Dr. Hall must address APS test score disparities

In response to an AJC query into miraculous gains in her school’s scores on state tests, Capitol View Elementary principal Arlene Snowden had a great answer:

“We accept no excuses from our children.”

The Atlanta community shouldn’t accept any excuses from Superintendent Beverly Hall, either.

APS Superintendent Beverly Hall has a national reputation as a visionary and a data-driven reformer. But she needs to take another look at the test data that experts say may be too good to be true. AJC Photo

APS Superintendent Beverly Hall has a national reputation as a visionary and a data-driven reformer. But she needs to take another look at the test data that experts say may be too good to be true. AJC Photo

But that’s what Atlantans have been getting since an AJC investigation last year on cheating on the state Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests led to state sanction of four schools, including one in Atlanta.

Now, a follow-up AJC investigation raises fresh questions about other APS test scores.

AJC reporters Heather Vogell and data analyst John Perry dug deeper into the data and identified 19 schools statewide that experienced dramatic drops and gains in test scores between spring last year and this year.

Twelve of those were in the Atlanta system, accounting for more than one in five of the district’s elementary schools.

These troubling findings should not be brushed off by Hall as a witch hunt. At stake is not only her reputation, but that of the entire district, a district that she has worked diligently to advance over the last 10 years.

The AJC reporters found that students at Atlanta’s West Manor and Peyton Forest elementary schools went from among the bottom performers statewide to among the best over the course of one year. The odds of making such a leap in learning were less than 1 in a billion.

In May, state school Superintendent Kathy Cox celebrated Peyton as a hard-working school with a “no-excuses attitude.”

“By the way, they’re knocking the socks off with the test scores,” Cox said. “Just a shining star.”

And the scores were bright. Perhaps even blinding.

According to the AJC investigation, math results in the third grade last year were among the lowest in the state.

However, Peyton fourth-graders shot up to the very top this year, placing fourth out of nearly 1,200 schools statewide in fourth-grade math.

“It’s very hard to explain these huge gains,” said Tom Haladyna, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University and testing expert who reviewed the newspaper’s findings. “You have to wonder, is this the greatest school in the world?”

Hall’s efforts have earned her national acclaim as a visionary and data-driven reformer. She’s shaken a lethargic system out of its malaise and forced teachers and principals to work harder and smarter. She has demanded excellence from her schools and has chased many laggards out of the system.
But Hall has to consider that her insistence on higher performance might have led some of her staff to bend the rules.

What ought to concern her is the plummet in scores that occurred from one year to the next in some schools. Such a sharp downturn in performance suggests that the proficiency students developed in third grade somehow evaporated by fourth grade.

That points to two possibilities of fraud. The first is unconscious fraud committed by teachers so anxious for their students to succeed that they taught only to the test. Their students mastered test answers but little else and left the classroom without any context for the material or critical thinking abilities.

The second and more troubling scenario is deliberate cheating in which a teacher or administrator went behind students and changed answers.
A probe under way by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement should show whether the answer sheets had striking numbers of erasures from wrong to right or unusual patterns of answers.

It was a review of answer sheets earlier this year that led the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement to conclude that someone erased incorrect answers and penciled in correct responses at Atherton in DeKalb County, Parklane Elementary in Fulton, Deerwood Academy in Atlanta and Burroughs-Molette Elementary in Glynn. In July, the state Board of Education threw out the results of tests taken by more than 100 fifth-graders at the four schools.

If Hall believes that her schools did work miracles — I’m all for miracles wherever we can find them — then open her schools and records to outside scrutiny. Sit down with the testing experts cited in the AJC report and see what they have to say. Gather her principals for a heart-to-heart. Bring in objective test monitors for the next round of high-stakes testing.

Certainly, the rebuttal argument that APS has such small class sizes that even a slight enrollment shift could affect scores is valid and ought to be explored by the state.

And the contention by some principals that improved test scores owe to poor teaching in third grade and stellar teaching in fourth also ought to be considered.

If teacher quality can be credited for such statistically startling leaps in APS test scores, then it certainly ought to become the leading reform model in Georgia and APS should share its secrets.

63 comments Add your comment

Maureen's accountability metric

October 18th, 2009
11:23 pm

Let me be the first to congratulate you Maureen. Job well done. Is it too much to hope that this is going to be your Learning Curve column tomorrow?

Maureen's accountability metric

October 19th, 2009
1:08 am

Will Kathy Cox have the integrity to red flag these scores, now that an independent, objective testing expert has said that they indicate gains that are a one in a billion occurrence? Does she have the integrity to admit she may have been premature in her praise? Or will she protect her self-proclaimed “good friend” at the expense of Georgia’s students?

The DOE, after all, did say they would be more diligent in the future, after admitting in the past that they didn’t red flag test scores.

And Maureen, by calling testing expert Tom Haladyna “independent and objective” I am right in assuming the AJC didn’t pay him $300 an hour to come up with his findings?

Since you’ve done the right thing here, Maureen, will you take it one step further, in true “watchdog” style, and ask Dana Tofig’s replacement whether or not Kathy Cox will red flag these results, as the evidence suggests she should?

Perturbed

October 19th, 2009
5:44 am

Great points, and I look forward to the truth. However, “unconcious fraud”? If the kids are the worst in the state, is it actually bad to teach to the test? Keep in mind all they are doing: differentiated instruction, special needs, individual attention, planning, grading, on and on an on. If the worst offense is teaching to the test, isn’t that what they are mandated to do anyway, since that is the measure of their success imposed on them? Sure, in the ideal situation, the tested material is learned in context of the bigger picture, but these kids could benefit from a sense of pride. If real success on a test can do that, great! THEN they can further develop the sense of curiosity and inquiry. I hope the results are real, no matter what.

catlady

October 19th, 2009
6:49 am

Do I think it will get addressed in a competent way? NO. Why should it, according to education “experts” who probably don’t understand the significance of the findings.

And, no, Maureen, it is NOT number 1. We teach to the test every day. You have to have pretty bright, motivated kids for that to work.

I would guess it would be door number 3: teacher indicates correct answer by tone of voice or walking around pointng to the answer.

Maureen's accountability metric

October 19th, 2009
7:17 am

Catlady’s door number 3 reminds us the DOE can’t just rely on test erasure analysis, and call it an “investigation”. A full and complete investigation, including having next year’s test strictly monitored is needed.

It’s the only course of action acceptable when you have gains that independent experts call one in a billion.

Will Kathy Cox protect her self proclaimed friend, or will she protect the integrity of the testing process?

MsCrabtree

October 19th, 2009
7:25 am

This article is good reason why standardized testing should be eliminated all together from this country. I read an article once about the folks who formulated the original ITBS. They said they never dreamed that their effort would end up the way it has, and that it certainly wasn’t their intention that these tests would become the monstrous “be all and end all” that they are today. And if teachers teach to the test, what else can you expect when administrators are demanding it in not so subtle ways? This is why education in Georgia and the rest of America is such a joke.

Joy in Teaching

October 19th, 2009
7:27 am

Aren’t they comparing one group of, say fifth graders, to a completely different group of fifth graders?

That’s one of the big glaring problems with NCLB as it forces schools and districts to compare unrelated groups of students with others.

Wouldn’t it make much more sense to compare how little Johnny is doing this year compared to how he was doing last year?

Oh wait–when you have government setting education policy, actual “sense” doesn’t come into play.

Maureen Downey

October 19th, 2009
7:39 am

JOy, They looked at test scores from last year’s classes and then the same cohort a year later in the next grade. The story noted that some schools had lost students so the classes were not exactly the same, but Heather said there was not dramatic changes in the classes over that period.
Maureen

Maureen's accountability metric

October 19th, 2009
7:56 am

Maureen, I hope you will but this in Learning Cuvre. Even in the Internet age, seeing it in print adds an air of legitimacy. Plus, it would be a handy example for Andre Jackson to follow when it comes to writing a real editorial. I also hope you will keep the pressure up through your contacts at DOE, for them to do a real investigation, including sending the outside monitors your post called for.

And with that, Maureen you’ll be happy to know I’ve decided to take break from Get Schooled for awhile. Despite what you make think from some of my posts, I am more than happy to give credit where credit is due, and leave you with some praise on this last entry. Why not take leave with you on a high note?

And besides, by this point I imagine by this point, you would look more forward to going to the dentist for a tooth extraction, than going to MAM for a “truth extraction”.

May you continue to live up to the high standards you’ve set with today’s post. Your advocacy today is indeed, “what’s best for Georgia students.”

TW

October 19th, 2009
8:08 am

This pales when compared to the legislature’s pillage of public school funding.

Like worrying about wiper fluid when you got no gas.

Maureen Downey

October 19th, 2009
8:23 am

MAM, The same piece on Dr. Hall is in the paper today.
I have no problem with your truth in reporting posts.
Critics keep us on track.
Maureen

ATL parent

October 19th, 2009
9:27 am

Until the parents become alarmed at the test score descrepancies, nothing will change. 50%+ drop out rates and SAT scores in the trash can have not caused any alarm within the ATL school systems–why should this?

Nobody dares speak ill of the ATL because they will be branded a racist. And the children pay the price.

Thank you.

October 19th, 2009
9:37 am

I am so very proud of this article. Great job. As Haladyna says, Wow! We need to find out what these schools are doing! PLEASE, share your secrets! If they simply tell us what they are doing, we can take this information and solve our entire country’s educational ills in, obviously, two months! Gosh, we could probably solve all of the world’s educational problems in 2 months! I would love to know what this 2-month secret is!

Kathy Augustine appears extremely ignorant, combative, and out-right clueless in this article. She does not comprehend the definition of ‘outlier,’ even. We’re not talking about one or two disparities within a school…My God, we’re talking about entire schools succeeding-beyond-succeeding 2 months after failing-beyond-failing!

Karen Barlow-Brown is laughable. Wow, who is this one teacher, who in 2 months time, did this? May we make a new ‘Stand and Deliver’ film about him/her? I’m sure there are production companies lining up to buy this teacher’s life story….if these scores are real, of course!

I am glad you did call Michael Casserly and include his name in this article. I hope this article stays on the Internet for eternity so that whenever one googles Michael Casserly’s name, they can come here and see what a tool he was for APS, that he willingly allowed his name to be attached to them, in defense of them, without even looking at the data/evidence. He would not look at the analysis, and decided to say he “disagreed” with it – and was waiting by the phone. When the cheating is discovered, I hope he feels foolish and used beyond words. (How could you not look at the data, and have an opinion on it, ready for the media?)

Thank you so much for this bold, courageous article. I worked for APS. I was forced into a small room with the boxed exams to examine them before administering them. I was so young and so scared. I did not look, of course. My heart was pounding. I was told I would lose my license if I told.

Parent

October 19th, 2009
9:49 am

If Georgia can not teach elementary school students how to add and subtract without cheating- where do we go from here?

lynn

October 19th, 2009
9:55 am

Let’s talk about the “remarkable improvement” at Heards Ferry in Fulton County. Fulton County opened two new elementary schools last year. In 2008-2009, Heards Ferry had 94 Hispanic third through 5th graders, in 2009-2010 HF had less than 10. In 08-09, HF had 50 english language learners, the next year, fewer than 10. Nearly 401percent of the 3rd-8th graders in 08-09 qualified for free and reduced lunch. The next year, there were less than 10 students who did.

The picture is pretty clear as to why/how HF had such a big improvement.

ATL parent

October 19th, 2009
9:57 am

Parent—fair question–but lets be real specific here–it is within the APS where the problems are–not the entire state.

high school teacher

October 19th, 2009
10:10 am

If the test is based on the Georgia Performance Standards, then teaching to the test is not cheating; it’s covering the curriculum. How is that “unconscious fraud?”

Disgusted

October 19th, 2009
10:16 am

Great article! I’d be interested to see data looked at from the past 5 years or so in this manner. I would lay money there would be a large number of schools in many many districts that have benefited from these miracle cures.

Statty

October 19th, 2009
10:38 am

The AJC does not have to wait for APS to release data and analysis – they should release the database they used along with any logs of output. Numerous educational statisticians in Georgia would love to re-analyze these data.

In the article, the authors note that they cannot link students over time, which seriously hampers their ability to look at the root causes of this dynamic. There could be a lot of aggregation error. Can they at least report the percentage of students tested in 4th grade that went to that same school in 3rd grade at each school? Did they control for this in the regression equation?

Some of these findings might be due to system-wide effects – did the regression include variables that clustered schools by system, – fixed effects estimators?

