March 25th, 2012
10:45 PM ET

Report: Test cheating may be widespread

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) An investigative report published in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution found indications of standardized test cheating in school systems throughout the U.S.

The seven-month long investigation of testing data examined 1.6 million records from almost 70,000 public schools nationwide. Suspicious score increases, high numbers of erasures and other irregularities were uncovered in about 200 school districts.  The indicators found were similar to those discovered in Atlanta Public Schools, says the AJC.

Atlanta as cheating ground zero

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has broken news before about test cheating.  In 2009, the paper reported “statistically unlikely” test score gains at some Atlanta schools.  A state review determined that some cheating had occurred in more than half of the district’s elementary and middle schools.  About 180 teachers have been implicated in the scandal.

So far, one teacher, Damany Lewis, has admitted to cheating and been fired. Other educators suspected of cheating who have not accepted a “resign or be fired” deal are being brought before a tribunal to hear their cases and determine what actions will be taken.

Former University of Georgia Chancellor Dr. Erroll Davis was named interim superintendent of APS last year. He replaced Dr. Beverly Hall.  Hall resigned in June 2011 after 11 years as the head of APS. She was the recipient of praise and awards for her role in the district’s increased graduation rates and higher test scores.

Officials from APS and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are still investigating what has become known as the “biggest cheating scandal in American history,"  but according to the AJC, Atlanta is not alone in its testing irregularities.

A nationwide problem

According to the AJC, the paper’s investigation does not prove that any widespread cheating occurred, but “it reveals that scores in hundreds of cities followed a pattern, like, in Atlanta, indicated cheating in multiple schools.”

The report says that in nine districts, test scores fluctuated so much that “the odds of such dramatic shifts occurring without intervention such as tampering were worse than one in one billion.”  Houstonschools, the report says, experienced test score jumps two, three or more times than typically seen in one year.  When these students went on to the next grade, their test scores plummeted, so the likelihood that the score increases were due to learning is slim. A spokesman for the Houston school district, however, questioned whether cheating was the cause of all the irregularities that the AJC found.

The AJC says that 196 of the country’s 3,125 school districts had enough irregularities that the odds of these irregularities happening by chance alone are worse than one in 1,000.

The paper’s statistical analysis of test scores red-flagged more than one in six tests inSt. Louis and one in seven in Detroit.  Officials in the St. Louis district have acknowledged the unusual score changes, but say that cheating is not the cause. Detroit officials have said that score increases were due to “better teaching,” according to the report.

According to the investigation, “dozens” of mid-sized school systems, including those in Gary, Indiana, East St. Louis, Illinois, and Mobile, Alabama exhibited “suspicious” tests in high concentrations.

No Child Left Behind and student outcomes

Standardized testing is a key point of No Child Left Behind, the bipartisan federal legislation signed into law ten years ago.

At the heart of the law is is a mandate for accountability and measured student outcomes, derived primarily from state-administered standardized tests that are given annually in grades 3 through 8 in math and reading.

Critics say that the law promotes “teaching to the test” and that it cultivates a climate for cheating, especially when teachers’ and administrators’ jobs and pay are tied students’ performance on tests.

But supporters say that there needs to be accountability for student learning among teachers and administrators, and that reliable, valid testing is one way to establish that.  They call for stricter test-taking measures.

Regardless of the possible reasons behind them, inaccurate test results also erode public confidence in school systems and the credibility of public information.

And experts agree that when cheating happens, it’s the students who suffer.  Schools with inflated test scores may look good on paper and earn praise for their staffs, but low-performing students who are entitled to tutoring and other educational options lose out when their scores don’t reflect their deficiencies.

Read the AJC report: “Cheating our children: Suspicious scores across the nation” here.

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Filed under: Cheating • Policy • Practice • Testing
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Political Liberal

    I think "no child" was a bad idea to begin with. No surprise to me that cheating is occurring with the pressures involved and the destructive effects of failure. Testing itself isn't a bad idea it just needs to be done differently. The tests need to be more comprehensive and more flexible. The price of failure shouldn't be to punish everyone, but to improve and correct.

    March 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  2. pam

    I think "no child left behind" was good in theory. I guess we wanted to believe teachers were better than that. So many people get to go to college now that we don't have as many people wanting to be an under paid teacher because they care about education. This generation of children are really going to pay a steep price for this later when we find out they don't know anything when they get to high school.

    March 27, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  3. annie

    ...If you think it is bad under the oppressive and harmful rule of NCLB, just wait till Race to the Top and Common Core Standards are implemented.These corporate sponsored "waivers" will finish off our public schools. These and Value Added Measures, whereby teacher's are paid or remain employed based on shabby, poor quality tests, taught to with shallow, rote standardized curriculum, are ruining our system of public education on all counts. No one will want to be a teacher, no one will want to go to these schools and corporate greed will have prevailed in overtaking a massive profit from the process of destruction.
    Join the growing public attempt to begin a process of renewal and help teachers, educators, parents, students to recover something so precious and so valuable to all of us. Our future depends on all of us making and effort to Save Our Schools. Please get involved.

    March 27, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  4. ytuque

    Cheating in the US is nothing like it is in other parts of the world.

    March 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Connor

      I totally agree. Having been in both American and UK schools, the cheating in American schools is far worse, on behalf of both students and teachers.

      March 27, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  5. Ann

    The last semester I taught before I retired, I was given the worst English class in the high school. My assignment was to teach these kids to take the test, even though the state had required schools to stop organizing classes for that purpose. One student read at an 8th grade level, the rest tested between second and sixth grade reading levels. Of 17 students who took the state mandated test for graduation, 12 passed. My little darlings would have cheated if they could, but the test security was extremely tight. (We even set up pizza boxes around the answer sheets.) I'd like to think it was my superior teaching, but I suspect administrators may have altered test answers. I'll never know – and neither will anyone else.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      The Super was lauded for "increased graduation rates and higher test scores." Should have read "dumbed down graduation requirements and altered test scores". -and been jailed. The kids had their lives manipulated so the school would seem to be working.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  6. louise mcnew

    When the grades did not match the students A B work or any previous work and the teacher promoted failure, one needs to take action. First we had the tests done in the school office and they were fine. Now, we all knew where the problem came from. Back in the room to finish the year. But when ISTEP came, the grades barely went over the bottom line. That was the last year in that school. Of course, we reported it to state. My belief is that school is guilty of using grades and ISTEP to further their favorites and and for others to ruin getting scholarships. I believe it's all about scholorships.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  7. Onionbob

    When funding and jobs depend on test scores there is an incentive to cheat.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  8. DoNotWorry

    When the country's leaders are liars and cheats, the people lie and cheat.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • benjaminthegeek

      Yes but the liars and cheaters are elected by the people... So what came first: the chicken or the egg?

      March 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
      • Phil in Oregon

        Remove God from society and you get a godless society.

        March 26, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  9. Debbie

    Cheating on tests? DUH! Wow, the next study should try to find out if high school kids smoke in the restrooms or ditch classes.

    March 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Todd

      The article is about teachers cheating to improve standardized test scores.

      March 27, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  10. WhatNow

    I know people want accountability in schools, however, when you tie test scores to a teachers job security you set the groundwork for problems. Once upon a time, we used the bell-shaped curve to decide if a teacher was doing their job. For those who don't know, that meant we actually expected some students to excel, most would be average and some would even fail. Somewhere along the line, we decided that all should be passing with high grades. If not, it must be the teachers fault. Why? Not everyone will be great in school. Not everyone deserves an A. Everyone deserves the opportunity to an education. This does not mean that all will be successful. We need a new way to evaluate teachers.

    March 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Leila

      I agree. If test scores are tied to job security, we will see many more cases of cheating, especially in under-served school districts where people live below the poverty line, where many kids live in motels rather than real homes, and where many kids are living with relatives because CPS intervened or parents are incarcerated. Exaggeration? No. This is reality. It is a challenge to motivate kids who come to school sick, are battling with domestic issues, and poverty. Try teaching the art of persuasive writing, proper diction, syntax, sophisticated vocabulary and compound sentences to kids who quite frankly have far more important and life threatening issues to deal with when 3:00 comes around. In my school, we are not only educators, but we are counselors, listeners, advisers, and sometimes protectors. There ARE other factors out there involved in educating our at-risk, under performing students.

      March 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
      • n3kit

        Unfortunately for teachers, they have to show results as well as counsel, listen to the students. The cheaters will do neither, that's how you separate cheaters from teachers.

        March 26, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • JT

      Here, here!

      March 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
      • Scott

        you can't make chicken salad out of chicken $h!t

        March 27, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Jake

      Completely agree on the need to develop a better system to evaluate teachers. Once we agree on the system then we need to work to retain the best teachers. School administrations have become so focused on cutting budgets, and making sure every last student "succeeds" and not coming up with new ways of empowering creative, outside the box teachers. (See Khan Academy who has taken a model of teaching math and science that is fun and brought it to the classroom in schools who are willing to implement.)

      March 27, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  11. Mike

    How else do you think we end up with people in management positions that make way more money than the rest of us and still don't know what they're doing? DUH! They cheated... Why is it they're supposed to be earning a higher income than me again?

