Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gaming the system

The state's largest newspaper, in a house editorial yesterday, brought attention to a troubling (but not new) situation that exists in some schools. The Oklahoman noted that Cyril school Principal Jason James
said the pressure of testing requirements may cause some educators to cheat or otherwise misrepresent student test scores. He also said educators might find ways to discount some students' scores or put low-performing students in less challenging classes. The end result would make the school look better.

We'll give him credit for honesty. Some teachers and school leaders surely game the system to produce test scores that aren't an accurate representation of student achievement. Students who should be tested aren't or they're classified in such a way that makes scores deceptively high. In recent years, Oklahoma has had instances of teachers changing students' test answers and other states have or are conducting cheating investigations.

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