Terrible consequences of CRCT cheating scandal: Teacher recriminations, lost remediation, untold damage

The school board meets today at noon to discuss the CRCT cheating report. (AJC file)

The school board meets today at noon to discuss the CRCT cheating report. (AJC file)

What are the real consequences to the honest teachers in the CRCT scandal and the struggling students whose test scores were changed to mask failure?

I called one of the APS teacher/whistle blowers cited in the CRCT cheating report to ask about the consequences to APS students whose test scores were dramatically improved by teacher or administrator erasures.

The teacher acknowledged that most of the kids would have been promoted to the next grade anyway since few Georgia students are held back. The main problem was that the teachers who got those kids the next year in their classes had no reliable map to tell them where the children were academically.

In the beginning of the year, the teacher said that she and her colleagues review the CRCT scores of their new class to determine where students are weak and where they need extra attention. If the test scores have been altered so the child appears proficient, those early opportunities to address weaknesses are missed. “There is lost time that can’t always be made up and may make a difference when the child is in 10th grade,” she said.

Teachers also beat themselves over the child’s contradictory performance. “The CRCT from the year before shows the child is doing great and then he’s failing in your class,” she said. “The blame is put on you  — what are you doing wrong that this child isn’t doing as well this year?”

The children and their parents are also baffled. They trust the test scores and can’t understand the low grades. “The child has been given false confidence,” said the teacher. In many schools, teachers who didn’t cheat ended up with lower CRCT scores in their classes than their dishonest colleagues. “We used to wonder how some teachers had such great scores,” she said. “Now we know it was because they were cheating.”

I also put this question of consequences to a smart school leader. She said:

I believe that the impact on these students is incalculable. Children have only a limited amount of time in school (12 years or so) before they move into the post-high school world. Especially for poor children, their best chance at developing literacy, numeracy and critical thinking and communication skills is by maximizing their school experiences given the paucity (compared to wealthier peers) of their home experiences.  There’s ample research to suggest that even a couple of years in a row with weak teachers can have an enormous impact of a child’s learning trajectory.

Clearly, many of the educators in APS (and definitely the administrators) were not focused on actually educating these children because they’d figured out that they could get their precious, outlandish results much more easily by cheating.  So, if you assume that the cheating culture was firmly established by say 2005, then for at least the past six years, district and school leaders who clearly had no real ability or intention to educate these kids were busy making sure that their staffs produced post-hoc results.

So, a kid who was in first grade in 2005 is now in middle school, and if he was at say Venetian Hills that whole time, who knows what gaps exist in his learning. No one was busy actually teaching him to read because they knew they could erase his way to a high score after the fact. A kid who was starting middle school that same year at Parks or Kennedy would just be graduating this year (or not) with none of the basic skills he needs to succeed in the job market or post-secondary schooling.  It would be literally impossible to calculate financially and otherwise the damage that may have been done to these kids.

I think the lost focus on instruction, coupled with the explicit message to them and their families that their revered leaders had no faith that they could learn will cause untold damage to this community

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

140 comments Add your comment

Dr. John Trotter

July 7th, 2011
5:30 am

OK…let me post my response to the sordid mess of the Beverly Hall Administration…before I go to bed. It looks like Maureen has just finished her work for the night-and-day-night! Good job, Maureen and AJC!

For my latest, here is the title…

The Soulless, Soviet Atlanta Public Schools And Its Culture Of Lies, Cheating, Fear, Intimidation, & Retaliation; Beverly Hall’s Standards Were So Low That Snakes Had To Slide Over Them; Surely Ain’t Committed to Standards (SACS); Mark Elgart Is Missing-In-Action; MACE Had The Prophetic Voice The Entire Time; Parks Middle School Is The USA’s Poster School For Cheating; & Mayor Kasim Reed Will Be Eating Home-raised Crow Instead Of Dining At The Piedmont Driving Club!

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

Lee

July 7th, 2011
6:34 am

Bottom line, BOHICA* taxpayers. We’re going to be forking over big-time money to APS to enable them to “fix” this mess.
———————–

“There’s ample research to suggest that even a couple of years in a row with weak teachers can have an enormous impact of a child’s learning trajectory.”