    March 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • LostinSLC

      I am in management and never cheated a day in my life. I worked longer hours and busted my hump to earn my position....don't assume because you were lazy that we cheat.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • keith1952

        You assumed that he was lazy, it seems like you probably aren't a very good manager. Luck plays a bigger role in a person’s place in life than anything else. Keep patting yourself on the back but it is BS.

        March 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
      • honest abe


        March 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  12. kls817

    Maybe we need to keep the tests out of the hands of the teachers, who might be tempted to edit them.
    Have a third party administer and collect the tests. This does involve a small amount of additional head count, but it is needed.

    March 26, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Dana

      right. We need more administrative costs to be taken away from our children's education to do... TESTING. Really? How about spend it on actual teaching (materials, computers, infrastructure) not on empty head being "third party".

      March 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • TexasTexasTexas

      Teachers have asked for third-party testing for years. You can't imagine the stress about cheating and "irregularities". We are testing tomorrow. I had to sign my name to an oath with threat of losing my job. I am allowed to read a question if a student asks. But if I read it too loud it's considered cheating. If I read it too quietly, it's considered aiding only that student which can be construed as cheating. Most of my colleagues are looking for other jobs. They put us through extreme stress of pitting teachers against teachers and schools against schools. Who is motivated to share effective lessons and strategies when your position/income depend upon your ranking?

      March 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
      • DoNotWorry

        And you think business does better? Wait til you see the real world.

        March 26, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Yardbird

      Blaming teachers for student failure is to close a blind eye reasons other than theirs. PARENTS PARENTS. POVERTY, HUNGER, ETC. Don't place the blame on the backs of teachers.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  13. Dave

    My, my, my, Georgia....what would Jesus say about all this?

    March 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  14. Michael

    As a teacher, I'm struck by the fact that most of the people who have commented on this story seem to "get it". Why then, as a society, do we put in place systems which totally defy logic?

    March 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Solex

      Because Micheal, the powers that be see schools as an expense and nothing more. To them it is about the bottom line and in their eyes, public education is not contributing to the right side of the balance sheet.

      Funny, when you think that economics and knowing things like how to apply budgets and investments are things we learned IN SCHOOL.

      March 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • TexasTexasTexas

      Hi Michael, I am a teacher and I was thinking the exact same thing! The usual uninformed-rhetoric about teachers is missing. These commenters actually realize the issues.

      March 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  15. Solex

    You are a teacher making 38,000 a year. Your budget has been slashed and slashed and slashed until you have almost ZERO resources. Your classes are twice the size they should be.

    Now you are told that unless at least 65% of your class passes the standardized tests you are out of a job.

    So you cheat a little to make sure you stay employed and also hope to help as many kids as you can.

    I may not condone what they did , but I do understand their reasoning.

    March 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Teacher

      The average teacher salary in Atlanta is $54,000. 90 percentile make $74,000. Full benefits. Schools are fully funded as well.

      March 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • keith1952

      You are absolutly right. I do have many complaints about public education but the dedication of the teachers is not one of them.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  16. Rob

    I'm seeing a lot of people here pointing fingers at teachers, parents, unions, etc., but none of that is relevant. The problem is in the very system itself that creates strong incentives for teachers and administrators to cheat. Everyone interested enough to be reading these comments should go read the chapter on cheating teachers by Steve Levitt in his book, Freakonomics. He does a masterful job of explaining what every economist already knows about our educational system. As a college professor, I can tell you that what we need are not more kids who can succeed on standardized tests. We need more kids who have been taught to think and reason, and who have mastered the fundamental skills of writing and mathematics. Those things will never happen under our current system.

    March 26, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • dan

      Duh? Improvement gives the schools money they need to keep operating. No improvement = no money. Throw in the fact that states are continuing to cut back on education funding themselves. Hence, the incentive to bump up test scores in every possible way.

      Seriously, what did you all think was going to happen when you tied money to performance?

      March 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • mrb1513

      And how exactly, Mr. College Professor, do you plan on assessing this "mastery of the fundamental skills of writing and mathematics" in a consistent way, on a state and national level, without standardized testing?

      March 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • Brett

        You could start by giving the tachers more impact in the success and failure of their students. Instead of standardized tests for the students make qualifications of teachers greater and in turn give them more leway to teach exactly how that Professor described. In a system like this, teachers are judged solely on the body of their work in how their students succeed or not. If the teacher does a poor job teaching them and the students are moved on, the next round of teachers will know exactly where the previous teacher fell short. This may be just wishful thinking, but the Prof. is correct, the answer isn't testing, it is more critical thinking and real world scenario training. When was the last time you had to take a 100 question bubble sheet test at work? It's time to start teaching our youth how the world really works so that they are prepared even out of high school. We should form our educational systems similar to those of other countries that find what a child is good at at a young age and roll with it until that child is a wonderful engineer, mathamatician, musician, teacher, businesss exec. or manager. The "all encompassing" education that we want to give children in America is all rosey on the outside but does not engage out students nearly enough because a large percentage of students will not give it "their all" (for lack of a better term) in all subjects if they simply are not interested. They will do what they have to do to scate by and nothing else or nothing at all if they do not care. What if you gave those students who don't care about learning calculus extra time in the realm of history or natural sciences? Well anyway, that's my take and I'm sticking to it. Thanks for reading.

        March 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  17. Bernardine M Carroll

    The focus on "standardized tests" as the ultimate measure of academic achievement, as well as the notion that this achievement in and of itself should be the ultimate goal of K-12 education, continues to undermine the educational progress of our children. K-12 educators are expected to create and execute a fictional account of outcomes, through written lesson plans, which are increasingly based on untested, unreasonable expectations, being unduly influenced in many instances by non-educators with separate agendas, which have little to do with raising the quality of education being provided to the students across America. Without question, financial accountability of K-12 education is needed and must be addressed, given current economic conditions, however, not at the expense of our ability to provide for the current and future needs of our students.

    March 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  18. cc

    I can certainly understand the criticism of 'teaching to the test', but what I can't understand is why none of these critics have suggested an alternative way to measure the effectiveness of a teacher. We absolutely need a way to measure effectiveness and, to date, standardized testing seems to be the best way to do that, flawed as it is.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • ortidefan

      I think everyone agrees you should find the good teachers and pay them while improving (or weeding) lower quality teachers.

      However, Since teaching is as much the students, parents and the curriculum as it is the Teacher, determining quality through student achievement is really difficult.

      Cheating (teach the test, provide the test, give the answers) will occur the minute you tie compensation to student test scores.

      I know my best teachers, gave me the worst grades and taught me the most. 🙂

      March 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • FreeReally

      Standardized testing is fine. It's the strategy of teaching the test not teaching the subject that is the problem. The subject matter whether math, history, science or english should be taught as it is meant to be taught. The standardized tests should be in addition to regular classroom tests. Too much class time is spent on learning to take the standard tests and not on learning the subject matter itself. Why are the standardized tests not used as part of the students grade? Because they do not test the knowledge of the subject and do affect the $$$ the schools get.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • keith1952

      You don't have to teach to the test if the test is over the curriculum that is supposed to be covered in the school year.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • Kim

        You are correct. The rproblem of most teachers is that they put little energery towards the curriculum standards that are given to them by their state. If they have these standards in mind they can create fun and intresting ways of helping their students learn the skills that will be on their standarized test. There is nothing wrong with teaching the skills that we know students will need to move to a higher form of education.

        March 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  19. Dan

    Occam's Razor says that the simplest possible explanation is the most likely. Instead of assuming a huge rash of uncoordinated cheating, why is there no discussion about the testing system as a judgment of student growth being a broken system? That is a simple explanation that covers all bases. While some cheating on testing, as with any enterprise, may occur, it seems unlikely that such cheating would be as widespread and endemic as suggested in this article.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  20. Ralph

    We get it – since everyone cheats the Atlanta school district is not exceptional for cheating to meet goals and get bonuses. Therefore the witch hunt to find and terminate cheating teachers should cease and those already fired should be rehired and receive a nice "apology" bonus.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  21. bob

    There have been cheats and dishonest people since forever.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  22. Aaron

    Cheating is part of the American educational system. It's seen in the way corporate America's employees do business.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  23. Ken

    Cheating in schools has always happened and will continue to happen for eternity. There is no way to prevent it, completley. I'm a senior in highschool, and I have spotted cheating almost every single day in my years of elementary, middle school and highschool. I see it in both students and teachers. I'm in highschool, and today the majority of "kids" or "young adults" cheat due to the lack of motivation. I can't begin to describe how many unmotivated kids there are these days, it never fails to amaze me.

    March 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  24. Carol

    I can't believe that this issue is news in 2012! This is certainly not news! I retired from the classroom 23 years ago when this kind of cheating was already happening! Teachers in my school district were changing answers on SATs so as not to be thought to be doing a bad teaching job, which many of them were. It was very disturbing to me as a teacher who was doing her job well. That is not to say that all students in my classes were passing. When questioned by my principal as to whether I knew that a particluar student had failed the test, my answer was the same as that of your CNN reporter who said that the tests should indicate those students who still needed tutoring. By passing all students, some teachers were denying them the help they needed and helping them pass through the system without a real education. Since school test results were published in the local newspapers, principals wanted their schools to look good, so they turned a blind eye to teachers who changed answers. I hope that teachers will not ever be judged only through test scores. Tthings seem to be the same today as they were 20+ years ago, when teachers had to spend a great part of the school day "teaching for the test" rather than really teaching. The question of teacher evaluation continues to be a problem, since what should be used as the measure of excellence and who is doing the judging?

    March 26, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  25. Hemuda

    I used to live in Passaic, NJ. When police have to control rowdy students on every street in your city, what do you expect from them? The administration and parents are observing this for years and yet do nothing to bring some sanity. Such behavior on streets reflects on schools, government and parents and how seriously they take education of their children.

    March 26, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  26. Grob Hahn

    I get so tired of hearing how the parents should share equal parts of the "blame" in this game of government school control. Like it or not most parents are not particularly good at teaching or we wouldn't need schools at all. You have our children for 8 hours a day, we have them for what, 4 or so? How about we parents only catch 1/3 of the "blame" or even 1/6 (since we aren't professionally trained educators like YOU!

    Or, we could simply consider the children as a priority instead of all the other crap school systems juggle to stay relevant. Let's lose all the athletic programs on a school-specific basis until grades improve. Let's encourage more science and math-based clubs and other programs that strive to make learning more interesting. It should be quite obvious that the schools have failed to modernize their methods while demanding the most modern equipment. What use is a computer when we're teaching with typewriter methods?

    March 26, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Leila

      Your argument assumes that WE should ALSO parent your kids! I don't have that kind of control over your kids. I can only compel them to do their homework to a POINT. I need my parents to be on the same page as me! I am not asking that parents TEACH what I am teaching. Don't be stupid! But a little backing up would be great! A lot of parents DO make my job easier by holding their kids to task, but a lot of parents either hang up on me or send me a plethora of excuses via email as to why their kid should be given a "break", not having to abide by my standards.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • amy

        My husand and I don't expect teachers to parent our kids. In fact we don't want them to parent them. I'm a parent who is at our childs school a couple of times a week making sure he has all his work completed and turned in. The amount of paper work a teacher has to do is incredible that's why I make sure I'm in constant contact with his teacher's because mistakes happen...lost work after it's been handed in, misgraded assignments etc. We're all human. However, when a teacher tells me my child needs to be in school when he's seriously ill because she'll look bad if his state scores aren't high really freaks me out. Geez, what happened to compassion. No one sends her a truancy note when she's sick, or missing class going on ski trips with other classes or takes a day off visiting with family! Our child is a straight A student because of us, and to be perfectly honest we only send him because he loves the socializing.

        March 26, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • David

      I think you are diliberately misunderstanding what teachers mean about "parent accountability" I have taught for fifteen years and I have never once met a teacher who expects parents to teach their children curricular subject matter. We understand that formal instruction is our responsibility and the vast majority of teachers take that responsibility extremely seriously. What most of us would like to see from parents is that they show up to teacher conferences, make sure their kids study and do their homework, and provide a nurturing home environment where education is valued and educational acheivement is rewarded. When those things happen student success rates are phenominally high.

      One of the things you find with uncanny regularity in "failing schools" is a total lack of any parental concern about student performance. You have parents who view public education as free baby-sitting. You have parents who give you fake phone numbers and addresses. You have parents who refuse to come to the school for conferences with teachers and administrators or if they do actually show up make rediculous excuses for their children's bad behavior and/or low acheivement. Very often these schools are in poverty stricken areas where parents have little education themselves. You have lots of households with parents who may be abusive, drug/alcohol addicted, or even incarcerated. Even if they are basically good people you have many parents who are working two or three jobs just to get by and children spend long periods of time totally unsupervised. In addition, the neighborhoods where these children live may be crime and gang infested. When the child has a totally choatic home life, it is no wonder that they struggle in school and none of these factors are anything that a classroom teacher has any control over what-so-ever.

      Children learn best when you have cooperation among parents teachers and administrators and it should surprise no one that if one of these groups are disfunctional, that educational outcomes suffer. Teachers have a responsibility to teach, but parents also have a responsibility to encourage their kids to learn.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:56 am |
      • Nancy

        PLEASE–if you are a teacher–learn to SPELL. Dysfunctional; phenomenally; ridiculous–to mention a few. No wonder our college students can't write or spell with correct, formal English!

        March 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Oakspar77777

      If teachers have your kids for 8 hours out of the day, then you have them for 16. I agree that you should not be teaching your children math.

      You should, however, teach your children good morals, strong study habits, and personal responsibility. Teachers cannot punish your child or reward your child with the freedom that you have as a parent.

      Teachers could and can teach your child all the science, math, and literature they need – but only if freed from having to teach your child how to listen, sit, or complete homework, and not have to constantly quiet, still, or otherwise disipline them.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • testing

      Really? Are the not 24 hours in the day? that math next time

      March 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Kim

      I am a teacher and yes we have moderized out practices.I open a computer lab on my duty free lunch break everyday and the only students that attend our the students that really don't need too. The students with the grades that reflect that they need more 1 on 1 with a teacher refuse to attend becuase they don't want to miss hanging with their friends. we even go as far as letting students out of their classes early to get lunch and then attend this work session and they don't attend and their parents wont make them.

      March 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Teacher of math

      Because us teachers can only give your child an F. If they don't care if they get an F, then us teachers have no power over your child. We can't make them go to bed at a decent hour (some of my students go to bed at 3am), we can't take away their cellphone/ipod/laptop/xbox, we can't take away their car keys and we can't ground them. All we can do is give them an F and they don't care if they get an "F". My kids are both in highschool and they both get A's because I can and will do those things to them if they don't work hard. So yes....parents are the people with the most power to make their own children succeed. Or are you a Democrat that thinks holding people resonsible is wrong?

      March 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  27. littleman

    High paying jobs don't come with less than 6 figures.

    March 26, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  28. Lisa

    what about integrity, is this not important to teach? An atmosphere conducive to cheating or opportunity to teach the most important lessons of life?

    March 26, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  29. amy

    This winter our 5th grade son was hospitilized with the stomach flu, then 2 weeks later had strep throat symptoms. He missed a total of 12 days. I got a call from his teacher saying that we would be receiving a truancy letter from the district because of his abscences even though they were all doctor excused. She said rades were not a concern, he has an A average, and she knew we were on top of things. However, she then told me that his math teacher was furious he had been absent because only she could teach him the material. Sorry, don't think so! My husband reviewed his math the day before he returned to school and the next day he got a 94% on his test...his teacher had no chance to help him but we did. Kids succeed because parents are completely involved in their education. His teacher also told me that they were concerned about him being absent because the state tests were approaching quickly, and if our son didn't do well it would reflect on them. She also said our son is really intelligent and they need intelligent kids to take the test because that's what makes the teachers look good...the kids doing well on the tests! Go figure! No wonder kids feel pressure to cheat.

    March 26, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  30. MDH

    What does this high level of cheating say about the moral standing of our society? If teachers and administrators cheat on such a high level, no one can be trusted. Everyone is focused on greed and self-perservation. We are heading into a very dim future. There is no way to hold students accountable for their acts, when the adults are the real crooks.

    March 26, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  31. Stephen

    Anytime you have teachers union members administering tests you can expect that there will be cheating. Teachers unions aren't concerned about the business of educating kids they are concerned about the education business. In the education business it is perfectly acceptable to cheat if it will result in higher pay and benefits. The business of educating kids is a dying concept because of the emphasis of teachers unions being on the education business. Higher pay and beneits trumps higher test scores and graduation rates. Therefore one must cheat. Justified right! Not really but that is the concept being pushed by the union bosses.

    March 26, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • analogkid

      @ Stephen. Funny, I don't recall getting those instructions from my union bosses.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:22 am |
      • Madison

        You don't have to be given direction from your union bosses. Although the fact that you use the term "union bosses" is quite telling really. I thought the Principal or the Superintendant was your boss. No?

        It only stands to reason that if you know your income increase is tied to test results that you are going to do whatever you can to make sure those results make you look good. Some teachers will have integrity and not cheat, But with as many teachers as there are complaining about how they are underpaid, a significant number of them are going to cross the line in order to pad their income. There's human nature involved here.

        March 26, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • analogkid

        @Madison That was exactly my point. I don't even know who my "union bosses" (a silly term) are let alone receive any communications from them telling me to pad my numbers so that I can get paid more that so the "union bosses" can make more. I will stick to applying the state curriculum to my classroom with an eye towards the needs of my community. My efforts and the efforts of my kids will take care of the rest.

        March 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Oakspar77777

      Georgia is a "right to work" state (as is most of the South). In other words – there are no unions down here.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
      • ThaGerm

        try again

        March 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • larkwoodgirl

      You have no idea what you are talking about.

      March 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Career Teacher

      Where do you get your information about teachers' unions? I have taught and been a teachers' union member for nearly 30 years and have never seen the tactics you speak of.

      March 26, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Ron Cook

      You do realize of course that Georgia is a "right to work" state and that there isn't a Union for them to join, even if they wanted to.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • honest abe

      to steven: you don't even know what the purpose of a teacher's union is!!! teachers have a union to protect them against administrative greed... if the union weren't there people would be complaining that their kid had 4 teachers in one school year. The teachers are the ONLY ones in public schools that are there to help your children. Administrators don't teach your kids – they don't even discipline other kids that harm your kids.... FOOLISHNESS!

