Dr. Hall does the right thing: Outside review of scores coming

The announcement by APS Superintendent Beverly Hall that she will bring in outside experts to examine contested CRCT scores at 12 of her elementary schools is the exact right response.

Hall understands that the integrity of results is critical to her mission to turn around the city schools, a mission that she has worked hard at for more than a decade.

The invitations have only just been issued for the review panel, so we have no names yet. But it is likely that Hall, a national figure herself, will bring in reputable people.

Many of you who posted the other day in response to my entry on the need for Dr. Hall to address the wide swing in testing proficiency identified by an AJC investigation expressed doubts about the system’s willingness to delve deeper.

Are you reassured now?

48 comments Add your comment

jim d

October 22nd, 2009
8:09 am

6 months to determine there MIGHT be a need to look at this closer???

Hmmm, doesn’t work for me in the confidence column.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

October 22nd, 2009
8:23 am

After the initial denials and then denigrating the observations of others, I guess it’d be nice to see a complete turn-around from Dr. Hall and Kathy Augustine, but that would seem to be wishing for a first-of-its-kind in the annals of human behavior. Look for a couple of well-known experts mixed in with a bunch of lackeys.

Lee

October 22nd, 2009
8:33 am

“Are you reassured now?”

Depends on who they bring in to conduct this review.

Was it APC or Dekalb who brought in that one lady who did a hack job before?

Glenn Dowell, Ed.D.

October 22nd, 2009
8:39 am

Hall, a national figure herself, will bring in reputable people!!!!

It is amazing how much courtesy this woman has been given by the business and media community. A friend said to me the other day that as long as Hall continues to resegregate the schools by allowing parents on the Northside to be given preferential treatment-they are her supporters.

How in the hell can an “accused’ say with any degree of validation that my chosen lackeys have exonerated me? SHAME ON YOU, MAUREEN.

Shonda

October 22nd, 2009
8:55 am

Yes, we need some racist investigators to solve this. It seems like the predominantly black systems are always the ones singled out.

clyde

October 22nd, 2009
8:59 am

Nothing will come out of a review except the end of another school year.Some teachers will move on.Some will stay.A way will be found to increase the scores without it being so obvious that something is amiss.I’ve seen schools where I live go from bottom to top in one year.It’s a joke.

G. Tampa Bedwetter

October 22nd, 2009
9:06 am

3 comments before some ass played the woe begone race card. that is

ervin

October 22nd, 2009
9:13 am

Here we go again. Dr. Hall will be purchasing a favorable outcome with tax payer money. If she really want a neutral opinion, why not ask the governor to assist in the analysis. Dr. Hall need to move on for she has done enough to injury the Atlanta students and staff.

bob

October 22nd, 2009
9:14 am

shonda, some of the investigators are black.

mike

October 22nd, 2009
9:27 am

I still say that most kids learning and discipline problems must be addressed at home in their early years. Many parents pay virtually no attention to their kids when they are pre-k then wonder why the school system has failed them. Teachers can only do so much. Parents need to get involved, or don’t have kids.

conservative democrat

October 22nd, 2009
9:29 am

“…likely that Hall, a national figure herself” This ‘national figure’ makes $585,000 per year which is more than President Obama. No administrator’s pay should exceed the highest paid teacher in that system. Administrators should also be required to teach students, as well. Hall instituted the ‘bonus’ plan which gave $2000 for improved test scores. What else would you expect from such a plan? She should be dismissed for her role of promoting the policy that resulted in this scandal.

clyde

October 22nd, 2009
9:32 am

As I wander through life,Shonda,I have observed that the only ones who cheat are the ones that need to.Race,creed, color,gender,nationality,sexual preference,height,weight,hair color,eye shade,left handed,right handed,North,South,East West,never seem to have the upper hand in cheating.Nice throw of the race card,though.

v racer

October 22nd, 2009
9:32 am

Quick somebody check Shonda’s test scores.

Old School

October 22nd, 2009
9:58 am

clyde, I’ve witnessed students who were bright and at the top of their classes buckle under pressure to get the highest grades and cheat. From downloading papers and essays from the internet to copying homework to crib notes during exams to blatently looking at another student’s test, I’ve seen some cheat.

I think it’s fair to say some cheat because they think they have to and some because they can. Sad all the way around.

6th yr in hell

October 22nd, 2009
10:10 am

Maybe Dr. Hall’s association with the outside agency needs to be checked. Are the outside investigators individuals with whom she or her people are personal acquaintances of? Did her buddies set up a company within the last month just to end up specifically with this job? APS has tons of money pointlessly wasted because the bureaucrats keep shuffling money around between each other’s pet projects. How about hiring more teachers and bringing class sizes down along with offering teacher training?

