Lessons of APS scandal: Overuse, misuse of testing fuels cheating

Robert Schaeffer is public education director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (Fair Test).

He wrote this piece for the AJC.

By Robert Schaeffer

The sad story of educators caught manipulating standardized exam scores

has focused attention on one type of “fallout” from the testing explosion that has swept across the nation’s classrooms in the past decade. Federal and state lawmakers are scrambling to incorporate lessons from Atlanta as they work to overhaul testing policies in the face of an increasingly powerful assessment reform movement.

Should state have the power to seize control of failing schools?

What are the lessons of the APS cheating scandal? 

So far, policymakers have grasped only the most basic message from the Atlanta scandal: Sharp score gains may not be what they first appear to be. Most state departments of education have hired “data forensics” firms to examine test answer sheets. Using computers, they now search for unusual numbers of erasures or odd patterns of score gains.

The ensuing investigations confirmed cases of cheating in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and schools run by the U.S. Department of Defense. Adults manipulated test scores in more than 60 ways, from shouting out correct answers to barring likely low-scorers from enrolling. Atlanta’s scandal is just the tip of a cheating “iceberg.”

In the wake of Atlanta, many jurisdictions stepped up test security. However, tougher exam policing has not made test cheating disappear. In just the past few months, new examples have surfaced in Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Ohio, Louisiana and other states.

Understanding the widespread “gaming” of standardized exam results requires addressing its root cause. Nearly four decades ago, social scientist Donald Campbell forecast today’s scandals. He wrote, “(W)hen test scores become the goal of the teaching process, they both lose their value as indicators of educational status and distort the educational process in undesirable ways.” The horror stories in Atlanta and many other communities are case studies of what is now called Campbell’s Law.

Many policymakers still ignore the most important lesson to be learned from Atlanta. Cheating is an inevitable consequence of the overuse and misuse of standardized exams. Federal, state and local testing policies put intense pressure on teachers, principals and other administrators. They create a climate in which educators believe scores must soar “by whatever means necessary, ” as the GBI concluded.

It is hardly surprising that more school professionals cross the ethical line. Across the nation, strategies that boost scores without improving learning are spreading rapidly. These include changing answers, narrow teaching to the test and pushing out low-performing students. These practices are immoral, unethical and, in many cases illegal. But completely understandable.

The test score fixation takes time away from broader and deeper learning, leaving students inadequately prepared for college or careers. Simultaneously, it inflates test results by making it appear as if there is real academic growth when there may be none.

To eliminate cheating, reliance on standardized exam results for high-stakes educational decisions must end. Test-driven schooling cheats students out of a high-quality education. At the same time, it cheats the public out of accurate information about public school quality.

Reader Comments 0

181 comments
Carlos_Castillo
Carlos_Castillo

It's a pretty well known fact that employees will do what they're being paid to do, often no more and no less, whether the employer is fully aware of it or not. 


For example, finance MBAs out of fancy schools were rewarded by Wall Street banking firms with astronomical bonuses for grinding out "AAA" rated mortgage-backed securities to the point of triggering the great recession.


If you pay doctors for procedures and tests -- Voila! -- you'll get an explosion of billings for procedures and tests that may not be necessary.


Educators are not alone.



Betsy Ross1776
Betsy Ross1776

APS and DeKalb are corrupt beyond my wildest imagination.

Bring on the charters.
Bring on Deal's takeover of failing schools.
Their corrupt public education monopoly needs to die out like the dinosaurs.     

Betsy Ross1776
Betsy Ross1776

Mr B, your hyperole is amazing.
Teachers were NOT going hungry when they cheated.
Neither did they have a gun to their head.
Lack of morals is indeed the problem.
Also, extreme arrogance.

jerryeads
jerryeads

I always enjoy these - "BetsyRoss" opines:

Real Lurker has a real point.
Teaching isn't nearly as stressful as other occupations.


