cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standardize

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SLK230
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cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standardize

Post by SLK230 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:44 am

Atlanta cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standardized tests

http://www.freep.com/article/20110707/N ... CFRONTPAGE


ATLANTA -- A state investigation has found that teachers and principals in dozens of Atlanta public schools doctored students' test papers -- the latest scandal involving the high-stakes world of standardized testing in the nation's school systems.

The investigation, detailed this week in a report issued by Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, showed that Atlanta school administrators emphasized test results "to the exclusion of integrity and ethics." The pressure even prompted one frightened third-grade teacher to tell investigators that "there are ways that APS (Atlanta Public Schools) can get back at you" if teachers don't go along with cheating.

"APS is run like the mob," the teacher said, according to the report.

The results of the investigation are being forwarded to prosecutors, Deal said. Criminal charges could range from tampering with state documents to lying to investigators. So far, 82 educators have confessed and dozens more are under investigation.

The results come as standardized tests generate increased scrutiny around the country:

• Baltimore Public Schools CEO Andres Alonso suggested last week that falling scores in many city schools could partially be the result of better test security.

• In March, USA TODAY examined standardized test scores at District of Columbia schools and found 103 public schools with high erasure rates on penciled-in answer sheets. An investigation is under way.

Evidence of test tampering also was found in six states besides Georgia and Maryland, including California, Florida and Ohio. In Michigan, seven schools found to have statistically improbable one-year gains in MEAP scores in 2009 saw drops in scores for 2010, according to the state Department of Education. The schools were among nine highlighted in a Free Press/USA TODAY report.

• In 2007, the Dallas Morning News found more than 50,000 cases of student cheating on high-stakes state tests, with 90% of students, in some cases, showing suspicious answer patterns.

The Atlanta investigation found a "culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation" that spread districtwide over the last decade, prompting dozens of educators to covertly give kids correct answers on standardized tests and change wrong answers.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first raised suspicions about rising scores nearly three years ago.

Student test results play an increasingly important role: At least 10 states require that student scores be the main criterion in teacher evaluations. In some areas, teachers may earn a large bonus if scores climb.

The Georgia report called test-tampering "an open secret." In one school, a group of teachers brought students' answer sheets to a teacher's home and held a "changing party." Other teachers changed students' answers at school after hours.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the teachers union complained about cheating in Atlanta in 2005, but it was ignored.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Fordama
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by Fordama » Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:07 am

There is pressure at most schools nowadays.

School administrations and given to fads, and the mania over these standardized scores is high. Even though we know that scores on these tests are really poor indicators of how well educated a child is, administrations throw integrity to the wind nowadays.

It used to be considered a very poor, professionally speaking, to "teach to the test." Now they come up with clever substitutions for that phrase hoping that we won't think about it, but that's what we are doing more and more these days.

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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by Wabash » Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:17 am

Why does this surprise anyone?
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by oceanvue » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:11 am

again read the book Freakanomics. Forensic accountants audited the test answer patterns in Chicago Unified and found teachers were filling in the unfinished portion of standardized tests of lacking students to boost their efficiency ratings. The last 3rd of the tests all had exactly the same answer patterns while the upper 2/3rds were varied. This has been going on for a while
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by 18echo » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:31 am

Fordama wrote:There is pressure at most schools nowadays.

School administrations and given to fads, and the mania over these standardized scores is high. Even though we know that scores on these tests are really poor indicators of how well educated a child is, administrations throw integrity to the wind nowadays.

It used to be considered a very poor, professionally speaking, to "teach to the test." Now they come up with clever substitutions for that phrase hoping that we won't think about it, but that's what we are doing more and more these days.

Fordama
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by oceanvue » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:36 am

according to the book it shows how poorly educated teachers are also. Some teachers answer patterns showed they didn't know the right answers on the test they were administrating and than cheating for the students on
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by Red » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:46 am

oceanvue wrote:according to the book it shows how poorly educated teachers are also. Some teachers answer patterns showed they didn't know the right answers on the test they were administrating and than cheating for the students on
YEP! More union trash!

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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by Fordama » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:59 am

18echo wrote: If the standardized test is not drawn from the required curriculum, then what is it drawn from?
In California it is drawn from the curriculum. However, based on the number of questions, some parts of the curriculum are valued more than others for no logical reasons whatsoever.

We also spend time teaching "tricks" instead of the subject.

Not to mention that in my subject area, math, multiple choice is a poor way to evaluate ability. For measuring critical thinking, multiple choice tests are nearly useless.

Trust me, I could go on a multi-paged rant about our growing idiotic devotion to these tests.

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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by oceanvue » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:12 am

I would agree with Ford
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by not4u13 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:43 am

Be careful what you measure as it will drive behavior. The stronger the incentive is that is tied to that metric, the greater the focus is on that metric. I know some students who are angry with the administration who do poorly on these tests on purpose. There is little implication for the student.

We have seen a growing trend in teaching to the test for well over 5 years now. Sure, the teststhemselves are based on what is supposed to be taught anyway, but the focus of the teaching changes from learning the material to doing well on the test. No those are not always synonymous.
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by SLK230 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:54 am

Fordama wrote:In California it is drawn from the curriculum. However, based on the number of questions, some parts of the curriculum are valued more than others for no logical reasons whatsoever. Could be but that is strictly your opinion.