BlackGirl

October 22nd, 2009
10:20 am

Shonda, please look at the list. There were more school systems than APS that had large swings. I really don’t think this is about race. From my understanding, this goes on everywhere.

J. J.

October 22nd, 2009
10:27 am

This is another stall technique…Let the state investigate and stop throwing away money and time.

Maureen Downey

October 22nd, 2009
10:31 am

Shonda, The AJC examined CRCT data statewide in this latest probe. Through their investigations, AJC reporters Heather Vogell and data analyst John Perry 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. There was no effort to single out APS. The data singled out APS, not the reporters.
Please note, too, that the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement is looking at test data as well. So, along with the Dr. Hall’s panel, there will be a review coming from the state.
I think the truth will come out here. There are too many eyes on the issue.
Maureen

teacher

October 22nd, 2009
10:49 am

i work for aps and they do cheat

sharecropper

October 22nd, 2009
11:10 am

She’s worked “hard” at “turning around” city schools for … 10 years? Wow. Has it occurred to anybody that this has become a job with lifetime security, and no results demanded. is there even any hope of the end of the beginning?

Shar

October 22nd, 2009
11:29 am

Am I reassured? No, absolutely not. This outside review should have been immediate, and the principal at Deerwood removed and investigated just as the other three principals in the initial review were. Dr. Hall has been forced by the weight of the evidence to bring in some group to stall and then paper over the problem, evidence that her own administration refused to look at. If she were interested in the students’ wellbeing rather than that of her bureaucrats, she would already have implemented a solution to forestall future problems – like shuffling teachers and administrators on test day to ensure that no school has its own staff in charge of testing, that random assignments are made to take those with financial interests in outcomes away from the testing process. She hasn’t. She wants those cheaters to continue – how else does she get to be nationally recognized?

Dr. Hall and her acolytes are a disgrace. Their selfish concentration on what is best for themselves, rather than the students, have resulted in an avalanche of waste, fraud and continuing poor performance and high drop out levels for Atlanta’s youth. I will only feel reassured when she is thrown out, and someone with integrity and a student focus is brought in.

Atlanta Board of Education, where are you????

Blackberry Curve, JD

October 22nd, 2009
11:50 am

Maureen, Maureen, Maureen…sometimes your naivete just amazes me. You are from New Jersey, right? Perhaps it is good that you are not too jaded in your perspective. LaLaLand is utopia. But, Maureen, I can assure you that the “team of investigators” whom Beverly Hall brings in will be in some way (directly or indirectly) connected to her. She will also probably pay the members of this team quite handsomely. Trust me: They will know what to conclude. “No conclusive evidence of cheating.” Presto! Just like when Crawford Lewis brought in the ex-judge (at enormous costs to the taxpayers of DeKalb County) to “determine” if any bullying occurred in the case of the young fifth grader who took his own life. Presto! “No bullying.” It is a sham and a farce. A little game which seems to fool people like you.

A real investigation? Let the Governor’s Office of Accountability select the investigators and do not allow any of them to be paid by the Atlanta Public Schools. In fact, no pay at all — not even from the Governor’s Office of Accountablitity. I am sure that there are still some service-minded folk out there who are eminently qualified and who are willing to investigate the matter of allegations of cheating in the Atlanta Public Schools. They might want to start with some anecdotal evidence. They can simply set up a way in which teachers can testify before this body in complete anonymity. Fear is the problem. The Beverly Hall Administration has shown itself to be ruthless. Yes, ruthless to anyone who deigns to question anything or who dares rock the boat in any sense. Have you ever heard of the Soviet Union?

Maureen, I know that you want so much to believe in Mao Tse-Hall…erh, I mean Beverly Hall. Some kids never want to give up on believing in Santa Claus. Maureen, Beverly Hall is an Educational Fake & Thug.

factually based

October 22nd, 2009
12:18 pm

Folks, just look at the money… APD spends more per capita on students than any other school district in GA and what do you get for that (roughly $14,500/per student/year)? Marginal, at best, improvements when compared against other systems that spend 60% or less of what Atlanta does, but still score higher. Look at the per capita spend of Dekalb or Gwinnett (or heaven forbid, Cobb)–all a lot less. Yes, if you spend a lot of money you get incremental improvement but is it effective? Is it efficient? Dr. Hall’s performance belies the amount of resourcing being poured into this system–it should be doing much better.

DeKalb Conservative

October 22nd, 2009
12:39 pm

“Are you reassured now?”

NO.

What the heck does an outside expert even consist of?

1. What makes them an expert?
2. What are the methodologies used?
3. Where are the outside experts located? Are they local to GA?
4. Who is paying for the outside experts?

