Testing and Cheating

March 10, 2011

Over at the Quick and the Ed, Education Sector’s blog, Bill Tucker calls attention to a very good piece in today’s USA Today on cheating and standardized tests in K-12 education.  Tucker distills three awkwardly related truths from the story:

1. Cheating is wrong. Period

2. Incentives and systems matter, willful neglect encourages cheating

3. Following the rules, but doing the wrong thing

Tucker worries that the biggest problem is the way current incentives mis-focus our attention in K-12 education.  His urging:

“Improving the practice and process of assessment is part of the answer. We must also develop new measures, such as high school outcomes data, that not only provide valuable feedback to educators, but also provide a gauge to tell if statistics like graduation rates are being gamed. (If graduation rates are being watered down, then it should show up in data about how well students do when they get to college, technical training, or post-secondary careers.) And, importantly, since research shows college success is related to not only academic, but non-academic factors, these new measures can help broaden our focus beyond a sole reliance on AYP or high school exit exams to assess high school performance.”


About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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