“The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.” Donald T. Campbell
I am so thankful for the authors of the Letters to the Editor regarding the issues of cheating by teachers on standardized student testing. All the areas I wished to cover were represented cogently by others, none whom I have ever met and yet we share a belief system.
What amazed me was that there were no letters to the editor of contradiction regarding the lengths teachers would go to in cheating on student test scores. I have reason to think the public is not actually shocked as much as dismayed that some one pulled the cover off of a well kept secret. Those of us educators who could not stomach the brinksmanship often faced horrible retribution from administrators and fellow colleagues who wanted us to participate in the ‘game’. I personally have left two jobs from the game playing, which included score manipulation on class grades as well as standardized testing discrepancies.
As long as the public is ‘observing’ what it wishes to see (magical thinking and magical score improvement), the cheating will continue. It is not unique to certain schools in certain parts of the U.S. – it is not even unique; cheating until you are caught is a safe bet in these troubled times because most school districts lack the funds to monitor such things – in fact, when teachers and/or administrators are caught, it is usually not the first time they fiddled with scores.
Thankfully many eyes have been opened to the deceit of the machinations in No Child Left Behind. What was left behind in good measure was the joy of learning, honesty, personal integrity and those teachers who found their honour to be of higher regard than a job as a teacher (myself included). It is always best to use your feet when making a statement about such issues – it is impossible not to pay the price of being shunned if you don’t play and it is impossible to go to those who should support you as they are in on the game.