State test scores at metro schools suspected of the most widespread cheating last year dropped markedly this year, falling further in Atlanta than in other districts, preliminary data shows.The article isn't quite clear on this point: They're comparing 2009's fourth-graders to 2010's fifth-graders. That is, this is the same group of kids that "improved" so dramatically last year, and can't seem to add 2+2 this year.
Steep declines in the number of Atlanta students who passed key subject tests threatened to reverse the upward climb that has helped bring longtime Superintendent Beverly Hall national acclaim.
...School districts should view stark score drops at severe schools as potential evidence of tampering, said Kathleen Mathers, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement.
“Generally, in schools where there proves to be a dramatic drop, we have concerns about what would cause that drop,” she said. “If it happens to be a school that had a high number of answers changed last year from wrong to right, that could be an indication that there had been intentional wrongdoing.”
...At Gideons Elementary, for instance, 92 percent of fifth-graders passed math in 2009. This year, just 39 percent did.
And at Dunbar Elementary, about 87 percent of fourth-graders passed math last year. But, this year, that number was 49 percent.
This could be the smoking gun.