Clearly neither clueless Betsy nor Lurker have ever been within five miles of a classroom with real teachers in a long, long time - if ever. OR - if either is a teacher (highly unlikely), they should be nowhere near a classroom. Yes, there are far too many people (i.e., more than zero) who sit in front of a classroom reading comic books while kids learn to hate school by doing nothing more than filling out worksheets. REAL teachers are "on" every second of those six and a half hours. Even top performers in other professions, from sales people to scientists, get to have control over when they get to cool their heads. Not real teachers. And after those six and a half hours, they're planning lessons, grading papers, and attending their students' plays, games and clubs (and on and on). A few years ago I surveyed 20,000 teachers in this state. Their average workweek was 50 hours. Highest were high school English teachers (average 65).

I don't expect to change the minds of the clueless two above, but the rest of you remember - all those hours are for YOUR kids. And they're the ones you also expect to stand between your child and the next gunman when he comes to school.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@jerryeads


Again, beautifully stated, Jerry.  The idea is not to make schools more stressful for teachers and students, but businesses less so for their employees.

RealLurker
RealLurker

@gactzn2 @RealLurker @jerryeads If you actually believe that teaching is AS stressful as combat then you are delusional.  I do understand that bad things occasionally happen in schools, and yes a gunman is as stressful as combat.  But you are ACTUALLY claiming that pressure from tests(the point of this article) is AS stressful as a gunman or combat?

RealLurker
RealLurker

@jerryeads I do agree that teaching can be stressful, but are you REALLY saying it is MORE stressful than a combat soldier or a trauma doctor?  REALLY?


I was not attempting to denigrate teachers.  I was not trying to compare teaching to banking or engineering.  I was trying to point out that there are SOME occupations that are incredibly stressful, to the point that there are many people who cannot physically and mentally function in them.  There are people who freeze up in combat and cannot move or speak.  Are you REALLY saying that teaching is that stressful?

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

In answer to bu2, and others, below, part of my post from the next thread on the destructiveness of the business model in public education:


"In the last tread, I spent some time trying to convince businessmen that their model is the wrong model for improving public education, as is reflected in what happens ultimately with the business model - cheating, lying, and prostitution not only literally, but to one's soul.


I was single for nearly 10 years between my two marriages.  I married a second time at age 36. During that decade I dated some businessmen and had single friends who were in corporations.  I had forgotten some of what I had learned until I had a vivid dream last evening.


Here's what happens in the corporate world, from my knowledge of friends who were in it and who shared their stories.  Cooking the books to reflect sales increases, doing anything necessary to get the numbers up including figuratively, "cutting the throats" of others and even of one's own friends, sleeping with clients to get the numbers up.  I could go on, but that is enough to make my point.


These parents in this article ask, 'Who cares about my children?'  I will tell them and you, readers, that I cared deeply as an instructional leader and teacher about what happens to all the children - not just the one's I taught and I will keep caring until I die.


To the extent that I have any influence at all, I will NOT allow public education to assume a business model and prostitute and bastardize public education for numbers and for profit."

RealLurker
RealLurker

@MaryElizabethSings "Here's what happens in the corporate world, from my knowledge of friends who were in it and who shared their stories.  Cooking the books to reflect sales increases, doing anything necessary to get the numbers up including figuratively, "cutting the throats" of others and even of one's own friends, sleeping with clients to get the numbers up.  I could go on, but that is enough to make my point."


By your statement it seems that every person in private industry is evil, and every teacher in public schools is a saint who is forced to do evil by evil politicians.  No matter what your friends have told you about private business, the majority of people in private business are good people.  The majority of people in the world are good people.  We should not defend bad actors simply because they are in some group that we belong to.


There are bad people in private industry.  They are far outnumbered by the good people.  There are bad teachers in public schools.  They are far outnumbered by the good people.  Pressure, sales quotas, and stacked rankings do not excuse the behavior of bad people in private business.  Pressure and test results do not excuse the behavior of bad people in public schools.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@RealLurker 


I don't think in stereotypes so I agree with much of what you say; however, the goal of business is profit and the goal of education is human development. Your analysis is too generalized, imo.  Too often, when profit is involved, the end will justify the means.  I will do everything in my power to stop education from assuming a business model.

RealLurker
RealLurker

@MaryElizabethSings@MaryElizabethSings The goal of business is profit.  However, that is not without limit.  Many companies are using LEED building techniques in an effort to be "green".  They spend more money than they need to to be good to the environment.  Many businesses give money and donate employee time to charities.  None of that is for the "profit" of the business.  Even going purely by profit motive, the product will be determined by the customers.  If customers want high quality product and are willing to pay for it, the products will be high quality with lots of guaranties.(Such as high end private schools).  If the customers don't really care about quality, the company will put out cheap products that do not last.  If students and parents do not care about education, it will not matter if it is the current model or a private business model.


You stated that the goal of "education" is human development.  I would argue that that is not the goal of the USDOE or the GADEO.  That is not the goal of every: School board member, Administrator, Principal, or Teacher.  There is no organization of "Education" that exists solely for the goal of human development.  There are Federal and State bureaucracies that file reports and handle money.  There are school board members who pressure coaches to make sure their kid gets playing time.  I would say that the public educational system is a large tangled web of bureaucrats who might be well meaning, but are mostly cogs in a machine that they have no control of.  Even good teachers cannot control what happens before students arrive in their class, what happens when the students go home, or what happens after the students move out of their class.  The current system is not working well.  I would suggest that it is not lack of money, or lack of public support, but a combination of a large bureaucracy and student/parent apathy.

BubbaTJ
BubbaTJ

@MaryElizabethSings  Looks like someone needs another "time out" from blogging.  The chasm between reality and the written word has become as wide as the Grand Canyon.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@RealLurker @MaryElizabethSings


What you have stated about some businesses having altruistic goals, in your first paragraph, is correct.  However, imo, that is the result of the impact of those who think as I do upon the business world.  I want the educational world to impact, even more, the business world into its values of humanity, than have the business world impact more of the educational world regarding numbers and profit.  One is self-oriented; the other one is other-oriented.


In terms of your second paragraph, many of the details you share, such as, "There is no organization of 'Education' that exists solely for the goal of human development" are sweeping generalizations, imo.  I never made that purist claim; however, I do see clearly the differences in overall focus within the business world and within the educational world.


You have probably heard the truism: "The whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts." (John Lennon, btw, said that, in another context, about the Beatles, themselves.)  You are breaking down details and presenting some true facts, but you are missing the whole of what is going on regarding the pull in America between the business mentality and the educational mentality.


You may be interested in reading my poem, "Form and Substance," which I posted on the next thread. It captures some of my thinking, which is usually posted in the narrative form, into a more lyrical, poetic form involving the imagination.

RealLurker
RealLurker

@MaryElizabethSingsI am not missing the whole.  You ARE speaking in generalities.  You state that you have never worked in business, yet you claim to understand how "business" people think.  That sounds like quite a stereotype, which you claim you do not engage in.  I do not believe that everyone in the UDSOE, GADOE, and every principal, administrator, and teacher is abiding to your so called "educational mentality".  If I am being too general in my declaration that there is not an organization of "Education" that exists solely for the goal of human development, then please name one organization or department of the current educational system that exists solely for that goal.  One that does not have administrators that fight for their own budget.  One that does not worry about their own jobs, their benefits, their parking spots, etc., that exists solely to develop human beings.  There are charitable organizations and religious organizations that do, but I do not know of any department of the current educational hierarchy that does work solely for that goal.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@RealLurker @MaryElizabethSings


I worked for 7 years in NYC in various businesses before I earned my B.A. in English (not education) in a university in NYC.  I started teaching when I was 27 years old. During the summers, when I worked as a young teacher, I worked through a temporary employment agency for various business corporations in Atlanta, in order to make more money. More than that, I have shared anecdotal stories which I gave on this thread which were shared with me, firsthand, by those who work in the corporate field. I have family members who have had corporate experiences which they have shared with me. 


We will simply have to agree, as the saying goes, to disagree.

RealLurker
RealLurker

@MaryElizabethSings Well for someone who does not think in stereotypes, it is alarming to see that ALL business people are bad, and that ALL teachers are altruistic.  Unlike you believe, I do not stereotype people.  I believe that most people in general are good.  There are bad people in business, there are bad people in engineering, and there are bad people in teaching.  Those people are the exceptions, not the standards.  I do not denigrate teachers.  I do not denigrate salesmen.  I do not denigrate businessmen.  If I encounter one who is a bad apple, I treat that individual as a bad apple, not any group that they belong to.


As far as education, I believe that MOST people want a good educational system.  I do not believe that people who support the classical educational system want to socialize and harm education.  I do not believe that want vouchers and private for profit education want to solely profit and harm education.  Unless someone acts in a way that harms education, I start with the assumption that they have the same goal, Better Education.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@RealLurker 


"Well for someone who does not think in stereotypes, it is alarming to see that ALL business people are bad, and that ALL teachers are altruistic."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I never stated that nor even thought it.  That statement is much too generalized for my thinking.  And, the fact that you interpret my words to have meant that proves to me that you think in generalities, not I. But, there does exist an educational ken, as well as a business ken.  The two were meant to be separated, not joined.


Moreover, you ask me to give you one fact, or one example, of an educational agency that exists solely for the purpose of human development.  You are indeed stuck in the mindset of "facts" not truth.  Please read my poem for greater insight.  The goal of human development is fostered through Georgia's public school systems. 

RealLurker
RealLurker

@MaryElizabethSings I have no desire to read your poem, or your blog.  I do not link out of blog replies to other sites.


There cannot be any truth without facts.  You claim that "education" is for human development to defend the status quo.  The idea of "education" is for human development.  The current governmental organizations that regulate and fund education do not exist solely for human development.  There are groups inside those organizations that are more concerned with: job security, advancing agendas, setting up businesses they support to get contracts, etc.  Note, I am not making ANY generalizations.  I am not saying that ALL people in education are engaging in those activities.  I am simply stating that there are people in those organizations that are.  I am also providing "facts" that prove that those organizations are not acting solely for human development.


"I never stated that nor even thought it. "

"Here's what happens in the corporate world,......"   This is by definition a generalization.  It is also a statement that these bad things are what happen in business.  I interpret that to mean that business is bad, and that people in business are bad.


IF I WERE TO SPEAK IN GENERALITIES, I could state that:  Here is what happens in public schools: Molesting students, choking special needs students, and blackmailing parents to keep their children's grade up.


Every single one of those things HAVE happened in public schools.  However the great majority of teachers would not engage in such activities.  Every single one of the things you listed in business has happened.  However the great majority of people in business would not engage in such activities.  Both of those ARE IN FACT GENERALIZATIONS.  You, by definition, wrote a generalization of business practices.  I HAVE NOT given generalizations of educational practices.  If I ever do, I will declare it to be a generalization.  IF YOU FIND ONE THAT I HAVE WRITTEN UNDECLARED, PLEASE POINT IT OUT TO ME.  I am certain that you will not find one, but I guess the "fact" that I do no indulge in generalities is not important, the only thing that is important is what you feel I probably would have said.. 

RealLurker
RealLurker

@popacorn I was not intending to be mean or harsh.  I don't usually follow links outside of blog discussions.  If someone wants to make a statement here, I might read it.  If someone says that they made a statement on another website, or in another blog post, I most likely will not go to it.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@RealLurker 


There are truths beyond facts or there would be no need for art, music, theatre, opera, literature, religion, philosophy.  There is a need for these types of expressiosn of the human spirit because these arts reach the depths of our souls and our beings, and they show us truths not able to be discerned by facts alone.  You are missing much by not understanding nor acknowledging that.



