A yearlong probe into the Atlanta School District found that at least 178 teachers and principals at over four dozen schools were involved with cheating on standardized tests. The findings indicate that this is one of the largest cheating scandals in the country.
According to Time Magazine the investigation found “widespread” cheating in several schools.
The report found that teachers, principals and administrators were both helping students on the state’s standardized test, the Criterion-Reference Competency Test, and correcting incorrect answers after students had turned the tests in. Eighty-two educators confessed to the allegations detailed in the report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.
Although the results may be shocking, cheating scandals are nothing new. Many have blamed the uptick in cheating on the mounting pressure placed on teachers and school officials to raise test scores or face stiff consequences.
Kayla Webley of Time writes:
Though shocking, the Atlanta cheating scandal is just the latest (and largest) among at least a dozen other cheating controversies that have been unearthed across the country. One especially noteworthy case was that of D.C. Public Schools, which at the time was led by Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Earlier this year, a USA Today article detailed an unusual level of “erasures,” which is the term for wrong answers that have been erased and changed to right.
Increasing incidents of teachers cheating has led some to question whether the pressure to score well on the standardized tests required under No Child Left Behind are tempting teachers to cheat as, under the federal law, teachers can face cuts to their salary or even potentially lose their jobs if test scores do not meet certain standards.
Lately, there has been a push to reform public education and raise the achievement of our students. Although standardized testing may have begun with admirable goals—to ensure all kids are learning—I think many would agree these types of tests do little encourage life-long learning in students, but rather creates a system that is all about passing an exam.