Who Said It?

Several weeks ago, I wrote about FrameWorks Institute’s role in developing marketing techniques to sell the idea of next-gen ed reform to the public. With funding from the Nellie Mae Foundation, FrameWorks recently produced a  Core Story toolkit – replete with message cards, talking points, sample editorials and twitter messages – to help reformers get the public on board with their plans.

FrameWorks advises clients to “invoke the value of progress” when discussing the need to move to digital learning, for example,”because it pedestals all the good aspects of technology and backgrounds all the bad, it helps inoculate against ‘back to basics’ thinking about learning and skills.”

Read anything in support of next-gen ed reform, and you’re sure to encounter the argument that our schooling system is outdated and obsolete, and that the move to a digital, 21st Century model is long overdue.

Lately, another message suddenly seems to be on everyone’s lips: the need to update our accountability system to make use of assessment “dashboards.”

The metaphor, favored by proponents of competency-based and personalized learning, has become so ubiquitous that I wondered: could it also be a FrameWorks-ism?

Turns out it is.

Here is the “message card”  FrameWorks has developed to help reformers with their talking points when discussing next-gen accountability:




To demonstrate just how loyal assessment reformers are to FrameWorks’ techniques, let’s play a game.  Can you guess who said the following quotes?   Scroll down after each quote for the answer.

“There are software programs that will track attempts and achievements in learning competencies and display them on a dashboard for students and teachers. These programs provide students with instant feedback and allow them to know where they stand and what they need to progress.”









Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Learn Capital, in “The Role of Performance Monitoring in Competency-Based Education”



“The standardized tests my kids take are one gauge on the dashboard, but parents and educators know that tests are not the only indicator.”








Arne Duncan in “Getting Assessment Right to Support Students, Educators and Families” 


“It’s something like driving a car. Safe drivers use the windshield, rear and side view mirrors, occasionally checking the speedometer and other gauges on the dashboard. The best educators know it’s absolutely essential to use the ‘windshield,’ that is, look at the work students do in class every day.”








Lisa Guisbond, Assessment Reform Analyst at FairTest, in testimony before Rhode Island House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare

“We don’t want less information. We want better information…We want a dashboard of good information… We said on this dashboard, you have to have multiple indicators of success.”










Lily Eskelen Garcia, President of National Education Association (NEA), in “Don’t Wait for an Act of Congress: Union Chief on Politics and Testing”


“The move toward a world of fewer, better, smarter assessments that provide more actionable data more quickly to teachers and parents is important. We would say that an assessment should be only one measure of progress. It should be part of a richer dashboard, a more holistic view.”








John Fallon, CEO of Pearson, in “Pearson CEO Fallon Talks Common Core, Rise of ‘Open Resources”

“New systems of school accountability should likewise offer a dashboard of information and use multiple measures appropriately to achieve key purposes.”








Linda Darling-Hammond, President of Learning Policy Institute and Professor at Stanford University, in “Creating Systems of Assessments for Deeper Learning”


Bonus points to anyone who finds more.


Author: Emily Talmage

My name is Emily Talmage and I teach fourth grade at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. In addition to teaching in Lewiston, I have also taught special education and general education in New York City, including one year at a “high-performing” charter school in Brooklyn. I also have two master’s degrees; one in Urban Education from Mercy College, and another in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. I have also worked as a research analyst and assistant at the National Center for Children and Families at Columbia and Oldham Innovative Research in Portland.

9 thoughts on “Who Said It?”

  1. I absolutely adore your quote game. In April 2015, I was in the audience at NPE Chicago when Lily E. Garcia unhesitatingly stated that the NEA would not take any more Gate’s money. A week later Mercedes Schneider posted proof that she was lying. So, I am not surprised she is on board with reformster jargon and possibly even the current scam, competency bases education.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Emily, I love this, but I think we need to extend this metaphor. If Education is a car, where is it going? Where are the children? In the front seat, the back seat? Driving? or more likely out there on the road waiting to cross the street. Or are they the deer caught in the headlights? This car might go on and on forever without noticing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: