“We cannot make AYP.” And so the erasing and lying began in a DeKalb school.

Through an open records request, the AJC has obtained affidavits of two DeKalb school administrators who admitted that they reviewed CRCT answer sheets, realized their school would not make its critical benchmarks and then systematically doctored answers so their kids not only passed, but passed with flying colors.

The details are in this AJC exclusive story.

And they are chilling.

As AJC education writer Kristina Torres reports:

A few dozen of their elementary school students had just finished high-stakes summer retests — exams first taken in spring but not passed. With just a glance at the answer sheets, Atherton Elementary School Principal James Berry and Assistant Principal Doretha Alexander saw they were in trouble.

“We cannot not make AYP,” Alexander said. Not making AYP, or adequate yearly progress, meant not meeting a required federal benchmark. These students, all fifth-graders, also faced being held back if they did not pass.

“OK,” Berry answered. He pulled a pencil from a cup on Alexander’s desk. “I want you to call the answers to me.”

With that, he began to erase the students’ answers.

In light of the devastating state audit of CRCT test sheets that revealed possible answer tampering in many schools. I suspect this scenario happened more than any of us ever suspected. I want to salute the AJC education team members who set this whole thing in motion with their in depth look at CRCT scores over the last 18 months.

In the fall of 2008, prior to the state’s investigation, the AJC published an analysis that showed improbable gains at some schools on tests taken first in the spring and then in the summer. One of those schools was Atherton, where half of the DeKalb school’s fifth-graders failed a yearly state test in the spring. When the 32 students took retests, not only did every one of them pass — 26 scored at the highest level. At the time, Berry told the paper that he knew of no problems with test security.

To my AJC colleagues who spent months on this investigation and who prompted the state to finally act, I offer my gratitude both as a journalist and a parent of four kids in public schools.

And to the education world, I have to ask how this was allowed to go on and what is the next step to restore public confidence and improve teacher morale?

Many of you complain that the actions of Berry and Alexander reflect a test mania that has gotten out of hand. But without testing, how can we know for sure how students are doing? And why is testing vilified?

No one complains about testing in medicine when they are sick. Yes, you trust your doctor’s evaluations that you have a serious disease. but you undergo the tests to verify the doctor’s observations and professional judgment.

So, while parents may trust a teacher’s assessment that their child is on target, why not test to verify?

119 comments Add your comment

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

February 12th, 2010
8:39 am

Maureen, you and your colleagues at the AJC have done a great, great service for us, fulfilling your responsibilities given to you in the Constitution: freedom of the press means (to me) the responsibility to inform the public so that they can exercise their democratatic responsibilities in an informed fashion.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

February 12th, 2010
8:42 am

What sort go into public school teaching when the curriculum requires that “Lee Harvey Oswald killed John Kennedy, James Earl Ray killed Dr. King, and Osama bin Laden committed 9/11,” be taught?

Cheaters.

No truth, no scholarship. Know Truth, know Scholarship.

decaturparent

February 12th, 2010
8:45 am

Bad analogy. Medical tests to confirm a suspected diagnosis are completely different from cheap, computer graded multiple choice tests that measure separate cohorts of students each year rather than tracking individual student progress year after year.

Our school system tests too much. However, one set of tests that they give is actually helpful and should be the test adopted in place of the current flawed system. We use MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing. Instead of comparing completely different children year to year, this test tracks each individual child each year. Students sit at a computer and take a brief test (about an hour each for LA/Math/Reading) in fall, winter and spring. Rather than looking for a raw pass score, the test is designed to show how much a student’s skills have grown over the year. Parents and school staff get a report on that student each time the test is given showing their most recent score and all scores preceding it (my kids’ scores go back nearly three years), so everyone can see how the student is growing academically.

Also, this test compares students to a national sample rather than just Georgia kids. We all get to see how our kids are doing statistically compared to all other students taking MAP nationwide. We also get to see how our district is doing compared to all other districts nationwide who administer MAP.

MAP is taken on a computer. There are no answer sheets, and each student takes a different test because the test automatically adjusts as the student goes along depending on his/her skill level. Because of this, there is no way that I can think of for administrators or teachers to alter the results. It also give teachers very detailed information on their students’ strengths and weaknesses, and it gives that information right away so teachers can take action. The CRCT only gives teachers information after the students have moved on for the summer – way too late for the teacher to intervene.

MAP isn’t perfect. Scores have been known to vary dramatically on occasion with kids apparently losing or gaining several years of skills in just a few months. However, when you have several years worth of data on an individual student, you do see reliable trends and patterns. The information it give sure is a heck of a lot more helpful that the trash that you get from the CRCT.

My dream would be that MAP or something very similar to it would be adopted nationwide… but that would be too practical so I doubt we’ll ever see it.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

February 12th, 2010
8:46 am

Both the Atlanta and DeKalb systems knew- and know- that they have large populations of students that cannot pass these tests. The reasons are many, and plenty of them are outside of the educator’s control. However, “the truth shall set you free,” as said in another place. Although the circumstances may be dire, without acknowledging them, nothing can get better for these kids. Therefore, one would have to conclude that the Superintendents of these systems are as guilty as those who actually took erasers to the answer pages, because they had no plan in place to deal with what everyone knows is the truth of the situation. At the least, they should resign. At best, the state goes after them, if not the Fed’s.

hate the tests

February 12th, 2010
8:47 am

It’s not the test itself that’s so much the problem. It’s what they do with the results of the tests and what they mean to the school that has administrators so adamant that they must make AYP. Too much is tied to the results of the tests. Its a byproduct of NCLB.

Teacher

February 12th, 2010
8:49 am

I think your question is addressed often on this blog. For various reasons, students fail tests. Sometimes they misunderstand the question (perhaps a poorly written one), at times they just don’t remember how to do the work and then other times…they have difficulty taking tests, period. These particular kids are usually the ones that have limited help at home and victories in the classroom are generally both emotional and educational gains. Teachers build a bond with those students because the teacher becomes the primary educated role model in their life. Putting the entire year’s worth of lessons (both emotional and educational) on the performance from one test is an unimaginable pressure. I realize adults take “high stakes” tests all the time….but we are adults and we have been mentally and emotionally trained to handle them. Students, especially this elementary age group, are still learning how to do that. So in my own personal opinion, I think teachers are both blinded in their attempt to “save” those children while also fearing the failure to meet AYP. What they did was wrong, but I think we have to investigate the root cause of the behavior to make real changes. Adding more tests and “pass or fail” policies may seem like a good choice…but look what it is doing to the morale of all involved in the system. Also, we need to be honest with ourselves and push to bring back technical prep for those previously mentioned kids. Why force them to head toward failure when most have skills in other areas that far surpass their peers. Why not help them become a mechanic, plumber, technician etc? Teach them the basics and then help them achieve real attainable goals.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

February 12th, 2010
8:51 am

Decaturparent, it’s nice to hear that that system (Decatur city) has an efficacious test in place. No wonder they always rank near the top of the state’s systems, despite a large “minority” and poor population in their mix of students.

RickinATL

February 12th, 2010
8:55 am

Even if the tests set an unreasonably high bar, cheating by teachers and admins is inexcusable and unacceptable. Every single cheating teacher and complicit administrator must be replaced. Instead, Bev Hall is sending a signal that she doesn’t believe overwhelming mathematical evidence, an appalling stance for a purported educator to take. Parents, if you let Bev Hall now try to reform her own failed reform, you get what you deserve.

Teacher

February 12th, 2010
8:59 am

Decatur Parent, that program sounds great. I wonder why other schools haven’t adopted it? How long has it been used? I also wonder what type of teacher/admin training is necessary to implement it properly.

d

February 12th, 2010
8:59 am

This is why we need to encourage Congress to reauthorize ESEA (the real name for NCLB) in a way that makes sense. In the high school Economics course, one of the connecting themes is “Incentives” and what students need to know about incentives is that people will respond to positive and negative incentives in predictable ways. What do you think will happen when people are punished for how well a student does bubbling in a piece of paper? Honestly, what do you think is going to happen if the General Assembly and Sonny Perdue force “merit pay” on teachers? I am just thrilled that so far the AYP concept is going the way of the dodo in the current ESEA reauthorization proposal.