      March 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  32. Steve

    How can you expect to use a standardized test when the best way to teach a child is to teach to the child's level of learning ability? By its very nature, legislation to hold the education system accountable requires a quantifiable metric to which the education system can be graded. But the best way to ensure that the student learns involves a method that cannot be quantified to a universal metric. So teachers are graded in their own college classes on how they well learn the best teaching methods and are then told an opposite teaching method is required to ensure that their students pass a standardized test. No wonder there is cheating going on, when the rules are so conflicting.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  33. LOL

    I cheated my way through most of my schooling. Now I have a high paying (90K) job – but I don't have to cheat anymore because I actually love my job. Most of the stuff you learn in school is a complete waste – not all, but most.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • littleman

      90k is alright....but you're far from the rungs of high paying.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Finch

      I'm sure you're proud that your dishonesty pays off.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  34. pwfitz5

    Well, the idea was that "No Child be Left Behind" until we have cheating as a part of the system in EVERY school and district, we will not have achieved our goals. Where will the next generation of bankers, lawyers and accountants come from if we don't integrate cheating into the curriculum as early as possible?

    March 26, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  35. us1776

    And it's not the students who are doing the cheating.

    It's the teachers and administrators !!

    We need to stop teaching to absoiute test scores and instead rate teachers on the level of "improvement" in each student being also mindful that a teacher is not in control of a students homelife and that plays a big part in whether a student succeeds or fails in school.


    March 26, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Howard in Alexandria

      Teachers fought standardized testing and being held accountable for their performance. If this testing scandal is borne out by facts, then it seems our teaching profession is even poorer than we ever imagined.

      Home schooling (which I've never supported) is beginning to look like the only truly accountable system of teaching children.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:20 am |
      • umm

        Holding the teacher accountable when you can't force a student to do their homework or pay attention is silly.

        Yes, the teachers can, and do, try to get the students to be engaged in the lessons, but for the students who aren't paying attention and purposely causing a ruckus, then what? When you contact the parents, they don't care or support their children's ridiculous behavior. Now, of course, this isn't always true, but holding a teacher accountable of the failures at home is ridiculous.

        March 26, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • David

      I don't think that most teachers object in principle to being paid more for better teaching, but as always the Devil is in the details. How do you determine which teachers are "successful". If you want a universally consistent metric you tie teacher pay to test scores, but high scores do not necessarily mean better teaching. The scores may be high because the teacher is teaching the test rather than the subject matter. What's wrong with that? You might ask. Just because you can correctly choose A, B, C, or D on a scantron form does not mean that you can use the information critically to come to new appreciations, which is the whole point of an education in the first place. Also, a lowsy teacher in a highly educated, high income public school may have students who score very well, but an excellent teacher in a crime ridden, low income school may have students who score very badly because of all the chaos in their lives outside of school. The alternative is then to have administrators do copious classroom evaluations. However, this can take up all the time an adminstrator should be using to lead and manage the school and by it's very nature is a very subjective and political process anyway. So if you are a brown nosing sicofant you may be evaluated better than a teacher who is a great instructor, but may have his/her own apinion about things and butt heads with administration.

      Also keep in mind that "evaluiating teacher performance" is not just about getting raises. Oftentimes they are used to decide whether or not a teacher should continue to have a job at all and people get really nervous when they feel like their livelyhood may be threatened. Most teachers believe that incompetant teachers should be fired, but they want the process to determine ability to be fair. So far, the methods proposed by the state are seen as decidedly unfair and arbitrary, and fail to take into account all of the factors that make a good teacher.

      March 26, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  36. BabyJudy

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    March 26, 2012 at 10:46 am |
  37. Scott B

    Parents should have the bulk of the responsibility rather than the schools. The environment of the home and importance placed on learning is far more important.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  38. ThaGerm

    Of course there is cheating! They are told that test scores MUST meet X number and X number is impossible and also statistically unlikely! If the don't meet X number they are told they may be fired, so what do they have to loose? Putting an arbitrary number and demanding that all students meet that number is just ridiculous!

    March 26, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  39. kathryn viers

    As a former middleschool teacher in Nashville, TN, my Principal instructed all of my fellow teachers and myself to not use fun and interesting teaching methods but to teach to the tests. After I resigned from the system, I learned this same Principal and the Vice-Principal were fired for changing the TCAP scores to enhance the school's proficiency lable. When I was doing activities, such as, murder mysteries, (for genetic traits, Mad Scientist Halloween Lab, (when using microscopes) and Geographic Reporting (teaching environments) , my students were doing well and actually remembered what they had learned. Their behavior was much calmer. When I was told not to teach with all the "drama", the students lost interest, their unfavorable behavior escalated, and their test scores lowered. Cheating is wrong, but it doesn't start with the teacher. Teachers are afraid of losing their jobs and are being threatened by their superiors.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • ThaGerm

      Truth, truth annnnd truth!

      March 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  40. Devils Advocate

    This is because of the No Child left behind act. While this sounds good on paper, if everyone can/should pass the test then the test is to easy. The test scores should follow a bell curve like IQ scores do.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • JuneCleaversBeaver

      One who has no clue as to the proper form of the word "too" should not be allowed to comment on a story that pertains to education. What a dope!

      March 26, 2012 at 10:44 am |
      • ThaGerm

        One that does not understand the term Logical Fallacy should not be allowed to comment on anything! So how do you like it when I poison your well? Not so much eh'? Yeah, Ad Hominem attacks are pretty pathetic aren't they!

        March 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
      • keith1952

        I bet you are just a blast to have at parties

        March 26, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • MDH

      Lets not blame laws for adults being willing to disregard their values; If they ever had any!!

      March 26, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  41. Leila

    Next month California schools are gearing up for the California Standardized Subject tests. We have been preparing our high school students since the 9th grade. Many of them come to us so far, far behind their grade level that it is almost impossible to get them to grade level by the time they get to 12th grade. Couple that variable with the variable of apathy on the part of parents and our schools have classrooms of several kids who fail the test on purpose! Why should that be MY problem as a teacher when I am doing EVERYTHING I can in my classroom and within my carefully crafted curriculum to enable success on these tests? The blame is NOT solely carried by our teachers. There are indeed other mitigating factors that underlie the failure of our schools, such as apathy on the part of the student, parent or both; low socio-economic conditions in which parents have few resources in which to supplement their kids with much needed internet access (which is a huge part of virtually every teacher's curriculum).

    March 26, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Really???

      I agree with you, 100% teaching is a community effort. You can't teach a goat to sing, nor can you teach a student unwilling, or unable, to learn. Instead of parents asking "Why aren't you teaching my child?" they should be asking "Why isn't my child learning?" Then again, that would require the parents to ask anything.

      March 26, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Madison

      My question is are the number of "unwilling students" in your classes statistically significant? If you have 1 out of 25 students who you can't reach, you have a 96% success rate. Commendable on any scale. Looking back at my high school years, there might have been 5 of those students in my entire graduating class of 300+. I went to school in a good area, so that number is probably fairly low compared to the average, but even the kids that didn't do well could have done better with the proper attention. There are stories all the time of teachers that are able to reach even the most disinterested students. A good teacher should feel like they have failed if they are unable to reach a particular student and make them successful. This doesn't mean that they should feel like a failure over-all, just that they have failed in that one instance. That would show that they care and take pride in what they do. If they don't care about a student failing, why are they teaching in the first place?

      March 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  42. Randy

    Teaching and learning have very little to do with standardized testing. Teaching and learning are about relationships and the development of a community of learners. The goal is a person who utilizes their gifts in a way that enhances their own life and the life of the community.

    Standardized testing is a tool for comparing one type of learning response without regard to the context of the learner and the teacher. By it's nature, it is a one-dimensional lens that tells us very little about a multi-dimensional world. It is useful to those who want a simple and quick way to judge learners and teachers. In short, it is a tool for propaganda to be used by those who want to exert their economic and political power in educational systems.

    Standardized testing should be dumped. Schools should be placed in the hands of teachers, parents, and students–people who are most invested in their success. My 20 years as a faculty member in one of the best schools in our community tells me that this is waht works.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  43. Chris F

    It happens here in Las Vegas: teachers spend so much time teaching only what they kids need to learn to pass these standardized tests, usually at least 1 month leading up to the tests themselves. Frankly, it's sickening

    March 26, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  44. Douglas

    Cheating in major white colleges needs to be exposed as well, even promotions in businesses such as Home Depot is dominated by whites cheating then acting as if they are the know all be all while looking down at others.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • SteveinMN

      Racist, much?

      March 26, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  45. longshot

    The rich suburban school districts have no trouble passing the standards, the only districts failing are in poor school districts. The administrators, teachers and curriculum all come from the same schools, the big difference is the home life of the kids. But nobody wants to face up to that – instead, it's easier to blame the teachers in one school and praise them in another. How about you switch teachers for a year – take inner city Philly and switch teachers with the rich suburbs. What do you think would happen? The suburban teachers wouldn't last the year in the city, the suburban kids would still do well and the inner city kids would still have their struggles.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Suburbia

      It all comes down to the parents. If you have two parents involved in a kids life and they push them to make school work comes first the child will succeed. My kids come home form school, do their homework, we review all work from last week in a folder that comes home from school every Tues.. Then we make sure any mistakes are corrected and they know what are the right answers. Our teachers are in constant contact with us through email. Parents volunteer for everything and are watching out for their neighbors kids. Keep your kids busy with school, reading, and sports and they won't have as much time to get in trouble and play mind numbing video games. This does not take money, it takes time.