Finally, they may wish to consider converting scores to standard units _before_ running the regression instead of looking at the gaps after. If the relationship is real, it should remain, but if it is spurious and based on the fact that CRCT scores are not vertically aligned, then that would perhaps wash out in the analysis.

(And, although I am an n of 1, I have never taught my students that an sd>2 is an outlier. I teach that an sd>3 may be an outlier, or a value that is 1.5 times greater than the inter-quartile range.)

V for Vendetta

October 19th, 2009
10:42 am

I would argue that teachers “teaching to the test” is in fact WORSE than teachers cheating because it indicates that the biggest flaw in our education system is the corruption of the very methods in which we teach. Such an abhorrent atmosphere has been created, and it will only get worse under that educational despot, Arne Duncan.

Tony

October 19th, 2009
11:10 am

Amen to STatty and V for Vendetta.

Parent

October 19th, 2009
11:37 am

This is elementary school, right. It should be easy to find out it these 3rd and 4th graders know their basic skills. Aside from any cheating, I would guess the teachers in these classrooms already know if their students are on track.

Bernard

October 19th, 2009
11:42 am

Schools are not going to give up all that federal money because of poor teacher that suck.

Private School Guy

October 19th, 2009
11:48 am

School wide testing of all students is not the solution. Students should be tested by random sampling. The testing should be done unanounced by outside professionals. If the samples reveal something is wrong then test the entire grade level or the whole school. If a parent suspects quality teching is not occuring then they could call for testing.
Teachers could not teach to the test because they would not know when the tests would be given. School staff could not cheat because they would not handle the test. But the testing companies would not like this since there would be a lot less testing overall and a lot less money to be made.

john

October 19th, 2009
11:52 am

Enter your comments here

Maureen Downey

October 19th, 2009
12:04 pm

I asked the writers of the APS piece to respond to Statty’s comment: Here is what John Perry wrote:

The data used in our analysis is available from the state Department of Education to anyone who would like to replicate our analysis. Before publication, we offered our analysis for review by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, the Atlanta Public Schools and an independent testing expert, Arizona State University professor emeritus Tom Haladyna.

Ideally we would have liked to look at individual student test score changes from year to year, but the state’s interpretation of federal regulations insuring student privacy prohibit that. All we can do is look at the data that is available and be honest about its limitations. This is why we chose not 2, not 3 but 4 standard deviations as the standard for identifying schools with unusual test score changes.

We also pointed out in the story that a few of these schools had an unusually high turnover rates. Most did not. We also reported any other possible explanations offered by district or school officials.

Also, standardizing the test scores before the analysis had no effect on the results.

John Perry
Database Specialist
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Shar

October 19th, 2009
12:48 pm

Test scores carry significant consequences for administrators, not students. Although students can be held back if they fail, administrators lose bonuses, face NCLB sanctions, must deal with angry parents and potentially lose students and dollars when test scores fall or fail to improve. Allowing administrators and teachers to give tests in their own schools, and permitting school systems to police their testing and analysis, is truly having the fox guard the hen house. And it is the students and taxpayers who lose: Students in having their needs ignored and taxpayers in not receiving the value of their involuntary ‘contributions’.

Dr. Hall has made a career out of trumpeting test scores, and has the bald faced brass to insist, through utterly corrupt mouthpieces like Kathy Augustine, that the system sees no evil, hears no evil and most assuredly will not search for evil in the face of obviously impossible results. It is far past time for the Atlanta Board of Education to call in investigators from the state and mandate that APS cooperate with their work and act upon their findings. If they do not, a tax dollar reserve to fix the problems should be withheld from APS’ operating budget and not released until new testing procedures are in place and all questionable results have been thoroughly and impartially reviewed, and corrective actions taken as needed.

Dr. Hall and her minions have always placed the protection and expansion of their bureaucracy before the benefit of the children, and they always will. It is up to those who sit over them and those who fund them to demand that those who are dependent upon them for a future are put before their own self-interest.

Maureen Downey

October 19th, 2009
1:32 pm

MAM, From Heather Vogell in response to your comment about whether we paid the expert to review the AJC findings:

Can you also mention that we don’t pay anyone anything for reviewing our analysis, as suggested by MAM.

jim d

October 19th, 2009
1:39 pm

While I’m somewhat glad to see some of this garbage aired, I really must say this has nothing to do with student achievement and everything to do with politics as usual within Georgia.

