Category Archives: Testing

Atlanta newspaper reviews test scores from across the U.S. and finds 200 districts with “improbable” scores

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

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 doesn’t prove cheating. But it reveals that test scores in hundreds of cities followed a pattern that, in Atlanta, indicated cheating in multiple schools.

For those with an interest in the technical details, the Journal-Constitution published its methodology here (the methodology page also lists the experts consulted as part of their analysis).

College presidents report high rates of plagiarism among students, new survey finds

TIME Magazine reports:

A new survey from the Pew Research Center [entitled] “The Digital Revolution and Higher Education,” asked 1,055 college presidents from two- to four-year schools, private and public for their thoughts on how digital technology has impacted college.

More than half of the college presidents surveyed said that plagiarism in students’ paper has increased over the past 10 years. Further, an overwhelming majority — 89 percent — say computers and the Internet have played a major role in the rise in stealing others work and claiming it as their own.

New report: State assessments generally less challenging than national standards

The Wall Street  Journal reports:

States have increased the difficulty of their elementary-school math and reading tests, but the standards are still far below what students are expected to know on national achievement exams, according to a federal report released Wednesday.

The data help explain the disconnect between the relatively high pass rates on many state exams and the low scores on the national tests, known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)…

Virtually every state uses math and reading exams that are far easier to pass than the national test.

The report, from the U. S. Department of Education’s National Center on Education Statistics, is available here (PDF).

U.S. Department of Education preparing to issue NCLB waivers en masse

The Washington Post reports:

With a growing number of states rebelling against the No Child Left Behind law and stalled efforts in Congress to reform it, the Obama administration says it will grant waivers to liberate states from a law that it considers dysfunctional.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he is taking action because of “universal clamoring” from officials in nearly every state, who say they cannot meet the unrealistic requirements of the nine-year-old federal education law.

Atlanta cheating scandal continues to produce controversy, hardship

The Huffington Post provides an update on the continuing fallout from the Atlanta cheating scandal. Among other items recently in the news:

  • Atlanta Public Schools has asked school librarians to fill in in the classroom
  • The district must cut $10 million from its budget this year
  • The district has hired 109 new employees to replace those who have left
  • The district might have to return $1 million in federal funds

More details emerge about Atlanta cheating scandal

The Associated Press (via ABC News) reports:

A new state report [reveals] how far some Atlanta public schools went to raise test scores in the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal. Investigators concluded that nearly half the city’s schools allowed the cheating to go unchecked for as long as a decade, beginning in 2001.

Administrators — pressured to maintain high scores under the federal No Child Left Behind law — punished or fired those who reported anything amiss and created a culture of “fear, intimidation and retaliation,” according to the report released earlier this month…

Atlanta school cheating scandal draws national attention

The Huffington Post reports:

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday that widespread cheating inflated Atlanta Public Schools’ 2009 state standardized tests scores.

The product of a two-year investigation, the report concluded that systematic cheating occurred within Atlanta Public Schools — which had been lauded for its quick testing gains — including at least 44 of the 56 examined schools. The report implicated 38 principals, noting that 178 educators pled the Fifth Amendment when questioned. Eighty-two other educators confessed to various forms of cheating, including erasing wrong answers on students’ multiple choice exams and then replacing them with the correct ones.

“The 2009 CRCT [test] statistics are overwhelming and allow for no conclusion other than widespread cheating,” a summary of the report circulated by the governor’s office said.