January 8, 2013

Federal complaint charges DC schools test cheating

Washington Post - The former principal of an award-winning D.C. public school has accused teachers and administrators of systematically cheating on standardized tests in order to win cash bonuses and a steak dinner, according to recently unsealed federal court documents.

Part of a complaint filed in May 2011, the allegations triggered an investigation by the U.S. Education Department’s office of the inspector general. That office said Monday that it had concluded its work and found no evidence of widespread cheating in D.C. schools between 2008 and 2010.

The announcement came one day before a scheduled broadcast of a “Frontline” television documentary in which Adell Cothorne, who was principal of Noyes Education Campus in 2010-11, describes some elements of her allegations. But the details in a whistleblower complaint Cothorne made against the D.C. government in 2011 are far more extensive and allege that cheating occurred at other schools as well.

“The falsification of DC CAS test scores is systemic, and the veracity of the testing process and DC CAS scores has been questioned by other DCPS principals,” the complaint says, referring to the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System tests, which measure student performance and were used to determine teacher and administrator bonuses.


Capt. America said...

Another proof that teaching and grading must be separated as Church and State should be. There can be no ethical teaching without secure testing.

Anonymous said...

Testing is a farce, all it proves is which kids take tests well, and penalizes children who don't test well. Getting rid of testing all together is the only thing that makes sense.

Capt. America said...

Getting rid of testing altogether would penalize all children, because only a very few children would have any concrete way to demonstrate their accomplishments. Children who "don't test well" will test better if they test every day. It is a skill like any other.

I agree that "high stakes testing" is not good. There is no reason for one test to be more important than any other.

Anonymous said...

Children can keep portfolios of their accomplishments. They can do projects to demonstrate their learning. They can keep records of the tasks they have completed. There are plenty of better ways to demonstrate a child's accomplishments that gives insight into what a child has learned. Unfortunately testing doesn't give insight, it only tells if the material covered has been assimilated long enough to regurgitate it back for the test, before it goes down the memory hole.