It seems the probe into CRCT cheating within the Atlanta Public Schools is coming down to 12 schools. According to the AJC, employees in those schools are likely to be targeted for further investigation by the system and possible referral to the Professional Standards Commission for testing violations.
The 12 elementary and middle schools are among the ones that raised the greatest number of red flags for the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement, which had all CRCT test answer sheets in the state analyzed after an AJC probe found wide and odd-defying jumps in CRCT scores. (Expect a lot of AJC coverage this week of the release of the CRCT scores, the first to be taken under the cloud of the tampering scandal.)
After the statewide review, GOSA created lists of schools that had improbable rates of test erasures from wrong to right and asked systems to investigate and submit reports. Atlanta turned to a community panel to oversee the probe since it had the largest number of schools in the state in the category of most concern.
John Fremer, president of Caveon Test Security, one of two firms the panel hired to conduct the APS investigation, said there was a close correlation between the 12 schools where the employees worked and schools the state raised the most concerns about.
The suggestion seems to be that this was not system-wide cheating, but the work of a few individuals.
I am not sure that will satisfy APS critics, who believe the system is fundamentally corrupt. I think that we will likely see confessions from teachers and principals desperate to meet Dr. Hall’s high goals for the district. They will describe relentless pressure to succeed with their students. They will talk about knowing their students couldn’t make the targets without help.
According to the AJC story:
As investigators wind down their work, they have interviewed more than 260 city school employees — some more than once. They have poured over thousands of testing documents, policies and procedures as well as e-mail databases. According to their most recent report in May, they were especially keen on seeing e-mails involving 40 employees who sent electronic communications this year and last. Investigators said Monday that they have looked at 26,000 e-mails.
Based on early findings, they prioritized work involving the 12 schools due to multiple red flags, including the number of erasures, inconsistent scoring or unusual grade increases. Investigators had moderate concerns about an additional 22 schools and minimal concerns about the remaining 24.