Nickles Says Erasure Analysis Wasn't Erased
Last Friday, after spending three months considering the matter, District officials finally responded to a Freedom of Information Act request for an analysis of answer sheet erasures on the 2008 DC-CAS standardized tests. Former D.C. State Superintendent of Education Deborah A. Gist asked the test's publisher, CTB McGraw-Hill, to run the study last summer out of concern that cheating might have inflated big test score gains that some schools posted that year.
When the District finally delivered its FOIA response, it came with data tables, some e-mails and...no CTB study. Nor was there a follow up analysis reported to have been conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). That is to say, there was nothing that looked like a government-commissioned study, with a transmittal letter, an executive summary, a table of contents, etc.
So do we need an erasure analysis to find the erasure analysis?
D.C. Attorney General Peter J. Nickles says no. He says the actual erasure analysis was more like an erasure conversation.
"Our search did not turn up any documents responsive to your request that included reports or analysis from CTB or AIR," Nickles wrote this afternoon. "Only data tables were provided through emails, and those data tables are included in the letters sent to DCPS and the charter schools. Discussion regarding those tables and any analysis performed was apparently done verbally between OSSE staff and the staff of the two firms. Thus, what we provided to you represents the full set of responsive documents."
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