      March 26, 2012 at 10:50 am |
      • mikeyp

        Yea... I love how the blame always has to be put on something. Video games don't numb a person's mind, they've actually been shown to increase hand-eye coordination and lead to a further development of a child's imagination. This is the opposite of "mind-numbing". Now whether they may be getting too violent, is a whole other argument, but I believe that they have nothing to do with an article on kid's cheating. You were right for the most part though, it comes down to the parents. As long as there is a parental influence to ensure work is done before play, then the right message gets across. It all comes down to the individual, how your child does their "playing" isn't something that should be of concern. I know just as many "jocks" who have been involved in sports their whole lives, who could use a little "sharpening" in the intellect department. I've played games my whole life, it hasn't stopped me from becoming a productive and moral individual. So please, no more generalized finger pointing, especially that of the irrelevant kind.

        March 26, 2012 at 11:48 am |
      • Vidja Gayms

        I love statements like this.

        "Video games dull the mind" – only if you let them. I graduated from my high school in the top 15% of my class, and I played video games more than I actually studied. In fact, I never studied. Hell, I played video games in class most of the time, thanks to the miracle of portable game consoles. People actually came to me for help in class most of the time, because I tended to explain the subject better than the teacher did. Oh, and one more thing I found? Kids in my class who were more busy with school, reading and sports did less well than kids like myself who busied themselves with video games, television, and the like, especially the more sports-oriented because they tended to put their basketball/football/weightlifting/etc. score over their classroom score.

        The answer is never "video games are bad, m'kay". The answer more often lies in the students themselves, and how the students construct their priorities.

        The same could and likely should be said about standardized testing. The teachers may hold some of the blame, but the majority of it should be placed on the students. It's unfair to base a teacher's pay on whether or not they can bend their students' will. Because at the end of the day, if a student doesn't want to learn, they're not going to learn, no matter how hard the teacher, the parent, the administration or the government tries.

        March 27, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  46. Really???

    "I think these tests are great for schools I go to! I went to a public school and because of my test scores, I RAISED the entire schools average. which means more money for the school. AND I KNOW THIS FROM THE PRINCIPAL AND BASED ON MY SCORES. however, i hate the idea of forcing school to have a minimum average and because of a select few arrogent, stupid, or special kids who do not have accomodations set in place for them, the law could be used to fire the teachers or even shut the entire school down. the law is stupid. the tests should stay, but the requirements should go away"

    You barely understand grammar and spelling, but you 'raised the entire schools average'? You have a sad, sad school. Learn to spell and use punctuation.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  47. tez07

    I admit....I cheated....I did not read the article, I only posted a comment

    March 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  48. longshot

    NCLB was never about the kids, it was about dismantling public schools and unions. By 2014, 100% of students will have to be passing the standardized tests, that includes the non-English speaking kids, those with learning disabilities, etc. or the states an come in, nullify union contracts, take over the schools and start alternate/charter schools.

    March 26, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  49. Liane

    Where did the numbers for this story come from? According to the US Census Bureau, the US has more than 14,000 school districts, not the 3, 125 figure given in the CNN account ( I don't doubt that cheating and irregularities occur, but is it to the extent that the "statistics" claim?

    March 26, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  50. traceya117

    DUH! In our current world the only thing that matters is GETTING THERE, not how you get there. Hard work, persistence, integrity means NOTHING today and there's no way to fix this. Why are we all in this handbasket and where are we going?

    March 26, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Mike L

      MacDonalds?! It's where these kids will have jobs soon enough I am sure.

      March 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  51. srichey321

    Our nation's leaders (both sides of the aisle), our athletes and every other glorified role model pumped up by the media have basically said that it is ok to cheat. Many of us have done everything right when we bought a house and then we lost it. The financial companies haven't paid any price.

    Why is everyone surprised?

    March 26, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  52. John

    I think these tests are great for schools I go to! I went to a public school and because of my test scores, I RAISED the entire schools average. which means more money for the school. AND I KNOW THIS FROM THE PRINCIPAL AND BASED ON MY SCORES. however, i hate the idea of forcing school to have a minimum average and because of a select few arrogent, stupid, or special kids who do not have accomodations set in place for them, the law could be used to fire the teachers or even shut the entire school down. the law is stupid. the tests should stay, but the requirements should go away

    March 26, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Mike

      These tests you scored so high on clearly weren't writing tests.

      March 26, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  53. El Flaco

    Who posting here can say that he or she never cheated on a test in school?

    March 26, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • John

      I can say that El Flaco

      March 26, 2012 at 9:54 am |
      • El Flaco

        I can too, but you are the first person I've met who can say that.

        March 26, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  54. swisscottage

    How can this be a surprise to anybody? In fact, if the opposite were true I'd be in shock.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  55. Rich

    The teachers were really dumb to do this. They should just teach as best they can and let the students get whatever scores they get. It sucks because the climate in education right now is horrible – it is entirely about scores on the state tests. Unfortunately getting good scores with students that have horrible home lives and are years behind grade level is not possible. The system is designed to fail as the goals become increasingly impossible.

    The most illogical part of all is that the students have no reason to do well on these tests. They are not used for moving on to the next class, graduation, or anything else. The students know this and PURPOSEFULLY FAIL THE EXAMS. This is all a scam to make test corporations billions of dollars and to organize countrywide dissatisfaction with educators. When will people come to understand this??

    March 26, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Real Issue - Money in Testing

      You hit the nail on the head when you brought up test taking and money. The test taking industry is a multi-million dollar industry that is doing nothing except draining the schools of vital funds – funds that could be used to improve technology, purchase more books, and provide more equipment (like lab equipment). It is easier to bash teachers than to take on multi-million dollar corporations, like ALEC, and others.
      In theory, testing is fine, but it is misused, overused, and abused so the rich corporations just make millions of dollars while the kids and the school system get tarred and feathered.
      In reality, some kids will never pass a standardized test, although they may have the ability to do well in the work force, especially in fields that require hands-on work, like being an automechanic or a carpenter. Some of the kids have the brains and the ability – they just can't test (sounds weird, but it is true). Other kids just have very low IQ's and will never pass the test and will always struggle in life. Everyone knows these people as adults. However, no one wants to admit that there are kids who will grow up and be like the adults they now know who are very nice, but not really fully capable of doing any type of work aside from menial type work that pays very low wages.
      People need to look at reality and see kids for who and what they are - people - just people who will one day be adults. Just as there are all levels of adults, there are all levels of kids.
      It is time we quit letting the test makers exploit our children with standardized tests and start helping all kids learn to function in an adult society in a meaningful manner.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  56. eroteme

    Our new culture: there is nothing wrong with a little cheating, cheating to achieve a worthy goal. Everyone does it, why shouldn't I? Nothing wrong with cheating so long as it is done honestly.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  57. JiminNM

    The example for cheating is being set by the White House and every branch of government, the Federal Reserve and most corporations, so go figure.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  58. Bob

    I can't believe the doctors are still cheating! I thought CNN took care of this problem months ago.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  59. Amber

    My step-son gets to retake every test he takes until he gets a 90 – 100 score. This has infuriated me because he should have been held back a grade. He makes the honor roll every year, but all of his tests were D's or F's. He is in 4th grade and goes to Hudson Elementary in Hudson, NC. This school has rave reviews of being one the of the best elementary schools in the area. The only reason this is, is because they CHEAT! They need to be investigated. If I had the power to move him to a different school, I would.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • John

      You know you can. you just need to find another public school you like and request transfering your student there

      March 26, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  60. Dave

    Talk about the obvious – I first read this subject 20 years ago. It is clear cheating goes on and in some areas it is considered normal practice. The tests need to be designed so that cheating is not possible without direct assistance, and also each student has a different test. After-the-fact cheating (redoing after it is handed in) can be addressed via clever packaging or via online test taking. The problem is that schools get more money with better test scores. This makes cheating very attractive to the very ones who should stop it.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  61. Tom

    I'm shocked, shocked! to find that cheating is going on under a system that rewards hight scores on meaningless tests with more money for the schools. Golly, who would ever have suspected it.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • james

      Get rid of tenture and get rid of any teachers caught helping students cheat. Other than that I don't believe in punishing the students who cheat, they are only cheating themselves in the end. I would like to see these cheaters go out and try to get a job with those high test scores they worked so hard on getting.