Doesn’t take two years. If you ever had the misfortune of having your child placed in the classroom of a not-worth-a-crap-teacher, get ready for a year of undescribable frustration (assuming, of course, that you are a parent who pays attention to what is going on with your child’s schoolwork).
————————-

*BOHICA = Bend Over, Here It Comes Again

www.honeyfern.org

July 7th, 2011
6:42 am

I would hardly refer to the CRCT as a “reliable map” to judge student progress, even before this came to light.

The kids whose scores were altered and the ones who are routinely promoted even as they fall farther and farther behind are the ones who are damaged, in some cases beyond repair.

Double Zero Eight

July 7th, 2011
6:52 am

Maureen.
It is speculation that the teachers that confessed did
not attempt to teach their students all that they could.
Why doesn;t the governor bring some “star” teachers
from Gwinnett and Forsyth counties to APS for a pilot
to see what effect these stellar teachers can have on
the disadvantaged and underperforming students. Pay
them extra to make it worth their while

Double Zero Eight

July 7th, 2011
6:55 am

Spelled “doesn’t” incorrectly in previous post and that sentence
should have ended with a question mark.

sissyuga

July 7th, 2011
7:18 am

The pressure to produce results (passing scores) is huge. The message to make AYP came from Dr. Hall and obviously it trickled down. I am not applauding for these educators did. It is not likely that a child who enters 4th grade on a 1st grade reading level is going to be reading on level by the time the CRCT rolls around. Maybe with hard work he will be reading on a 2.5 or 3rd grade level. The CRCT will still fail him. Yes, all children can learn, but you have to have the right conditions and support.

Double Zero Eight

July 7th, 2011
7:25 am

The parents are just as instrumental in increasing test
scores as the teachers. The parents should put the
same emphasis in little Johnny or Jane doing their
homework, as they do in what their children wear to
school.

thomas

July 7th, 2011
7:49 am

I’m not sure how much difference it would have made to the children under these teachers even if they did not engage in unethical (and possibly criminal) activities. It’s not like they weren’t doing anything for the rest of the years – or maybe they weren’t, and they wouldn’t have even if they hadn’t cheated. If the teachers are corrupt, cheating or not, kids suffer. This cheating scandal doesn’t necessarily make the situation worse.

Cindy Lutenbacher

July 7th, 2011
7:53 am

Honeyfern, I’m with you, again. The uselessness of the standardized testing industry is not proven by cheating scandals; it’s proven by how little the test scores correspond with knowledge, potential, ability, and all the values that we say we want in education, such as critical thinking, critical questioning, curiosity, lifelong learning, and, yes, even basic factual knowledge.

Remember, SAT scores do NOT correspond with student success in college. The scores correspond with familial wealth.

Sad that the teacher interviewed sees the test scores as a reliable map. They’re not.

The teachers I know who are wonderful teachers don’t even bother looking at previous test scores. They get to know their students so well that within weeks of the first day of school, they know which kid needs what.

Dr. Beverly Hall's Conscience

July 7th, 2011
7:57 am

@008

They’d make sure these STAR teachers have “discipline” support and consequences for students who are NOT at least behaving. But then again, if the current teachers got that they might be just as good!

Aquagirl

July 7th, 2011
8:22 am

he uselessness of the standardized testing industry is not proven by cheating scandals; it’s proven by how little the test scores correspond with knowledge, potential, ability, and all the values that we say we want in education

For real. I’m not that old, and parents/teachers somehow educated us without needing all these insane tests. I was looking through the APS website (which now unintentionally seems like one big article from The Onion) and it’s a monument to meaningless edu-speak babble. More fancy programs with fancy names than you can shake a stick at, which is the real focus of our current educational system: manufacturing the next fad/program so a bunch of phony “Doctors” can rake in the cash and then sit their fat fannies on a Hawaiian beach.

dekalbite@Cindy Lutenbacher

July 7th, 2011
8:29 am

“Remember, SAT scores do NOT correspond with student success in college. The scores correspond with familial wealth.”

What research have you read that causes you have to say that? Would you mind giving a link to the original research?

“Christopher Berry of Wayne State University and Paul Sackett of the University of Minnesota…..pulled 5.1 million grades, from 167,000 students, spread out over 41 colleges. They also got the students’ SAT scores from the College Board, as well as the list of schools each student asked the College Board to send their SAT scores to, an indicator of which colleges they applied to…..It turns out that an SAT score is a far better predictor than everyone has said. When properly accounting for the self-selection bias, SAT scores correlate with college GPA around 67%. In the social sciences, that’s considered a great predictor. ”
http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/nurture-shock/2009/09/18/in-defense-of-the-sat.html

Here’s a link to Sakett’s original research:
http://www.labome.org/expert/usa/university/sackett/paul-r-sackett-1017772.html

That’s what the SAT was developed for – a way to identify which students would probably be successful in college – regardless of wealth or class.

What's Really Going On

July 7th, 2011
8:35 am

Marureen or anyone else … does anyone know what/if anything will be done to address the affected students? I dont think the scope of the report was to try to flag and report on the specific students who were impacted by cheating educators, however it is somewhat concerning to me that I havent seen any specific measure(s) that may be taken to shore up the incalculable damage that has been done to some of these students. I’m sure there are some who feel that the cheating may be a wash for some of the students because they may have parents who are disconnected from their learing process. However, (and I am all about parent accountability) it should be criminal for a child to be in 6th grade but be assessed at 1st grade reading level. I think I read something like that in the Parks middle school report. Just doing dome very basic math– 6yrs of school x 180days/yr x 6hrs school/day = 6480hrs that a particular child has been in front of an educator by the time they reach 6th grade. I have a hard time understanding how short of some medically diagnosed medical condition that a child can receive that amt of education and only be assessed at 1st grade level. Perhaps, this issue is outside of the cheating scandal altogether. Either way, this is unacceptable, and we should not simply accept an argument that says that the parent should be held responsible for not being involved enough. There should be policies in place that addresses this. In other words, if at the beginning of the school year a child is assessed as being significantly behind (whatever that means) then all sorts of red flags should go off to alert the parent, and trigger some major proven remediation/intervention for the child. Perhaps there are already policies and processes in place to deal with this, and if so it must not be working. Anyway.. im a bit off topic now, but the main point is whether anyone is aware of anything that might be done specifically for the children affected by the cheating scandal. For those of you on this blog who are involved parents, if you woke up tomorrow and had to be responsbile for one of the affected children, what would you be advocating for on behalf of the child to the APS school district, the GA Dept of Ed, and/or perhaps the Governor’s office?

Dr. Beverly Hall's Conscience

July 7th, 2011
8:39 am

@ Dekalbite

Let’s re-word Cindy Lutenbacher’s remarks:.

The SAT/ACT/AP kids who do well enough to get into college and whose scores bear out that indeed the SAT & ACT & AP do accurately predict success in college ARE MORE LIKELY to be from families with ADEQUATE INCOME then families with INADEQUATE INCOME.

Now, go find me a SAT score study that sees NO GAP in scores between those students from families with ADEQUATE INCOME then families with INADEQUATE INCOME.

Dr. Beverly Hall's Conscience

July 7th, 2011
8:42 am

@Dekalbite

Now, go find me a SAT score study that sees NO GAP in scores between those students from families with ADEQUATE INCOME then families with INADEQUATE INCOME.

Put in another way, the SAT confirms that students from families with ADEQUATE INCOME are LIKELY to be college material while students from families with INADEQUATE INCOME are LIKELY not.

Looking forward to the clean slate...

July 7th, 2011
8:47 am

I’d love to teach in APS, even though I love the job I have in my current district. I’m hoping APS can eliminate all of those implicated and take this as a wake-up that the status quo is not working. Getting some eager, fresh faces into these schools and shaking things up would be great.

