High Stakes Testing Leads to Cheating

From today's Seattle Times:
Atlanta schools latest in string of cheating on standardized tests


MathTeacher42 said…
Spoke with a friend tonight from MA. We graduated Holyoke High School in '78. His wife is an 8th English teacher in MA. He lives a much different town from Holyoke. The $ocial cla$$ divides of the last 30 years, impacting communities and schools, are NOT being addressed with hiring $lick con$ultant$.

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Cheating at Springfield's Robert Hughes Academy charter school detailed on 1st day of closure appeal
Published: Monday, March 29, 2010, 11:46 PM


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Google on

"springfield charter school mcas cheating"

Unknown said…
At least in Atlanta the students were cheating. Here it is the superintendent and the school board.
Anonymous said…
According to SERVE, the supe wants the power to rif teachers based on their "performance" meaning how a teacher's students do on a MAP test. (eg: as her counterpart in DC, Michele Rhee, has done recently firing teachers at will for their students' test scores)

But hey, why not? SPS has spent millions on the development and implementation of this test paid for initially by Gates' and Broad's $10M gift to SPS and developed by Broad residents and now rolled out by our Broad backed supe. We can't let this test just be a monumental waste of time and resources, now we're going to use it to fire teachers as well!

Forget the idea of smaller class sizes, adequate books and teaching materials, well-maintained and safe buildings or support for families in need, all of which we probably could have had for the same amount of money as the MAP test has cost and gotten higher test scores to boot. No, no no, it's all about the teacher and how a student in their class, no matter the circumstances, does on a test. It's a small minded approach based on small minded thinking of people who know nothing about education but have a lot of money to push whatever ideas they have on us.

So what do you suspect will happen in Seattle if merit pay based on a student's performance is enacted and even worse, teachers being fired because of MAP scores? I've always been concerned about a teacher feeling pressured to narrow the scope of information in a class to what will be on a test using exercises in route memory if a teacher is concerned about their livelihood or career as a teacher.

No more investigating possibilities in math and science, making mistakes and learning from the experience, no more time for exploration and creative or critical thinking, just know those fill-in-the-blank "a" through "e" answers.

It's a narrow and naive focus that these ed reformers have on what education is and we in Seattle should not accept it or put up with the idea.

And I'm tired of hearing all of these Broad backed, Gates' funded faux roots organizations trying to force the idea down our throats starting with the Alliance, Stand for Children (some of whom are on the roster for tomorrow evening's lineup), LEV and Our Schools' Coalition.

It's become a cacophony of rhetoric that if you stop and think about it, what they are saying makes no sense.

We all have our own voices and are quite capable of thinking for ourselves.

Let's not allow others to think and speak for us.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Two clarifications.

When I refer to our supe's counterpart in DC, I am referring to the fact that Michelle Rhee and our supe both sit on the Board of Directors of the Broad Foundation. The way that I see it, they have got to be competing in terms of who can out ed-reform the other in front of Eli Broad, their benefactor. That's a sad state of affairs as far as I'm concerned.

Second point, the MAP implementation cost initially $10, then there was the levy that was in part to pay for the cost of buying the rights to the MAP test, $4.3, mobile computer labs for schools who do not have the right equipment, $1M, an undetermined amount of money for 25 hours of tech support for every school building where MAP will be instituted and the time of librarians, school staff and teachers as well as staff in the Stanford Center to support this MAP implementation. That probably adds up to enough money to hire teachers and support to make a real difference in the education and success of our students.

What a monumental waste of money.
kprugman said…
The only competition I see is which district will succeed at spending the most money per child and report the smallest random gains in achievement as a completely fraudulent victory over teacher unions.
Anonymous said…
The winner so far is New York City.


and they went as far as mayoral control of their school district which makes no sense. Exactly what does a millionaire like Bloomberg know about public education?

Anyway, they poured millions of dollars into closing public schools and turning them into charter schools, firing teachers, the whole ed reform thing, and have now gotten worse test scores then when they began the entire ed reform debacle.
kprugman said…
After seeing what's been reported and Bloomberg crowing over what? I guess I'll have to agree with - even DC can't be this bad...

"The {NYC] graduation rate is even higher when students who graduated in August are taken into account - rising to 62.7% in August 2009 compared to 60.7% a year earlier.

While most student groups' graduation rates improved over the past year, the achievement gap between black and Latino students and their white peers remained vast, at 20 and 22 percentage points, respectively.

Graduation rates for students with disabilities rose 2.2 percentage points to 24.7%, while those for students who speak English as a second language increased by 3.9 percentage points to 39.7%."

I'm even skeptical - it probably covers up the real truth. I wonder how many minorities attend NYC schools?

NYC's largest export is families with teenagers.

PS Banned from another blog because I had the nerve to say constructivism was a model for learning...funderstanding is now hyper-funked.
kprugman said…
Is it possible for some Americans to cheat on high stakes tests? How many copies of the MAP are being passed around your neighborhood. Is a white person allowed to say those things? Shame on you, if you do - because it won't help you pass college. How would that look on your resume?

