CRCT tampering: Crisis in confidence, character and conscience for APS

In a jaw-dropping meeting with Gov. Sonny Perdue and his staff Tuesday, the AJC learned that a review of all 2009 CRCT answer sheets identified 74 “severe” elementary and middle schools schools in which there appeared to be widespread answer-sheet tampering. The worst offender was Atlanta Public Schools in which cheating appears to have occurred in 37 of its 55 elementary schools.

Here is the link to the AJC searchable database of all schools. Here is a link to the list of severe-only schools. Here is a link to the detailed news story.And this takes you to a map. Here is a new map created Friday.

Responding to earlier evidence of cheating, including an analysis by the AJC, the state had every 2009 answer sheet reviewed to measure how often kids changed wrong answers to right by virtue of erasures on the sheets. Because every test sheet was checked, the state was able to develop a reliable index of how often test answers were changed from wrong to right and flag schools that had inordinate occurrences of answer changes, right down to the classroom level.

It then flagged schools that had higher-than-average numbers of wrong -to-right answers, and found troubling patterns, most of which occurred in Atlanta schools and in Dougherty County schools. To understand, look at third grade math scores. Reviewing the answer sheets of 125,000 third graders, the state found that the average student changed 1.87 answers from wrong to right.

If there was a third-grade classroom in which the students on average changed 4.8 answers from wrong to right, a flag went up, said Kathleen Mathers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. “That change was so much bigger than what we saw in classrooms across the state.”

APS Superintendent Beverly Hall must address a culture of cheating in her schools that threatens all her reform efforts.

APS Superintendent Beverly Hall must address a culture of cheating in her schools that threatens all her reform efforts.

Then, the state examined how each individual class performed on the test and how many answers went from incorrect to correct. They compared each classroom to the state average. To be flagged, the changes from wrong to right answers had to be well above state average, so much so that it could not be a matter of chance. Then, the state looked at the schools as a whole and found widespread instances of improbable answer changes.

On its list of the 74 schools with the highest number of classrooms with questionable – unbelievable, in fact – erasures from wrong to right, APS has 43 schools and Dougherty has eight schools.

Out of the 74 flagged schools, DeKalb had six schools including the much acclaimed DeKalb Path Academy Charter School. Fulton has three schools. Clayton has two schools, including Lewis Academy of Excellence, a charter school that appeared before the state board of education this morning to plead for a reconsideration of state charter status, citing its academic achievement and its performance on state tests.

No Gwinnett, Cobb, Fayette, Cherokee, Rockdale, Decatur, Forsyth or Henry schools are on the list of 74.

With evidence suggesting that tampering of test sheets took place in 67 percent of its 55 elementary schools, Atlanta Public Schools is now facing a crisis in culture, confidence, conscience and character.

This data show that a culture of cheating exists in Atlanta schools, a culture that may have taken root before reform-minded Superintendent Beverly Hall arrived a decade ago or may be a result of her relentless pressure on her schools to improve and do it quickly.

Either way, this culture cannot be tolerated and must be banished, even if it means a wholesale firing of staff. (I suspect that some will call for Hall’s firing. If the cheating traces back to her, she will have to resign. There may well be a case to be made that she should have known that this was going on in her district.)

This is not a few bad apples. This is rot to the core of APS and it cannot be addressed with training or memos. The shakeup at APS should bounce desks off the floor and rattle pictures off the walls.

Otherwise, how can parents know if their kids are learning if test results are not valid?

On the issue of conscience, how could schools – including some in which eight out of 10 classrooms had compelling evidence of cheating — promote students to the next grade who were not able to do the work, yet had soaring CRCT scores?

This is educational malpractice of the worst kind.

It not only hurts the children, but it victimizes the next teacher in the chain who can’t understand why her student who scored proficient in reading the year before now can’t sound out a sentence. Under the federal No Child Left Behind law, those students may have qualified for tutoring based on their undoctored scores, says Mathers, of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. “Students were deprived of those opportunities.”

Superintendent Hall should not waste a minute arguing with the state’s findings. As a clearly concerned Gov. Perdue told us yesterday in an hour-long meeting, “The facts are what the facts are. Trust me, we will not allow this to be whitewashed. I can’t think of any superintendent who has the students’ best interests at heart who won’t want to find out what happened and where.”

Gov. Perdue met with the AJC Tuesday to share a stunning study of how often test answers were changed on last year's CRCTs.

Gov. Perdue met with the AJC Tuesday to share a stunning study of how often test answers were changed on last year's CRCTs.

Perdue said he is counting on systems to investigate and right any wrongs, including getting true assessments of their students and providing academic help to kids who aren’t really proficient.

“There is strong evidence here,” he said. “It is not my job to impugn or indict any one person or school. I may change my mind as I go down the line.”

When you look at the lists – and our AJC technical staffers have been working all night to get this data from the state in easy-to-use form for you — you will see that the schools with the greatest instances of tampering are poor and minority. These are the schools that have the farthest to go to get their kids to proficiency on state tests.

You do not see the suburban powerhouse counties on the list. I also have to note that some districts with high poverty enrollments are not on the list. (Along with the 74 truly problematic schools, the state assembled a list of 117 schools with moderately troubling test irregularities.) So, between the severe- and moderate-concern schools, there are 191 or 10 percent of the state’s elementary and middle schools that have test results that merit monitoring.

But the searing findings raise so many questions. Where did the cheating take place — in the classroom or after the answer sheets were turned into the school offices?

In some instances, as many as 48 answers on a test sheet were changed from wrong to right. Why would a teacher or principal go that far to ensure a single student passed? How desperate were they?

Are the honest teachers turning a blind eye or are their complaints ignored?

How does APS rebuild after this? Why did so many Atlanta schools resort to cheating when national testing showed that APS was, in fact, raising achievement? Or, are those test results now in doubt, too?

How can teachers at the 43 APS schools on the state’s most extreme list go to work tomorrow knowing that all their good work – and there is clearly some good work amid this wreckage – is now in question?

We need to talk about whether we are asking too much of students or too little of schools?

Let’s start.

(I just received the official statement from GOSA on this and am tacking it on here as it gives more information on the process:

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) today released the results of a spring 2009 Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) erasure analysis. GOSA partnered with CTB-McGraw Hill (CTB), the state’s testing vendor in charge of developing and scoring CRCT exams, to conduct a comprehensive examination of all statewide CRCT answer documents for grades 1 through 8. The analysis focused on the number of wrong answers that had been changed to right answers on individual student answer sheets in Reading, English-Language Arts, and Mathematics.

“The analysis looked on average at 125,000 test takers in every subject and grade level at which the CRCT was administered and provided a clear picture of typical student test behavior against which all schools could be compared,” said GOSA Executive Director, Kathleen Mathers. “Our recommendations are intended to eliminate future problems and help students who have been adversely affected by test tampering.”

In the analysis, CTB psychometricians scanned answer documents to identify total erasures per classroom, flagging those classrooms in which the number of wrong-to-right changes proved to be three standard deviations (SDs) or more above the state average. Less than 0.15% of test takers would be expected to fall in that range naturally.

Based on the analysis, schools were placed in varying categories according to their percentage of flagged classrooms. 80% of Georgia’s elementary and middle schools fell into the “Clear” category, meaning less than 6% of the classes within a given school were flagged; 10% fell into the “Minimal Concern” category with 6%-10% of classes flagged; 6% were determined to be in the “Moderate Concern” category with 11%-24% of classes flagged; and only 4% were termed “Severe Concern” as defined by a school having 25% or more of its classes flagged for wrong-to-right changes.

Recommendations on which the State Board of Education will vote range from requiring local Superintendents to conduct internal investigations to determine the causes of testing irregularities to schools rotating teachers during the 2010 CRCT test administration so that they administer the test to students they have not taught. In addition, state monitors will be placed in all schools in the severe concern category during this spring’s test.

