hours a day to complete assignments. The rest of the time in Public school is fluff. Special Areas, PE, Media, lunch, etc. If your children’s future is important to you then you will find a way without quitting a job. Sacrificing time or money for your child to have a quality, fulfilling and balanced education is the ultimate goal. Ask any public school child a question about any subject especially in history or science, the knowledge is usually a let down. Now, ask a home schooled child the same question and this child will have the knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. hands down, home schooled children are educated Better because there is usually one on one learning with no distraction of other disruptive behaviors happening like in the class room setting.

  • CitizensArrested

    Consult United Opt Out. What you describe can’t be legal. UOO has the legal and logistical details state by state.

  • mjaphotography

    thank you I agree! also if you simply cannot allow children to be home alone while you work, age etc…supervision still needed and so forth you may feel that public school is still the only option. however, please contact your alderman who can help bring your concerns to the school board. there are also private school options that public school must pay for if they cannot provide a proper education for a child. parents also have the option to stay half enrolled in school and half home schooled where students may be able to still attend their favorite subject or do projects they may not be able to get at home. this still gives interaction with peers etc. while giving parents more control over the school program chosen for home schooling.

  • Donna A

    I would think that if it is legal to opt out of testing then the kids can’t be punished for it. This needs to be looked into – and fought if it is true.


    What about single parents? I am TOTALLY trapped and powerless to fight this disaster without the support of outside family and friends.