Additionally, I work in an affluent area, but we have an increasing number of students entering our district who are homeless or from lower income families. Many of us saw that we needed to do more to help these students, but didn’t know exactly how. Ruby Payne’s Culture of Poverty opened our eyes to a lot. This needs to be required reading for any teacher, but I think especially those in APS based on the posts above.

APSTeacherfor5years

July 7th, 2011
8:47 am

All hail the almighty test!

I agree that the CRCT is a useless measure of student achievement. But it is also an incredibly easy assessment (I have administered it for years in various grade levels), and given how low the cut scores are, the failure rates demonstrate how pathetically behind our students are.

@Maureen, teachers at my APS school (not one of the schools implicated in the cheating scandal) use the CRCT as a very rough measurement of student ability. I’m really surprised to hear that teachers actually use the CRCT to group students. That’s lazy teaching.

After reading all 3 volumes of the report, I was saddest to read about students who were removed from Special Ed placements because their CRCT scores were too high. Most schools determine which students will attend summer school based on CRCT scores as well. These were children who desperately needed intervention and remediation, and rather than receiving services, they were socially promoted to the next grade level.

ssteacher

July 7th, 2011
8:50 am

“The main problem was that the teachers who got those kids the next year in their classes had no reliable map to tell them where the children were academically.”

The use of CRCT test scores to determine a child’s strengths and weaknesses is not an accurate measure either. No multiple-guess test is. These tests are political, not educational. The cheating (which is wrong on an ethical level) is a symptom of the problem in education theory right now. Testing does not equal achievement, value, or indicate whether teaching or learning has taken place in the classroom.

The tests (of which I was a reviewer last summer) provide a false sense of intelligence for those who do well, and a false view of potential for those who do poorly.

Eddie G

July 7th, 2011
8:51 am

So what Doc is saying is that poor kids can’t learn…….which is a load of poo.

APSTeacherfor5years

July 7th, 2011
8:54 am

@ What’s really going on

I agree what your comments. Hopefully, the silver lining to this hot mess is that the community will gain an interest in ALL student learning that takes place in the district. For years, affluent parents in APS have not concerned themselves with the failures of other schools in the district because they are insulated from those problems. The achievement gap is a horribly depressing reminder that we must ALL get involved in the restructuring of this district so that these egregious abuses will never happen again. The cheating scandal is a terrible obstacle to overcome, but lets not forget that poor children have suffered from sub-par resources and education for decades.

Cindy Lutenbacher

July 7th, 2011
8:55 am

This url provides more of a kind of “meta-analysis” (I use the phrase in lay terms, not scientific):
http://fairtest.org/sat-i-faulty-instrument-predicting-college-success

Also, I always want to know the funding of researchers and whether or not they are “independent.” For example, nearly all of the research I examined that purports to support standardized testing was funded by ETS.

SouthGA Administrator

July 7th, 2011
9:04 am

Add the expenditures of this investigation and any future litigation cost together and let that be the bases for fines/penalties shared/prorated by all guilty parties. Place a lien on their TRS pensions until the fine is paid in addition to yanking their teaching certification. The people of Georgia should not have to absorb this cost … this action would send a clear message to all educators in Georgia.

Eddie G

July 7th, 2011
9:08 am

@APSTeacher………….why should the “affluent” parents be concerned about the failures of other schools in the district? No disrespect, but your opinion that we should be worried about what’s going at other schools as opposed to concentrating on our own school is one of the problems with education today. Focus on what you have or don’t have – don’t worry about the school down the street. It’s the same way with families and individuals. To paraphrase………don’t covet what your neighbor has. Be satisfied with what you have. And if you aren’t satisfied with it, then work to do something about it.

Maureen Downey

July 7th, 2011
9:11 am

To all, Just sent Matt of DOE this note. Will share op-ed if DOE does one.

Matt, Anyone at DOE able to write an op-ed on whether the CRCT is useless, per the comments from posters, including these? I would like the piece to address what we know about the validity of the CRCT in predicting anything — does it predict anything about a student’s performance? Does it serve as a good roadmap for remediation? Will it go away with the coming of Common Core assessments? Do we expect the new assessment to look anything like the CRCT.
(This can clearly exceed 500 words.)
I would love to have in the next few weeks.

