Gains in standardized-test scores in 304 schools in six states and the District of Columbia have been found to be so improbable they should be investigated, an analysis by a group of newspapers has found.
The review, led by USA Today, used open-records laws to obtain the data, then compared year-to-year changes in students’ test scores to single out grades within schools for which the gains were three standard deviations or more from the average statewide gain.
Overall, the analysis questioned gains in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and the District of Columbia. Much is riding on test results now, with states under pressure to meet federal benchmarks and with teacher pay linked to test results in several states.
A version of this article appeared in the March 16, 2011 edition of Education Week as Test-Score Reviews Uncover Improbable Gains in 6 States