With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Taking the fall for Duncan's testing madness

SEE A PATTERN HERE?...On their eighth day of deliberations, the jurors convicted 11 of the 12 Atlanta black educators and staff of racketeering, a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison. 
One thing you can count on is that when student test scores become education's stock-and-trade, there will be more cheating scandals like the one it Atlanta. In fact, they've already reached pandemic proportions. You can also count on educators being the ones to take the fall and even go to prison when the system itself is set up to reward gaming.

Watch this powerful scene from The Wire to better understand how the whole system is built on official and unofficial cheating.

As I pointed out last week, the real law in operation here is Goodhart's Law of unintended consequences. It goes something like this: "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."

Teachers are even being evaluated on high-stakes test scores from kids and in subjects they don't even teach, writes Valerie Strauss at WaPo:
For example, an art teacher in New York City explained in this post how he was evaluated on math standardized test scores, and saw his evaluation rating drop from “effective” to “developing.” High-stakes tests are only given in math and English language arts, so reformers have decided that all teachers (and sometimes principals) in a school should be evaluated by reading and math scores.
Sorry Arne Duncan, but using so-called "value-added models" (VAM) doesn't make things any better. So says the American Statistical Association .
Estimates from VAMs should always be accompanied by measures of precision and a discussion of the assumptions and possible limitations of the model. These limitations are particularly relevant if VAMs are used for high-stakes purposes. 


  1. No testing, no cheating--simple as that. As the IL tests won't be counted for anything, why are they even being given? KA-CHING, that's why.
    Let's make this the year we put Pear$on out of bu$iness...the bu$iness of THEIR cheating taxpayers out of the money we put into education funding (i.e., te$ting--to the tune of "$34 million set aside (for the) 2014-15 school year, according to state officials"--Chgo. Trib.) & their cheating our children out of the education they so well deserve.
    Or--on the other hand--let's prosecute the perpetrators of what should be considered crimes against humanity--criminality far worse than purported te$t "cheating."

  2. Wow all of them black, as were the other 28 that were indicted. Very telling


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