U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was asked to weigh in on the situations…
“Folks are really paying attention to this,” he continued. “There’s a greater awareness of the issues and trying to do things the right way. We put out guidance to states on this. You’ve got to take the state tests very seriously. You can’t cheat children. You can’t hurt children. That’s exactly what you’re doing.”
Calls to the Pennsylvania Department of Education were not returned Monday.
“The state is having the same reaction Georgia educators had to that first report,” Cizek said. “The state may not have a strong incentive to follow up real vigorously.”
Also on Friday, Washington, D.C., released its latest crop of test scores, showing a general positive trend. A district official revealed the day before that the U.S. Department of Education had joined in the investigation of unlikely scoring patterns and alleged cheating incidents between 2008 and 2010. The probe began in March after USA Today investigated patterns of erasing students’ incorrect answers.
The revelations come weeks after Andrés Alonso, CEO of Baltimore’s schools, announced that evidence of cheating had been found at two elementary schools over the last two years, and after Arne Duncan sent a letter to all state education commissioners across the country stressing the importance of test integrity.
“Cheating under any circumstance is unacceptable,” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten told a conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday. “It does raise the bigger issue that when tests themselves, and the high-stakes nature of them, become the be-all and the end all, as opposed to teaching and learning.”
Last summer, New York state had to recalibrate its testing measures after finding that students had been mistakenly told they were proficient in certain subjects. “There’s going to be a lot more reticence of state level officials to spend the money to do these kinds of investigations and run the risk that they’ll be embarrassed at the process,” Henig said.
We hope the kids don’t end up being the ones suffering from all of this.