Archive for the ‘CRCT investigation’ Category

What in the world is going on in Dougherty? Spending $18,000 on a speaker? Officials lying for free lunches?

There has been a lot of attention on Atlanta schools in the wake of the CRCT cheating scandal, but the second bad actor in this drama, Dougherty County, has garnered less attention. One reason is location: Albany is far from the media center of Atlanta so there has been less press about the blatant cheating there on state exams.

But given what is now unfolding in Dougherty, it seems that close attention to this under performing and troubled school system is long overdue. In fact, this district seems a possible candidate for state takeover based on these breaking news stories.

According to the AJC, the state Department of Education has determined that the Dougherty County School District is not eligible to receive at least $10 million in federal funds because of concerns that the district has inflated the number of students who qualify for federal meal assistance. The agency also said the district has not properly overseen federal grant programs.

An incredible element of this …

Continue reading What in the world is going on in Dougherty? Spending $18,000 on a speaker? Officials lying for free lunches? »

See how your school fared on CRCT this year

The state has released school-level CRCT scores.

The AJC has created a searchable database, so take a look and let us know how your school did.

–From Maureen Downey for the AJC Get Schooled blog

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Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur lead metro area on CRCT. But all have poverty levels of 25 percent or less.

Speaking of how the CRCT is graded, the Georgia Department of Education released system-wide data today on the 2012 scores.

The highest-scoring metro systems were Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur City, all of which are high-performing systems with relatively low poverty rates.

In terms of low-income students, as measured by students eligible for free/reduced lunches on the most recent state report cards:

19 percent of students are low-income in Forsyth

22 percent of students are low-income in Fayette

25 percent of students are low-income in Decatur

In comparison, consider that Clayton, one of the low performing systems, has 82 percent of  its  students qualifying for free/reduced lunch.  The state average is 57 percent. In Atlanta,  76 percent of students are low-income.

Here is a link to an AJC database of the district scores.

According to the AJC:

Students in Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur City school systems outperformed their metro-area peers on 2012 state exams, …

Continue reading Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur lead metro area on CRCT. But all have poverty levels of 25 percent or less. »

Questions on the CRCT. Answers from Georgia DOE.

crcted.0920 (Medium)A reader sent me a series of questions about the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, which I asked the state Department of Education to answer. I am running this today because the state just released district scores.

The AJC also now has  a searchable database of scores from all districts in Georgia.

I appreciate the time that DOE took to draft this detailed response as I requested that it be as jargon-free as possible for the non educators on the blog. As DOE spokesman Matt Cardoza said, “While there is a lot of technical information in this answer, they asked a very technical question.  It’s as jargon-free as we can get it.”

From the reader:

How does the DOE oversee the CRCT test validity and scoring year to year in order to do the charts and comparisons the DOE released this week? As a former principal and test coordinator before that, I was never told the cut scores on the first test or the retest. I felt that there was wiggle room at the state level in …

Continue reading Questions on the CRCT. Answers from Georgia DOE. »

APS reinstates a dozen teachers caught up in cheating scandal

The AJC learned today that Atlanta Public Schools is reinstating 12 teachers, who were “cleared” on charges they cheated on state exams.

The language in the APS letters to the teachers is not a resounding proclamation of  their innocence — “APS has now concluded that investigation and has determined that there is insufficient evidence to establish that you engaged in, or failed to report, any wrong-doing.”

But the teachers are being offered jobs for next year.

According to the AJC:

The educators, whose names have not yet been released, were put on paid leave in July after being named in a 400-plus page cheating investigation. Since reviewing the cases, the district concluded there was not enough evidence to prove the educators cheated or knew about cheating.

“APS has now concluded that investigation and has determined that there is insufficient evidence to establish that you engaged in, or failed to report, any wrong-doing with respect to the administration …

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Did these Atlanta teachers cheat? You read the GBI transcript and decide.

crcted.0920 (Medium)Atlanta Public Schools is still in the process of trying to fire teachers implicated in the test-cheating investigation, a task that becomes more difficult as the cases and circumstances become murkier.

APS went after the most egregious offenders first, those who confessed to copying test booklets and erasing student answers. Now, it is pursuing those educators who made admissions to the GBI of far less overt actions, such as strongly suggesting students recheck answers.