Thanks, Maureen

1. The use of CRCT test scores to determine a child’s strengths and weaknesses is not an accurate measure either. No multiple-guess test is. These tests are political, not educational. The cheating (which is wrong on an ethical level) is a symptom of the problem in education theory right now. Testing does not equal achievement, value, or indicate whether teaching or learning has taken place in the classroom.

The tests (of which I was a reviewer last summer) provide a false sense of intelligence for those who do well, and a false view of potential for those who do poorly.

2. I agree that the CRCT is a useless measure of student achievement. But it is also an incredibly easy assessment (I have administered it for years in various grade levels), and given how low the cut scores are, the failure rates demonstrate how pathetically behind our students are.

@Maureen, teachers at my APS school (not one of the schools implicated in the cheating scandal) use the CRCT as a very rough measurement of student ability. I’m really surprised to hear that teachers actually use the CRCT to group students. That’s lazy teaching.

3. The uselessness of the standardized testing industry is not proven by cheating scandals; it’s proven by how little the test scores correspond with knowledge, potential, ability, and all the values that we say we want in education, such as critical thinking, critical questioning, curiosity, lifelong learning, and, yes, even basic factual knowledge.

Really?

July 7th, 2011
9:18 am

For the teachers that work in these schools, we hope that they pack away targets and standards and let teachers focus on improving a child from the day they walk in your class until the time they leave. Please let teachers K-2 focus on the basics especially in these low income environments. When you get a 5 year old child who is already 2 years behind because they have not been taught by a pre-k teacher or a parent, it’s unfair not to be able to document that. And I mean a child who does not know their own name, does not know one color, does not know one letter, does not know one number, cannot hold a pencil to write, cannot hold a fork to feed themselves, cannot button a shirt, cannot focus more than 5 minutes on a lesson just to name a few problems, that needs to be documented at the beginning of the year and then the improvements at the end of the year.
Please put being a human being above whatever degree you have. Teachers teach. Teachers want to teach. There are only a few there for the glamorous life that it is. It will be interesting to see if this new regime will listen to teachers more than they have in the past…..maybe this time they will hire people with “people” skills.

APSTeacherfor5years

July 7th, 2011
9:18 am

@Eddie G

Hah! Imagine if I taught my elementary schoolers to only care about themselves and not others “down the street.” Is that what you would want your children to learn? I hear what you are saying in terms of putting the limited time and resources in your child’s school, I get that. But here’s the thing-we benefit as a society from an educated populace, and I’m not just talking about doctors and lawyers. What about cashiers who can count change quickly and efficiently and nurses aides who can take care of our ailing parents? What is going to happen to our society when we can no longer count on a basic level of education/intelligence in such professions? Not to mention that investing in education saves our country money down the road. Less people in prisons, welfare, etc. Wouldn’t you rather invest in education than spend $134,000 per year incarcerating an 18 year old for dealing drugs? I know I certainly would. And in terms of not worrying about what’s going on down the street. What happens when crime from “down the street” begins to affect your neighborhood and your home values? Would you care then?

Jerry Eads

July 7th, 2011
9:19 am

@Honeyfern beat me to it. :-) The LAST thing anyone with any measurement expertise would call the CRCT is a “reliable map.” These tests are designed to do one thing and one thing only, and that is to attempt to determine only two low points of person ability (the term used in latent trait test development technology) on the scale of ability. Granted, the unfortunate students in many inner city schools are in fact at or below that very low point on that “scale” – - depending on the grade and subject, in norm-referenced terms, perhaps from the 5th to the 20th percentile. Although I understand the scoring company provides such things as the number of questions answered correctly, NONE of the development necessary for that to have any actual meaning whatsoever is done during test construction. For all the blood, sweat and tears given to this enterprise, teachers learn virtually nothing of insructional value from these tests.

