Cheating report surfaces in Pennsylvania

Some 60 schools in Pennsylvania — nearly half in Philadelphia — showed signs of cheating on state exams in 2009, but the state education department report was buried until The Notebook obtained and published the report.

New state Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis is “concerned” that a 2009 report flagged dozens of Pennsylvania schools for possible cheating – then languished for two years.
. . . The “data forensics technical report” in question used statistical analysis to look for highly improbable test score gains and suspicious erasure patterns on statewide 2009 test score results on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) exam. 

Philadelphia school officials say they were never given a copy of the July 2009 analysis.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    “never given a copy” Did they know there was an investigation? Did they ask for a copy which was not provided?
    Did they have any suspicions prior to the study?
    Who failed to provide the copy to the school system? Did other systems get copies and, if so, did they keep it a secret so that the Philadelphia folks never knew to check and see what, if anything, had been done wrt their system?

  2. You can leave this post up like the Help Wanted sign at Dunkin Donuts – just change the city name

  3. Sounds like there is an epidemic of cheating on state exams; first Atlanta and now this? It’s in part due to the way the system is set up. There should be more of an incentive placed on the students actually learning something instead of such a strong emphasis on test scores.

  4. Actually, you can blame NCLB for this one, but IMO, teaching to the test simply does NOT work (and will NEVER work). The only way students are going to excel on tests is a solid mastery of the subject being tested, plain and simple. The groundwork for this needs to be started in elementary schools, due to the fact it’s too late to correct knowledge gaps by the time they reach high school.

  5. Yeah, blame the standards for the cheating, that makes sense. This is corruption, plain and simple, and it’s rampant in our public schools.

    A kid who “graduates” from high school without an education has been damaged for life. A society which tolerates it is a society doomed.

  6. SuperSub says:

    Ok… given the need and opportunity to cheat, a majority of individuals will. It’s an extension of survival instinct. Normally peaceful individuals will commit murder and other acts given the right set of circumstances.
    So, what are the circumstances that produce this cheating? First, the need – teachers are evaluated on the results of their students’ exams and poor performance could lead to the loss of a job. Second, the opportunity – those same teachers whose employment relies upon the test results grade the tests with little oversight.

    The solutions –
    1) Remove the need to cheat by not using test results as a way to evaluate teacher effectiveness.
    2) Remove the opportunity to cheat by outsourcing the grading.
    3) Remove the opportunity to cheat by increasing supervision during grading.