Does it really matter? I’d say in the larger scheme of things that NO it doesn’t. Students will continue to appear to be learning and politicians will continue to line their pockets.

All the more reason to support charter schools, private schools, and vouchers allowing educational dollars to follow the student.

Glenn Dowell, Ed.D.

October 19th, 2009
2:06 pm

Dr. Hall and her cabal of crooks should be kicked out of the State of Georgia. Cheating? What else is new? Hall is the highest paid school superintendent in the state of Georgia. The Board of Education is just as culpable. They have allowed this woman free reins to cripple our children who will ultimately fail in the future without some significant intevention to correct the actions of some principals who cheat in order to keep their jobs.

I have to give it to Hall-she was hated in New Jersey-even the NAACP in that state acknowledged the harm that she had done to children when she was assigned the task of improving their schools. She rebound here in Georgia where she and her gestapo captain, Kathy Augustine, rule the schools by intimidating or firing anyone brave enough to disagree with them. The history of Hall in Atlanta should be a Civil Rights agenda item designed to save our children from this woman who has discovered that all you have to do is identfy the important players in Atlanta, court them. make them appear as if she listens to them, and if necessary allow them the opportunity to make a few dollars-and “presto”, you have a Beverly Hall fan!

I am glad that the Atlanta Constitution has taken this woman on to ferret out the truth. In my conversation with you, Maureen, I stated that our children should be judged by the content of their character, not by heinous conspirators who teach them that you can do just as well by cheating. WHAT IS EVEN MORE SHOCKING IS THAT A GROUP OF BUSINESSMEN RECENTLY ENDORSED SEVERAL OF THE CURRENT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS. THIS IS CLEARLY A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE.

Dr. John Trotter

October 19th, 2009
2:37 pm

Glenn, you certainly have moxie. God does not give us a spirit of timidity, eh? You, Glenn, and I have been singing from this same choir book about cheating for years. I remember the first board meeting attended by Beverly Hall in 1999. I spoke and said, “Dr. Hall: Welcome to Bosnia, welcome to to Rwanda, welcome to South Korea — because you certainly aren’t in Georgia in the Atlanta Public Schools. The laws of Georgia are made right up the street, but this school system thinks that it is exempted from Georgia Laws. I hope that you will bring some improvement.” Sadly enough, Hall’s administration has been the worst of all…worse than Canada’s, worse than J. Jerome Harris’s, worse than Butts’s, et al. While I could hardly believe that the system could sink so low, I never cease to be amazed at the arrogant and egregious disrespect for the law. But, as I take a panoramic view of the the educational establishments in the metro area, I see that other systems are also affected by Hallism. Crawford Lewis of DeKalb follows suit by shutting down State-mandated teacher grievances, and I see that Edmund Heately in Clayton County is trying to do the same. I just read a letter from Doulgas Hendrix, head of Human Resources, and in this letter he denies a teacher from having a Level III grievance hearing which is patently in violation of OCGA 20-2-989.8(4).

Dr. Dowell, keep up the agitating, even though the wallflowers might wither within your presence. But, watch your head because when only a few (a very few) have the temerity to raise their heads, those head-nodders might rise us just quick enough to throw a brick-bat your way. Kudos, Dr. Dowell! (c) MACE, October 19, 2009.

David S

October 19th, 2009
2:45 pm

Is anyone really surprised about the likelihood of faked scores? Just look at the lies the government is spreading about the non-evant the swine flu has become. Still framed as the greatest threat to human existence since the plague, the government has to justify all the billions of dollars it has already funneled into the bank accounts of the big pharmaceutical companies for the worthless and likely extremely dangerous vaccine.

Government will do anything to cover its failures. Expect their reactions to be even more ridiculous and scary and the economy worsens and the payouts to their friends continue to grow.

Get your kids the hell out of government run so-called educational institutions. Homeschool them. Put them in private schools. Make the sacrifice. They only have one childhood learning opportunity. Don’t let government bureaucrats ruin it for them.

Ed Johnson

October 19th, 2009
2:48 pm

EduPAC is the “GROUP OF BUSINESSMEN” to which Glenn Dowell, Ed.D., refers. EduPAC, on the Web, at http://www.edupacatlanta.org/.