To Eddie G

July 7th, 2011
9:20 am

Your lack of concern of educating the children who are not yours is staggering.
These are the folks that could rise to be productive members of society, become the nurse’s assistants in the nursing homes your relations get sent to, or the stalwart backbones of the gangs and drug dealers who make sure they sell to your pretty white children in your pretty white schools by 7th Grade. Oh yes it’s true; they even put up videos on their facebook pages to teach their fellow 7th Graders how to smoke weed. And the white private schools about town have been given nicknames based upon their drug use of choice and percentage of whores.
Of course, my 8th Grader and her friends lay all this out only AFTER they graduate, so they can suffer no blowback.
The village can raise a child to a productive adult, or it can raise a vicious predator, aka 30 Deep.

Cobb County Teacher

July 7th, 2011
9:21 am

To add to CRCT..think of the pressure principals give us teachers to meet AYP. They ignore all issues to keep students in school. Forget supporting us for disruptive kids, etc. I’ve been pressured repeatedly to pass a student who scored 70 or above on an EOCT when it is obvious that the EOCT is not a good measure of ability. The test is very easy and students who have a 5th grade reading level pass the test. This just sends them on to another grade and no wonder I have had many seniors who cannot read well nor write well. Might as well give them the test in August and if they pass, they can sit and text all day.

APSTeacherfor5years

July 7th, 2011
9:22 am

@ Jerry Eads

Hear hear!

Dr. Beverly Hall's Conscience

July 7th, 2011
9:29 am

@Really.

You have very well encapsulated the issue teachers face.

If you had put a “race” or “culture” in your outstanding summary, you’d be flogged by all of us.

YET the child you speak of is more apt to be African-American, a recent immigrant from a war-thorn country or from low agricultural country, or from Appalachia.

Unless and until we can freely admit that, we will never be able to fix the problem.

TRUTH

July 7th, 2011
9:32 am

TRUTH: Despicably, very little will happen to this scum. You see, they have very powerful teacher’s unions who will attempt to cow any authority that tries to truly punish the guilty parties. What needs to happen is a full press national investigation into any cheating scandal in any state and that identifies ANY teacher or administrator who was involved. Once identified, they need to be stripped of their position / job and all retirements. Yes, they should not be allowed to retire with full benefits if they break the trust of parents and game the lives of students. And stop whining about testing. That’s how you know if a person has any grasp of a subject. Do you think the students won’t be “tested” everyday in real life?

APSTeacherfor5years

July 7th, 2011
9:36 am

@ Bev Halls Conscience

Agreed. That child is also more likely to be taught by a less qualified teacher, and in APS’ case, using a terrible scripted reform model like Project Grad’s Success For All. We know that intelligence is malleable and that poor children can learn. But can they learn when the structures we have in place are not supporting the teachers in moving the students forward?

Mikey D

July 7th, 2011
9:36 am

@Maureen
Anxiously looking forward to the DOE response from your question, but I’m not holding my breath for any honest assessment. The DOE is a massive government job program, and my guess is that no one there would be any more willing to be truthful than the politicians under the gold dome.

APSTeacherfor5years

July 7th, 2011
9:38 am

@ Truth

I have no problem with testing students, as long as the test is reliable, objective and accurate. All teachers assess their students on an ongoing basis. The problem is the type of assessment that we are using currently is garbage, and the data we glean from such a test is equally useless.

Maureen Downey

July 7th, 2011
9:40 am

@Mikey, Good point. Just sent it to Matt at DOE, asking him to keep in mind when he asks someone to address the CRCT.
Maureen

Kim

July 7th, 2011
9:40 am

Why isn’t a students body of work during the school year enough? I think standardized tests are a waste of time and money. I feel the same about the SAT and ACT.

