Michelle Rhee has been advocating education reform based on rewarding teachers whose students score well on standardized tests and firing the others. It now appears that her apparent success in D.C. schools masks possible test fraud on her watch. Writing in the Daily Beast, Diane Ravitch reports results of an investigation into tests at “the Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, which saw spectacular score gains during Rhee’s tenure. Rhee held up the school as a model because the percentage of students who reached proficient on D.C. tests soared from 10 percent to 58 percent in a two-year period.” An analysis of patterns of erasures on answer sheets
found a dramatic pattern of changing answers from wrong to right at Noyes. In one seventh grade classroom, students averaged 12.7 wrong-to-right erasures on the reading test, as compared to a district-wide average of less than 1. When parents complained that their children’s high scores didn’t make sense, since they were still struggling to do basic math, they were ignored.
Looks like the program motivated someone to game the system, not teach the students. Game-the-system, isn’t that WallStreetspeak for “business as usual”?