"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, June 18, 2007

High Stakes Testing and Fraud

June 15, 2007, 9:34 PM EDT

In what appears to be the worst case of test fraud in New York's recent history, the State Education Department has invalidated all test results in the Uniondale district for last year's math assessments in grades three to eight, together with all math Regents exams at the district's high school.

All eight district schools have been placed on academic probation as a result of the findings, and could see their state scholastic ratings slip next year if test scores don't improve. However, none of the 5,100 Uniondale students who took those tests has been implicated, and no individual exam scores will be affected.

Although no suspects have yet been named, state and local authorities have concluded someone in the district -- probably one or more administrators -- tampered with students' answer sheets after tests were completed in an effort to inflate scores.

Parents were notified by district letter Friday that math tutoring will be made available over the summer for any children whose skills might turn out to be weaker than indicated by their test scores.

The state attorney general is investigating potential criminal conduct in the case, and administrators from the regional Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services have been dispatched to Uniondale to monitor the latest round of Regents exams that will be administered through next week.

Local school officials describe themselves as reeling from the effects of the state's five-month probe.
The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decisionmaking, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor. --Donald Campbell

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