Kira Willis

July 7th, 2011
9:41 am

@TRUTH:
Where were these “unions” when teachers were blowing whistles? Where were the unions when teachers were relieved of their jobs because they refused to cheat? Where were these “unions” when these scores were posted and teachers talked about them with disbelief? Where were the unions when teachers were told, in no uncertain terms, that if their test scores didn’t improve (by any means necessary) they would lose their jobs?
No unions in Georgia. If there were, much of this may not have happened.
Michelle Rhee offered teachers a raise if they opted out of tenure in DC. I wonder how many of them did so and lost their jobs the following year.
I do not think that unions are necessary; I do KNOW, however, that in Georgia, unions for government workers are prohibited per the constitution; there are no teachers’ unions. Associations, yes, but AARP is also an association.

APSTeacherfor5years

July 7th, 2011
9:41 am

@ Maureen

Perhaps it would be easier for the DOE to comment on the efficacy of the CRCT (Mcmillan McGraw Hill) if it weren’t connected to our textbook contracts (Mcmillan McGraw Hill) and teacher training programs (Mcmillan McGraw Hill).

Eddie G

July 7th, 2011
9:43 am

Let me attempt to clarify….I’m not talking about not caring about the CHILD down the street. I’m talking about not concerning myself with the SCHOOL down the street, and what that school may or may not have that is better or perhaps worse than what I am dealing with.

The building doesn’t educate the child. If that were the case, how do you explain all of the children that were educated in one-room shacks where all grades sat together that went on to do great things? If the fancy buildings were the answer, there should be many bright children leading the nation right now.

The real issue is that “parents”, and I use that term loosely, are not invested in the education of their children. And I don’t mean that they come to the school with little Sammy acts foolish and then the parent acts foolish defending him. I’m talking about the lack of parents that emphasize and put value on education. The parents that won’t allow kids to watch TV until their homework is completed. The parents that will take away cell phones or computers if the child’s grades fall below the level that the parent thinks is acceptable. The parents that contact the teacher if grades are not up to par.

In short, expecting each school to be equal is just as foolish as expecting each child to have mastered each subject by 2014. It’s just not going to happen.

Maureen Downey

July 7th, 2011
9:44 am

@APSTeacher, Good comment. Just sent it to DOE as well.
Maureen

Michael Moore

July 7th, 2011
9:44 am

The crct exists for comparability and doesn’t do very well at that job. Compare the crct to the NAEP and the distance become exacerbated. Between 60% and 70% of Georgia eighth graders fall below proficiency levels on the NAEP. However on the crct the figure at proficiency or higher is around 88% (89% in 2007). If a teacher is using the crct to determine placement and student performance, well, good luck. You think it’s bad now? Wait until PARCC and Smarter Balance come up with their multiple guess, online assessments and Use the new Pearson/Gates online curriculum and you will wish for the days of the crct.

Ashley

July 7th, 2011
9:45 am

In the article it states: few Georgia students are held back , could this be the problem? We can all agree that no student wants to repeat a grade; embarrassment, they’ll be older than the other students, or pyschological damages…pick one. In my opinion social promotion is what got schools in trouble in the first place. Illiterate children are being passed along from grade to grade, shameful and ridiculous. Wouldn’t it be better to catch the student who isn’t up to par now instead of waiting until they get to high-school or even worse a drop-out?

hello.life

July 7th, 2011
9:46 am

@Cindy
Standardized test may not be the best but there isn’t much to do. Standardized tests try to offer a way to help compare students on the most even level as possible. The SAT is used so colleges can have something quick and easy to look at. It’s not easy to compare GPAs. A 98 in one school could be different from another school’s.
The idea that SAT is just on wealth isn’t entirely true. It’s more the environment of the student that affects the score and his own determination. My friend got an incredibly high score without attending a single SAT class. She went to the library and checked out review books. She spent next to nothing practicing for the SAT. I, on the other hand, attended a class and spent money on review books, but I recieved a lower score.

Anonymous Teacher

July 7th, 2011
9:51 am

Again, why is anyone really surprised by any of this?
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Teachers and their students are mere pawns in the education system here in Georgia. If a teacher so much as quirks their nose funny, an unscrupulous principal goes after them with a fury.

Yes, Beverly Hall is a criminal and should be prosecuted as such. However, she used the system that is in place now to her advantage. One of the real problems here is that there is no real way to do performance evaluations on school principals and that should be obvious to anyone following this story.