      March 26, 2012 at 9:55 am |
      • Ben

        While we're at it, since the kids aren't at fault, let's take them out of their homes and put them in foster care to punish the parents who help their kids cheat! (sarcasm font)

        March 26, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  62. james

    Must be a slow news day. Cheating at schools, is anybody really shocked by this?? I could of told you this without doing any studies years ago. Just call it an educated guess.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:35 am |

    you would think if we have been cheating that our ranking would be higher against other countries around the world

    March 26, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  64. Rob

    I felt my heart sink as I read this article. Maybe main street and wall street are not all that different. Maybe the habits of wall street were learned in elementary school. Hardwork just isn't enough anymore. Everyone is looking for an edge, even if it means cheating.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  65. olddude

    I'd be surprised if cheating was not wide spread given the way the law is written.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  66. guerillaed

    No Child Left Behind has entered its end stage, which requires all students in all schools everywhere to be made above average. Over these last few years of the program's impossible-to-achieve goal, there will only be two kinds of schools– those that are failing, and those that are cheating. Expect to read about plenty of both.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Ben

      There will not be any schools that meet the 2014 goal of 100% across the board. Period.

      NCLB will (hopefully) be altered by then.

      March 26, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  67. Boes73

    Cheating was prevalent back in my days at university. The final biology exam was up for sale and purchased by some people I knew. They aced the exams, got into med school and are now doctors. And no, I did not buy the exam - went into a math field instead.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • olddude

      As a mathematician, I say good choice ! Well, maybe not monetarily

      March 26, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Bob B

      Gee doctors cheating on exams. Maybe that's why most of them just give you drugs and don't even try to figure out what's causing your problems.

      March 26, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  68. Kevin

    There's nothing to worry about here. Kids will have lucrative futures by working in such areas as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Analyst, Social Media Status Update Engineer, and of course, Chief Executive Officer of the Bedroom You Grew Up In Right Across from Mommy and Daddy's. Good luck, Generation Stupid.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  69. Mike

    Statistically unlikely: No matter how hard you studied, you better not score better than we already know you will, or you must have cheated.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  70. O.T.

    I've seen the results of No Child Left Behind in the classroom. These standardized tests were neutron bombs that destroyed learning but left the buildings standing.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  71. PS

    Cheating should not be tolerated. The cheaters should be removed. What should be done with the investigators reporting the math and statistics wrong in the Dougherty County Invesigative Report? Many, many, many mistakes found!! The investigation and report was conducted by the Governor's Special Investigative Team, The Alford Group, Georgia Public Safety, and Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). This report with many mistakes is posted on the homepage of the Governor's website.

    Not only are a few teachers cheating, special investigators and other top Georgia personnel did not get the findings correct. On page 100, nine (9) numbers were copied incorrectly from previous pages. Throughout the report the wrong numerators were used. Sherwood increased by 9 classes ( 27 subjects) 2010 classroom flagged percentages. Radium Springs Elem. classes would have increased by 42 classes (126 test), The 2009 numerator 84 test and 2010 numerator used was 210. That is 28 classes vs 70 classes (first to fifth grade classes). Did Radium Elem have 70 first through fifth grade classes in 2010? I THINK NOT! Investigators get it together, use erasers....delete buttons to correct your report.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • rocco

      teachers need to be evaluated and those who suck, gets replaced by those who need a job and is willing to teach the right way! our future generations will be stupid! LOL stand up to the most powerful US union, teachers union!

      March 26, 2012 at 8:57 am |
      • sqeptiq

        Apparently you could have used an English teacher.

        March 26, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  72. Jordan

    As the parent of an elementary school aged child I will say that it pains me to see that because teachers arent being paid what their worth now some have resorted to cheating. Its sad to see a lot of these teachers arent getting recognition for how well they are doing their job so cheating is the only way. This is just as bad as that unjust way that the teachers in NY were being treated when the longer you worked decided whether or not you kept your job instead of how good of a teacher you were. A great teacher can come in any age its not age that makes you better. Perhaps a lot of these districts need to re-evaluate their standards of teaching & then cheating wouldnt go on.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  73. Dave Sangster

    My wife, who taught, saw this happen in Canada 45 years ago. The changes were made by the school principal who was a Catholic Nun and the only benefit was pride in the scholastic standing of her school. Human nature can not be legislated, only checks and balances will partially control behaviour.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • esoteric1

      Well the catholic nun thing clergy will do anything to make themselves look good...even cover up child rapists

      March 26, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  74. Gene Tics

    Judging/rewarding teachers and schools based on student performance would be appropriate if "all children were created equal". Fortunately that is not the case (we need doctors and ditch diggers). The cost of housing tends to clump less intelligent people near each other and more intelligent people near each other. Their offspring tend to inherit the traits of the parents and the teachers are left holding the bag. I would not want to be a teacher in a low rent school district.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • NCTeacher

      Your point that not all students are created equal is true, but I take issue with the way you equate money with intelligence. The disadvantages suffered by poor students have to do with their families' resources and social backgrounds, and are not inherent to the students themselves. Well-to-do families have the money to spend on computers, internet access, and tutors their children need to succeed. Poor families do not. Families with a history of higher education teach the value of having diplomas and degrees. If you are the first person in your family to graduate from high school, you weren't taught that at home. Middle and upper income families live in a world where social norms are appropriate for the world of public education. Poor students come to school, and every behavior they live with at home is suddenly getting them in trouble. None of this has anything to do with the student's intelligence.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Jack 63

      I can understand why you wouldn't want to be a teacher in a low rent district. Standing to a challenge doesn't seem to be part of your demeanor.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Mary Memmons


      March 26, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

      Thing is… teachers are not created equal ether. Every job needs quality standards beyond whether you showed up that day. Personally I’d rather pay more to have quality teachers than glorified daycare workers who are more interested in reading their romance novels than teaching their students.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  75. DonJuan1943

    Your article ignores the responsibility of PARENTS in the dynamic of student performance. You use teachers as the scapegoats. It gets votes; but it ignores the real solution.

    March 26, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • mpouxesas

      Well my friend, you forget that THESE parents you are talking about, clearly think that, hey, I pay taxes, so it is the teachers' and schools' responsibility to teach my kids!

      March 26, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, The Piper's Son

      @ DonJuan1943
      Your article ignores the responsibility of PARENTS in the dynamic of student performance. You use teachers as the scapegoats. It gets votes; but it ignores the real solution.

      And what of the responsibility of teachers? Common sense should tell you both parties need to step up and stop blaming the other. YOU are not the solution but part of the problem.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • cleo

      Wrong. In this case... the only thing required is for the teacher NOT to cheat.

      March 26, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  76. bob

    based on the intelligence/common sense level of some of my fellow Americans, I would say this level of cheating has been commonplace for a VERY long time.

    March 26, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • AGuest9

      I find it interesting (and incredibly ironic), under which administration No Child Left Behind was implemented.

      March 26, 2012 at 7:58 am |
      • slp

        Yes, No Child Left Behind was implemented under Bush. However, it had both democrat and republican support. Ted Kennedy worked very close with Bush on the plan. So there goes that theory that the evil republicans destroyed education. Education started to go down hill when the Department of Education was started. I do believe that was started under a democrat president. It sure is easy to point fingers, but a lot harder to solve problems. That is what is wrong with this country. We are so divided that nothing gets accomplished. However, democrats fail to see that there are people in this country who have counted and planned for this division.

        March 26, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • mpouxesas

      There is no such thing as common sense in the US. Plenty of outliers, but common sense? Nope. There are many factors contributing to the end result. Once, one of my professors said that we need to change the definition of curriculum. We think of curriculum as the ...English, social studies, math, etc class. He said, curriculum should be INTENTED OUTCOMES. Here is the crux...If our end goal is for everyone to pass a test...then we surely failed. In addition, most of our schools host kids from such diverse backgrounds. According to (relatively old) data, more than 50% of our school age kids come from what is called (sic) non-traditional homes. This is a pc term for f-ed up homes. Kids leave a home many times dirty, unbathed, without breakfast, and other (common sense right?) basic needs met. To top it off, most parents (other letigitately, others not so...) do not invest even a minute with their kid AT HOME (where homework is supposed to take place) doing basic things such as going through their backpack, check what's for homework, etc. In addition, we have two important factors. One, the human brain was not 'meant' to ...think. In other words, the good old reptilian 'fight or flight' dillema is what drives the brain. Tasks such as reading are very difficult. The brain has to decode l e t t e r s...using sight, then comprise meaning from those....good luck with that. Add to this the fact that we live in a world of visual (mis)information (which is easier for the brain to process) and you there you have it. Kids are overly exposed to meaningless tidbits of visual information, they hardly read words. Instant gratification comes to piece this cake and you have what you see today. We are far behind than many western advanced cultures in reading, writing, math, arts, and the list goes on.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • Annie

        @ mpouxesas So, the human brain is not "meant" for thinking? Then please explain the frontal cortex of the human brain, what it does, and how it is what differentiates humans from other animals. The "flight or flight" comes from adrenaline and being in a stressful or dangerous situation. If you are always in this mode, then you have bigger problems than this- various organs of yours would be extremely damaged. When you say the "reptilian" brain, I think you might mean the hind brain, which has structures such as the medulla oblongata that control your heartbeat and breathing. The only problem someone would have issues with reading is if they had dyslexia or another learning disability/ disability in general. Language is understood by a normal brain very well, as the brain is made to perform that task as well as many others. Also, when a person who is literate in a language sees words from that language, they automatically read them. You also forgot how images passing through the eyes, visual cortex, and other structures is how most people read. Please, if you are going to talk about the brain or other important things such as education, do your research instead of spewing out nonsense. I am a high school senior taking an Honors Anatomy and Physiology course and these things are basic knowledge. You, sir, are the one who needs to be educated. And, because of your blatant incorrectness, I can deem the rest of your post as drivel. Have a good day spreading misinformation.