GA Parent

February 12th, 2010
9:02 am

The problem starts from the top. The person who said that too much rides on CRCT scores is correct. There is too much pressure on the kids, teachers, parents, community and administration to meet these numbers. I have had the opportunity to work with Georgia schools on the University, State, County and local school levels. From what I saw the focus was on the scores and not on the kids learning. They all “train” for these tests anyway. Until we get real leadership on the state level (starting with the Governor and State Superintendent of Schools) Georgia will never move from the bottom of the list in education.

When there are families who move away from GA just because the schools are so bad….there’s a problem.

BehindEnemyLines

February 12th, 2010
9:12 am

Fair is fair, so if I’m willing to criticize the AJC for the wrong done in their name then I also should praise the same people when they do something right. I have to echo Chris Murphy’s praise in the first reply, you did the people of the state of genuine service by pursuing this wherever it might lead.

Been there

February 12th, 2010
9:20 am

MAP is a fabulous test. There is minimal teacher involvement. It looks for the strengths of the child–if a student answers incorrectly too many times, it adjusts itself.
It is very expensive and Henry County is one that dropped it this year becuase of price.

Disgusted

February 12th, 2010
9:20 am

Great reporting job! This entire mess underscores the fact that education is now about testing and benchmarks and no longer about children and learning. Testing should never merely be about passing, the purpose should be to see if the knowledge has been mastered. We have seriously lost our way.

A teacher

February 12th, 2010
9:27 am

Maureen,

Please obtain the Technical Qualities report for the CRCT, and have an independent, outside source review the document. You will begin to see why so many Georgia Educators believe this test is flawed.

As classroom educators, our hands are tied. The problem is not in the teachers, but in the administrators and the ridiculous things that are handed down as “research” and “best practices” that in reality have nothing to do with educating our children.

To all members of our communities,

Teachers are just a frustrated as the rest of the community. Please tell your county offices and administrators to start listening to teachers for guidance in how to be assist our children! Believe it or not, most teachers know how to help students. Please start allowing teachers to teach instead of regurgitate propaganda.

CiCi4

February 12th, 2010
9:30 am

All responsibility for doing well on these tests is on the teacher. I know of NO 3rd or 5th graders who have ever been retained based on their performance on the CRCT. Once that threat was taken away, students and their families had no incentive for caring about this test.

Harpoon

February 12th, 2010
9:30 am

Those administrators were under no illusions regarding the student population they were required to deal with. What would you have done with your rear end on the line?

Wounded Warrior

February 12th, 2010
9:35 am

Time to fire Dr. Crawford Lewis!!!! So, instead of doing the logical thing, HE GETS A RAISE BY $15K. DID ANYONE FORGET THAT THE JAMES BERRY IS LEWIS’ BROTHER-IN-LAW? A FAMILY THAT CHEATS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER.

john konop

February 12th, 2010
9:37 am

Maureen Downey,

The Problem:

1) The problem is we have set up a one size fit all system that was not designed toward aptitude. If the only way I could graduate school was based on my mechanical skills I would be a failure.

2) Teaching to a multiple choice test does not mean you are most qualified in that area. If I follow your logic when hiring people I should have the candidate take a multiple choice test and not even interview them. As I said in the real world we look at an acceptable standard not the highest score and we use many factors mostly skill sets and experience!

3) A more logical system would look at graduation with skills and placement onto higher education in schools after graduation.

FACT:

I wouldn’t expect you to take my opinion that college GPAs are overrated. A 2006 survey by Collegegrad.com found that only 6% of employers think that a job candidates GPA is the most important piece of information about an individual. The survey found that the interview and work experience were ranked higher than GPA when determining an applicant’s aptitude.

http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2008/09/20/overrated-college-gpa/

decaturparent

February 12th, 2010
9:38 am

Teacher…. go check it out. You can google it … the hit is for the NWEA. It’s Northwest Education something or other. It makes me nuts sometimes because Decatur gives both the MAP and the CRCT and all the other fed/state required tests.. so it’s just too much darn testing overall.

However, I have pretty much written off the CRCT as an indication of my kids’ progress b/c the MAP gives me much better information – also much more reliable and consistent information over time. It is very expensive though. However, I bet if it or something like it was adopted statewide (or preferably nationwide) as the NCLB test … the cost would go down b/c of volume.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone gave MAP so no matter what state you moved to or what school district you moved to, you could see how much your child is growing (or not growing) year to year… your school and school system could see that too. You also could be pretty darned sure that no administrator or teacher doctored your kids scores and no state administrator tinkered with the cut scores to make their state look better.

Another bonus for MAP. Even the highest achievers have growth targets so teachers have to focus on them. There is no ceiling to the test until you get up into high school level skills. It will keep on asking harder and harder questions until a student can’t correctly answer them consistently any more. Therefore, teachers can’t triage high achievers because they know they will pass the CRCT. Also, the very lowest achievers have growth targets… again preventing triage because there’s “no hope” for them to pass the CRCT. Everyone is expected to grow, and boy do teachers hear about it from parents if their kids aren’t growing. Also, if a kid grows two years academically in a teacher’s class but still fails the CRCT, that child’s growth and the teacher’s hard work and excellent results can still be recognized.

vt

February 12th, 2010
9:40 am

My child will be switching to a parochial school in 6th grade. Why? Partly because of the religious aspect, partly because of her older siblings’ middle school experience, but mostly because they do not have to teach the test, but still have great student achievement. The school uses the Iowa Basic tests, but serve the child, not the great test god. I am having to watch my third grader stress out because of the CRCT requirements placed on her AND her teacher. Other parents I have talked to also have very similar concerns about their children.. It is a sin to have a test wield so much power over the school system that a child of nine is stressed-out and starting to dislike school. It is a sin that a test has the power to frighten adults so much that they feel like they have to lie and cheat. Not excusing the cheating at all, it just seriously concerns me that here in the US learning has been thrown out the window in favor of encouraging test material regurgitation without any actual learning or knowledge synthesis taking place. Our children will be able to pass a test when they grow up, but will not have that material in their long-term memory and so will not be able to pull together information from a variety of places in any coherent or constructive fashion. Nice job, NCLB/ESEA.

V for Vendetta

February 12th, 2010
9:44 am

This is only the beginning. Keep pressing, Maureen. There is a lot more garbage to be uncovered.

However, I do disagree with your comparison: A doctor runs tests to determine what is wrong with a patient whereas we use tests and evaluations to determine what is right with our “patients.” It’s not too hard to determine what is wrong with some of them. :-)

Paula

February 12th, 2010
9:44 am

No one should be shocked about any of this. In fact, if all the other states reviewed their tests as Georgia just did, I’m sure the results would be the same. When success or failure of a school, i.e. its students, teachers and adminstration, is determined solely on the basis of a yearly standardized test, this will occur. This type of scenario was discussed, and dimissed, during the early discussions around NCLB, or as I prefer to call it “Every Child Left Behind”. While money was being spend in an attempt to help the struggling students – the needs of the non-struggling students were virtually ignored.

Ray

February 12th, 2010
9:44 am

Essentially, this is like blaming the soldiers for the disaster in Iraq.

Raising accountability without providing the resources to attain said accountability not only cuts the legs from beneath the worker, but exposes the boss as a buffoon.

Learning all the wrong stuff

February 12th, 2010
9:45 am

Well, maybe it’s the only hope of these children, considering what they’ve got to look down to. If they can’t CHEAT how will they get by?

Matt and Jack's Mom

February 12th, 2010
9:46 am

Chris Murphy, my question is directed to you. Exactly how much time have you spent in any classroom, more specifically, an APS classroom? Are you assuming that just because these children live in urban areas that they are unable to learn? Secondly, are you also saying that these children are hopeless. I would invite you to either mentor or visit these classrooms. We are doing wonderful things at APS! These children are no different from any other child. I take particular offense to this type of thinking. As for the AJC, they have not done their jobs in reporting this story. They have not taken into consideration how children take tests. They not considered the strategies that children use to derive their answers. Students are encouraged to recheck over their work and make any necessary changes. Ms. Mathers is assuming that they cannot come up with logical answers to this ridiculous test. I say ridiculous because it does not measure a student’s growth throughout the year. As an educator, I work very hard to make sure that my students have the tools they need to be successful.

Attentive Parent

February 12th, 2010
9:49 am

Does anyone question though the idea that students failing to pass the CRCT have fundamental problems with reading and arithmetic? Making the tests the issue even if they are flawed limits our ability to respond to the very real deficits the tests are measuring.

Study after study makes it clear what types of instruction in reading and math work best for at risk kids. You go go to a site like Wrightslaw that helps parents advocate for their children’s federally protected learning needs for examples.

APS and Dekalb have a large population of at risk, ELL, and special ed kids but ignore the research coming out of places like the Access Center and NICHY that these students in particular need explicit instruction in phonics and phonological awareness in reading and worked examples in math.

Many of these students lack the cultural capital that psychologists like Dan Willingham have shown repeatedly is necessary for reading comprehension. They need rich content. not reading strategies, to start to fill this hole.

When a school district like APS or Dekalb rejects all this evidence to push whole language techniques for reading and discovery learning for math, the consequences are predictable.

The fix is either to change instruction techniques, cheat to obscure the failures, or acknowledge that the methods being used are not working. The AJC has documented that many schools see cheating as the most preferable solution of these 3 alternatives.

Why is that more preferable than changing instruction?

Keeping It REAL Real

February 12th, 2010
9:50 am

What did you really expect from THUG-infested, government-enabled counties full of ghetto trash like DeKalb and Clayton, honesty?

Integrity?

Hard Work???

just wondering

February 12th, 2010
9:50 am

How sad for the students who were passed on to the next grade without proper skills. Wouldn’t making the students more responsible for their learning make more sense?

Teacher&mom

February 12th, 2010
9:50 am

When it all it takes is one or two students failing the CRCT to place an entire school on the Needs to Improve list, this is what happens. A few years ago my school failed to make AYP because of math scores and attendance rate. Why? It all came down to three special education students, who happened to also be in the free/reduced lunch subgroup, failed the math test (when a student falls into more than one subgroup, you get slammed two maybe three times by their scores). One student failed by just a few points.

How crazy is the current testing frenzy?

Well, up until a couple of years ago, testing coordinators were required to return answer sheets that students had vomited on during the testing and make copious notes about the why, how, and when the student puked all over the test. A friend of mine is a testing coordinator and had to bag, seal, and mail a testing document that a third grader had thrown up on. The state finally relented on the requirement to return the documents a few years ago. Not because of the degradation and onerous task of asking a testing coordinator to pack and ship the damaged documents but because UPS and FedEx refused to ship the documents unless they were labeled as hazardous wastes.

The amount of money that has been poured down the standardized testing hole is shameful. The cheating scandal is shameful. However, instead of looking at the root cause, our great (please note my sarcasm) legislature will huff and puff and come up with some stupid law to make the burden of standardized testing worse.

high school teacher

February 12th, 2010
9:59 am

Please do not judge all educators by the lack of integrity and ethics that has been exposed. I am appalled that this has happened at any school, no matter the circumstances. I assumed that every school held to the same rigor of test security that I have witnessed in the schools in which I have worked. Again, please do not assume that all educators operate by these standards.

Disguisted citizen

February 12th, 2010
10:00 am

My biggest problem is the punishment that the 2 principals received – one got 2 years probation and the other got 40 hours community service. You have got to be kidding! No personal responsibility! Is this the message we should teach our childern. Cheat and if you get caught, no big deal, it was someone elses fault.

If the administrators and teachers were not protected by unions, unlike in the private sector, then you would see motivation and real improvements.

Ask a Teacher

February 12th, 2010
10:01 am

Sadly, one of the main problems is that we have non-educators making education policy in Georgia and the United States. Veterinarians, lawyers, community organizers, etc. think they can apply their business model to our schools, and students will miraculously master the material.

If test cheating is this widespread now, can you imagine what it will be like when a teacher’s salary is determined by the student’s test scores? My prediction for 2013….100% of students in Georgia will exceed expectations.

YardDawg

February 12th, 2010
10:04 am

Most people want to blame ….. the Governor, the superintendents, too much testing, the use of standardized tests, funding shortfalls, etc, etc.

