Home > Education "reform", Truthiness > Did high-stakes testing produce cheating in Philly, too?

Did high-stakes testing produce cheating in Philly, too?

On top of USA Today’s investigation of improbable test-sheet corrections in the DC public schools, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports today on the possibility of “testing irregularities” at a middle school that apparently achieved huge gains on state-mandated tests, earning public acclaim from ex-Gov Ed Rendell and others.

According to the Inquirer,

In just two years, the 400 seventh and eighth graders at Theodore Roosevelt Middle School in East Germantown had jumped a stunning 52 points in math on a 100-point scale and 51 in reading on the statewide assessment known as the PSSA. The improvement was the best – by a considerable margin – of any comparable school in the School District of Philadelphia.

But while 73% of the school’s 7th-graders scored as proficient or advanced on the state test, other records showed that only 34% were reading at grade-level by the end of the year.

One teacher told the Inquirer, “There are some kids who maybe you could argue just did a lot better on the PSSA or happened to take that test seriously. But there are certain students who consistently, across all subject areas, have D’s or F’s who are consistently under 40 percent on benchmark tests. I looked at their scores and said, ‘These have to be manipulated.’ ”

Bill Sez: How many more of these stories have to turn up before advocates of high-stakes testing start having second thoughts?  H/t: Atrios.

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