Assessment

Is Rampant Test-Tampering Inevitable?

By Anthony Rebora — August 24, 2011 1 min read

Responding to news of possible “test tampering” in New York City, NYC Educator makes a troubling prediction:

Count on this—the cheating we hear about is the tip of the iceberg, and as long as we have this insane emphasis on test scores, it will grow exponentially worse.

On the other hand: In a recent Education Week Commentary of interest, Gregory J. Cizek, a professor of educational measurement and evaluation at the University of North Carolina, argued that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. School systems, he said, can maintain their emphasis on testing without leaving themselves vulnerable to cheating. In addition to enhancing assessment security and refining their ethics policies, they could try using richer tests:

Performance tasks, essays, and other constructed-response formats can tap knowledge and skills not easily measured by other formats. Although alternative formats are often much more expensive, more time-consuming, and less reliable in the information they provide, they yield clear security advantages: It's much easier to alter a bubble sheet than to erase a student's essay and write a better one.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.