Posts tagged ‘cheating’

December 13, 2011

New York teachers will no longer grade their own students’ standardized tests

by Grace

Teachers in New York State will no longer be grading their own students’ standardized tests.  This is a welcome change, considering that New York has a long-standing problem with inflated state test scores and a history of teacher intervention skewing the normal statistical distribution of grades.

The ban, which will go into effect in the 2012-13 school year for all elementary school, middle school and high school standardized exams, will reverse a longstanding practice that State Education Department officials say is inappropriate in an era when student test scores are used to evaluate teachers and principals. It is also a move to avoid the kind of cheating scandals that have erupted in cities like Atlanta and Washington….

November 22, 2011

More SAT cheating arrests – ‘This stuff has been going on for a very long time’

by Grace

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – At least 13 students are expected to face authorities this morning in connection with Nassau County’s expanding SAT scandal.

Some could be charged with felonies for impersonating test takers and accepting huge sums of money in exchange.

It all comes two months after police arrested Sam Eshaghoff and several students from at Great Neck North High School in September.

The students expected to turn themselves in today come from Great Neck South, Great Neck North, Rosyln High School, the North Shore Hebrew Academy and St. Mary’s High School Manhasset.

There is concern that this type of cheating is widespread.

Lavalle says every district attorney in the state ought to follow the lead in Nassau and investigate their own high schools.

It makes me wonder if it is significantly affecting the SAT score percentiles, especially on the upper end.

Some students are not entirely surprised by today’s pending arrests.

“This stuff has been going on for a very long time,” said one student. “Everybody wants to succeed and go to the best college.”…

Law enforcement negotiated Tuesday’s surrender date with the lawyers for the students, keeping it close to their Thanksgiving breaks from colleges.

It’s doubtful these students will be enjoying their Thanksgiving breaks very much.  I’m thankful these cheaters have been caught.

Related:  New York SAT cheating scandal is expected to lead to more arrests

October 26, 2011

New York SAT cheating scandal is expected to lead to more arrests

by Grace

A former FBI chief is coming in to help clean up the SAT cheating mess.

Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board and a former governor of West Virginia, said that in addition to bringing in the former F.B.I. chief, Louis J. Freeh, as a consultant, the College Board was also considering additional safeguards over the next year, including bolstering identification requirements for students taking the SAT and taking digital photographs to ensure they are who they say they are.

Some educators think this action is long overdue and are calling for harsher penalties.

“The procedures E.T.S. uses to give the test are grossly inadequate in terms of security,” Bernard Kaplan, principal of Great Neck North, testified at the hearing. “Furthermore, E.T.S.’s response when the inevitable cheating occurs is grossly inadequate. Very simply, E.T.S. has made it very easy to cheat, very difficult to get caught.”

While the new security measures represent a change of tone for College Board and Educational Testing Service officials who previously insisted their system was adequate, some superintendents and principals said they did not go far enough. These officials have called for fingerprinting students, increasing stipends for proctors and imposing real consequences on those who cheat. Currently, if the testing service suspects cheating, the students’ scores are canceled and they are permitted to retake the test — with no notification to either their high school or colleges where they apply.

Educational Testing Service is already spending about 10% of its budget on security for College Board testing, but whatever they’re doing may not be adequate.  Bernard Kaplan, principal of the high school where the cheating occurred, says this about the problem.

“It is ridiculously easy to take the test for someone else” 

Many young people have fake IDs, which are commonly  “being bought in bulk from vendors in China” and “nearly undetectable by bar employees”.  I imagine SAT test proctors also find it hard to spot them.

Related:  Student cheating – the SAT, the Internet, and Ted Kennedy

(Cross-posted at Kitchen Table Math)

 

October 17, 2011

Teacher intervention inflates New York Regents exam scores

by Grace

New York has a long-standing problem with inflated state test scores, including repeated citings of questionable grading practices but no concrete action to address the problem.

In 2003-4, the testing company CTB/McGraw-Hill rescored a sample of Regents exams and found that its scores were generally lower than the scores awarded by the schools, a sign that score inflation was taking place, according to a 2009 audit of Regents scoring by the state comptroller’s office….

… 2004 e-mail in which a state education official cited statistics that showed how teachers statewide appeared to be helping some students over the bar….

And in 2005, a team of the State Education Department’s own experts rescored some June Regents exams and found a “significant tendency for local school districts to award full credit on questions requiring scorer judgment, even when the exam answers were vague, incomplete, inaccurate, or insufficiently detailed,” the comptroller’s audit reported, adding, “These inaccuracies have tended to inflate the academic performance of students and schools.”

Teacher intervention is skewing the normal statistical distribution of grades

… about three times as many students scored exactly at the passing mark than at each one of the scores below it, a result not in keeping with a standard statistical distribution.

A New York State deputy commissioner of education:

“Obviously, teachers look for points to get kids to pass.”

Despite concerns about conflict of interest, teachers still score their own students’ or school’s test.

“We are relying more than ever on state exams — to measure student achievement, to evaluate teacher and principal effectiveness, and to hold schools and districts accountable for their performance,” Merryl H. Tisch, the Regents chancellor, said last month, in support of tightened grading practices. “If we’re going to use the tests in these ways, we need to be absolutely certain that our system is beyond reproach.”

October 4, 2011

Student cheating – the SAT, the Internet, and Ted Kennedy

by Grace

How widespread is SAT cheating?

The arrest this week of six Long Island high school students accused of cheating on the SAT is only the beginning of a wider investigation into similar behavior on the island, The New York Times reports.

A reporter for The Times, Jenny Anderson, writes that two other schools are being investigated by Kathleen M. Rice, the district attorney for Nassau County, who says she believes that the cheating problem is widespread. School officials and tutors have suggested that the Educational Testing Service, which administers the exam, should require students to take it in their own schools or notify districts when outside students are going there for the test.

Here are some numbers.

More than half of teenagers say they have cheated on a test during the last year — and 34 percent have done it more than twice — according to a survey of 40,000 U.S. high school students released in February by the nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics. The survey also found that one in three students admitted they used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.

The statistics don’t get any better once students reach college. In surveys of 14,000 undergraduates conducted over the past four years by Donald McCabe, PhD, a business professor at Rutgers University and co-founder of Clemson University’s International Center for Academic Integrity, about two-thirds of students admit to cheating on tests, homework and assignments. And in a 2009 study in Ethics & Behavior (Vol. 19, No. 1), researchers found that nearly 82 percent of a sample of college alumni admitted to engaging in some form of cheating as undergraduates.

While it appears that student cheating is becoming more prevalent, this story about Ted Kennedy reminds us that this type of deceit has always been around.

… Kennedy was forced to withdraw from Harvard for two years after cheating on a Spanish final. According to “The Education of Edward Kennedy,” by Burton Hersh, the future U.S. Senator and presidential candidate had the roommate of one of his football teammates take the exam for him.

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