Cheaters prosper

School principals, counselors and teachers in Camden, New Jersey have been cheating since the 1980s to raise students’ test scores, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2005, the state became suspicious.

After the state sent monitors to oversee security during tests administered in March 2006, math and language-arts scores plummeted in the district.

At H.B. Wilson, the percentage of fourth graders proficient in math dropped from 100 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2006 – a slide of 77 points. Wiggins’ math proficiency score fell from 98 percent to 56 percent.

In all but two elementary schools, scores dropped when the test was monitored.

In addition, some school officials are charged with altering high school students’ grades and transcripts so failing students could graduate.

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  1. Wayne Martin says:

    According to a USA Today article (12.15.2004), New Jersey’s students passed their English competency tests at a rate of 79%, while only 39% passed the NAEP. With test scores as high as 100% (on anything), that should be a red flag in everyone’s eyes. Where was the State DoE?

    > She notified the state Department of Education but never got a response, she said.

    Oh, silly me ..

    > The cheating was orchestrated by administrators, principals,
    > guidance counselors, teachers, and anyone else willing to
    > cooperate, according to a dozen teachers who took part in or
    > witnessed it, and half a dozen more
    > who were told of such occurrences.

    I wonder if any of these people will ever be disciplined?

    > For years, rumors about cheating were common, he said, but there was
    > little hard evidence until now.

    This is where the DoE could earn their money. Analyzing test scores for variances within districts, and across the state, as well as across years, would not be that hard to do. It probably would be possible to identify a list of teacher’s names where cheating was likely to be occurring.

  2. My first response to the possibility that the pattern of cheating dated back to the eighties was “why bother?” What possible reason could there be for administrators and teachers to be concerned about grades/learning to the degree that cheating looked like a good idea?

    I had to plow most of the way through the story to get to this:

    A state grand jury is looking at cheating allegations and spending and bonuses received by former Camden Superintendent Annette D. Knox. Knox has maintained that the scores are legitmmate, and that she had followed spending and bonus procedures as she understood them.

    That explains it pretty well. There were bonuses at stake.

    Another possible reason to cheat was No Child Left Behind. NCLB creates the possibility of the organizational equivalent of hanging, and as we all know nothing so concentrates the mind as the imminent prospect of being hanged. Too bad they couldn’t do the job properly.

  3. 1. Four words – tip of the iceberg.
    2. However, once you start you can’t stop or next year’s scores are in jeopardy.
    3. School-wide violations are easy to detect. Class by class things left un-erased on the board would be nearly impossible to discover unless some student blabs.

  4. Of course there is cheating. I don’t know about 1980, but NCLB with its draconian measures, would encourage cheating by a saint. Schools cheat (lie about)about the amount of violence that occurs. Schools encourage teachers to allow students to cheat on tests and homework. And its going to get worse.
    Remember by 2014 (or thereabouts) all schools are to all students with an IQ of 80 or BELOW working successfully at grade level. That also applies to the emotionally disturbed. Why would any honest person be a teacher or an educrat??