Districts Push Back Over Cheating Probe
Newspaper puts 200 districts in spotlight
A newspaper investigation that turned up unusual test-score fluctuations in about 200 school districts in a nationwide sample of 14,700 has revived a debate about cheating on standardized tests—and prompted immediate pushback from some of the districts flagged by the analysis. They contend that the newspaper's methodology was flawed.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article looked at test scores in about 69,000 schools around the country. The reporters requested average reading and mathematics results for state exams given in grades 3-8 from 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the count of students tested for each school, grade, and subject in those jurisdictions.
The newspaper did not have access to student-level data. Instead, it created "classes" of all the test-takers in a given grade in each school—for example, comparing all the 3rd grade test-takers to all the 4th grade test-takers in the same school the next year. If the 4th graders in a "class" performed unusually better or unusually worse on state standardized tests than they had the previous year, that school was flagged. In some schools, the scores varied so widely that it was nearly impossible to attribute the variation to...
This article is available to subscribers only.
To keep reading this article and more, subscribe now or start a 2-week FREE trial.
Access selected articles, e-newsletters and more!
- Perspectives Charter Schools, Chicago, IL
- Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
- Lake Forest School District 67 & 115, Lake Forest, IL
- Princeton Public School District, Princeton, NJ
- Director of School Support
- The Achievement Network, Multiple Locations
- Assistant/Associate Professor, Literacy
- Regis University, Denver, CO