There is a lot of pressure on teachers these days to produce not only high test scores but to also show growth in their students’ scores from year to year. According to an in-depth recent article in USA Today, some teachers are being accused of cheating to raise test scores.
When a teacher’s test scores are consistently higher than their peers it is thought to be for one of two reasons; either the teacher is great at their job or they are crossing lines in order to squeeze higher test scores out of their students.
There have been cases in which teachers were caught red-handed copying the state test in order to teach the specific questions that will be on the test.
If a child typically scores in the 50th percentile year after year and then suddenly the same child scores in the 80th percentile with a certain teacher but then the following years the child goes back to scoring in the 50th percentile, it can look fishy for the teacher. Was Mrs. Smith a great motivating force that one year or was there skulduggery going on in Mrs. Smith’s fourth grade classroom?
As more states look to tie teacher pay to students’ test scores, the pressure to cheat is only going to get worse. In the article, When Test Scores Seem to Good to Believe, there are excellent questions raised as to why a teacher’s scores may be higher.
After reading the article you may never again look at a child’s test scores the same way.
Read more here: When Test Scores Seem to Good to Believe by: Greg Toppo, Denise Amos, Jack Gillum and Jodi Upton and Should Teachers Lose Their Jobs Based on Student Performance?