        March 27, 2012 at 1:43 am |
  77. Mattie

    If I had known as a kid that my schools funding would be cut if enough of us failed tests, then I would have deliberately failed every test given to me.

    March 26, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • Leila

      Herein lies the problem. You are a parent, yes? Parents like you make our jobs insurmountable; if our parents won't support these state mandated, standardized tests that ALL teachers have to teach to, then how can we ever expect the students to take these exams seriously. Next month California schools are gearing up for the California Standardized Subject tests. We have been preparing our high school students since the 9th grade. Many of them come to us so far, far behind their grade level that it is almost impossible to get them to grade level by the time they get to 12th grade. Couple that variable with the variable of apathy on the part of parents and our schools have classrooms of several kids who fail the test on purpose! Why should that be MY problem as a teacher when I am doing EVERYTHING I can in my classroom and within my carefully crafted curriculum to enable success on these tests? The blame is NOT solely carried by our teachers. There are indeed other mitigating factors that underlie the failure of our schools, such as apathy on the part of the student, parent or both; low socio-economic conditions in which parents have few resources in which to supplement their kids with much needed internet access (which is a huge part of virtually every teacher's curriculum).

      March 26, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  78. Anti Sarah

    Are the supporters of standardized tests the test companies, their lobbyists, and the politicians they endorse? Also, how about a proof reader, CNN? Somephrasesneedspacing.

    March 26, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  79. TomK

    Why is everyone so up in arms about this? It's nothing new. Teachers have said for years that NCLB was a mistake and school districts had nearly ordered teachers to 'teach the test' in order to get increased funding. This has been a 'wink wink nod nod' thing for a long time folks. Get over it and let teachers do what they do and do well.....TEACH your kids how to succeed in life through REAL EDUCATION!!!

    March 26, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  80. ironwolf56

    Hmmm these all seem to be in the South and Midwest. I thought that was the "bastion of morality" in this country as opposed to the godless Northeast and West?

    March 26, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • GoodOlBoy

      Oh, please. Stereotypes are verboten for everyone in every group except Southerners and Christians, I guess. Your comment is as dumb as most of the stereotyping political commentary. Congratulations.

      March 26, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  81. Slaqueur

    "Supporters" of NCLB. Um, and they would be.....?

    March 26, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • ironwolf56

      I don't know about teachers that are real fans of it, but people seem to have short media-induced memories and don't seem to remember standardized testing existed looooong before NCLB. And I've met quite a few teachers that see NCLB as the lesser of two evils compared to the standardized tests of the 90s.

      March 26, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  82. AaronS

    I can honestly say that I've never cheated on a test. I am teaching my son that I'd rather him fail a test than cheat. He feels the same way. He's seven-years-old.

    That being said, I am a teacher. I have had stripped from me the glorious joy of providing students with a rounded education. Those works of art I asked my students to view and write about in my English class? I've been told to eliminate that and focus solely on what they need to pass the state-wide standardized test.

    I have only to look back at my own education to realize that the great joy was in learning things that were off the beaten path...and that, somehow, even though they seemed disconnected, educated me in the subject at hand, made me a better person.

    I honestly don't know the answer. It seems we NEED standardized tests to tell us if kids are improving. Yet standardized testing leads to cheating and teaching pretty much only the test. That's sad. Maybe if we could go out and ask all graduates what made the difference in their lives in school, we'd find what we should REALLY be testing?

    March 26, 2012 at 5:57 am |
    • Ben


      I am a fellow educator. My biggest problem regarding what you said is in being forced to teach to the test, we teachers are basically being told that we are incapable of making decisions. We are the experts in our field and we are being told that we do not know what is best for our students. We are being told that the way we assess student performance in our classrooms doesn't mean anything, because this test now is supposed to mean everything.

      However, as a kid and as a parent (I'm not yet a parent, so I'm implying knowledge here) why would I think that one series of tests' scores are more important than the hundreds or thousands of small incremental assessments that my teacher(s) or my child's teacher(s) make(s) over the course of an entire school year? I wouldn't. That would be ludicrous, just as NCLB is ludicrous.

      Add that to the fact that we, as a nation, do not hold any other profession to a 100% standard based on their OWN merits; yet, we expect teachers to be held to a 100% standard based on how their clients (to use business terminology) perform!

      March 26, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  83. Ira Radnick

    I had the opportunity to cheat, many times. I know one girl (Debbie Davidson, perhaps she will read this post) who cheated off my Geometry test and got caught. That was the end of her math career! I despise cheaters in school and in business. I play by the rules, push the edge at times, but I do not cheat. That goes for my marriage as well. My wife deserves better than me, and I do the best I can to always rise above her expectations and would never do anything to hurt her. When a person cheats they lower themselves to the deepest depths from whence the memories of having cheated will haunt that person forever. There is no escape other than dementia or death.

    March 26, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • professionalstudent

      Ira, you really are a big fan of yourself, aren't you?

      March 26, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Oldvetter

      Ira, naming a person, BY NAME, who was accused of cheating on a National Internet Site is terrible. It also could have legal ramifications.

      March 26, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • G Mores

      Wow, Ira Radnick....I think that you might have a problem.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  84. Abc jack

    I don't think most people understand that the cheating involved teachers taking tests home and physically erasing answers and changing them. Statistically the erasure rate and increase in test scores are impossible especially for inner-city students. In Atlanta it has turned into a mess because none of the teachers will admit it despite the mountain of evidence. I still say no matter the cost of litigation every last teacher involved should be fired.

    March 26, 2012 at 5:00 am |
    • Blosm2431

      I hope that their is evidence of teachers taking these tests home. I would hate for someone to assume that this happened without proof. Considering that students are allowed to use erasers during the test, it is quite possible that after being told how important the test is that students are actually trying to get the right answer and maybe second guessing themselves.

      Also, if you have ever seen these tests, they are written in different forms. The teachers would literally have to go through each book and read each question on each test and change the answers. We are talking about a test that takes over 6 hours for kids to complete. Doing this about 30 times would be unrealistic.

      Lastly, test security is a huge part of this process. The principal and guidance councilors are involved with counting each test and making sure they are locked in a secure location at the end of each session. If this did happen the way you "say" it did, everyone would have to be involved. Not to mention the risk they would be taking considering that the state sends around inspectors to spot check testing sites for compliance.

      Not saying cheating didn't happen somewhere in America, but this is the least likely way it would take place.

      March 26, 2012 at 7:03 am |
      • Conrad

        You are absolutely correct. My wife is a teacher in Mass'tts, and she has to sign copies of the tests out, cannot look at them, cannot look to see what page or which question a student is on during testing, and has to sign them back in. If she even looks at the test, she can be fired.

        March 26, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  85. dugan

    Testing good students is fine. Testing juvenile delinquents appears to b a problem.

    March 26, 2012 at 4:24 am |
  86. amadeo122

    We need to go back to standardized testing, like the SATs. If you can't hack it, you can't hack it, period, the world also needs ditch diggers. Education is not for everyone, not everybody is willing to sacrifice playstation time, or football time to hit the books 5 hours a day and become doctors, professors, lawyers, etc..., some were meant to join the marines, work at the drive through in Burger King, and other McJobs....I believe not everyone should be allowed to graduate elementary school and even less, high school. Not everyone should be told how great they are because you are lying, there is a world of idiots out there and yo should call it for what it is.

    March 26, 2012 at 4:19 am |
    • professionalstudent

      "...and yo should call it for what it is." Uh-huh.

      March 26, 2012 at 6:29 am |
    • Joe

      I agree that not everyone is cut out for a job that requires an advanced intellectual skill set, but suggesting that people shouldn't be allowed to finish even secondary education is ridiculous. Some people are late bloomers. I didn't start getting serious about my education until my last year of high school, and now I am working towards a PhD. Education is so important to people's outcomes that denying them the opportunity would send the society backward in time 200 years.

      March 26, 2012 at 6:54 am |
  87. amadeo122

    You people confuse education with entertainment, that's not how it's supposed to go, the student is expected to go home and study, memorize, etc.... there is no way out of it. If you need entertainment go to the movies, go to the circus, schools were not created to entertain you.

    March 26, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  88. Saint John

    When phones become smarter than our students, it is a sure sign that we are doomed. Oh wait, that's already happened! Jesus!

    March 26, 2012 at 4:08 am |
  89. Saint John

    It's time for our students and teachers to quit monkeying around. Just say'n, ya know.

    March 26, 2012 at 4:05 am |
  90. Darwin lies

    In Texas we are dropping evolution, creationism is scientifically proven by Guv Rick Perry and made law by His hand.
    The problem with these tests is that they are not bible based. If they were children would not cheat or lie. Memorize the entire bible should be the only test, the rest is a distraction from truth and prosperity.

    March 26, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • Kane

      I can't quite tell if you're being serious or not...I'll just laugh nervously

      March 26, 2012 at 3:37 am |
      • Jim

        It is not far from the truth, Texas education is one big joke.

