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Irregularities suspected in CRCT scores

State auditing Liberty test scores

POSTED: March 1, 2013 9:27 a.m.
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Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer has confirmed that local schools' tests scores are under scrutiny by the state.

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The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement representatives this week conducted an audit that questions the honesty of some Liberty County School System class performances on the CRCT.
Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer confirmed the news Thursday afternoon after the Courier received a tip.
The district received a report late last week indicating there were questionable findings in the district’s spring 2012 CRCT scores, and auditors arrived at the central office Monday as administrators were preparing to launch an internal investigation, she said.
“We take any kind of accusations of this nature very seriously,” Scherer said.
The state pays to analyze erasure reports, and an irregularity in the number of wrong answers changed to right answers triggered the audit.
Several classes in third, fourth and fifth grades at Waldo Pafford Elementary School were among those identified, indicating a “high risk” that proper protocol was not used at the school.
“At this point, I have no indication that administrators or the curriculum coordinator was involved,” Scherer said.
Joseph Martin Elementary School also had some irregularities but is designated as “minimal risk.”
“I think the other thing parents need to understand is that their child’s education should be measured by much more than just standardized tests,” Scherer said. “It’s also about how much their child is learning, how much they love to learn, what’s going on on a day-to-day basis inside the classrooms.”
She asked parents to be vigilant as well and encouraged them to report irregular results to their school administrators or to the central office.  
“If your child gains three years in three months, it’s a little suspicious,” she said. “We’re good, but we’re not that good.”
Scherer said there are no monetary or advancement-based incentives to enhance student test scores under current regulations or within the district.
Beginning in fall 2014, however, teacher evaluations are slated to be 50 percent influenced by student test scores — a controversial element that could change with academic regulation.
The GOSA conclusion and a recommended course of action are expected to be released today, Scherer said. Sanctions could range from a letter of directive that would prohibit teachers from testing their own students to dismissal, depending upon the findings.
Should the investigation conclude that the irregularities are the result of severe manipulation, the matter must be reported to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the licensing body that also can sanction educators.
The Courier was not able to reach the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement Academic Auditing department by press time.


 

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