Does the biggest cheating scandal in American history, uncovered last year, have you worried teachers are cheating on student test scores in your schools?
That scandal was exposed in 2011, after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's analyzed standardized test scores in Atlanta schools. That led to findings of widespread cheating in Atlanta schools and a state investigation in Georgia. Investigators then put the finger on about 180 teachers and administrators, some of whom confessed to altering test papers, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
This weekend, The Atlanta Journal Constitution did it again, collecting and analyzing standardized test scores not just for Atlanta schools, but for 69,000 public schools across the country. The whole thing is fascinating, and it uncovered test scores in hundreds of cities that followed a pattern that, in Atlanta, had indicated cheating in multiple schools.
You can search the newspaper's database of school districts' test-score shifts here, but I'm guessing there mostly are two school districts in whose results you are interested: Elgin School District U46 and Community Unit School District 300.
So should you be worried about your schools cheating on their standardized test scores? Find out, after the jump!
This database shows the percentage of classes in each school district flagged with a test-score shift outside the norm over a four-year period. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
- In any year, a typical (non-cheating) district might expect to have about 5 percent of its classes flagged for unusually high or low performance relative to their performances in the previous year. Districts which consistently have 10 percent or more of their classes flagged or which have an extremely high flag rate in a particular year certainly deserve further examination.
In District 300, those percentages were:
- 6.25 percent in 2008
- 2.78 in 2009
- 1.35 in 2010
- 4.65 in 2011
All are close to 5 percent. None hit 10. Nothing alarming there.
In U46, those percentages were:
- 10.16 percent in 2008
- 8.2 in 2009
- 7.45 in 2010
- 7.57 in 2011
The Elgin school district hit 10 percent. But just once. Not consistently. There probably is nothing alarming there.
But, as with anything else, if you hear or see anything suspicious regarding test-taking at your school, let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Emily McFarlan, Readers' Reporter