Nearly 30% of Michigan teachers report pressure to cheat on standardized exams, according to a survey by the Detroit Free Press. In addition, 34% of public school educators said administrators, parents or others pressure teachers to change grades.
At schools that don’t meet federal standards, the tension is higher: About 50% say pressure to change grades is an issue, and 46% say pressure to cheat on the tests is a problem.
Some cave in — about 8% say they changed grades within the last school year, and at least 8% admit to some form of cheating to improve a student’s standardized test score.
Another 17% report cheating by a colleague.
However, the most common cheating method — writing down vocabulary words to teach to next year’s classes — doesn’t seem like cheating to me. Does Michigan give exactly the same tests from year to year? That would be asking for trouble.
Two out of three teachers surveyed oppose using standardized tests to gauge student achievement and 95% oppose using standardized tests to make decisions about teacher salaries.
Michigan will base 25% of a teacher’s evaluation on students’ progress by 2013-14; that will rise to 50% in 2015-16.
In addition, the state education department plans to raise standards on the state exam, making it harder to score as proficient. “ACT scores show only 17% of Michigan students leave high school prepared for college,” notes the Free Press.