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Officials right to take test probe seriously

Courier editorial

POSTED: March 11, 2013 2:00 p.m.

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement recently conducted an audit of the Liberty County School System after evidence surfaced indicating irregularities on some Waldo Pafford Elementary classes’ CRCT scores. Though a high number of erased answers among tests of third- through fifth-grade classes triggered the investigation, the preliminary findings of the academic auditors’ probe were ambiguous.
“This does not indicate test improprieties have occurred; however, it does alert us to an anomaly in the data that needs further explanation,” GOSA Accountability and Data Manager Adrian Neely said.
Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer agrees that further explanation is needed, and has said the school system also will launch an internal investigation.
“We take any kind of accusations of this nature very seriously,” Scherer said.
That’s good to hear, because it’s probably a safe assumption that parents, taxpayers and any Liberty County residents concerned about the state of local public education are interested to know if any improprieties have occurred.
Though audit results did not conclude that severe manipulations have taken place in our schools, the insinuation that there might be a problem is cause enough for concern.
The CRCT is designed to measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the Georgia Performance Standards. If students’ test scores show they have mastered the knowledge when, in fact, they have not, the children never will get the attention and coaching they need to absorb the information and perform adequately at their grade levels. Liberty County School System students deserve better than that.
We commend Dr. Scherer on her determination to make sure nothing is amiss in the school system she oversees. If her internal investigation does produce evidence of wrongdoing, we are confident that students, teachers, parents and taxpayers will be made aware of the findings. Additionally, adequate disciplinary measures should be taken.
If the investigation concludes that no questionable actions took place, then at least we’ll know for sure that our administrators took the suspected score irregularities seriously and went to great lengths to clear up any lingering doubt.

 

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