Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"When test scores are all that matter, some educators feel pressured to get the scores they need by hook or by crook"

In a post titled America's biggest teacher and principal cheating scandal unfolds in Atlanta, the Christian Science Monitor discussed the cheating done by teachers in Atlanta in manipulating results on standardized tests.

There was text relating to the danger of relying on one index to measure performance:

"When test scores are all that matter, some educators feel pressured to get the scores they need by hook or by crook," says Mr. Schaeffer. "The higher the stakes, the greater the incentive to manipulate, to cheat."

There was discussion of the dramatic rise, and fall, of Beverly Hall:

On its face, the investigation tarnishes the 12-year tenure of Superintendent Beverly Hall, who was named US Superintendent of the Year in 2009 largely because of the school system's reported gains – especially in inner-city schools. She has not been directly implicated, but investigators said she likely knew, or should have known, what was going on. In her farewell address to teachers in June, Hall for the first time acknowledged wrongdoing in the district, but blamed other administrators.

In the early days of the present patent reform movement, there was use of inflated numbers for patent grant rate to indict the USPTO. The high numbers, based on questionable assumptions, were not, in fact, correct. But, one also noted that in later years, the (uncorrected) patent allowance rate took a noticeable nose dive, as if inventors had suddenly gotten less inventive.
When one criterion is used as a proxy for a complex process, manipulation is invited.

A draft from the National Academy of Sciences had included text:

“the committee believes that high acceptance rates, especially if increasing over time relative to comparable rates in other industrialized countries would be reason to look more closely at examination quality.”



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