RealLurker
RealLurker

@MaryElizabethSings I do agree that there are truths that can be known without facts.  You are ASSUMING much to state that I do not understand or acknowledge that.  I have never stated that EVERY truth must be backed up by facts.  Once again, this can be proven true or false.  If I have mad that statement, then show it to me.  You cannot, so it is indeed false.


The whole "facts" debate started when I asked for a department or organization in the current educational system that acts solely in the development of human beings.  This is a binary question.  Either at least one exists, or none exist.  This is not a question of theater, philosophy, or religion.  There is no abstract thought process that arrives at a conclusion that one might exist.  It either does or does not exist.


I have gone out of my way to NOT stereotype educators in this discussion.  You state that corporations consist of people who want to cut each other's throats, but then state that you cannot even think in stereotypes.  I don't understand how you cannot see the hypocrisy of those two statements.  I on the other hand have stated that there are indeed bad people in business, just as there are bad people in education.  I do happen to realize though that most people in business, in education, and in life in general are good people.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@RealLurker @MaryElizabethSings 

 I think  she's offended that you aren't willing to read her poem written when she was 28, "Form and Substance," quoted in full on the "APS Trial Ends" thread.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OriginalProff


That would be a silly and petty response on my part, and one that I would never have.  You do not know me well, Prof. Please do not presume to speak for me, even in speculation.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@RealLurker 


"If I have mad(e) that statement, then show it to me."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Your words from your post of 2 hours ago: "There cannot be any truth without facts."

RealLurker
RealLurker

@MaryElizabethSings I still stand by that in non-metaphorical ideas.  We were specifically discussing whether there exists an agency in the current educational environment that functions solely for the development of human beings.  You stated that "facts" are not necessary to prove that there are.  That is absurd.  A question about whether such an agency exists or not is a strictly binary question.  You could prove me wrong by naming ONE.  However, you refused and stated that "facts" do not matter.  IF at least one exist, then it exists.  If none exist, then they do not exist.  There IS NO metaphorical, touchy-feely answer to that question.  EVERY SINGLE government agency involved in education works on other goals in addition to the development of human beings.  Your idea that the governmental system that we have is dedicated solely to education is laughable.  


If you actually read what I write, instead of skimming over it, you would realize that I do not profess that private business taking over is the solution.  I try to look at things with an objective mindset.  I don't see that public education is a holy grail.  I also don;t see that private education is a holy grail.  The biggest advantage that private schools have over public schools is that the parents of private school children are HEAVILY involved in: selecting a school, monitoring their children's progress, and monitoring the school.  IF there is an ineffective teacher, the parents will complain and get the teacher removed.  IF there is a disruptive student, the parents will complain and get the child removed.  The involvement of the parents is what creates the environment of learning, not anything that the private school does on its own.

class80olddog
class80olddog

"Problem is EOC comes 3 weeks before the course is over "


If the schools were run on a "business model", this would be identified as a casue of poor performance and corrected.  But since it is just an "educational model"...

BubbaTJ
BubbaTJ

@class80olddog  Continuous improvement and corrective action are foreign concepts to education.

Betsy Ross1776
Betsy Ross1776

Real Lurker has a real point.
Teaching isn't nearly as stressful as other occupations. Social work requires a degree just as teaching does. Social workers work 12 months a year, with the worst of the worst situations, work long hours, have tremendous case loads, and get half the pay of a teacher.
They don't have, however, a biased blogger working for the AJC constantly condoning lying and cheating in their work and excusing criminal behavior.
The military and law enforcement are other examples of jobs where people must be educated, have long hours, dangerous jobs, are subject to layoffs (yes, even in the military), are under fire (literally) and have low pay.

For anyone to condone cheating and lying and stealing because teachers are afraid to lose their jobs....have a lack of morals themselves.
No cheat. No lie. No steal. No way. No how.
Not under any circumstances.

hssped
hssped

@Betsy Ross1776


You are so right.  I guess social work is a calling.  I know the social workers in my county (BOE employees) work all hours, above and beyond the school day.  And they have to drive their own vehicles , but, in my county they do get paid well.  I just looked up the salary for 2014 for one of them and she made 77,995 and was reimbursed $2500 for mileage.  Which really doesn't  cover tires, oil changes, etc AND gas!  

