Skip to comments.Cheating our children: Suspicious school test scores across the nation
Posted on 03/25/2012 5:58:33 AM PDT by Scoutmaster
Suspicious test scores in roughly 200 school districts resemble those that entangled Atlanta in the biggest cheating scandal in American history, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.
The newspaper analyzed test results for 69,000 public schools and found high concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast. The findings represent an unprecedented examination of the integrity of school testing.
The analysis doesnt prove cheating. But it reveals that test scores in hundreds of cities followed a pattern that, in Atlanta, indicated cheating in multiple schools.
A tainted and largely unpoliced universe of untrustworthy test results underlies bold changes in education policy, the findings show. The tougher teacher evaluations many states are rolling out, for instance, place more weight than ever on tests.
Perhaps more important, the analysis suggests a broad betrayal of schoolchildren across the nation. As Atlanta learned after cheating was uncovered in half its elementary and middle schools last year, falsified test results deny struggling students access to extra help to which they are entitled, and erode confidence in a vital public institution.
These findings are concerning, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an emailed statement after being briefed on the AJCs analysis.
(Excerpt) Read more at ajc.com ...
The Buffalo teachers’ union [I’m no fan] is fighting the state now to exclude chronically truant students from teacher evaluations. It only seems right, but the state won’t have any of it.
Maybe, just maybe, if these truant kids were forced to attend that the overall scores of the entire class would drop dramatically. Why?
Answer: Because the disruption caused by the children who are resentful for being imprisoned against their will in their government school classroom would be so great that the child who wanted to learn would be unable to learn.
I am a high school teacher in an urban school district. Da Fuhrer Mayor Bloomberg, along with his libtard buddy Gov. Cuomo, have brought about a teacher evaluation “deform” which is very heavily based on student test scores. What if, as I am, you are working with a bunch of kids with a reading level score of 1-2 (out of a scale of 4) with a strong anti-academic culture? Smart kids are in fear of being beat up, so they feel they have to act tough and not show their brains in class.
The students come to me with these abysmal reading levels as upperclassmen in high school. They cannot read much of the material assigned or only haltingly. I don’t have a textbook, none was supplied. Many kids come to class daily without a notebook or pencil to their name and have to ask for a handout from one of their classmates. It takes them a good 10-15 minutes AFTER the late bell to finally settle down in their seats and take out their notebooks (if they have one). There is never 5 minutes that goes by that I don’t have to stop and tell someone to stop talking, put away their cell phone or a newspaper, get off the person next to them (they embrace in class, I’m surprised a baby hasn’t been conceived by these so-much-more-than-hugs right in the middle of the classroom).
Get the picture?
Despite trying to call parents (75% of the time, you get a disconnected number) and working with the overworked guidance counselor, it’s hard to effect a positive change in behavior to try and improve their grades.
But I am evaluated as though these were white blue-eyed kids from upper middle class homes, as Bloomberg and Cuomo came from. Where such behaviors were not even in their imaginations, let alone carried out. My evaluation will be up to 40% based on the TEST SCORES of these students.
If you want to continue having your job, it’s very obvious what you are FORCED to do. Swallow your integrity and give falsely inflated grades.
So I can understand why these teachers across the nation are being forced to falsify grades. Test scores are NOT the sum total of what a child learns. They are merely a snapshot view of what the kid knows at THAT moment, on THAT day. What if they had a fight with their mom the night before? What if they found out their boyfriend was stepping out on them the day before the test? What if they are hungry because their parents use their money for drugs? What if their sibling is in the hospital? Do you think they will test optimally with these situations?
And what about the little progresses you see, but which will never be recorded as a test score? Laquita heard you when you told her about self-respect and now she dresses more modestly. Dequint will now read aloud in class because he knows no one will laugh at his halting reading. Jose is now doing his homework, which he never did before. Thomas is asking good questions in class now. These are results of a caring teacher, but that will never be recorded, you will never get credit for a titanic effort which results in these little steps.
It appears that Utah is the only state that does not have schools with suspicious scores. Hm? Could it be to the overall values of the teachers, principals, and families of the overwhelmingly Mormon state?
Only state? I'm curious as to which map you're looking at. On the AJC map, there aren't any school districts at the red level in Utah, but there aren't any in Wyoming, Nevada, or Nebraska, either. So Utah's not the only state with no school districts at the red level.
If you consider the yellow level an issue (which means classroom at the 5-10% rate, which I consider a issue), Wyoming and Nebraska are the only states that don't have school districts with suspicious scores. Utah and Nevada do.
So true . . . and yet I checked the page where you could type in a school district to see if it had unusual results, and 'Lake Wobegon' isn't among those districts that showed unusual results (smirk).
It will not be surprising if standardized-test cheating is extremely widespread. The Federal regime requires the schools to show improving results, and yet they are unable to actually produce improved student performance.
Both of us have posted earlier on this topic. Today's report suggests that the amount of cheating on the standardized tests used for determining Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a national shame. To me, there are two separate topics and arguing one doesn't affect the other.
There is no justification for the cheating. I understand that school districts could have faced federal remedial steps (if the failure to meet AYP had occurred two or more years in a row), that administrators put pressure on their sycophants, those sycophants put pressure on principals, and principals put pressure on teachers. It doesn't justify changing answers on test forms, telling students the correct answers, or the other forms of cheating. I'm simply not a believe in situational ethics at that level.
On the other hand, conservatives didn't like John Boehner's/George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind back in 2001. It's possible for a conservative now to say parts of that bill were bad law then and still are bad law without excusing the probably criminal acts of these teachers and administrators.
Take the fifth-grade AYP under No Child Left Behind, for example. Each year, a school's fifth graders must do better than the previous year's group of fifth graders on the standardized test, or else the school faces the possibility of remedial steps. Let me repeat: each year they must score better than the previous year.
If you're on a diet, it's like saying "great, you lost four pounds this month; that mean you must lose at least five pounds next month or else you'll face federal government sanctions." If you lose five pounds next month, then you have to lose at least six the following month, or else you failed and may face federal sanctions.
At some point, isn't the performance good enough that you shouldn't have to beat it the next year?
“At some point, isn’t the performance good enough that you shouldn’t have to beat it the next year?”
Nope. In education, its called the “growth model”. It’s been the focus of nearly all standardized testing since the 1990s. It assumes that improvement can be made until 100% is reached- and then because you can’t get more than that, your school becomes a failure. Let alone the fact that a small portion make it to 100%, many get stuck around 80%, and there are still some struggling to make 50%.
BTW, NCLB was bad law. The Federal government has no business interfering in education.
Agreed. I think the merits of NCLB can be discussed separately from the cheating scandal and that you can criticize NCLB without giving the teachers and administrators who cheated a free pass, which is what some people appear to think you're doing if you dare to criticize the law.
In education, its called the growth model. Its been the focus of nearly all standardized testing since the 1990s.
And somebody received a Ed.D for coming up with the idea, followed by many other Ed.D's awarded for commenting on and tweaking the idea, which, outside of the Ed.D world people would have understood wasn't sustainable from the beginning. They probably find you a delight in faculty meetings, don't they, when you try to bring rational thought to the table?
Teachers or administrators who falsify results in my state are actually breaking the state’s law if they do, and get what they deserve accordingly.
“They probably find you a delight in faculty meetings, don’t they, when you try to bring rational thought to the table?”
Actually, its a common complaint among teachers that if something is logical, then it won’t be done that way. The faculty at my school has no voice in a lot of things, the testing regimens come from the state and the Federal turds, and we get assaulted by whatever new fads come up that are supposed to fix everything and never does. A common thought would be “Just leave me alone and I’ll teach.” I am at least fortunate in that I teach in a conservative school in a rural area, so I am not subject to the persecution that I might be elsewhere.
I'm not naive. Mrs. Scoutmaster is a public schoolteacher in a metropolitan school district. The only Scoutmasterling left in elementary/secondary education attends a private religious school because (a) we understand the problems of which you speak and (b) we've been able to afford it in lieu of homeschooling, which was the alternative.
So I can understand why these teachers across the nation are being forced to falsify grades.
Forced? I understand the pressure, but they weren't forced to do anything. Did they give into economic coercion? Yes, but they had free will. People have lost their jobs in other occupations, or lost their lives or homes in extreme situations, because they were unwilling to falsify records or to lie. No, a teacher could have made a stand and been fired or forced out. Several could have made a stand and been fired or forced out. Fifty teachers could have have made a stand - "And friends they may think it's a movement,' as Arlo Guthrie would have said in his leftie way.
I know people who've personally taken moral stands that cost them their jobs or significant income. No, these teachers weren't 'forced' to do anything. Man has free will. These teachers exercised free will and bad judgment.
“So I can understand why these teachers across the nation are being forced to falsify grades. Test scores are NOT the sum total of what a child learns. They are merely a snapshot view of what the kid knows at THAT moment, on THAT day. What if they had a fight with their mom the night before? What if they found out their boyfriend was stepping out on them the day before the test? What if they are hungry because their parents use their money for drugs? What if their sibling is in the hospital? Do you think they will test optimally with these situations?”