“Important decisions will be made from this data that are critical to the future of Georgia’s children,” said GOSA Deputy Director, Dr. Eric Wearne. “Overall, Georgia’s schools are performing well and continue to excel in student achievement.”

The CRCT is a standardized assessment given to students in grades 1-8 in Georgia. The test is designed to measure how well students at each grade level have learned the state’s curriculum. CRCT results are used to determine whether schools have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as required by No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

GOSA plans future analyses of standardized test scores, possibly including End of Course Tests (EOCT) and Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGT) and will also examine graduation and dropout rates and other factors that determine student achievement. Please visit www.gaosa.org to see the full 2009 CRCT erasure analysis report.

216 comments Add your comment

Allen

February 10th, 2010
3:00 pm

so where’s the list?

jdawg

February 10th, 2010
3:07 pm

Now I just wonder how much this cost!!!!! Folks when you put people on the line….there tends to be a little fudging….looks like Hotlanta got caught a little more……Oh, well….just another day…maybe when we cut out furloughs, and making teachers low on the ladder…..you get what you pay for…

NA

February 10th, 2010
3:08 pm

I did student teaching and field experiences in APS from 2002-2004 and cheating was RAMPANT then. Those same students are now in middle school, making nowhere near the scores they made in elementary. Let’s have an honest conversation about cheating, and the bullcrap reform models that teachers in urban systems are forced to use.

Someone

February 10th, 2010
3:08 pm

Like Allen say, so where’s the list. Is this another one Gov. Purdue trick to make him look good, about education in this state.

Maureen Downey

February 10th, 2010
3:10 pm

Someone, The list is now up. Check my new blog for links.
Maureen

Cobb Parent

February 10th, 2010
3:22 pm

Question about the methodology: Is there a reason 5.5% was used at the cutoff to designate a school clear of cheating? I’m assuming that under random normal conditions, we would expect 5.5% of classrooms to be flagged given the random variations among students, but I just want to make sure that 5.5% isn’t a subjective figure. Also, what exactly does minimal/moderate mean in everyday terms? I would think minimal cheating would be unacceptable as well to most people.

The APS numbers are astounding, considering some of these schools border schools in other districts that had far far lower flagged cases. Something systemic is clearly going on in some of the APS schools and something has to be done.

teacher/parent

February 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

Are the national tests that show improvement in APS now in question? They were given in the same school and administered by the same adults-you tell me.
The cheating on the tests is bad enough. However, it is nothing compared to the cheating of the students by the system.
Why are we putting so much stock in a test?
What are the tests measuring?
Why do we bother to test students every year if there is no consequence (i.e. no holding students back for remediation so that the students can learn)?
What we do is test, test, test in elementary and middle school, ignore the results (or fudge them), socially promote students until they get to high school, and then bemoan a high drop out rate and low graduation rates.
None of this makes any sense.

really, seriously?

February 10th, 2010
3:28 pm

wasn’t there a list generated a while back that addressed the schools who had a high number of students taking remedial courses in college? It would be interesting to match the results of this exam to the high schools these schools feed into to really see the overarching problem from start to finish.

Shar

February 10th, 2010
3:34 pm

This kind of cheating and lying will continue to be endemic as long as the supervising Board is as spineless and cowed as Atlanta’s is, and while those who financially benefit from test scores are the ones presiding over the test process. The losers are the taxpayers, who have paid for services that have not been rendered, and most especially the students, who are not even minimally prepared to advance academically.

It is even more horrifying to know that the students’ failure is on the CRCT, a dumbed-down test that has been crafted by the state DOE to reflect the classroom curriculum and to minimize the failure rate.

Any competent supervisor would anticipate the conflict of interest inherent in Georgia’s test protocol, and would have at minimum initiated a switch among teachers to ensure that no teacher proctored a test from which they or their school would benefit, and that no administrator had access to answer sheets from their own school. Additionally, there would be post-test monitoring in place to uncover instances of cheating so that those involved could be disciplined and act as a deterrent for others.

With cheating so widespread within APS, Hall and her vile little Mini-Me, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction Kathy Augustine, both had to know and tacitly condone the practice. In addition, the Atlanta Board of Education has ceded all active power to Hall without any effective oversight, and has abandoned the students and taxpayers in the process. Every top administrator in APS should be put on probation, Hall and Augustine should repay their performance bonuses and leave, and criminal investigations for fraud should be started against them. The administrators and teachers involved in the classrooms under review should also go on probation with the possibility of pursuing criminal charges if cheating is proven to have occurred.

Our children have been betrayed and our coffers defrauded for personal gain. It is the most intolerable theft yet.

Finally caught

February 10th, 2010
3:38 pm

A culture of cheating exists in APS. Check GHSGT scores against failures in classes. Check to see who was hired for administrative positions. Connections count not experience. Atlanta is a mess. This exposure was long overdue.

Jim Williams

February 10th, 2010
3:46 pm

Where there is this much pressure to perform, cheaters will abound. The only way to insure honesty is to bring in outside test administrators who give the test and then take the answer sheets away from the school. Is this cost effective? No way.

The whole premise that standardized testing is this valuable is really flawed. The whole system needs to be scrapped.

By the way – many researchers say the data indicates that our standardized testing and imitation of emerging third world countires should be titled “Race to the Bottom.” I agree!

Milton Mom

February 10th, 2010
3:48 pm

I was relieved to find my children’s schools did not have any problems. However, I have the same questions as Cobb Parent in terms of how we interpret the database. How many erasures would have to be done by a student/class to get flagged? I was reading on the previous post that the average number of erasures was .8 to 1.8. So if three students had 2 erasures from right to wrong in a class, then that class would get flagged? I can see how when 30%+ of classes have this issue, it’s a problem. But, do schools that have minimal/moderate labels warrant any concern?

From the Article

February 10th, 2010
3:53 pm

I had the same questions but I found this info from the article is useful in terms of methodology:
“The analysis conducted for the state by CTB-McGraw Hill looked for answers changed from wrong to right on spring 2009 language arts, reading and math CRCT answer sheets for grades one through eight. A classroom was flagged for each subject-area test in which the average number of answer changes per student was unusually high.

The state defined unusual as three standard deviations above the statewide average. Standard deviation is a measure based on the distribution of results around the average such that, with a normal distribution, 99.85 percent of results should be less than three standard deviations above the average.

Schools with 25 percent or more of classrooms flagged for unusually high answer changes were placed in the severe concern category. The moderate concern category comprised schools with 11 percent to 24 percent of classrooms flagged. The minimal concern category comprised schools with 6 percent to 10 percent of classrooms flagged.”

Kathleen Mathers, director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, said schools with as many as 5 percent of classrooms flagged were classified as “clear,” partly to allow for the occasional student who inadvertently skips a line on the answer sheet, then makes several erasures to correct the mistake.

Teachersaid

February 10th, 2010
3:56 pm

Why are we teaching to freakin test anyway. What is it really proving? Now the governor is talking about a pay for performance plan like that is not going increase the percentage of cheating! The state of Massachusetts has the best school system in the nation why cant we just try to follow their model. Hell we have tried everything else!!!

Attentive Parent

February 10th, 2010
4:04 pm

Maureen,

With its Office of Mathematics and Science Initiatives, isn’t APS involved with designing the math CRCTs in the 1st place or is it only the math EOCTs?

We know OMSI is designing the learning tasks in the state’s Instructional Frameworks and APS prides itself on its fidelity of implementation.

APS has been at the heart of Georgia’s reform math since the Atlanta Systemic Initiative began about 15 years ago. The empirical evidence that’s part of the record in that Seattle case predicts that “at risk” will have real difficulties with discovery math. That is the same population as these schools in the severe category.

This involves the futures of real children. It looks like too many adults in APS see the students merely as conduits for funding, not responsibilities.

Does anyone know what the reading method used in APS is?

