Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cheating on state assessments could bring more federal intrusion

Education Week is reporting (subscription?) that US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is really unhappy about major cheating scandals on state assessments unfolding in Atlanta and Washington DC.

EdWeek says the feds are now talking about creating anti-cheating rules states will have to follow with their assessment programs to keep a watch for cheating.

Getting caught for cheating on tests with federal implications could have serious consequences. The EdWeek article indicates this might involve charges of fraud.

As always, the federal lever is funding. States that don’t want to follow the federal playbook on cheating might find themselves shorted on federal education dollars.

It’s no secret that some educators would like to look the other way when cheating is suspected. That reportedly happened in Atlanta.

Kentucky also has an on-going cheating scandal, this one on ACT college entrance testing in Perry County.

The Perry County evidence is apparently overwhelming. The Kentucky Department of Education already published an updated set of ACT scores for all the districts, and Perry County’s scores took a real nose dive after the students with tampered answer sheets got rescored at zero. In the original score release, Perry County’s 11th grade students got an ACT Composite of 19.2 in the 2009-10 school term.

The new score sheet shows Perry County only got a 10.4 (KDE’s Web site is having a problem so I can’t provide the exact link to the Excel spreadsheet right now. It should be available here under the “ACT Grade 11 Average Score by Site - School, District and State Listing” heading).

It remains to be seen if Kentucky will go soft on its latest cheating scandal. I recently confirmed that an investigation is still under way at the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board, so it is too soon to know what the outcome for educators in Perry County will be.

However, if the feds start to push criminal charges in Atlanta, look for fallout all across the education community.


John Little,Sr. said...

Now is the time to investigate the testing procedures of the JCPS.

John Little,Sr.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely.

Richard Innes said...

I don't think the Kentucky Department of Eduction ever set up the sorts of safeguards to prevent cheating that are being discussed in Washington. That does create temptations.

Kentucky is getting ready to launch a new assessment program, so now would be a good time to add anti-cheating measures in the new program.