Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More cheating - DUH!

Does high stakes testing lead to cheating? Gee, ya think? As small schools battle each other for the cream of the crop in students, they can supplement their results and prove that the BloomKlein small schools blitz has worked wonders by engaging in just a little bit of inflation. Think there's just a little bit of tension there?

The Daily News reported on Nov. 21, 2006: Bronx HS in Cheat Probe

"Authorities are investigating whether teachers at a Bronx high school cheated on crucial state exams by coaching students during the test and then inflating their scores, the Daily News has learned.

"City investigators launched a probe into the Millennium Art Academy in Castle Hill after a former teacher charged that essays on June's English exam had been improperly graded."

A teacher at Stevenson emailed this:
One of the new mini schools pushing Stevenson out of existence, Millenium High School, reported a 97.5 passing rate on the June Regents. A whistle blower - since fired - reported all sorts of irregularities and contacted the DOE and the State. When asked to turn in the Regents papers, the principal said they had been lost during the summer's construction and expansion.

It's my understanding a former Assistant Supt of Bronx High School conducted an investigation and found no eveidence of wrong-doing. I hear the State is still investigating.

The investigation of Millenium Art Academy was kept under deep cover until some teachers at Adlai Stevenson HS, the large, overcrowded school that where Millenium is housed, started spilling the beans. Do they resent that these schools are favored and Stevenson gets the scraps?
Millenium is one of 5 new schools now operating on the Stevenson Campus. Back in June, they gave their first English Regents.

A teacher there said they:
1. Coached students during the test
2. Gave inflated grades to everybody and wound up with an incredible 97.5 passing rate.
3. Had one person read all the tests, although standard practice calls for two readers for each paper - and a third when the first two are in wide disagreement.

This whistle blower was fired as she had frequently complained about the many irregularities she witnessed. She went to Klein and to Albany. The DEO said, after an investigation by David Kraun that there was no evidence of irregularities.

Keep in mind that the state wide passing average is about 77% - including the suburbs. At the specialized high schools, it's in the low nineties.

During the summer, there was a lot of construction as the small schools are expanding - at the expense of Stevenson, which did not admit freshman and is scheduled to phase out come June, 2009. When asked to produce the Regents papers for review - I believe by the state - they claimed the papers were lost during this construction.

There are rumors swelling about fake attendance numbers and Regents cheating by another school. Their principal did not return in September.

Although Stevenson was a big mess, we now have 5 more big messes, low morale and fear on the part of Stevnson teachers, and a lot of ill will between the schools.

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