The true blame more times than not should fall on the parents of these kids. Parents who don’t show true enthusiasm for their child’s educational progress and who don’t get involved in helping their child succeed are real reason behind the demise of the government education system. And many times the parents who don’t participate in their child’s educational development fall into the lower economic categories. Government education is almost a gift, in that it is one of the few ways an individual can change his/her path in life. Education can help lift you up the economic ladder. Unfortunately too many at the bottom of the economy don’t realize this and don’t take advantage of the opportunity.

A vicious cycle that really has no end; and apparently leads to certain types of government.

Maureen Downey

February 12th, 2010
10:09 am

John, GPAs may be overrated, but there is a proven link between a high GPA and college performance and completion. I have not looked at GPA as related to workplace, but I think it would depend. I would think high GPAs would be the standard in some fields, such as medicine and engineering.
Maureen

Current parent, former teacher

February 12th, 2010
10:13 am

I hate standardized tests. I’m convinced they dumb down the curriculum, especially the CRCT, End of Course Tests, and the Georgia High School Graduation Test. If you haven’t seen any of the questions (or heard about them around the dinner table at my house), you’d be appalled at how low the bar is set in Georgia!

IMO, the only standardized tests that matter are nationally norm-referenced tests, ones that compare Georgia’s students to other states’ kids. I am not making this up: my daughter is a high school junior and so, will be taking the High School Graduation tests this year. She and her fellow juniors just took something called the Math Graduation Predictor Test (or some such name). As its name implies, this test is supposed to predict how students will fare on the real test, so that those who don’t do well can get extra help before the real test in the spring. So…one of the questions on the predictor test asked students “Which object most resembles a cylinder: a basketball, a box of cookies, a can of soup” Seriously. Granted, there are harder questions, but honestly….this is the high school graduation test!

Back to the DeKalb County CRCT test cheating. I am personally very sad because Doretha Alexander taught 4th grade at Fernbank Elementary School for a number of years and was known throughout the school to be one of the BEST teachers. This is tragic on a lot of levels.

Tired of hearing it

February 12th, 2010
10:24 am

So tired of hearing all the complaining about the CRCT. So tired of hearing all the complaining about the budget cuts, the “how dare they think of taking away specials” or “how dare they consider cutting funding to school sports teams” from all of the republicans who voted for the politicians who are responsible for these systems and decisions! George Bush started NCLB. It was a scam from the get go. He passed it and them immediately slashed all the funding to the program. Sonny Perdue is cutting funding to the schools and no one wants to pay taxes! How are these schools supposed to operate? How do people expect the schools to give their kids an A+ education when they support the politicians who are tearing the public school system apart?

Teacher&mom

February 12th, 2010
10:32 am

Maureen, Could you kindly post the research behind the “proven links” between GPA’s and college performance and completion? Also, do these proven links rule out ALL other factors that may or may not predict college success? For example, socio-economic status, student’s age, etc.

Just curious….we had a discussion at lunch the other day on this topic and there was quite a bit of disagreement.

just browsing

February 12th, 2010
10:33 am

It is also time to revamp how leadership positions are obtained. I support alternative parties reviewing the recommendations of individuals for administrative positions. Too much nepotism prevents many of these schools from turning around. Current administrators have been indoctrinated into a “do not buck the system” mentality. As a result, they are less likely to experiment with various methods of leadership practices that may diverge from the standard status quo. Often, those with integrity are quietly forced out of the schools for not doing it the way things have always been done. Something has got to give, and that may be an area the state might want to consider.

E

February 12th, 2010
10:34 am

High GPAs may be linked in general, but in most places they at least vaguely correspond to knowledge and performance. Of course those failing high school are less likely to be ready for college. However, correlation is not cause. Giving higher GPAs out with less to earn them will in no way make a student do better at college – they simply do not care what the GPA was after you get in, and getting into a college above one’s head isn’t going to magically catch you up either.

E

February 12th, 2010
10:37 am

Hm. I don’t understand the filter here at all. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of my posts show up and I really didn’t think I was so far out there…

YardDawg

February 12th, 2010
10:39 am

‘Tired of hearing it’ … I am glad I am able to give my children alternatives to ‘government schools; at about 66% of the cost per pupil. The answer isn’t money, gosh what a lame excuse. We spend on average $8000+ per student and do you really think moving that number to say $9000 is the answer? Well what about $10k or so on. The problem isn’t funding the problem in most cases is lack of effort by the economically challenged.

