Opinion
Assessment Letter to the Editor

Atlanta Cheating Essay Contains ‘Empty Claims’

May 07, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Michael J. Feuer’s Commentary on the Atlanta cheating scandal contains his own set of empty claims in order to protect the use of standardized testing. Some examples:

• “Do we react to the worst instances of tax evasion by condemning the concept of taxation rather than by prosecuting the evaders?” Actually, we do. Certainly from people opposed to taxation generally and to current federal tax policy specifically. Even progressive tax-policy advocates recognize the distortions that enable cheating, and thus seek an overhaul to create a more effective system.

• "[E]ven if one could make an evidence-informed case that testing ‘inevitably’ leads to illegal behavior,” there is “no evidence that federal policy causes cheating, or that ‘cheating is inevitable.' " If testing inevitably leads to illegal behavior, the source of the test would indeed be implicated. This is one reason teachers have soured on President Barack Obama, whose administration promotes testing.

• "[W]hat’s needed is a sensible approach to assessing the ratio of benefits to costs and to the design of mechanisms meant to keep the ratio strongly positive.” Educators opposed to using tests as the sole metric for evaluating student learning derive their thinking from experienced cost-benefit analysis. They feel it is more effective to utilize a diversity of context-appropriate metrics.

• “We shouldn’t allow score gains inflated from cheating to be misconstrued as evidence that any measured improvement in student learning ... must always be the result of cheating or other mischief.” Mr. Feuer should request in-depth qualitative research into those schools that did improve. Then we can examine why.

I support Mr. Feuer’s overarching point. We do a disservice to our students when our dialogue devolves into partisan abstractions about what is happening in schools. Effective discussion requires no one to cheat their way through an argument.

Neil J. Liss

Clinical Instructor

Willamette University

Salem, Ore.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 08, 2013 edition of Education Week as Atlanta Cheating Essay Contains ‘Empty Claims’

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment A Huge Publisher and a Big Testing Company Are Teaming Up. What This Means for Educators
Four key questions to consider about how the pairing of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and NWEA might affect educators.
3 min read
Students testing.
Getty
Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment
This Spotlight will help you examine updated testing guidance from the U.S. Dept. of Ed, analyze college-placement test scores, and more.

Assessment Opinion We Are More Than Our Grades: A Student's Perspective
Students have come to believe that their GPA and test scores are the ultimate reflection of their self-worth, writes a college senior.
Bailey Striepling
3 min read
Conceptual illustration of Students emerging from a field of giant discarded letter grades.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images
Assessment Letter to the Editor Grading for Growth Through Competency-Based Education
Competency-based education can better prepare today's children for tomorrow's challenges, writes this letter to the editor.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty