In nine districts, scores careened so unpredictably that the odds of such dramatic shifts occurring without an intervention such as tampering were worse than one in 10 billion.
St. Louis: Patrick Henry Downtown Academy’s principal was placed on leave last year for falsifying attendance records. Because attendance rates are used to calculate state funding, it’s possible the alleged fraud attracted state aid to the school that it didn’t deserve. Even though the state has not found cheating at Henry, an AJC analysis uncovered unusual scores dating back to 2007.
Suspicious test scores in roughly 200 school districts resemble those that entangled Atlanta in the biggest cheating scandal in American history, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.
The newspaper analyzed test results for 69,000 public schools and found high concentrations of suspect math or reading scores in school systems from coast to coast. The findings represent an unprecedented examination of the integrity of school testing.
The analysis doesn’t prove cheating. But it reveals that test scores in hundreds of cities followed a pattern that, in Atlanta, indicated cheating in multiple schools.
A tainted and largely unpoliced universe of untrustworthy test results underlies bold changes in education policy, the findings show. The tougher teacher evaluations many states are rolling out, for instance, place more weight than ever on tests.
Perhaps more important, the analysis suggests a broad betrayal of schoolchildren across the nation. As Atlanta learned after cheating was uncovered in half its elementary and middle schools last year, falsified test results deny struggling students access to extra help to which they are entitled, and erode confidence in a vital public institution.