Spring round of psych assessments begins after March 1 for Wake County students
District is still using BIMAS-2 to surveil student "behavior"
In the fall of 2019, Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) rolled out a pilot program that the district said was to assess the behavior of students.
The tool being used is called the BIMAS-2 and it is touted by WCPSS as being a “behavioral assessment.”
The BIMAS-2 was administered last fall and the latest round was just announced for spring for traditional calendar students.
Universal Screener of social, emotional, and behavioral health:
In our continuing efforts to support the well-being of all our students, we will be administering a universal screener of social, emotional & behavioral health this Spring. Our district is using the Behavior Intervention Monitoring Assessment System-2 (BIMAS-2) research-based screening tool. Please see the following link with information about this program along with opt-out forms if you would not like your child to take part in this screener.
The BIMAS-2 is also administered to year-round schools, as well as early college or modified schools.
Once again, WCPSS is requiring parents to opt-out instead of opt-in. This method is problematic, as any parent not catching the notice of the assessment will have their child assessed whether they want to or not.
Readers can access the informational one-pager and the opt-out form that was linked in the letter our family received.
Dozens of schools have been administering the BIMAS-2. It is unclear just how many of the 198 schools in the district are currently using it.
Parents should contact their individual schools about the BIMAS-2 if they have not already received a notification. The deadline to opt children out is March 1.
The informational one-pager and the page on the WCPSS website have similar if not identical language, including the list of examples of questions that are on the BIMAS-2. The examples chosen to share with parents are, for a lack of a better term, "vanilla."
There are 34 items on the BIMAS-2 and the full set of questions can be viewed below, as well as accessed and downloaded here.
More To the BIMAS-2: How does it work? Is it reliable?
The assessment is administered by a teacher without your child knowing it is happening. That teacher is typically the child’s second period teacher.
The instructions tell the teacher evaluating the student to only think about a one-week window of time and guess the “best” answer by shading a choice ranging from “never” to “very often.”
The unscientific method of data collection employed isn’t producing reliable results either, according to the Request for Proposal (RFP) documentation I obtained.
On page 32, the RFP states that (emphasis added):
“Using discriminant analysis, the overall correct classification rate was 82.5% when cut-scores of T=>60 for the Behavior Concerns and T = <40 on the Adaptive scales were employed to identify when a student should be classified as “at risk.”
In other words, overall, the BIMAS-2 has a poor prediction rate that has to rely on balancing ratios of cut scores.
Other key takeaways from the RFP included:
“The BIMAS-2 is a nationally standardized test requiring a teacher to be familiar with a student for at least 4 to 6 weeks prior to rating his/her behavior.”
“Teachers can complete the BIMAS-2 standard form (34 items) in no more than 2 minutes (max) per student.” (Using their “best guess.”)
“All teachers who are to complete the Universal Assessment/screening are assigned a BIMAS-2 account. Upon activating their account, Teachers will see two options on their BIMAS-2 screen. Universal Assessment and progress Monitoring.”
BIMAS-2 has a student fulfillment option, which isn’t being used. (See pgs. 38-39)
The BIMAS-2 is being used to suss out which students are threats. (See p.22)
As I was digging around on the BIMAS-2 in 2019, I asked Tim Simmons, the former WCPSS communications director, where the data was being stored, if it was being erased, how it was being used, and who had access to it.
I never received very few answers to those questions beyond finding out a “server” was involved and that Bardos’ company “stores” the data. Parents do not have access to the data nor any of the apparent “reports” being generated based on the BIMAS-2 responses.
In my investigation, I found myself being gaslit by the district that the BIMAS-2 wasn't a psychological inventory, but instead a “behavioral” tool to “flag” issues.
“Re: your question about use. The purpose of having teachers conduct the observational survey is to better organize and record information, which in turn can be used to help flag possible behavioral issues,” Simmons wrote in a response to questions about the purpose. “As this is based on teacher observations, it is a record of observations already being made by teachers.”
Let’s be clear here: Behavior is any observable and measurable action or activity. Behaviors can be learned, but also they are also rooted in a person’s psychological makeup, manifesting as emotions, actions, or processes.
The idea the BIMAS-2 is not a psychological inventory is frankly absurd.
More To The Story
The BIMAS-2 assessment is the work of a man named Achilles Bardos, who is a Professor of School Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado.
Bardos’ bio states he is a “Specialist in psychological and educational assessment.” He sells the BIMAS-2 to schools through his company, EduMetrisis.
Back in November 2019, I dug into the cost associated with the BIMAS-2.
At that time, Simmons told me the following about the cost:
“$60,000 for this year (We get “large district discount” of $2 per student)”
Another $6,000 is included in the contract for a “WCPSS server.”
The pilot was apparently “free.”
So, overall assessment, data storage, and training to date were costing around $66,000 a year for the two dozen or so schools where the BIMAS-2 was being administered.
That cost has and will likely continue rising, as the district has stated, “All WCPSS schools will be screening students by 2025.”
Through records requests, I also uncovered Paul Koh, Assistant Supt. of Student Support Services, was (and may still be) in charge of the BIMAS-2 experiment.
Koh made national headlines last year for remarks he made at a school board meeting suggesting that forcing kids at age two to wear a mask would help them "accept full mask compliance" and help to "normalize it later."
For a more detailed look at what I found in 2019, check out my article, “The BIMAS-2 pricetag for experimenting on our kids.”
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