We also spend time teaching "tricks" instead of the subject.

Not to mention that in my subject area, math, multiple choice is a poor way to evaluate ability. For measuring critical thinking, multiple choice tests are nearly useless.

Trust me, I could go on a multi-paged rant about our growing idiotic devotion to these tests.

Fordama
Could it be you don't like anything that measures ability? You can't just pass them along if they don't do well and I would assume low scores makes the teachers and the school look bad. Tell us how would you evaluate student ability? Would you put a number on it?
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by oceanvue » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:56 am

I would do it alphabetically. A-M pass N-Z fail. than I would flip flop it next semester
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by Fordama » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:13 am

SLK230 wrote:Could be but that is strictly your opinion.

We also spend time teaching "tricks" instead of the subject.
Yeah, Al, it's not like I have a degree in mathematics but I don't understand the subject as well as those genius bureaucrats, or haven't looked into the process, or found that any other teachers have noticed as well.

If you have a 100 question test, what rationale would there be for having 7 questions on factoring and 2 on solving quadratic equations? Or should there be 18 questions on linear equations but none on cubic equations? Whatever you choose it puts a value on that subject, and quite often it is arbitrary--and I guarantee you that no matter what you would pick that you could find many mathematicians that could come up with a rational disagreement.
SLK230 wrote:Could it be you don't like anything that measures ability?
No. Your inability to objectively look at the issue and try to personalize it though is duly noted.

Mathematical problems in real life do not present themselves along with four pre-designed possible solutions. That's not realistic, and it doesn't demonstrate any ability past that of plugging numbers in and doing some arithmetic. No problem solving, no critical thinking--just very advanced monkeys bubbling in answer cards.

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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by Fordama » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:21 am

not4u13 wrote:Be careful what you measure as it will drive behavior. The stronger the incentive is that is tied to that metric, the greater the focus is on that metric. I know some students who are angry with the administration who do poorly on these tests on purpose. There is little implication for the student.
"Little" implication is indeed the truth. And like you said, the smarter students know this.

I shared my room with our AP Calc BC teacher this year. For those who don't know, there are two levels of AP Calculus, and BC is the highest level. These kids are geniuses for the most part. They were not happy campers over all the wasted time with the standardized tests when they have AP exams to worry about (exams with open-ended questions that they actually have to exhibit thinking skills.)

At good schools, standardized testing definitely lowers the bar. Administrations make sure that fewer students take the more difficult tests by creating more lower end classes for some to coast rather than pushing kids up into more advanced classes.

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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by not4u13 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:38 am

SLK230 wrote:
Could it be you don't like anything that measures ability? You can't just pass them along if they don't do well and I would assume low scores makes the teachers and the school look bad. Tell us how would you evaluate student ability? Would you put a number on it?
That is a totally unfounded accusation. Do you like these standaridized tests? Why?

I understand the reason behind using a standarized test. I also understand the rationale for having incentives to perform. We have had standardized testing for many years now. When the tests were used to measure STUDENT performance, there was little fraud and educators could use results to measure the effectiveness of various programs, teaching methods, areas of focus, etc. It helped determine where to direct budget. It wasn't always used as effectively at every district or every school, which is why we, the general public, lost patience with the old system.

However, the new system isn't working either.
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by THe Nug » Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:59 am

Fordama wrote:There is pressure at most schools nowadays.

School administrations and given to fads, and the mania over these standardized scores is high. Even though we know that scores on these tests are really poor indicators of how well educated a child is, administrations throw integrity to the wind nowadays.

It used to be considered a very poor, professionally speaking, to "teach to the test." Now they come up with clever substitutions for that phrase hoping that we won't think about it, but that's what we are doing more and more these days.

Fordama
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by SLK230 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:07 am

not4u13 wrote:
That is a totally unfounded accusation. It was a question not an accusation. Do you like these standaridized tests? Why? I like the idea of students having to show a certain level of knowledge as a requirement of graduation. If they can't pass it they shouldn't graduate until they can pass it. A diploma should mean more then just showing up for 4 years.

I understand the reason behind using a standarized test. I also understand the rationale for having incentives to perform. We have had standardized testing for many years now. When the tests were used to measure STUDENT performance, there was little fraud and educators could use results to measure the effectiveness of various programs, teaching methods, areas of focus, etc. It helped determine where to direct budget. It wasn't always used as effectively at every district or every school, which is why we, the general public, lost patience with the old system.

However, the new system isn't working either.
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by Notorious » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:37 am

A diploma should mean more than plugging in answers on a standardized test. I'm with Fordama.

Even in college, half the time I didn't really bother learning the material because every test is multiple choice except for my last calculus class.

I ended up just shoving in numbers and seeing what worked instead of learning how to do the problem. I didn't get an A don't get me wrong but it was pretty close and definitely nothing lower than a B.
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Re: cheating scandal tied to pressure of high-stakes standar

Post by not4u13 » Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:44 am

SLK230 wrote: I like the idea of students having to show a certain level of knowledge as a requirement of graduation. If they can't pass it they shouldn't graduate until they can pass it. A diploma should mean more then just showing up for 4 years.
Totally agree with that, but that is a different test. The CAHSEE. From what I understand, teacher performance is not measured by the pass rate of the CAHSEE.
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