Is it Guided Reading perhaps?

Vince

February 10th, 2010
4:05 pm

Maureen….Granted, I never taught math, but I don’t quite understand the numbers. The state says that 3.5% of our classes were flagged. That would amount to .42 of our classes. I don’t get that. Are they saying four tenths of one of our classes was flagged? Did they divide the number of suspicious answer documents by the number of classes to get a percentage? If they truly looked at the test at the teacher/classroom level my numbers don’t make sense.

Can you find out how the numbers were derived?

APS Teacher

February 10th, 2010
4:09 pm

I have been a teacher in APS for 14 years and I agree with much of the press. I have witnessed students with extremely high test scores not being able to comprehend basic information. This no doubt is a result of CHEATING. Many schools are so eager to receive a bonus check for meeting Dr. Hall’s targets that they result to almost anything. It is a shame! Further, APS is nothing but the good ole boy network. Regardless of how qualified you are for a position, if you don’t know someone—forget about it! Principals are quick to hire their friends, sorority sisters, frat brothers etc. for positions that they know they are not qualified for.
It is time for Dr. Hall to do a complete overhaul of the system. She should move around or get rid of most of the principals, assistant principals, and instructional specialists at all the schools with minimal, moderate and severe issues of cheating.

Katie

February 10th, 2010
4:23 pm

Maureen and all,
I am saddened, but not really surprised. The pressure to make the cut scores is unbelievable–and more so in the high-needs, high-poverty schools, inronically. On the one hand, I can’t believe that any educator would deliberately carry out such an egregious breach of conduct. On the other hand, I understand the desperation of teachers who know they’re going to be held accountable for test scores of children who come to school hungry, dirty, and completely unprepared to do school work because their parents are too busy struggling to keep a roof over their head to take time to teach them their letters. The culture of poverty is at the root of all of this. How do we change it? If I had the answer, I wouldn’t be writing this from the public library while I wait for my next tutoring client!

Rich

February 10th, 2010
4:27 pm

I assume the cheaters are the exception, rather than the rule. Who ever commited the crime or help should pay dearly. On a side note, I think that it is funny that the HOPE is not availible for kids who homeschool because of concern for parent cheating on grades.

lovelyliz

February 10th, 2010
4:30 pm

Remember the Houston Miracle that never was?

Maureen Downey

February 10th, 2010
4:34 pm

Vince, I just hung up with Kathleen Mathers of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and added some more information to the blog, in response to your questions.
Also, I added her agency’s information to the bottom of the blog, including a link to the study.
Maureen

ugaaccountant

February 10th, 2010
4:35 pm

Well, “pay for performance” defined in terms of results on this test should be dead assuming this audit is as clear cut as it appears in this article. The described statistics appear fairly convincing. It’s obvious that the results can be changed and if peoples pay were to depend on it the problem would only increase.

Attentive Parent

February 10th, 2010
4:50 pm

APS does use the Fountas & Pinnell Guided Reading program to “teach” reading. That’s the program that is what the Whole Language movement morphed into after all the bad press.

They also require (in their agreements with charter schools) their schools to adopt the constructivist philosophy of teaching.

APS is validating that “learning by doing” is a very dangerous method for “at risk” kids to learn reading and math.

Given a choice between explicit instruction of reading and math and cheating to hide the terrible outcomes of these poor instructional choices, many APS schools turn to cheating.

the least of pub eds problems

February 10th, 2010
5:03 pm

This is further proof that our teachers are unqualified to teach our kids. Not only on an ethical level but think about it, these people are supposed to be teaching our kids math and they can’t even come up with a statistical formula to change answers without being caught.

And on that thought, the true smart ones would look at the GOSA’s formula for their analysis and use it next year.

If the [testing] system is flawed, why not work it?

Wounded Warrior

February 10th, 2010
5:16 pm

couties should be able to elect supers and they need term limits.