A perfect example is the performance of home schooled children; children whose parents are deeply involved in their child’s education. Home schooled children in most cases outperform their government school counterparts; and most studies show no gaps in performance based on minority.

Maureen Downey

February 12th, 2010
10:40 am

E, Your comment is now free. Trust me, I can’t fathom the filter, either. I just keep checking it after 15 minutes and there is always a legitimate comment stuck in it.
Maureen

lynn

February 12th, 2010
10:43 am

I have to agree with Attentive Parent on this one. While the cheating is horrid, what is far more pathetic is that these students can’t pass a test that already has pretty low standards. (As another parent wrote, I don’t put much stock in the CRCT anyway, but it is beyond sad that so many students struggle with this test.)

lmno

February 12th, 2010
10:45 am

Its hard to believe how widespread the problem is. The teachers at most schools get lectured for months about how to make sure there are no “irregularities”. “If a child must go to teh bathroom during the test, he will not be permitted to continue the test when her returns.”

However, the principals were changing answers? I know its not the teachers. They don’t even have the answer key.

At some schools they have a high percentage of students with poor english skills taking tests written in English. I speak decent Spanish, but taking a test written in it would be tough.

E

February 12th, 2010
10:48 am

Thanks. I think I usually figure I must be just missing my comment in the pile, but I knew I was not this time.
It’s kind of interesting there’s test stuff here today, and over on the bargain blog is SAT test prep info.

It all is a big mess. There’s good tests, bad tests… not sure how one would really measure a ton of schools with no tests though. On the other hand… I knew kids who could get way below a statistical pure chance level score and I’m sure they didn’t really learn well… negative (?) knowledge. Then there’s kids that could walk into an AP exam on a subject they’d never seen and probably get a passing 3 or so (eliminate the oddball answer, pick a reasonable one that has something in common with other answers, etc). I did, however, have 3 different job interviews in the last search that walked me into a room and had me sit down with a large test in order to narrow it down to 2-3 candidates for interviews. It’s not a common thing, but it does happen.

Tired of hearing it

February 12th, 2010
10:49 am

YardDawg, I can assure you that I am in an area that probably has some of the highest level of parental involvement in the schools and at home. And these people around me are the first to complain about the decisions that are being made by their politicians. Trust me, my neighbors, who don’t want their propert taxes to go up, also want every perk to be available to their kids at school.

There is no point in arguing since we’ll never agree. Schools can not be run without money. Not making AYP cuts funding to schools! Most of which are schools that are already hurting. Where is the logic in cutting funding to underperforming schools? Is it any wonder these administrators are in such a panic?

john konop

February 12th, 2010
10:52 am

Maureen Downey,

The correlation is an acceptable high GPA not the highest! And in fact in the medical field it was found a direct correlation between real world work experience before entering Medical school and lower rate of lawsuits for doctors and better performance NOT GPA OR SCORE! They had a better bed side manner to gain information of patients ie less mistakes.

The same is true in the business world as well.

MS Man

February 12th, 2010
10:55 am

MAP is a great took, but it is expensive. It requires computer time for all the kids in the school to take the test three times throughout the year and the cost to the vendor is pretty darn high. That being said, the information you get back from it is so much more valuable. The other consideration is that it doesn’t necesarily align well with the GPS. I am sure that this blog crowd won’t see that as a concern because most seem to want to ditch the GPS anyway. South Carolina is pretty invested in MAP in most districts.

On a separate note, their are good things about standardized tests. They do help hold teachers and administrators accountability for some level of learning/achievement by kids. They do provide an objective, albeit, limited comparison between classrooms and schools. There needs to be improvements, but they do offer some accountability.

YardDawg

February 12th, 2010
11:06 am

Just keep throwing money at the problem, that is your answer. Along with either no standardized test or the ‘proper’ standardized tests.

Where are the overwhelming majority of these cheating examples? In areas that are economically challenged. You seem like a smart person, do you think there is the same level of parental involvement in those areas or say in east Cobb, Fayette Co., Avondale?

Simple question, if money is the answer, then why does a school district in one part of the state out perform a school district in another part of the state? I couldn’t be money, as they both have similiar funding.