I won’t deny that pressure exists. But one of the things as teachers we are supposed to do is model good behavior, and that includes integrity. I wouldn’t condone what these people did. You are right in the rest of what you say though, and in a few years I’ll be facing that same issue- test scores will be a part of how I am evaluated. Having taught in my district for a decade and a half, I fully expect to be canned at some point for low test scores when that happens. But I’m not going to change tests and lie about it to keep my job- because its wrong.
By the way, you have my deepest sympathy. I cannot do what you are doing because I cannot relate to inner city kids at all. God bless.
Teachers are "professionals" only in the sense that they are paid to do a job, rather than amateurs, doing it for free. Without a free market in education services, it would be difficult to determine which of them are skilled and effective instructors and which are space-fillers or worse.
... it is impossible to know if any government school is effective at teaching anything at all.
Without a well-designed study, there is only anecdotal evidence. I got a Merit Scholar education from public schools, not from my father, who was at sea most of my childhood, nor my mother, who is quite knowledgeable in business-related subjects, but certainly didn't teach me Spanish.
If we had fully private education - private tuition or private charity - so many "problems" would completely vanish!
And...Yes, my observations are completely anecdotal, but I haven't found even one exception. The amount of time that academically successful homeschoolers are spending in academic study in the home matches that of those who are academically successful but attend institutional ( Prussian-model) schools.
Honestly, before spending up to a quarter of million of dollars or more per child in government schooling, maybe we should find out **exactly** how and **where** academically successful children are acquiring their knowledge. No studies have every been done to determine this.
I was looking at “Map of suspicious scores..”
You are correct about Nevada, Wyoming, and Nebraska. The dot that I thought belonged in Nevada was actually for Lake Tahoe, California.
But...I am confused about the yellow dot. When I checked that box it seems that most of the yellow dots are concentrated in the north and northeast of the nation. I must not be doing it right.
If we had fully private education - private tuition or private charity - so many “problems” would completely vanish!
I absolutely agree!
There would be far more variety and options open to children and their parents, and the chances for a “good fit” for the child would be so much greater.
They're liberals - of course they cheat. Why not? They're soooooooo superior to the rest of us.. they deserve the right to be liars and cheats. Just ask them.
I agree. There's a perfectly obvious explanation, but that's not a justification or excuse. If teachers took a stand, inadequacies in the system would be revealed which might (she says, as a formal acknowledgment of the possibility) result in measures being taken actually to educate the students.
As EinNYC said, failure starts in the earliest grades, when so many of the children do not learn basic skills. By the time they reach high school, districts are throwing piles of money at them, trying to get them to some standard of competency, but it's too late. You can't teach science or social studies or even home ec to students who can't read. And you can rarely teach anything to school-inmates whose culture punishes them for showing any effort or accomplishment in academics.
As little as possible ;-).
How much reading did you do that was not directly related to your school courses but gave you a sounder educational foundation?
Every waking minute, including in the bathtub (leading to library fines) and in class at school, under agreement with teachers that I would respond if called-upon. Schools will cut a lot of slack for the students who are pulling the test scores up and winning the awards!
we should find out **exactly** how and **where** academically successful children are acquiring their knowledge
I agree with that 100%, as well as with your and EinNYC's comments about failure starting in the earliest grades. It's hard to teach a fifth grader any subject when the fifth grader can't read or do math at even a second-grade level. Except in very unusual cases, abandon hope when that fifth grader has become an eighth or tenth grader who can't read, spell, or do simple math.
One of my friends in the homeschooling group here - Tom’s debate coach, until Tom discovered cuter girls in science competition - moved his family into the area of the best high school in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, because he planned to send his children to public high school.
However, by the time his oldest child reached 9th grade, the district had eliminated most of the academically advanced high school programs and cut back on staff for what remained, because their priority is to try to teach the lowest-performing students *something*.
Maybe they could have, with a massive push on phonics and math-facts drill in the first and second grade, but there’s nothing to be done by the time they’re 14. Well-off and motivated parents can homeschool or send their children to private school or pay for tutors. The biggest loss is to the brightest and hardest-working students from lower-income families, who no longer have challenging courses available to them, and have to spend their high school years with “students” who don’t want to be there and are disrupting the environment for those who do want to learn.
No; you CHOOSE to do it.
You have NO backbone.
Get OUT of 'teaching'; 'cause you AIN'T!
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