Maude

February 10th, 2010
5:41 pm

My question is why only a few schools are under the gun. It is widly known in the education world that the APS cheats on CRCT. I teach in another metro county and I can tell you for sure they cheat. I get students from APS with really high CRCT scores that are working one or more years below grade level. They fail the test when they take it without the cheating. That makes me look bad when the adminstors points out the high scores one year and low the next. I tell it lik it is I DON’T CHEAT!

Teacher

February 10th, 2010
5:47 pm

I have taught for 11 years in urban school districts. CHEATING is more widespread than you think. It will continue as long as teachers are held completely accountable for student achievement instead of holding parents accountable for their children. I say APS needs to revamp and be run by the state department of education or an outside source until they can manage teaching and testing without cheating. It is almost impossible to teach inner-city kids who come to school dirty, hungry, and 2-3 years behind their suburban peers. Inner-city kids are TEN times harder to teach than their suburban counterparts because their schools are guinea pigs for the district. I taught in one Title I school that tested every new program that came out while the richer schools in the district did not test out any. Once the program was tweaked in the poverty-level school and pefected, it was then used at the richer schools. Teachers are wrong for CHEATING!!!! However, the state department of education is also wrong for placing soooooooooo much emphasis on testing rather than good teaching. Every teacher is not qualified to teach inner-city kids.

Kids R GreaT

February 10th, 2010
6:00 pm

I’d love to see all this focus on curriculum development and community support of public schools. If parents and community,and politicians would work as hard for our public schools as they do against it, just think what we could do for our school children! Many of us work hard and enjoy the challenge of the CRCT. Remember this is a criterion referenced test! We are measuring how well the students have learned the grade level criteria set forth by OUR GA. State Dept. of Education. Unfortunately, there are people out there that shouldn’t be teaching. Surely this would be evident to administrators! Hay…we are always needing proctors to assist in classrooms…….. come and volunteer!

PappyHappy

February 10th, 2010
6:04 pm

This is pathetic! Now, one can see the need for some legislation going through the system to make it punitive for teachers/administrators who cheat. This is a major black eye for Georgia; for the Georgia teaching profession; and a sign that Georgia administrators are in dire need of courses in ethics and leadership! They will not have credibility when they cry for more SPLOSHes!

I teach

February 10th, 2010
6:04 pm

I teach in APS and not to justify cheating at all,but in Atlanta Public Schools you are very likely to be put on a professional development plan (PDP) if your students do not perform well on the CRCT. A PDP means that administrators, coaches, model teacher leaders and every other want to be important person comes in and out of your classroom scrutinizing everything that you do without taken into consideration who you are working with and they offer very little help. I agree with APS Teacher, not only move around or get rid of principals, assistant principals, instructional specialists, academic coaches, model teacher leaders, instructional coaches, but have them all reapply for their positions.

Dan

February 10th, 2010
6:27 pm

I worked at APS prior to Dr. Hall’s tenure. Cheating is by no means a new phenomena–it was rampant then too! There was so much pressure from principals to increase test scores…and by any means. It appears it’s business as usual…though things may even be worse today. I feel so sorry for all the children at APS who are being short changed and continue to be short changed by a self-serving hierarchy who’s only interest is to force quick improvement in test scores which lead to fatter paychecks. Shame on you all!

APS Teacher 2

February 10th, 2010
6:27 pm

See! I can post as an Atlanta School District Teacher as well.

Northview (Ex)Teacher

February 10th, 2010
6:28 pm

What’s Purdue’s angle in this? I mean, he’s the biggest do-nothing in history and all the sudden he is just outraged over what is going on in APS. I don’t suppose it would have anything to do with the fact that those kids are minority and poor. With Sonny being what he is (and his supporters being what they are), I wonder what kind of racism is lurking behind all his sanctimony.

Thanks, massa.

PsychMom

February 10th, 2010
6:34 pm

Very sad, but not unexpected. The cheaters need to be fired. The administration that supports cheaters needs to be fired. People with energy, enthusiasm, and a love of teaching in a difficult environment need to brought in. Those of us with kids in the wealthier schools should volunteer some time in the troubled schools. So many things need to change- but we all need to be a part of it and not look the other way. Kids R GreaT – I’d be happy to help out.

Nikole Allen

February 10th, 2010
6:35 pm

@ Attentive Parent- Many urban students in APS are using a scripted reading program (SFA, Direct Instruction etc.), that is not half as good as guided reading. Also, guided reading is only one aspect of a balanced literacy program. It is not meant as a primary means of teaching reading.

Rich

February 10th, 2010
6:59 pm

Maybe we need to start holding parents responsible. As I read the comments form teachers, performance is expect at any cost. Parents need to be more involed.

Attentive Parent

February 10th, 2010
7:00 pm

Nikole-

I am going off the mandated template in the contract for an APS charter school and what they refer to as balanced literacy then goes on to list the methods and books to be used which are strictly whole language like Fountas and Pinnell and Lucy Calkins. They have to misportray both sides of the debate to get to GR as balance. Marie Clay has been quite adamant that there will be no teaching of phonics in her programs. The template also requires the use of Investigations for math.

I can quote you precisely what F&P say their intentions are with their “phonics” books. To summarize, it is to shut parents up without teaching the letter-sound correspondence directly.

If what you say is true please cite or link the examples of this type of program. That would make parents very happy as this really is about the futures of APS students. I can provide links to APS documents verifying every fact above.

majii

February 10th, 2010
7:33 pm

I think these problems with students cheating on the CRCT could have been avoided. I worked in Monroe County before retiring last year. The Instructional Supervisor distributed the tests at a single location on the morning of the test. Teachers had to count all materials and sign them out before heading to the testing location. After all students had completed the tests, they would be collected by the IS, other building principals, and counselors at the test site, where all materials would be checked back in. No teacher could keep any copies of the test or examiner’s manual in his/her classroom, everything, including scratch paper, was returned immediately after the test. The only way I can think of that the answer sheets were changed in APS would be if the teachers were not supervised appropriately before, during, and after the test. It seems that there may be laxness on the part of the administrators in these schools. Although I taught at the high school level, I checked the scores for the four elementary and middle schools in Monroe County. Three of the schools were rated clear, one mild. There are significant numbers of kids living below the poverty level and a significant number of minority students in these schools, so I’m not buying into the claim that the students in APS with similar socio-economic/dommoraphic profiles cannot learn the material necessary to pass the CRCT.

Welcome to our little world of Dekalb

February 10th, 2010
7:33 pm

Maureen
l looked at the website. It seems to me that certain schools that were majority African-Americans population were targeted than the Caucasian population. I can’t believe that White Children don’t erase answers too. The state seems to only target certain districts. How in the H can anybody go by erase marks? This is just another tactic to try and keep Blacks down. If you don’t believe me see it for yourself.

ScienceTeacher671

February 10th, 2010
7:34 pm

After we finish this, we need to talk about the BIG cheat…you know, the one where the state DOE tells parents, students, and the general public that students working as much as 4 years below grade level are actually “proficient”…

majii

February 10th, 2010
7:36 pm

***demographic*** sorry—brain freeze on this word

EX Evil Old English Teacher

February 10th, 2010
7:38 pm

ScienceTeacher671

Amen to that!

Equitable Accountability

February 10th, 2010
7:49 pm

I’m not saying that cheating is right in any way, shape, or form, but there is TOO MUCH PRESSURE put on principals, instructional specialists, and teachers for students to perform well on standardized tests. THE PARENTS AND STUDENTS NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AS WELL!! Teachers don’t go home with students at night to ensure that they read, study, and do their homework. Many parents with kids that attend the more poverty sticken APS school don’t even take an interest in their children’s learning (I’m speaking from experience). If students perform poorly on the CRCT, teachers are labeled as “bad teachers” and forced to complete pages upon pages of interventions for their students. The teacher is not always in total control, especially with “at-risk” students. Way too much emphasis is put on the CRCT as a predictor of teacher effectiveness and student learning. We need to use multiple measures (e.g., portfolios and performance assessments) and growth models to truly measure student achievement and take some of accountability off of teachers and administrators for achieving high test scores.

