Saturday, April 13, 2013

Who Knew What When

As USA Today reports, the release of a heretofore confidential memo raises new questions about how much the educational administration of former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee knew about an epidemic of cheating on standardized tests within the school system:
DCPS officials have said they take all cheating allegations seriously, but it's not immediately clear how they responded to Sanford's warnings. Only one educator lost his job because of cheating, according to DCPS. Meanwhile, Rhee fired more than 600 teachers for low test scores — 241 of them in one day in 2010.
The cheating issue first came to light in 2011, after USA TODAY reported that, between 2008 and 2010, 103 schools had test-erasure rates that surpassed districtwide erasure-rate averages at least once.
Erasures are detected by the same electronic scanners used to score tests. When a teacher or student erases a bubble sheet, this leaves behind a light smudge. Computers tally the smudges as well as the new answers.
The USA TODAY investigation found that, as far back as 2008, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), D.C.'s equivalent of a state education department, asked for an erasure analysis. Among the 96 schools flagged for wrong-to-right erasures were eight of the 10 campuses where Rhee handed out so-called TEAM awards "to recognize, reward and retain high-performing educators and support staff." In all, Rhee bestowed more than $1.5 million in bonuses based on increases in 2007 and 2008 test scores.
 These numbers suggest far more teachers were punished for low test scores than were punished for cheating.

Investigative journalist John Merrow has more details about the limits of Rhee's administration.

No comments:

Post a Comment