Teachers have very clear paths to follow in performance reviews. There are walk throughs, observations, lesson plans, and test scores. Principals, on the other hand, provide their own documentation to those higher ups who are reviewing their performance. It’s amazing how numbers can be manipulated, isn’t it?

A couple of months ago, I emailed Maureen about an incident in my school where my principal was found guilty by the PSC of two standards violations and was suspended for 30 days (which is up tomorrow, by the way.) While Maureen had a couple of questions about it, she still didn’t grasp the big situation that principals can pretty much do whatever they want with little consequences while a teacher in that situation would not only be fired but would be unable to ever find another job in teaching again.

There is something wrong with this picture. Seriously. Principals are responsible for the educational climate in a building. There are some wonderful principals out there. But when you have some who are have serious ethical issues, the climate in the entire building suffers and there is not one thing the teachers and students in the building can do about it.

MrLiberty

July 7th, 2011
9:54 am

My predictions:

1. There will be little to no accountability at the top for the cheating scandal and low folks on the totem pole will be thrown under the bus to keep the gullible citizens happy.

2. The system will demand and get more money, more money, more money to “fix” the problem.

3. Nothing will actually change, because nothing ever does in a government system (except that it generally gets a whole lot worse).

4. Parents will continue to send their children to government prisons every day while telling themselves that there are no alternatives and that THEIR child is actually getting a good education.

5. The free market which delivers outstand goods and services in so many other areas of our lives will continue to be demeaned as “unworkable” for delivery of educational services (for completely irrational reasons).

6. I will continue to laugh my ass off as kids continue to get cheated and destroyed by the government education system (which cannot be fixed because this is exactly how one should expect that it would operate).

TRUTH

July 7th, 2011
9:59 am

@ Kira Willis: Then you can thank GA for saving you the union dues. That’s the only thing different in the situation you describe.

hello.life

July 7th, 2011
10:00 am

I feel getting parents more involved would help. Parents must also learn to accept that their child may not be as skilled as another child. I don’t want to say its acceptable to be held back, but I’m trying to say that if your child is held back it is in for their best interest. If they don’t want to be held back? Well suck it up, and work harder (this isn’t directed to those who are truly trying their hardest and struggling, but those who give barely minimum effort). I think that if a teacher sees that a child is having trouble completing assignments and showing lack of effort the parents should be brought in. They should sign homework and be emailed occasionally. I realise this will be a lot of work for both the teachers and parents but it is in the best interest for the child. On a side note, if the student is doing well then parents shouldn’t have to be involved. I worked better when my parents weren’t hovering over me. They rarely knew what I had for homework or a test.

Balanced

July 7th, 2011
10:00 am

Interesting you should say that using CRCT scores is a lazy way to group children. I have used it to hit the ground running in the first month of school as the pre-assessments are analyzed. Pairing up high achieving Shameika with struggling Jacquil as they read and analyze passages as learning partners, gives both the confidence they need. It brings into focus the needs of the lower reading and math students so they can hone basic terms/skills long before we hit it in the curriculum, and doesn’t waste the time of the students who are ready for more complex work as the year begins. I even give my high achievers, during their differentiated homework time, the opportunities to create vocab games or skills activities for the others. It is not the only measure by far, and indeed it is a rough one until other more reliable ongoing assessment are documented, but it is the one we start at the gate with, and every second counts in our race with these students.

www.honeyfern.org

July 7th, 2011
10:02 am

RE: Common Core tests that are being piloted in GA (still? Curious if that is going to go through after this) – the word is that there will be a CRCT-like test (if not the actual CRCT still) that will become a part fo a “portfolio” of assessments that will include actual tasks (pieces of writing/projects) in addition to specific tests administered to everyone (in the country, one would assume, or at least to the 48 states and DC).

My hope is that Georgia drops the CRCT altogether in favor of a national test, if we must have one, and actually follows through on portfolio assessments. I also heard that instead of four annual evaluation pieces, there will only be two, and that the CRCT will remain in place.