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Betsy Ross1776


Just pointing out that saying you understand why someone may have done something is not the same as "condoning" it.   

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@Betsy Ross1776


Hmmm.  Maybe the question isn't *if* teaching is as stressful as trauma doctor, member of the military, or law enforcement, but why and career which involves teaching children has ended up being so stressful that THESE are the types of jobs one has to look to in order to discuss something MORE stressful...


And yes, social work is another female dominated, high stress, low pay, caring, social service type job...so naturally its members tend to be underpaid and overworked. 


Teaching SHOULD NOT be as stressful as it is... so why is it such a high stress career?  

Mr_B
Mr_B

"There is only one thing that makes people commit crimes -- a lack of morals."


I hope for your sake that you are never hungry, or threatened with a loss of a job, or asked to perform the impossible by someone who has no concern for your welfare. 


"There, but for the grace of G-d, go I."

Betsy Ross1776
Betsy Ross1776

Once again, Maureen uses her blog to shout her own biased opinions.
Trouble is (at least for her) is that standardized testing isn't going away.
There will be standardized testing and it doesn't make anyone cheat.
There is only one thing that makes people commit crimes -- a lack of morals. 
APS is going to GA Milestones testing -- using computers -- even for the writing portion. The reason for the computers is that teachers and administrators cannot change test scores on the computers - cannot erase and change answers.

Without enough computers, teachers will just read the questions on the screen and then pass on the questions and correct answers to the next teacher before her class takes the test and cheating, lying and stealing will continue.
So, we'll have more cheating, only it will be more expensive because parents are forced to pay for more computers.

The answer is to jail more liars, cheaters and thieves and to make the punishment long enough to deter other people from lying, cheating and stealing.
If Tamara Cotman and her ilk get a light sentence, every teacher and administrator will get the green light and the go-ahead to lie, cheat, steal and tell the government to go to he!!.

class80olddog
class80olddog

It is funny, the only ones who seem to be complaining about the testing are the ones who are failing the tests!

dg417s
dg417s

@class80olddog My students generally do very well on the EOC. Problem is EOC comes 3 weeks before the course is over - so I really have to cram a lot of material in in 15 weeks instead of 18..... then the fun part is reminding these soon to be graduating seniors that it's not over yet, but that's a story for a different day.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@class80olddog


And you know this how?  Has anyone said, "My students always do poorly on these tests, therefore I do not like them..."  


No.


By the way, you know I complain about the tests a great deal.  My students do an outstanding job on the tests.



Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@popacorn @Quidocetdiscit @class80olddog


I said my "students" do an outstanding job.  I did not say I was 'outstanding."  I you were one of my students you would be marked down for failure to read carefully, and sorry, no bonus points for unnecessary snark.

hssped
hssped

I live in a county that has high test scores all the time (Fayette).  So I, of course, don't see what is the big deal/problem with the tests or testing. In the end, test scores bring $$ to the county.   People move here for the good schools.  How do they know the schools are good?  High test scores.  From what I have observed it (teachers cheating) boils down to those counties where the students have parents that care and those that have parents that don't care. Four legs good; two legs bad.  


Yes, there exists an IQ population that does not score well on standardized tests.  That population, in any given county, should not be big enough to impact the overall scores for the county.  A normal distribution and all.......I mean.....it shouldn't even skew it.  Unless, of course, there is not a normal spread from the get go.  I would not think that more than 10% of the population (in schools) would be MID.  The kids lower than that don't take the tests. 


One must rule-out (for APS)  that the student, teachers and admins are black and that is why they cheated.  I don't believe race impacts IQ.  One must rule out being poor.  There are poor kids everywhere, even in FC.  They aren't dumb.  And I think we need to rule out being a foreigner as well.  Some struggle, yes.  But others rock.  So that pretty much leaves what almost every blogger writes (well...teacher bloggers) that it all boils down to the parent's attitude toward education. How can that be fixed? 

4PublicEducation
4PublicEducation

@hssped My county also has high test scores and people moving in for the schools.  But there is a difference in achievement among the schools in our county.  One school consistently has the lowest scores and is in the poorest, most transient area and gets the most Title I money. Administrators have been moved because of No Child Left Behind regulations, but the school remains at the bottom of the rankings. If I were superintendent and wanted to fix this for the kids that are currently attending school there, I would transfer and bus them to the other higher achieving schools.  This is their best, quickest fix.  There are lots of reasons my county will never do this: politics, concern for neighborhood schools, overcrowding at the other schools, loss of some jobs at the low achieving school, separating friend groups, etc.  But if the highest goal is student achievement, this is the best short term strategy.  Fixing the community problems surrounding this school would take too long, even if it were possible, and would not help students currently attending.  An individual teacher can provide the missing home support for a few of these students more easily if most of the students do have home support.  No teacher can provide that level of extra help to an entire class, which is why these students should not be housed all in the same building.

hssped
hssped

@4PublicEducation @hssped


We have the same thing in FC..differences in achievement among the schools.  And we have our schools that are Title 1 and have low test scores.  And you are exactly right about the quick fix!!  But it is never going to happen, is it?  


The bulk of our Title 1 schools fall into an area with the majority of the homes being really expensive and home owners that drive their Mercedes to the school to drop off the free lunch form (yes, that actually did happen). Go figure.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

@hssped  "parent's attitude toward education. How can that be fixed?"


You may not be able to do anything about the ATTITUDE, but you can change the behavior.  Strict attendance policies - make the kids stay after school and the PARENT pick them up.  Too many absences and the parent ends up in jail.  Negative reinforcement usually results in extinction of behavior.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@hssped


"Yes, there exists an IQ population that does not score well on standardized tests.  That population, in any given county, should not be big enough to impact the overall scores for the county. "

Yes, but it can have a big impact on the individual schools and on the individual teachers... Schools, administrators, and teachers are also judged by these tests... 50% of teachers' evaluation depends upon these tests this year, and some would also like to tie our pay to those scores.  So what happens to the teacher who teaches those struggling students?  They look like they are not as good a teacher as the teacher across the hall who teaches students who do not have the same needs. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@hssped @Quidocetdiscit



Well, the MILESTONE is given once a year, and it is based on grade level standards so it cannot provide valid baseline information (though the state would like to use it that way).   There are other tests we give which measure growth (MAP for example) but apparently that is not enough for GA.  They want their OWN test to use to measure student achievement.  I would prefer to give the MAP three times a year - at least I can access the data almost immediately and use it to inform my teaching, AND it is normed data, which makes it more valid.  What I do not like is having to give the MAP as well as the MILESTONE and the SLOs! Too much!


And yes, you are right about gifted students.  On the MAP, really the only way to advance a gifted student is to teach them standards from the next grade levels, which really isn't best practice.  There should be something in place for having students show depth of knowledge of grade level material as well.  Having a third grade gifted student asked to analyze Shakespearean sonnets and balance equations is a bit much!

hssped
hssped

@Quidocetdiscit @hssped


I don't know...baselines?  I guess that would be a starting point.  In the early 90s I taught spec ed in Clayton.  We gave baselines the first week,  then gave the same test in Jan and then again in May. That is how we monitored progress on the IEP goals.  The goals for the following school year were based on the baseline scores from May and the achievement (if any).  It seemed logical. Of course that was back  when, for example, an IEP reading goal would be to "read on a 4.2 level" for a 6th grader.  Now goals are more vague...."student will employ learning strategies to stay organized", etc.    Why not call it what it is?  I guess this all goes back to self-esteem.  


Anyway, I would imagine the gifted teachers have the same problem....if the kids are scoring at the top....they can't go any higher and perhaps  no measurable "progress" is shown.  No matter how it is sliced teachers will take the fall.