Thursday, March 10, 2011

Do standardized tests lead to teacher (and administrator) cheating?

USA Today ran a detailed story about teacher’s encouraging cheating (or participating in it), in order to raise their students’ test scores and their own performance monitoring, but under school district guidelines, and No Child Left Behind. Sometimes administrators participate.  The long story is by Jodi Upton, Denise Amos, and Anne Ryman, link here

The newspaper also had a “two sides” editorial page on the problem.  USA Today says we shouldn’t blame cheating on the use of standardized tests, but admits they can be overused, as can “teaching to the test”.  In my school days, more tests were short answer, essay, or free-response problems; much less multiple choice.
When I substitute-taught, we were often told to proctor carefully. Most teachers made up tests in A and B versions for alternate rows of desks, and some wrote in lesson plans that cheating could be a problem. 

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