Testing scandal claims Atlanta schools superintendent
Atlanta Schools Supt. Beverly Hall today bowed to calls for her to step down following a standardized-testing scandal, saying she would not return next school year.
A statement from her office said that Hall, who has been superintendent for 11 years, had notified school board members that she won't seek another contract when her current contract expires June 30.
Calls for her resignation had been growing louder because of a scandal reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the latest scores on the state's Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests. The newspaper reported that many increases in state scores reported in districts across the state seemed “statistically improbable.”
According to the newspaper, 33 of 35 local school systems resolved questions regarding alleged 2009 CRCT test tampering, and they referred 72 employees to the state for possible disciplinary action.
The two systems still be investigated are Atlanta Public Schools and the Dougherty County School System in South Georgia.
State officials announced in February that suspicious erasure marks had been found on thousands of tests from 119 schools in the 35 school systems, including 58 schools in Atlanta, the highest in any district.
On Tuesday, Hall called the investigation “a painful chapter in our history” and talked about steps the system would take to respond to the alleged cheating. Calls for her resignation were heard.
"The buck stops here," she said.
That didn't stop calls for her to resign. The editorial board of the newspaper even urged her to step down voluntarily or be fired after it was revealed that she did not “release a report she commissioned validating the newspaper’s data-driven investigation of improbable test score gains.”
The Journal-Constitution noted that this was the second time in two years that results on these states tests have been questioned. But Georgia is not the only place where cheating on standardized tests has been reported; in fact, test tampering has became a fact of life in many schools in the No Child Left Behind era. Just this year, there have been investigations in Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Virginia and other states that suggested cheating by educators.
This is all predictable. As long as the country pursues an education policy that makes standardized testing the be-all and end-all of assessment -- of schools, students and now, as advocated by the Obama administration, teachers -- such incidents are only likely to increase.
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| November 20, 2010; 3:16 PM ET
Categories: Standardized Tests | Tags: atlanta, atlanta superintendent, atlanta superintendentn resigns, atlanta tests, crct, criterion referenced competency tests, georgia scandal, georgia testing scandal, hall, hall resigns, standardized tests, testing scandal
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