Equitable Accountability

February 10th, 2010
7:51 pm

Majii…the same system is used in APS. All testing materials are submitted immediately after testing (at least at the school that I worked at).

Now What?

February 10th, 2010
8:11 pm

Anyone who has ever worked for APS knows about the cheating. It’s done all over, and it’s very open. Every year, a new story comes out about it, but nothing is done. How is this time any different? If I know firsthand about cheating, is there someone I can contact?

History Teacher

February 10th, 2010
8:11 pm

Thank you, Science Teacher we seem to forget that point. The score is meaningless, accurate or not because it is skewed to show the student is proficient when thet are not even on grade level. Is that not cheating too??
In regard to APS, when I read the scores at APS- Kennedy Middle school, I thought good for them!.. but wow, that is a lot of progress in short amount of time considering that school’s needs. Although, that does not imply that the students are not capable because they are capable with the right instruction techniques, etc. but it was a lot of progress in a short amount of time considering many had to brought up to grade level then learn the curriculum. Cheating or great teachers? I don’t know. Finally, MOST school systems cheat in some form, so don’t think it is just a APS problem.

Pompano

February 10th, 2010
8:12 pm

Well it took only 31 posts before “Northview (Ex)teacher” played the race card – followed up most pathetically by “Welcome to our little World of Dekalb”.

Hey Northview & Dekalb – why don’t you rationally ask yourselves why it is predominantly minority schools where cheating is rampant? Of course I really don’t have any problem with your schools graduating kids who are dumb as rocks (and are not even aware how clueless they are). As a wise man once said – the world needs ditch diggers. Hail to APS’s committment to creating the next generation of ditch diggers.

Inside out

February 10th, 2010
8:14 pm

It starts with the head. When classroom teachers are told they must meet a certain target or they need to find another field to work in, what do you expect? The superintendent (Hall) threatens the executive directors, who threaten the principals, who threaten the teachers, who take all the blame but invest the most and are paid the least. When education is taken seriously by those at the top as well as the parents, then a difference will be made. Teachers should not be forced into meet the targets or loose your job situations when children come to the classroom with a mile long list of disabilities and inequalities. Even children from the same household do not learn or achieve at the same levels but yet have the same expectations.

Good grief

February 10th, 2010
8:14 pm

This is what happens when the whole school year is based on one week worth of tests. The government smiles in parents’ faces and tell them how they just want their children to do well then threaten schools with a Needs Improvement label when they don’t score well in that week. Then if you get off the list or your school has been successful after so many years, then they want to question why are you scoring well. Schools are darned if you do, darned if you don’t.
We are on a time limit with the tests. Those students work up until the last minute, we turn our tests in immediately after testing so the kids can breathe a sigh of relief of that test being over. Tell me when did teachers have time to even reread the tests to determine the answers much less change them. Parents, we don’t see those CRCT tests until the students receive those sealed booklet and they don’t come with answers.

Now What?

February 10th, 2010
8:18 pm

Majii, you are right. That is the process. Seems pretty secure, doesn’t it? Well….your statement assumes that only teachers do the cheating. Administrators have access to the booklets and answer sheets all week. They can get to them anytime they like. They can hand them back out to teachers after school. They can “overlook” a teacher who’s booklet count is one short, knowing that teacher has kept a booklet to copy from. Also, answers can be changed right in the classroom DURING the test. Yes, there are supposed to be proctors, but sometimes principals conveniently forget to place them in the classrooms of teachers they know will cheat. Also, once the booklet is open, you can look ahead and see all the tests for the entire week. Now, the teachers know which questions will be on the next day’s test. What’s keeping them from teaching the students those specific questions??? WAKE UP!!! Where there’s a will (and now a BONUS), there’s a way! If Perdue wants the cheating to increase, then performance pay is definitely the answer!