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: