May 13, 2009

your cheatin' WASL

Surprise to no one: a high-stakes test induces "irregularities," including cheating by both students and teachers. KIRO's breathless story:
A four-month KIRO Team 7 Investigation uncovers hundreds of cases where students and teachers failed to play fair on mandatory assessment tests.

Investigative Reporter Chris Halsne proves how a little cheating can go a long way in improving scores and reputations.

Under the Washington Open Records Act, KIRO Team 7 Investigators acquired reports of around 650 WASL "irregularities" filed in the past three years.

We dug deep into that data and found accusations of cheating, which could falsely improve scores, spread out in 317 different schools in more than 100 districts.

Texting answers, using dictionaries and calculators, and teachers helping kids score math points are just a few examples of cheating reported to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Our research also found that plenty of classroom cheating goes unreported – something students we interviewed confirmed.
Out of curiosity, I looked at the 2008 data for some local districts. The results are a little less than overwhelming. Some calculator mistakes (that didn't affect the outcome, apparently), an overzealous scribe, students passing notes, some "non-allowed accommodations," and, my personal favorite, "staff members [sic] cell phone went off during testing."

No comments: