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NCLB Outrages

Changes in school test scores raise questions and Schools probed after unusual test scores


Comments from Annie: Here are two reports from the same AP release about cheating to raise test-scores for AYP.

The first article links the suspicion of cheating to the increasing pressures of NCLB compliance. The second article ends with a shrug and “rehabilitates” any correlation of cheating with NCLB policy by reporting that cheating has longer historical roots.




Changes in school test scores raise questions


The Associated Press

TRENTON -- New Jersey education officials are probing why students at 40 schools last year had unusually high or low scores on standardized tests.

The investigation might turn up cheating -- or it might turn up schools that have found better ways to teach, said Kathryn Forsyth, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department.
The state Education Department did not say which schools, or even which districts, are receiving the special scrutiny based on the test scores that were released publicly Tuesday.

It's the first time New Jersey has systematically looked at scores to try to find exactly why scores had changed. Each of the 40 schools is being asked to tell state officials why the changes came about.

Forsyth said the new procedure came about because of reports earlier this year in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Earlier this year, New Jersey investigated testing practices at two Camden elementary schools after an analysis by the newspaper found the scores there to be unusually high. In August, the state blamed the high scores on "adult interference" but stopped short of calling it cheating.

Scores that decline quickly and those that rise fast can set off triggers for state officials. The declines might point to schools halting past cheating.

For instance, the two Camden schools that were the center of the investigation last year saw some of the biggest decreases in the percentage of students passing fourth-grade language arts and math tests of any school in the state in tests given in the 2005-06 school year.

Forsyth said the state does not to expect to find much cheating in the schools with unusual scores. "We're more likely to find that they're doing good things," she said.

Test scores have become increasingly important measures of school success in recent years, particularly because a 2002 federal education law ties funding for schools partly to test performance.

from the Courier News website www.c-n.com


__________________________________




Schools probed after unusual test scores

Change in results trigger state education officials to investigate

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 12/21/06

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TRENTON — New Jersey education officials are probing why students at 40 schools last year had unusually high or low scores on standardized tests.

The investigation might turn up cheating — or it might turn up schools that have found better ways to teach, said Kathryn Forsyth, a spokeswoman for the state Education Department.
The department did not say which schools, or even which districts, are receiving the special scrutiny based on the test scores that were released publicly on Tuesday.

It's the first time New Jersey has systematically looked at scores to try to find exactly why scores had changed. Each of the 40 schools is being asked to tell state officials why the changes came about.

Forsyth said the new procedure came about because of reports earlier this year in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Earlier this year, New Jersey investigated testing practices at two Camden elementary schools after an analysis by the newspaper found the scores there to be unusually high. In August, the state blamed the high scores on "adult interference" but stopped short of calling it cheating.

Scores that decline quickly and those that rise fast can set off triggers for state officials. The declines might point to schools halting past cheating.

For instance, the two Camden schools that were the center of the investigation last year saw some of the biggest decreases in the percentage of students passing fourth-grade language arts and math tests of any school in the state in tests given in the 2005-06 school year.

Forsyth said the state does not expect to find much cheating in the schools with unusual scores. "We're more likely to find that they're doing good things," she said.

Test scores have become increasingly important measures of school success in recent years, particularly because a 2002 federal education law ties funding for schools partly to test performance.

But in Camden, a poor city where the schools have constantly been considered under-performing, there has long been heavy emphasis placed on raising scores. In that city, there have been several scandals recently related to test-rigging and grade-fixing.

An Inquirer investigation published over the weekend reported that teachers in the district say test cheating has been part of the culture at some of the district's schools for about 20 years.

— AP
the Courier News website www.c-n.com and the Asbury Park Press
2006-12-21
http://www.c-n.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006612210314 and http://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006612210342


INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES


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