ATL parent

October 22nd, 2009
1:26 pm

“Are you reassured now?”

Maureen–hopefully you really didn’t mean to sound like a smart a** as you did with that question.

Shar

October 22nd, 2009
1:29 pm

Hall has cowed the Board, who are our elected representatives, by claiming that the vast majority of their actions are meddling and by threatening to resign. The Board has responded by caving in, every time.
These people are up for election next month. It is their responsibility to police Hall and to insist that the huge APS budget is spent effectively and with integrity. They are not doing this job. Either force the BOE candidates to explain their actions and what they will do differently, or throw them out.

It’s time for the BOE elections to receive enough attention to make them competitive.

Maureen Downey

October 22nd, 2009
1:34 pm

No intention to sound like such, especially since I wrote a long piece only a few days ago saying that Hall was in the wrong to dodge the issue and to blame the messenger. While I have found Dr. Hall to be bright and focused, I feel like she was off base in her responses to the ongoing testing stories that we are doing here.
Maureen

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta

October 22nd, 2009
2:06 pm

Dr. Hall should designate the SREB to choose competent external auditors for the APS’s CRCT testing efforts.

Lee

October 22nd, 2009
3:56 pm

Dekalb Conservative asks who will pay for the outside experts.

Why, just one more furlough day should do it. Silly conservatives….

lol

ATL Parent

October 22nd, 2009
6:00 pm

Shar-This comment is for you. Obviously you have not been following the news. The principal was investigated. The fact of the matter is she was out of town during testing and most of the summer. The question that you should be asking is, “What princial was over summer school?” I am a parent of a student that attended Deerwood’s summer school. I want to know this. It was the investigation that let us parents know that the Deerwood Principal was not responsible for this summer school because they rotate the responsibility every year. They used the facility but it wasn’t her year. So who was? Honestly, I was there daily and never saw her. If she ever needed a witness, I could attest to that. But I saw others that have not been mentioned. Why?

ATL Parent

October 22nd, 2009
6:12 pm

By the way, what happened to the

Deerwood’s Assistant Principal? Vanished? or should I say Banished. All of this is just wrong any way you slice it. Like I said earlier, I visited the school everyday to see how my son was fairing. He was in a class with four teachers. I expected him to do well with all that help. I think that they used Deerwood Academy to look into these other schools. A lot of us parents got together to review the GOSA report on the school and now that this new information is out involving the other schools, it is even more difficult to see why Deerwood was a part of the initial investigation. They weren’t an outlier using the new stats. Maybe it is a race thing or is it really a Black National Superintendent thing?

alice

October 22nd, 2009
7:08 pm

ATL parent — the investigation that caught Deerwood was based on different data and a different method than this one. That investigation looked at the retest that was given Summer of 2008. This investigation covered the gains/loses between two different school years.

A race thing — DeKalb and Clayton would have been singled out as well. CoA is the only system in GA consistently offering financial rewards (and I suspect job security) to principals and others for higher test scores. In other systems, you get a Good Job and Way to Go and then everyone moves on.,

In Total Agreement Esq.

October 22nd, 2009
7:57 pm

Alice, the public has been fooled by the Deerwood investigation. This school should not have been lumped in with the others. The GOSA’s own erasure analysis disqualifies them as outliers. GOSA purposely lowered the outlier mark so that they could include this school. ATL parent, you are dead on. Several attorneys and statisticians are laughing at this report when it comes to this school because we realize that this was just a passagway. The other schools with high percentages of erasures are questionable. But this school’s analysis was at 6% (appropriate). The governor’s office needed them to catch a bigger fish. Those who were caught up in the slaying are simply casualties of war. By the way, we will soon hear about the other counties that are predominantly black. My office is following this very closely because some of these people truly have great cases.

Yes, that sounds badly!

October 22nd, 2009
8:49 pm

Someone wrote, ““Are you reassured now?”

“Maureen–hopefully you really didn’t mean to sound like a smart a** as you did with that question.”

——————————————————————————————————————————–

I agree with that poster! My gosh, certainly it wasn’t meant to sound like that. A couple of days ago, Maureen was being strong, and today it sounds as if she is upset with us for having little patience with test discrepancies. Surely, that quote came out incorrectly. But I agree with Atl Parent … I felt the same when I read it!

Or does Dr. Hall really have that much power over people? Is she now a Stepford Reporter?

Another Moore-Type Investigation?

October 22nd, 2009
8:54 pm

Let me guess: The investigation will be led by Retired Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Wyatt Moore, who said that absolutely no bullying ever occurred/occurs at Dunair Elementary!!??