Under their theme of “Keep Reform Alive,” EduPAC has endorsed all incumbent Atlanta school board members for re-election.

DeWitt

October 19th, 2009
2:56 pm

Well stated Dr. Glenn Dowell! You hit the nail right on the head. I am a former teacher and administrator for APS; I also worked as a coordinator for one of APS’s leading reform initiatives. I can honestly tell you that many of these teachers ARE CHEATING! They copy the test and train the students on these test ALL YEAR! Teachers feel the pressure from the administrators; the administrators feel the pressure from their executive directors; the executive directors feel the pressure from Kathy Augustine (who will fire you for not making AYP) and Beverly Hall, well I need not speak about her incompetence.

Sure, the test scores look great, but in the end the kids are the ones that are suffer due to falsified test data. All that glitters is not gold in APS. Please return your “Superintendent of the Year Award” immediately!!

Ed Johnson

October 19th, 2009
3:47 pm

Dewitt, at 2:56 pm, reminds me I addressed the following to the American Association of School Administrators, on Feb. 23, 2009:

[Dear AASA Executive Officers:]

By making Atlanta Public School’s superintendent their 2009 National Superintendent of the Year, the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) has said they value autocratic, bonus- and incentive-crazed, CEO-style behavior as behavior worth visiting upon especially so-called “urban” children, and doing so most destructively through complacent school boards and principals and teachers made fearful.

Does the AASA not understand that kids observe and learn and take such behavior into adulthood where it shows up as less than desired aspects of our nation’s social fabric? Does the AASA not understand that principles, teachers, and so-called “urban” kids all are perfectly rational human beings?

Astonishingly, the AASA rejected the other finalists’ practical wisdom and genuine, empathic leadership our nation’s K-12 public education systems have come to sorely need, so as to get back to advancing morale qualities of humanness for the common good and a sustainable democracy.

Now, one must wonder what, exactly, the AASA means by “Stand up for Public Education.”

Ed Johnson
Advocate for Quality in Public Education
Atlanta GA

Dr. John Trotter

October 19th, 2009
4:05 pm

Mr. Johnson, you hang in there too. You too have been fighting the good fight for years. It is not just cheating in the Atlanta Public Schools, it is “systematic cheating” that we have been decrying for years at MACE. It is in DeKalb too under that joke of a superintendent, Crawford Lewis. I have been saying it for a while now…that the three biggest educational jokes and hypocrites in public education in Georgia are (1) Beverly Hall in Atlanta, (2) Crawford Lewis in DeKalb, and (3) Mark Elgart with SACS. Where is Mark Elgart when all of the cheating has come to the fore in Atlanta, DeKalb, and Glynn, and Fulton? What about the 57 illegal school board meetings in Cobb? I guess that Mark Elgart is still looking that “extrinsic, outside [sic; redundant, eh?] influence.” That would be me, Mr. Elgart, but you have always refused to meet with me face-to-face in a formal debate or even in an interview. In fact, your folk cancelled my interview in Clayton County. Y’all were scared, weren’t you? Fake. Mark Elgart, joined the ranks of the fakes, OK? (c) MACE, October 19, 2009.

Dr. John Trotter

October 19th, 2009
4:15 pm

Sorry about the typo in the last line of the last entry, but Mark Elgart has indeed joined [past tense] “the ranks of the fakes” when he and his fake organization, SACS, show that they are simply a tool for the powerful. Any even-handed, objective, and fair-minded organization would easily see that Atlanta, DeKalb, Fulton, and Cobb need to be investigated by SACS now. Perhaps the school board attorney in Fulton and Cobb, Glenn Brock, is Mark Elgart’s friend, and this is the reason that Markie doesn’t investigate Cobb (57 illegal school board meetings; isn’t this a pattern, Markie?) or Fulton. But, it sure looks like ole Mark Elgart and Glenn Brock worked together to destroy the Clayton County School System and therefore the community. Didn’t Glenn Brock end up securing the legal contract with the Clayton County Board of Education? Those folk on the current board cannot see that it is all about the money. Mark Elgart = Cry Baby!

Statty

October 19th, 2009
4:15 pm

Thanks, John Perry, for the quick reply, and thanks Maureen for getting it. And thanks for the note on normalized scores; it certainly adds credence to your findings.

If I understand correctly, you matched all 2K Ga public schools and examined school-level aggregated performance in year t-1 compared to aggregated school performance in year t. I know there are not a lot of variables to choose from with state data; what did you use as independent variable when predicting scores?

Maureen Downey

October 19th, 2009
4:20 pm

Statty, I sent your questions to John. I will post his response.
Maureen

Maureen Downey

October 19th, 2009
4:44 pm

Statty, From John Perry in response to your question:

We aggregated the 2008 and 2009 test score data by school and grade. We restricted our analysis to grades 3, 4 and 5. Our analysis used the 2008 scores in the previous grade as the independent variable and the 2009 scores as the dependent variable.

John Perry
Database Specialist
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATL parent

October 19th, 2009
7:13 pm

by the lack of much response to this topic—I stand by my earlier comments that nobody in the APS needs to give much of a rats a** what the AJC is saying about cheating. Nothing will change. Kids will pass CRCT with flying colors, yet be functional illiterates by the time they are 16.

What a waste of the taxpayers money.

Ed Johnson

October 19th, 2009
7:32 pm

Pardon my mixup at 3:47 pm: “…principals…” not “…principles….”

David S

October 19th, 2009
8:14 pm

Wake up folks. This is exactly what you should expect from a government run school system. They cannot do a good job, so expect all the required lies to get you to believe they can. NCLB only made things worse.

They lied about WMDs to boost the profits of the military industrial complex, they are lying about the flu to sell more vaccine for the pharmceutical industry, they lied about banks that were not “too big to fail” to funnel obscene amounts of money to their friends, they lie about the Taliban to justify more troops and they lie about Iran’s nuclear progam so we can exterminate the Iranians for Israel.

There is nothing different about the folks who run the schools than the liars in Washinton. Parasites that live off the incomes and productivity of others are all the same. When they are threatened, they will lie and even worse.

Get your kids out of these schools. They are only being taught to the test, and they can’t even pass those without cheating and score changing. Homeschool them if you can, put them in private schools if need be, move to a cheaper state, do what you need to do, but don’t continue to ruin their lives by continuing to incarcerate them in these institutions of so-called learning. They deserve more.

Paula Taylor

October 19th, 2009
9:13 pm

David S – perhaps you don’t remember the cheating scandal at Marist a few years back? A scandal that the school desperately tried to cover up, but the media caught on to it.

Dr. John Trotter

October 19th, 2009
11:52 pm

MAM, we will miss you on this blog. Don’t stay away too long. Your honesty and consistency is always appreciated.

Nancy Bloom

October 20th, 2009
8:53 am

I had a student in APS that scored exceeds on fifth grade Reading, but when assessed for her sixth grade Reading class she demonstrated serious deficiencies. In sixth grade she scored at level one.That demonstrates testing discrepancies. I was appalled when several students asked prior to testing if I would help them like their other teachers.There is a problem.

Nobody reads long posts

October 20th, 2009
9:33 am

No doubt these students are being trained to survive and thrive in a culture of corruption. It’s far more appropriate than critical reasoning skills.

Dr. John Trotter

October 20th, 2009
9:39 am

C H E A T I N G I N A T L A N T A, F U L T O N, D E K A L B, & G L Y N N. F I F T Y – S E V E N I L L E G A L B O A R D M E E T I N G S I N C O B B. Is Mark Elgart of SACS seeing anything worth investigating? Perhaps anything that might tarnish SACS’s veneer of accreditation? Perhaps SACS is a fake organization used only as a tool of the powerful. Markie, that Alpharetta sand will get in your eyes and ears and nose when you keep your head hidden in it.

Blackberry Curve, JD

October 20th, 2009
9:45 am

No one reads boring posts. The length of the posts is irrelevant. But, made-up conversations by the same poster bores the cr_p out of readers.

Shar

October 20th, 2009
9:58 am

Why is this story buried? APS takes the lion’s share of Atlanta tax dollars, APS directly affects more Atlantans than crime or foreclosure, but those two can be relied upon as front page material while outrageous, criminal, destructive actions of APS and the regime of Beverly Hall are lost. This should be front page every day until she is forced to remedy or leave.