Of course, if we replaced the idiot textbooks with something that was understandable maybe so many students wouldn't have to resort to cheating.
kprugman said…
I'm Apache-something. I've grown up around racists all my life. Why would I want to grow up to be just like them? The good news about reform is there's going to be alot of pissed-off, uneducated persons walking around Seattle with no job opportunities. Then we'll see how much gets spent on education. MGJ make my day.
Eric M said…
Nice article on cheating here:

It includes a link to the New York Times story about former Charleston, SC super-principal MiShawna Moore
(protege of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson), famous award-winning cheater.

In the academic paper which forms the basis for the chapter in Freakonomics on cheating on high-stakes testing, Rotten Apples: An Investigation of The Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating, published in MIT's Quarterly Journal of Economics, Levitt, an economics professor at the University of Chicago and Brian A. Jacob of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University concluded that "serious cases of teacher or administrator cheating on standardized tests occur in a minimum of 4–5 percent of elementary school classrooms annually".
Aunty Broad said…
a new video channel on youtube, run by someone called "auntyBROAD"

4 news stories from this spring/summer and an original about the Supe's connections to money..





Anonymous said…
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Sahila said…
Cool, cool videos (Is there a sound track missing on a couple???)... THANK YOU... I've started disseminating via Facebook, Twitter, Compassionate Action Network and LinkedIN...

If no one else has already, will post on SEA facebook page...

I've been unfriended from the Alliance for Education, LEV and Stand for Children pages/blogs so cant post there... maybe someone else can...

I will try to spend the time to post on the various neighbourhood blogs also... who else can take on some of this distribution task?
Mr. Edelman said…
Ah, the multiple-choice test, that cutting-edge technology from . . . World War One.
Sahila said…
Canadians also dont want high stakes, standardised testing for their elementary kids:

Unknown said…
Wouldn't the district's proposal be more acceptable if SPS Admins and Principals were evaluated with the same test scores percentages as they are proposing for teachers? Last year Goodloe-Johnson lauded her $5000 as a merit bonus, but that is only a small percentage of her more-than-the-governor salary. What if she was evaluated the same percentage based on the district average? Would she roll hers then? Would long time SPS educators and current district negotiators like Brockman, Terrell, and Thomson be so enthused for merit evaluations if their own salaries and evaluations were based on the average of student test scores for the entire district.

And... why did the district negotiate for a year and half, developing a plan with SEA, and then change at the last minute. While the SPS team was negotiating, which SPS admin(s) had time to develop and create from scratch a new and last minute proposal? The Broad positions? Was the past year and a half of negotiations a ploy, setting up the last minute switch? Why would the board condone this type of behavior. Makes me wonder if the SPS proposal wasn't already roughed out.

And...what is the school board doing? It is well established that Goodloe-Johnson is not well received in Seattle. Her personal quirks and rudeness aside, the board appears to be using her to break the teachers and then are hoping for her leave because there is so much negativity to her presence. Unfortunately, there will be so much negative stigma/taint left on those admins remaining that we will again have to replace them with new people, and they will have an entirely new solution to enhancing student test scores.
Anonymous said…
While on YouTube, watch Dan Willingham's video on "Merit Pay, Teacher Pay, and Value-added Measures" (2009):


Also, this comment was posted on the recent "Who's teaching LA's kids?" article from the LA Times:

StacieHammes at 7:22 PM August 16, 2010

As a former teacher, who worked at the same school between 1998-2002, I knew John Smith. During that time, it was known that John Smith enthusiastically took in the students who had the worst behavior problems on campus, and was frequently assigned them. During their time with John Smith, these students became socially appropriate, and continued to demonstrate academic growth at the same time. I am not saying that Mr. Aguilar is not a great teacher, but to bash Mr. Smith without knowing the whole picture of who his students are is irresponsible at best.

Student test scores are a simplistic measure that provide incomplete information.
Sahila said…
William - I think its the Super using the Board, rather than the other way around... what's happening here is straight out of Broad Foundation literature on "effective governance".... I've listed the references/links in the past but dont have the time to go find them and repost now...

and yes, I think MGJ spent this past year "working with" the SEA on the evaluation stuff as a stalling measure until she got the performance management piece in place, thanks to the lapdog board.... that's why there was only a year-long contract put in place last year and that's why the "bait and switch" now....
seattle citizen said…
If 10% of test results are artificially inflated, wouldn't those inflated test results skew the results of national tests (for instance, MAP, which uses the test results of ALL takers, nationally, to produce its percentiles and "Rausch scale" scores?

If so, teachers who are "graded" on "merit" would suffer because some teachers (or students, or principals etc) cheat: The honest teacher's scores wouldn't look as good, comparitively, as the the cheater's.

The cheater's test scores throw the whole system out of whack and penalize honest teachers.

Not to mention dishonestly representing children as mere numbers, and bogus ones at that.

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