5 Percent Suspicious

Fresh on the heels of the news that an Oak Park principal has resigned because of ISAT testing irregularities (see below), here's news about a yearlong investigation by the Cox newspaper chain has looked into suspicious jumps in scores in districts around the country, including CPS.  Looking at results for 69,000 schools in 49 states, the newspaper chain found high concentrations of suspicious scores in about 200 schools.  For CPS, the report found scores worth flagging in 4.5-5 percent of classroom results it studied between 2008 and 2011.  The dots are suspicious test score results. For some, this will mean that cheating is rampant and that test based accountability is the problem.  ("The predictable result of over-reliance on test scores," according to FairTest.)  For others, 200 classrooms in a nation the size of the US isn't necessarily such a big deal, and there are some questions about the study methodology being raised, too.  As for CPS, I've put in calls to CPS and ISBE to see what they have to say. I remember hearing that ISBE started looking at suspicious scores and erase rates last year, an attempt to get proactive after the scandals in Atlanta and elsewhere. But I don't recall any followup from them about what if anything they found from last spring.




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  • ISBE says it began but has not completed its pro-active review of last year's scores and is working with other states on developing a good system for these kinds of reviews.

  • I am not surprised ISBE has not completed its review, the layoffs that have hit that agency leave very few staff to do such labor intensive reviews. Based on the newspaper article's data base there would be test scores for 204 CPS classrooms that would need to be reviewed for 2011 results alone and hundreds more going back to 2008.

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Headache 299
    About 145 classrooms in 2008; 176 classrooms in 2009; 196 classrooms in 2010, and 204 classrooms in 2011.

  • About 10 years ago the real CPS accountability office had a few employees who investigated and found test cheating. Nothing was done about it. As long as CPS and ISBE lets it happen--without funding and is years behind--it will continue. Especially when test scores will be a big part of teacher evaluation.

  • I think it is very funny that all we hear is the we have to "improve the students' test scores" and when we do, we are immediately accused of cheating.

  • Headache299
    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

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