Why are we saying Dr. Hall “DOES” the right thing? It hasn’t been done yet. She MAY be doing the right thing. We have to watch and wait, or we are ignorant.

another aps teacher

October 22nd, 2009
9:28 pm

Forget the last two years. Go back five years and check out the scores in fifth grade and then performance in sixth grade. That should do the trick. If a fifth grade student passes the GCRCT honestly and fairly then that student should come to sixth grade with basic math, reading, and grammar skills. Ask some sixth grade teachers. No, you don’t have to do that. Just check some sixth grade scores. Compare those fifth grade scores with the feeder school sixth grade scores the next year. Elementary school cheating has been going on for a long, long time.

yes man

October 23rd, 2009
12:23 am

O.K. people let’s just use common sense. If these elementary students were so smart. The middle school test scores will be through the roof! Look at all of the middle schools that these elementary schools feed into. This is a no brainer. It is like throwing a rock and hiding the hand. Beverly Hall has known cheating has gone on for years and has done nothing about it!!! Poor KIDS

yes man

October 23rd, 2009
12:26 am

This was bound ro happen sooner or later. Take it from someone who knows!!!

jm

October 23rd, 2009
12:42 pm

only reason APS scores have improved is shutting down of the housing projects. hall deserves no credit for this and should be replaced – she has undermined the charter schools, has not done any magnet schools of substance, and for all intents and purposes appears pretty mediocre.

John

October 23rd, 2009
3:47 pm

More analysis – what a waste of money by APS! Just accept the obvious results of the statistical analysis already done – The test results were tampered with. Doesn’t anyone in APS understand basic statistics? Shameful of you Dr. Hall. Get on with firing those responsible and get back to educating students.

RJ

October 23rd, 2009
4:37 pm

Cheating has been going on for years in APS. I would love to see what the middle school scores would show. If you’ve ever dared to enter some of those zoos that they call schools you would understand. I’m ashamed to say that I graduated from APS although North Atlanta is still considered one of the best. I really don’t think that Dr. Hall cares. Why else would she continue to offer bonuses? No other system does that. Making AYP is a part of their job. She’s known for years so you can bet that whoever does this “investigation” will be a personal friend.

catlady

October 24th, 2009
8:58 am

No one trusts the PSC, either.

ScienceTeacher671

October 24th, 2009
9:29 am

I still maintain that the ultimate outrage ought to be that students who are up to 4 years below grade level can “meet expectations” on the CRCT – that is cheating all of our students, and it comes from the very top.

That said, it is truly frightening that some schools feel the need to cheat on a test with such low passing thresholds.

Doris M

October 24th, 2009
7:32 pm

Shame on APS. Dr. Hall now wants to hire an investigator. I thought she already wasted taxpayer money on an investigation that was a sham. Why waste more taxpayer money? Atlanta Board of Education (who just won national honors) where are you and want are you doing? Don’t let Dr. Hall bring in more of her New York friends to waste more of my hard earned and paid taxes.

Peyton Forest Parent

October 24th, 2009
8:30 pm

Peyton Forest is a phenomenal school, headed by a dynamic leader and staffed by highly qualified, talented teachers. I am proud of the education my daughter receives there each and every day. The AJC’s investigation cannot and will not changed what I know to be true about Peyton Forest. Teaching and learning is the rule, not the exception. I welcome the outside investgation. I want everyone to see why I am enormously proud, grateful and thankful for everyone in that building.

RJ

October 25th, 2009
10:26 am

@PeytonForestParent, please share with us how Peyton was able to make such miraculous jumps in their test scores. Surely they;’re willing to share their teaching strategies since the odds of that actually happening are one in a billion. As a parent, you know absolutely nothing about what goes in inside of a school building other than what they’re willng to allow you to see. As a parent, I would want to know the truth. If this is the attitude of most APS parents, it’s no wonder the schools have to cheat. The apples don’t fall far from the tree.

RJ

October 25th, 2009
11:09 am

Don’t know why this didn’t post the first time.

@PeytonForestParent, please share with us how Peyton was able to make such miraculous jumps in their test scores. Surely they;’re willing to share their teaching strategies since the odds of that actually happening are one in a billion. As a parent, you know absolutely nothing about what goes in inside of a school building other than what they’re willng to allow you to see. As a parent, I would want to know the truth. If this is the attitude of most APS parents, it’s no wonder the schools have to cheat. The apples don’t fall far from the tree.

trudytysontrudy

November 13th, 2009
11:02 pm

I am a retired APS teacher…I know for a fact cheating takes place on the TESTS(every one of them)…it has been going on for years…and will continue…ask any teacher in the system …has to be anonymous.