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UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See prorev.com for full contents of our site

February 15, 2010

GEORGIA SCHOOL DISTRICT CAUGHT CHEATING ON TESTS TO INVESTIGATE THEMSELVES

Atlanta Journal-Constitution  - When Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Office of Student Achievement released its devastating report on suspected test tampering in Georgia schools last week, Perdue said the state was serious about getting to the bottom of the problem.

"We will not allow this to be whitewashed," he said.

But even a testing expert who praised the state’s actions last week said the state may have a problem going forward.

Both the OSA and the state Board of Education have ordered investigations at the 191 schools statewide - more than half of them in metro Atlanta - where an audit found erasure marks on 2008 standardized tests unusual enough to suggest the possibility of cheating.

But the investigations will be handled by the school districts themselves, even in districts where the state found multiple schools with questionable erasures in 25 percent or more of classrooms.

"There’s really no strong incentive for the locals to do a searching investigation," said Gregory Cizek, of the University of North Carolina. "It really would be best for everybody if the state was able to assign some independent agency to look into this."

The OAS audit of 2009’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test followed more than a year of stories in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about statistically improbable test scores.

The OAS looked at erasures where answers changed from wrong to right.

It found that more than half of Georgia’s elementary and middle schools had at least one classroom where erasure marks were unusual enough to suggest cheating.



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