In these less blatant cases, the question becomes what defines cheating? The AJC obtained the tapes of the GBI’s interviews with some teachers through the Georgia Open Records Act. After you read them, you decide. Cheating or not?

The first case involves Dobbs Elementary teacher Derrick Broadwater’s practice of telling students to “check your answers” and helping them with words they didn’t know.

GBI: At the time you were doing this, did you think by doing the kind of prompting you were doing with …

Continue reading Did these Atlanta teachers cheat? You read the GBI transcript and decide. »

Former U.S. ed secretary on legacy of No Child Left Behind

Margaret Spellings

Margaret Spellings

Daniel Malloy, the AJC’s reporter in Washington, D.C., sat down with former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings for an interview at an event in Washington today.  Here are her answers to a series of questions on major education issues:

DM: Cheating scandal call testing into question?

Spellings: I think obviously the vast majority of educators and education leaders take assessment seriously and the integrity seriously and don’t cheat. When it does happen it ought to be addressed and attended to vigorously. Obviously, we saw that exact same thing play out in Atlanta and what encourages me when I think about the Atlanta case study, the business community, as you know, was very engaged, got a little sideswiped by the scandal, a little aggrieved by their engagement that was rewarded with this sort of behavior. I think to their credit they’ve stayed engaged and active and continue to be and are moving forward to the benefit of kids. Often we take our …

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Are principals accountable for the cheating on their watch? Should they be fired?

The APS cheating scandal has led the system to pursue principal firings in schools where there was widespread cheating by classroom teachers.

But some principals counter that they did not order teachers to cheat, so why are they to blame when their employees do the wrong thing. Are they responsible for the actions of their teachers? Even if they should have known something was amiss, what if they didn’t?

In the AJC story this week on her APS tribunal hearing, Slater Elementary School principal Selena Dukes Walton contended,  “I am not responsible for something I did not know about. I’m not responsible for the teacher.”

But in an interview with the AJC last week, APS Superintendent Erroll Davis said, “When principals say to me that ‘The investigators’ report said I wasn’t involved, why am I being removed from the job?’ I say, ‘Absolutely, you did not cheat but you failed. I put the malleable lives of young children in your hands and you failed.”’

Davis said, “You …

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A long chat with Erroll Davis about APS and the cheating mess: “Only so many ways to perfume a pig.”

 Erroll B. Davis Jr. says APS must focus on outcomes.

Erroll B. Davis Jr. says APS must focus on outcomes.

Erroll B. Davis left industry to run Georgia’s colleges. Now, he may have the toughest challenge of his long distinguished career, revitalizing a badly damaged APS.

Davis met with AJC reporters and editors this week to discuss how he will do that. Here are highlights of the nearly two-hour freewheeling discussion: (I will be adding to this as there is a lot of information to sort.)

I will begin by saying that at the close, I asked Davis why we should believe that his vision for Atlanta schools will succeed.

Much of what he and his deputy Karen Waldon told us echoed the comments of Beverly Hall in her many meetings with the AJC over the years.

Hall, too, talked about valuing critical thinking skills over test scores, of empowering principals, of improving teaching, of honoring great teachers and of embracing site-based management. She, too, talked about meeting with APS grads now attending Ivy League schools and listening to …

Continue reading A long chat with Erroll Davis about APS and the cheating mess: “Only so many ways to perfume a pig.” »

AJC cheating series: National Blue Ribbon Schools that may be red-faced at these revelations

testing (Medium)The AJC has published the second installment in its major series on test score disparities nationwide. Today’s stories look at the improbable score patterns in some of the nation’s most highly decorated schools, National Blue Ribbon Schools.

AJC reporters included a winning school that even merited a visit from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Highland Elementary in Maryland.

“This school, just four or five years ago, wasn’t a Blue Ribbon school,” Duncan said that morning in September 2009, according to video of thew award event. “It had the same type of children, same type of families, same type of community — but dramatically different results.” Now, he said, “this school has more students at the advanced level than any other school like it in the state. It’s absolutely remarkable.”

And remarkably unlikely, according to the AJC analysis. It is essential to verify the achievement at these heralded school as they are held up as role models.

According to …

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