Keylina Clark was puzzled when her son told her shortly after taking state standardized tests last year that he knew he’d passed.
Dequayvious struggled mightily in school. His Blalock Elementary report cards said he was below grade level in reading and math. Then the second-grader explained his confidence: A test proctor gave him answers, he said. Clark believed him.
Atlanta Public Schools, however, apparently did not. Though two other students supported the boy’s claim, the district marked the complaint unsubstantiated.
Considering the hundreds of thousands of test-takers each year, formal complaints about test cheats are relatively rare.
The Atlanta district, however, has received more such claims given its size than any of the five other large metro districts, an AJC investigation shows. The newspaper also found the district’s handling of 20 cheating complaints in three school years raises questions about how it polices its educators.
Atlanta’s investigations differed from those of its metro peers in key ways, the AJC found. Investigators sometimes left allegations unresolved, turning up fresh questions about suspected irregularities but never scrutinizing them. The district was more likely to mark complaints unsubstantiated. Fewer teachers stepped forward to help investigators and more complaints were anonymous, making eye-witnesses harder to find.
And in three years, records show, just two teachers left after the district found cheating. Departures were more frequent in Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Atlanta schools soft on cheats?
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