        March 26, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • TelemachusPhilios

      I sincerely hope you are being sarcastic, or trolling...Either way; .Atlanta, St. Louis, and Detroit all have evidence of mass cheating? Interesting demographic correlations.

      March 26, 2012 at 3:40 am |
    • amadeo122

      God doesn't exist and the bible is a fairy tale for weaklings.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:06 am |
      • Ira Radnick

        Oh yeah? My god can beat up your god any time!

        p.s. – I agree, it is all fairy tale mockery of human intellect where other give over their own right to think for themselves to a bunch of child molesting pansies.

        March 26, 2012 at 5:21 am |
    • The_Mick

      Don't worry. Dr. Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory" has considered leaving physics research and returning home to teach evolution to East Texans.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • Joe Bob Jones

      I do hope you are joking. If so it is mildly funny, thank you, but if not, the HORRORS! That Texas already has affected texts nationwide is bad enough, but to feed the myth and parable of the bible as fact, to innocent students in need of actual knowledge is obscene. Jesus would not approve...

      March 26, 2012 at 4:27 am |
    • professionalstudent

      I can't tell whether or not you're kidding, so I'm going with the benefit of the doubt.

      March 26, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • Seriously?

      I assume when the tests should be on the Bible, you are talking about in the original languages, without chapters and verses being added. I mean, there are so many versions of the Bible nowadays, and there might be misinterpretations in some of them, and chapters/verses are probably arbitrary compared with original texts.
      Although, chapter and verse numbers would be some kind of math, which beyond a few ages and number of days, are about the only math covered in the Bible.
      I also assume you wil not be covering any history more recent than almost 2,000 years ago, since that's not in the Bible either.
      You would save a lot on technology expenses as well, since anything on computers would just cloud the issue.

      March 26, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  91. dave

    It's been proven time and time again that standardized testing is a failed method. Standardized tests were a joke when I was in grade school, and they still are now (30 years later). No one cared about the scores because they had zero influence on grades. There is absolutely no incentives (as a student) to do good on a standardized test. It's a waste of time and money.

    March 26, 2012 at 3:12 am |
  92. mmi16

    Teach to the test – die by the test. The test does not a EDUCATION make. 'No Child left behind' is leaving all the children behind.

    March 26, 2012 at 3:01 am |
    • Jason


      March 26, 2012 at 6:06 am |
  93. NC Guy

    Just convert to online testing. The teacher doesn't see the tests before the students take it. Problem solved. Or create and offer an effective method of online teaching. Kids like technology and they like staring at a computer more than a blackboard or a book. We should use that fact to our advantage.

    March 26, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • NC Guy

      I meant to add "incorporated broadly at the K-12 public school method, not all private/"home" schools.

      March 26, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • Margaret

      Maybe and maybe not, we should not be surprised. It seems like we are teaching kids mostly tests. If there is some way to cheat online somebody will figure it out. Even Richard Nixon broke into Duke to see his grades.

      March 26, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • Dillon

      That isn't necessarily true. A student may be inspired to learn by something they will see on a computer or on television, but black/whiteboards, pencil, paper, and a real teacher are never going to be beaten. The problem isn't that we aren't trying enough "innovative" learning techniques, or failing to cater to "modern" interests. It isn't going to make anyone's life easier to dumb down mathematics and science to make learning them more fun; the second they have to do the real thing they are going to hate it because they've gotten used to something essentially fake and useless. Some things really do have to be done through rote memorization, at least until they've gotten the basics down (though I'm pretty much against it after that, as long as the subject matter is taught truthfully). The problem is that our teachers are worthless. Why would anyone who wasn't a saint ever take a job where they were treated like they were worthless and paid like they were worthless if they weren't worthless?

      March 26, 2012 at 3:22 am |
      • amadeo122

        Learning is 10% inspiration..... 90 % perspiration...........inspiration is simply not going to do it in the long run. It takes a lot of discipline, inner discipline, you have it or you don't.

        March 26, 2012 at 4:22 am |
      • nyteacher

        Perhaps I am a saint then. I agree that there are some teachers that should not be teachers and some don't even appear to like children. These people however are the minority. I am offended by your comment insinuating that my colleagues and I are worthless but will not sink to your level and offend you. I care deeply about my students and their success in the classroom and in life. I am sorry that your educational experience has led you to such a negative conclusion about all educators.

        March 26, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • amadeo122

      Online testing is where most of the cheating happens. Because it's impossible to proctor them.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:07 am |
      • shamdog

        Depends on how you do it. MEdical students take the standardized USMLE exams by computer, but in specific test centers that have to check ID, sign each person in and out when they go to the bathroom, and continually monitor the room to ensure there are no irregularities. Expensive, yes. But not impossible

        March 26, 2012 at 5:03 am |
      • Steve

        We use an online test (NWEA) to monitor student growth. Short of taking the keyboard or telling students the answer in front of 24 other kids, there is no ability to game the test. This is typical of online testing in our state. There are occasionally great swings in individual scores since this is a one day snapshot and the human brain is very responsive to environmentat conditions such as stress, fatigue, illness or simple an off day. These variations generally even out in the average so the validity of individual information is questionable, but school data generally reflect overall student learning.

        March 26, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  94. Derwood

    The problem is not bad teachers. The problem is a lack of discipline in the school systems. Wild and unruly students ruin teachers' efforts to deliver lessons. These kids rarely get expelled. They never receive any meaningful punishment, therefore, they repeat the disruptions all over again and again. Additionally, many of the purchased programs/curriculum have flaws and don't align all that well with the standards being tested on state standardized tests. Yes, a lot of money is spent on education, but the materials being purchased are not always the wisest choices. (I'm sure there's a profit motive in there somewhere that fuels the dysfunction). When funding is tied to test scores, schools will cheat, because the expectations being placed on them are unrealistic, especially given the diversity of students now in America. Many don't speak or understand the language, and yet are required to be tested along with everyone else.

    March 26, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • shamdog

      If they don't speak or understand the language, why are we promoting them through the school system? There should be no such thing as social promotion to the next grade.

      March 26, 2012 at 4:54 am |
  95. drkent3

    The problem with 'standardized tests' is that teachers are not teaching kids how to *think*, they are teaching them rote answers to standardized tests. It has nothing to do with doing anything 'for pleasure'. It has everything to do with boring the kids with rote answers so they not only can't think, they don't *want* to because learning is 'boring'. Learning *must* be enjoyable, or else kids stop learning. The real problem is that we have fools and control freaks in charge of education...

    March 26, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • Reality Bites

      The real problem is ethnic differences in intelligence and the massive political pressure to make every ethnic group appear equal, at least statistically. Much of the so-called improvements in the academic gap are turning out to be based on cheating by teachers, designed to favor minority students with lower scores than their white and asian classmates. But that is a reality that no media outlet or politician will touch with a 10-foot pole. We need to stop trying to make equal those whom nature made different. Focus on helping each student reach their best potential, and just accept that some groups are going to excel more in some areas based on differently-evolved cognitive abilities.

      March 26, 2012 at 7:02 am |
      • Cris

        Are you serious? You are short sighted in your view. You have made this comment based on unmanaged beliefs.

        March 26, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  96. Nicole

    If we're going to insist on tying jobs and pay so closely to student performance on tests, at some point an outside agency is going to have to be brought in to do the testing, or widespread cheating is bound to continue. Otherwise good, honest people will do some pretty desperate things when their job is on the line. Also, the current system of standards really screws teachers over by looking for gains from one class to the next, or just meeting a standard benchmark, rather than tracking the progress of a single cohort of students over time. If the teacher or school who had your students last year screwed up, there's a really good chance you are going to be penalized for that too, even if they are making tremendous gains under your instruction.

    March 26, 2012 at 2:15 am |
    • Fae

      But that would defeat the purpose of standardized testing – it's cheap and fast. If you wanted to assess teachers you could do what teaching schools do – send someone unbiased into the class room to watch the teacher in action several times during the semester. Parents do similar things when they're trying to pick a school for their kids – maybe combined with talking to current students and parents.

      But doing that would cost a fortune.

      March 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  97. JJ

    LOL! You think!? In a country with no sense of personal or national responsibility for its actions but a specialization in producing high school and college graduates with the IQ's of rattles? Sheeeeit. Zay it izn't zo. 🙂

    March 26, 2012 at 1:57 am |
  98. Anne Lee

    Too many tests; too much importance placed on tests; too much preparation time; too much emotional reaction to these tests......not enough time spent on grammar, writing and reading for pleasure. Too much time wasted on non-essentials in schools that are supposed to be preparing teachers to teach and too few parents who are interested in the schools. What a mess! We need better texts, etc. etc.

    March 26, 2012 at 1:52 am |
    • Bob

      Tests are a basic proof of whether or not schools are teaching grammar, writing and reading, math AND whether or not individual students learned anything. The American school system and students spend too much time doing everything "for pleasure" and not learning.
      You want better texts? We already spend more money on education per student than any other nation on the planet and the result is that every industrial nation and many third world countries produce students better educated than ours. Our education system doesn’t need more money, it needs an overhaul.
      I agree with your point about the parents not being involved. How else does our nation have a 25% dropout rate?

      March 26, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  99. No you-know-what Sherlock!

    So... test cheating may be widespread. Ya think?

    March 26, 2012 at 1:48 am |
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