Teachers Who Help Students Cheat: SF Chronicle

There are some bad apples in every bunch. And No Child Left Behind makes it easy for more bad apples to come out of the woodwork. Nonetheless, see this story from the San Francisco Chronicle on how some educators out there are helping students cheat their way through the achievement tests in California, thereby compromising their validity.

An excerpt:

Teachers have helped students cheat on California’s high-stakes achievement tests — or blundered badly enough to compromise their validity — in at least 123 public schools since 2004, a Chronicle review of documents shows.

Schools admitted outright cheating in about two-thirds of the cases. And while the number reporting problems represents a small fraction of the state’s 9,468 public schools, some experts think the practice of cooking the test results is more widespread.

That’s because the California Department of Education relies on schools to come forward voluntarily, and to investigate themselves when a potential problem is flagged.

“The vast majority of educators are ethical and play by the rules. (But) when identification of potential cheating hinges largely on self-reports, it is almost certainly underreported,” said Greg Cizek, who teaches testing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is the author of “Cheating on Tests: How to Do It, Detect It, and Prevent It.”

Records show that California teachers who unfairly helped students boost scores usually did so during the test. For example:

— Teachers in East Palo Alto, Los Angeles and Alhambra (Los Angeles County) let students consult world maps or helpful reference sheets as they took their state exams.

— In Modesto, a teacher let his eighth-graders use calculators on the 2006 math test.

— Teachers in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, Redwood City, San Jose and elsewhere simply helped students answer the questions.

These are among the known examples of cheating. But California’s method of checking for cheaters makes it impossible to know how common the practice is.

Each year, California scans millions of tests in search of unusually high numbers of erased answers changed from wrong to right. The tests were the California Standards Test and the California Achievement Test Sixth Edition, given annually to students in grades two through 11.

E.C. 🙂


One Response

  1. Teachers Who Help Students Cheat: SF Chronicle

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